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Free Agency Spotlight: Free Safety, Tre Boston

Filling a need while stealing from a division rival? Could be a win-win

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Despite the growth seen from players like Jordan Whitehead and Mike Edwards, the Buccaneers still seem to need that guy on the back end of the defense that can be a game changing playmaker. In order to find that player, they may not have to look outside their own division.

A Fort Myers, Florida native, Tre Boston has been a thorn in Buccaneers players and fans sides for a little while.


Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Boston was drafted in the fourth round - 128th overall - by the Carolina Panthers in 2014 out of the University of North Carolina. He spent his first three seasons with the Panthers before spending 2017 with the Chargers, 2018 with the Cardinals, and then back to Carolina for 2019.

Boston has started all but seven games over the past four years that he was available to play in and has racked up 334 tackles, twelve tackles for loss, fourteen interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one touchdown.

Boston dealt with injuries early on in his career, leading him to lose his starting job and fight his way back into the lineup. With mixed results, the Panthers placed Boston on waivers in May 2017.

The Chargers claimed Boston and he would go on to start fifteen games for them in 2017, finishing with his career high in tackles (79) and interceptions (8). Boston would go on to sign a one year deal with Cardinals where he started thirteen games, tying his career high in tackles (79), racking up three interceptions, and getting his then career high in passes defensed (9).

All this brought him back to where it all started, signing a one year, $2.125 million dollar deal with the Panthers. Boston would start all sixteen games, finishing with 68 tackles, three interceptions, and setting a new career high with eleven passes defensed.


The Bucs need someone at the free safety spot that has experience, play making ability, and can close in on ball carriers and bring them to the ground. With questions still surrounding Justin Evans, the safety position yet again needs to be addressed in some form this off-season. Boston is already very familiar with the NFC South and would be an immediate starter that has grown every year since he entered the league.

None of the Buccaneers safeties have topped Boston’s 79 tackles or nine passes defensed in the last three years, so Boston will add some legitimacy to the back end as well as that veteran leadership in a room with second and third year secondary players that we’ve all talked about needing.


This is a player that has been on one year deals each of the last three seasons. He’s done enough “prove it” deals and will be looking for a big deal. In fact, Boston said following the season that he’s looking for his big pay day as he hits free agency;

“Not a little more. It’s time. I told y’all year after year, compare Tre Boston’s stats to the top-10 paid safeties and there’s no difference.

So what is stopping them from paying me the same? I’m going out there banged up just like the rest of ‘em. Numbers just like the rest of ‘em. It’s all about getting my worth … they know what I’m worth … I’ve proved it year after year after year.”

The Bucs may not be too keen on the idea of giving a player that has dealt with a similar injury history a boat load of money at a position that has already been decimated by injury. There’s enough big money guys looking to get paid within the organization, it’s hard to envision the Bucs letting one of those guys walk in favor of Boston.


Going back to the salary issue, we don’t know what Boston’s idea of a big pay day actually is. Comparatively, Boston making $4.5-5 million a year is a significant raise over what he’s been making throughout his career already. Is that the kind of pay day he’s looking for? Or is it closer to that top five money? Over The Cap had his production-based value at $8.9 million for the 2019 season despite his $2.125 million dollar contract. Basically, Boston was drastically underpaid and much like we saw with Kwon Alexander last off-season, he’s going to look to make up for some lost wages.

We also don’t know the latest health update on Justin Evans, which is the biggest sticking point in this whole equation. If Evans is healthy and able to return, the Bucs no longer need to look to bring in a safety. They still have Mike Edwards that they’re bringing along and developing while Whitehead stepped up in a big way down the stretch in 2019.


Washington Redskins v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Ultimately, Boston is a player that the Bucs are familiar with and could certainly use in their defense. He continues to be a hungry guy that is out there to show he can be one of the better safeties in the league and he expects to be regarded as such. In the end, I think the price may be too high for what the Bucs need to do this off-season - and it may be difficult to outbid Dan Snyder in Washington should Ron Rivera want a familiar face to shore up the back end of his defense with the Redskins.

What do you think the Bucs should do about Tre Boston?


When It Comes To Tre Boston, The Buccaneers Need To...

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Sign Him, No Matter What
    (5 votes)
  • 57%
    Make An Offer, But Keep It Reasonable
    (105 votes)
  • 14%
    Invite Him For A Cup Of Coffee And See Where It Goes From There
    (26 votes)
  • 13%
    Call Him Up If We Have A Need After The Draft
    (25 votes)
  • 11%
    Don’t Need Him
    (21 votes)
182 votes total Vote Now