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Falcons release William Moore, Buccaneers could go after him

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to improve their secondary, and the Atlanta Falcons may have just given them a small bit of help by releasing veteran William Moore, who played his entire career prior to last year under Mike Smith. The latter is now the Bucs defensive coordinator, and could target a few veteran players who understand how he works.

The Bucs struggled in the secondary last year, both at cornerback and at safety. While the team had few busts and gave up very few big passing plays, the secondary lacked playmakers and got beat far too easily on short passes. The only likely starter the Bucs have at safety is Bradley McDougald, and he was benched at the end of the season -- though that's a fate that befell essentially the entire secondary at one point or another.

The Falcons drafted Moore in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft, and he started from 2010 through 2015, though he missed 12 games with injury the past two years. He has 16 career interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and 37 passes defensed, as well as 3.5 sacks. Moore mostly played as a strong safety and doesn't really have the range and speed to play as a deep free safety, but he's a capable box safety and someone who can reliably man one half of the deep areas in a Cover 2 shell. Moore's play was good enough to earn a five-year, $30 million contract in 2013.

Moore won't necessarily step in and start for the Bucs, but he'd at least add depth and competition to a secondary that looked like a mess in 2015.