With the first big wave of free agency in the past, the Buccaneers still have some question marks on their roster. That’s not to say they didn’t make any moves. The team did address some positions of need and set up the new coaching staff for what should now be a smoother transition.
Offensively, Tampa Bay added wide receiver Breshad Perriman to help make up for the losses of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries. The team brought in Earl Watford as a potential answer at right guard or, at worst, a depth piece. The signings of Deone Bucannon, Shaquil Barrett and Kentrell Brice all look like potential good-value steals for the defense. Bucannon and Barrett should play especially key roles under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. The first week also brought the signings of punter Bradley Pinion and kicker Cairo Santos.
Even with all of the newcomers, there’s still one glaring need that the Bucs haven’t addressed: cornerback. There haven’t even been any rumors or rumblings about the team being in talks with a corner, which is curious.
Of course, that doesn’t mean talks can’t pick up quickly. Perhaps Jason Licht is on the phone with one right now as this is being written. But the inactivity as far as the position is concerned leads to the potential for the Bucs to move forward with a very young group of cornerbacks.
As of now, Vernon Hargreaves III would be the most experienced corner on the roster. Even he hasn’t proven to be a consistent contributor. Carlton Davis is locked in as the other outside corner, and he’s entering his second season in the league. For depth, the Bucs have De’Vante Harris (24 years old), David Rivers (24) and Ryan Smith (25). Even if they decide to bring back Javien Elliott, he’s only 25 himself. That’s not a deep group, and it’s not one that consists of a lot of experience either.
Tampa Bay could always choose to address the corner position in the draft. That wouldn’t be a bad thing at all, but it would keep the group very young. With where the defense is right now — especially with the uncertainty at safety factored in — it feels like there is a need for a veteran corner.
Whether the Bucs see that as a necessity remains to be seen. There are still some guys out there, though the team would likely have to clear some more cap space to bring one in. But the decision comes down to this: is clearing some cap worth it to have Davis and a veteran as your outside corners, with Hargreaves inside at nickel? The answer, to me, should be yes.
Thoughts, Bucs fans?