Pewter Report's weekly must-read series, SR's Fab 5, is up -- and they have an intriguing note on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' free agency strategy. To be precise, they report that the Bucs are unlikely to re-sign cornerback Sterling Moore.
Although no final decision has been made, it doesn't look like cornerback Sterling Moore is part of the team's plans moving forward. Moore, 26, signed a one-year deal worth $1.525 million last year and entered the starting lineup in the middle of the season as the cornerback carousel spun in Tampa Bay all season. But by the end of the year, Moore's play had dipped, and he's regarded more as a depth cornerback rather than an ideal starter.
So why not re-sign Moore? We're hearing there were some chemistry issues last year that may be behind the team's desire to move on. Moore wasn't a bad apple in his only season with the Bucs, rather he just wasn't an ideal fit.
That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Moore's play didn't fall off that much toward the end of the year, and he was easily the most consistent cornerback throughout the year. He can play both outside and in the slot, and having depth at cornerback is indispensable in the modern NFL. If the Bucs don't re-sign Moore, they'll be relying on Johnthan Banks and Alterraun Verner -- and that's it. Even if those two were coming off terrific seasons, that wouldn't be nearly enough.
This would explain why they brought in Brice McCain for a visit, and it would certainly force the Bucs to add some talent at cornerback in free agency and the draft.
Pewter Report also notes that the Bucs are likely to part ways with defensive tackles Henry Melton and Tony McDaniel, as well as fullback Jorvorskie Lane. Those moves make a lot more sense: the Bucs have a lot of depth at defensive tackle, with Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald, Da'Quan Bowers and Akeem Spence on the roster, and William Gholston capable of sliding inside.
Meanwhile, Melton and McDaniel were disappointments. Melton used to be a disruptive three-technique, but never stood out on the field last year. There's no reason to re-sign him. McDaniel had some flashes, but was incredibly inconsistent and he'll be 31 years old this year. The Bucs need to get younger at defensive tackle, and the draft is very deep at that position so they're likely to spend a mid-round pick on some depth.
As for Lane, 29-year-old fullbacks coming off major leg injuries just aren't very popular in the NFL. It is what it is.