Update: Conte has since officially signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There's plenty in Bucdom with concerns about some of the moves of the Bucs' brain trust (and considering the transactions the last few days who can blame them?) but one of the biggest head scratchers would be cutting Dashon Goldson for Chicago Bears FS Chris Conte. At last report, Conte is finalizing a deal to become a Buc which according to the Tampa Bay Times Rick Stroud would lead to Goldson's release. Listen to Bear fans and they'll tell you he's the worst abomination to the safety position since Sabby Piscitelli. They blame him for blown coverages and missed tackles.
Of course, "The Hawk" certainly has given the Bucs their share of blown plays. Add to that personal fouls and a suspension that all but neutered his game, Goldson is a shell of his former All-Pro self and a terrible fit for Lovie's defense. We can understand why the Bucs would want to move on - but for Chris Conte?
I haven't seen enough Bears football to be able to make a credible evaluation of Conte's skillset so I went to the spreadsheeters of Pro Football Focus to give me the scoop.
Disclaimer: I have a love/hate relationship with PFF, particularly the one article that listed Alterraun Verner as elite, LaVonte David as average and Johnthan Banks as below average. So take this with a large grain of salt.
So how do they compare?
Well, Goldson according to PFF was god awful last season. In 14 games, Goldson posted a -20.0 score on their nerd metrics. He was the worst player on the Bucs defense. Goldson had zero games in the positive and was a frighteningly bad -14.5 in pass coverage. Only one safety in the entire NFL had a worse rating (Ryan Clark). This wasn't just a bad year for Goldson, he was -14.4 overall in Greg Schiano's last season as well. So in two years and $22 million, the Bucs got themselves a -34.4 performance from Goldson. He leaves the Bucs with 1 INT in two years of service.
Conte wasn't that bad. In 12 games last season with Chicago, he posted a pedestrian -0.3 rating. It's not good (ranking him 63rd among safeties) but it certainly wasn't as bad as Goldson. Conte was also significantly better than Goldson in coverage, posting a -3.1, still "red" as far as PFF is concerned but not the abomination that Goldson was.
Conte also had positive scores in 5 of his 12 games last season. Goldson had 5 in 27 games with Tampa Bay. It's also been said that Conte has struggled to adapt to former Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker's defense. In two years under Lovie, he was a combined -1.9 overall and posted 11 positive overall games in 25 games as rated by PFF. Under Tucker, Conte struggled with inconsistency posting an ugly -18.2 in 28 games. Despite his struggles (especially in 2013), he still posted 9 positive games under Tucker.
Conte has a wrap for being injury prone but has played in 57 of 64 games. He's put up 3 ints in each of the last 2 seasons and has 9 for his NFL career.
The Bucs aren't getting an All-Pro by any stretch of the imagination here. An upgrade? If you believe PFF then yes.