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Free Agent Spotlight: Safety, Clayton Geathers

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Our free agent spotlight series continues with a look at a potential safety addition.

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Buccaneers have a very young secondary with all of the draft capital that has been spent there over the past few off-seasons. While young, the safety spot has had it’s troubles with availability, namely Justin Evans. This brings us to Colts safety and pending free agent, Clayton Geathers.

Geathers enters free agency after signing a 1-year deal to stay in Indianapolis this past off-season. Let’s dive in and see how Clayton Geathers got to where he’s at today.

CLAYTON GEATHERS’ CAREER THUS FAR

Carolina Panthers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Geathers first hit the scene with his play at the University of Central Florida where he eventually left as the third leading tackler in school history at the time. Geathers was All-American Athletic Conference Second Team, Sporting News All-American Athletic Conference Team and Phil Steele’s Postseason All-American Athletic Conference Second Team in his junior season and followed it up with a 97 tackle final year at UCF. In total, Geathers would start in 52 out of the 53 total games he played in College.

His play earned him a fourth round selection, 109th overall, in 2015 by the Colts. Geathers second season with the Colts he started all nine games that he was featured in but would end up spending time on the injured reserve list and ultimately the physically unable to perform list in both 2016 and 2017.

In the final year of his rookie deal in 2018, Geathers had a career season totaling 89 tackles and earned himself a new one year contract for 2019. Geathers started 10 out of 15 games this past season and finished with an interception off of Matt Ryan and 54 total tackles.

WHY IT WORKS

This works for the Buccaneers because Clayton Geathers is a young veteran, will be 28 at the season start, and will not command a high price. Geathers is a physical defender and likes to play aggressive which fits right into Todd Bowles style of play. Geathers was a team captain during his time in Indianapolis and would bring some more leadership to what is an overall young unit.

The team most likely isn’t too worried about finding starter value but in this case, given the injury history, Geathers could be a potential hidden gem. When healthy, the safety has been able to produce in a starting role and the added depth would be great for the safety position here in Tampa Bay.

BUT...

This unit already has it’s issues with injuries and bringing in someone who has spent time each of the last few years injured at some point or another could be risky should the team need to rely on him. Injuries however, are probably the least of the worries when it comes to Geathers.

There is a notable lack of non-tackling production for Geathers throughout his career. Geathers is an average to below average pass defender, allowing 10 completions on 12 targets in 2019 and intercepting one pass. Pro Football Focus graded him at a 65.7 overall which by PFF standards, is below average for the safety position.

For a team that seemed to be making strides in the right direction pass defense wise towards the end of 2019, it may not be in the teams best interest to bring in another player that struggles in coverage.

WHAT’S THE COST?

This is where Geathers again makes some more sense than several other options. In 2019, Geathers was resigned by the Colts to a one year deal worth $2.75 million. After taking a step back in 2019 from his 2018 production, it’s reasonable to believe a deal a tad south can nab you Geathers labor.

If Geathers were to sign for a two year deal at $2.25 million a season, he’d be a target for sure with his overall experience and relative youth.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

We definitely do not know if Clayton Geathers views himself as a starting safety and in turn, values himself contract wise north of what makes sense for the Buccaneers. If Geathers wants $3+ million a year, he may price himself out of a possibility for the Buccaneers who have much bigger fish to fry this off-season than spending money on another safety.

We also don’t know how the Buccaneers feel about their own young safeties and if additional back-up depth is on their radar. It’s tough to see this team focusing too much on the safety position unless they find a bargain.

MAKE THE DECISION

It’s the readers turn to make the decision. Does Clayton Geathers make sense for this team?

Poll

When It Comes To Clayton Geathers, What Would You Have The Buccaneers Do?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Sign Him, No Matter What
    (127 votes)
  • 26%
    Make An Offer, But Keep It Reasonable
    (87 votes)
  • 17%
    Invite Him For A Cup Of Coffee And See Where It Goes From There
    (57 votes)
  • 6%
    Call Him Up If They Have A Need After The Draft
    (21 votes)
  • 11%
    Don’t Need Him
    (37 votes)
329 votes total Vote Now