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Buccaneers keep Mike Smith in Tampa with contract extension

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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have extended defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s contract, keeping him in Tampa for another season despite interest from the San Diego Chargers for their head coaching position. Smith withdrew his name from consideration for that position. All of that per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Smith had also interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and was reportedly the frontrunner for their head coaching position, but they surprisingly hired Doug Marrone instead.

The Bucs brought Smith in last season after they hired Dirk Koetter as their head coach, having fired Lovie Smith for the defense’s poor performance. Mike Smith revitalized that defense, after a lackluster start, turning the team’s defense into a dominant unit in the second half of the season.

Keeping Smith in Tampa will allow the Bucs to build on that defensive performance, raising expectations for next year considerably. The Bucs are likely to invest a little in the defense as well, especially at safety, which means we’ll expect the defensive side of the ball to get the Bucs over the hump and into the playoffs.