UPDATE: Lovie Smith may be on a mission from God, as apparently he's trying to get the old band together. Rick Stroud is reporting that alongside Tillman, the Bucs are interested in Josh McCown, Devin Hester and Henry Melton:
The interest in Josh McCown really isn't surprising bearing in mind some of the comments Lovie's made the past few weeks. Devin Hester, like Tillman, has been long-mooted, though seems more surprising in light of the Bucs' reported interest in Dexter McCluster.
Henry Melton is a new one, though. A Pro Bowler in 2012, Melton looked like he had set himself up to be a force at 3-tech in the NFL, before tearing his ACL during the third game of the 2013 season. That injury might make him easier to sign to a cheaper contract, and would provide phenomenal depth for Gerald McCoy, but it seems odd to want to sign one of the league's better 3-techs when you already have the best one playing today. Still, it would make a double 3-tech nickel package incredibly devastating; Roy Miller, who we had an exclusive one-on-one interview with back in October, named Melton and McCoy two of the three best players he had ever played with (being Melton's team mate at the University of Texas.)
One of Lovie Smith's old charges from Chicago may be re-joining his former head coach in Tampa: two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, Charles Tillman.
The Chicago Tribune, quoting those oft-referenced "league sources", report that the Bucs have emerged as a suitor for Tillman's services. Yesterday's news that, whether by trade or release, Darrelle Revis will almost certainly no longer be a Buc in 2014 made this move even likelier to happen. While the 33-year-old Tillman can't come close to a healthy Revis, the good news is he doesn't have to be anywhere near as good to have success in Lovie Smith's defense, as seen by his Pro Bowl and All-Pro performances in 2011 and 2012.
Tillman is coming off a disappointing 2013 campaign where he missed half the season through injury. Normally, injury combined with age do not make for a good recipe in a free agent, but those factors, combined with his familiarity with Smith, might make him cheaper to sign. If he comes close to repeating the form he showed back in 2012, when he scored three touchdowns on three interceptions while adding a frankly ludicrous 10 forced fumbles, then the Bucs secondary would definitely benefit from his presence.
And of course, even an ageing, recovering Tillman would likely serve the Bucs better than the current pencilled-in starter on one side of the field, Leonard Johnson.
We'll keep an eye on the Tillman situation and update the story when and if anything more concrete emerges.