The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue their pursuit of free agent cornerbacks, and after having spoken to Sean Smith they have also pursued Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox. The latter has played well over the past two years, but has missed a few too many games to injury to be called a reliable starter. Still, he'd be an instant upgrade for the Buccaneers. Roy Cummings even claims that the Bucs could sign him as soon as free agency proper starts on Tuesday.
Bucs are continuing their pursuit of FA CB Derek Cox. H's someone Bucs could sign out of the chute on Tuesday— Roy Cummings (@RCummingsTBO) March 11, 2013
This is hardly surprising news as the Buccaneers are in dire need of cornerbacks. They have pursued Sean Smith and are rumored to be in the running for Brent Grimes, Greg Toler and Keenan Lewis as well. It seems the Bucs are likely to sign two starters in free agency this season, which would free them up to go with a non-cornerback in the draft.
The Bucs are looking for big, physical cornerbacks who can play press-man coverage and Derek Cox would fit the bill -- not as well as Sean Smith would, but he'd be a more than capable starter. The Bucs blitz a lot and that leaves their cornerbacks on an island quite a bit. If they can't hold up in man coverage and disrupt a receiver's route at the line of scrimmage, the Bucs get burned regardless of the quality of the pass rush -- as happened repeatedly last season.
If the Buccaneers do sign Cox he would likely start alongside a second acquisition, with Anthony Gaitor, Danny Gorrer, Leonard Johnson and possibly a fourth drafted player competing for the nickel and dime back positions. In addition, Ronde Barber could be in the picture as a slot cornerback if he decides to return.
With his injury concerns there'd be some risk to this signing, but also a lot of upside if the injuries prove to not be structural. Those injuries are likely to depress his price as well. Given previous reports that the Buccaneers are looking for multiple starters in free agency this should not be taken as a sign that the Bucs are done looking for cornerbacks if they sign Cox. Whether signing Cox would be a wise investment, though, would depend on the price.