The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are interested in safety J.J. Wilcox, reports Jenna Laine of ESPN, confirmed by Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. The level of interest remains uncertain, as is the likelihood of an actual signing, so we’ll see what comes of this.
Wilcox is the kind of player the Bucs have tended to sign in recent years: a second- to third-tier free agent who has a history of solid production, and has some versatility. Wilcox started two seasons for the Dallas Cowboys as a strong safety in 2014 and 2015, but lost his starting job at the end of that season to rookie Byron Jones.
Wilcox did play over 50% of the defensive snaps 2016, mostly in a part-time role. Whether the Bucs see him as a starter or someone who can come in in a variety of subpackages in the way Keith Tandy did last season remains to be seen — I’d expect the latter, with Wilcox providing some much-needed depth at a position where the Bucs have very little.
Wilcox is mostly a strong safety who can play in the box, and isn’t as good in coverage, especially deep. That makes him somewhat limited, but useful — especially as a sub, or with a very good deep safety over the top.
With Bradley McDougald and Chris Conte departing, Tandy is currently the only true starting safety on the Bucs’ roster. The team will likely sign someone to start alongside Tandy, and they’re almost certain to draft a safety in a very deep draft class as well — potentially even in the first round.