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State of the Buccaneers defense following the first week of NFL free-agency

How does this up and coming group look, one week into the new year?

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Matt Matera of joined the Locked On Bucs Podcast to take a closer look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense following the first week of free-agency. Taylor Jenkins, also from Pewter Report, joined the show later in the week to discuss the defense, and try to gauge how the franchise might move forward after the first week of moves have been filed.

With Jenkins on the show, the conversation first took a look how the Bucs had prioritized and succeeded at retaining the key free-agents who’s contracts expired at the end of the 2019 league year.

Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Kevin Minter, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Andrew Adams had all been re-signed or franchise tagged prior to recording the episode. With Thursday’s announcement Ndamukong Suh has also been re-signed, the major contributors to the 2019 squad will return and look to get even better for 2020.

Suh was a specific topic of conversation during the episode, with Jenkins confident in the team’s ability to retain Suh during the episode, saying,

“I think Ndamukong Suh wants to be back, I think the Bucs really want him to be back,” said Jenkins. “..I think he’s a very instrumental part of that defense, even if you get him back for one year.”

The trio also discussed Jenkins’ battle plan for the Buccaneers’ off-season in which the beat writer correctly predicted Suh would return, but also had a veteran addition joining the secondary. A move which has not come to fruition up to this point.

About the young secondary, Jenkins had this to say,

“The issue that I think I have right now is that they haven’t added to their cornerbacks. I think that Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting are a supremely talented unit of three extremely young guys that you have on rookie contracts, that played absolutely phenomenal down the stretch last year...Should you see one of those three guys go down, should you see one or two of them regress and not be able to produce the way they were in the second half of last season, you’re really handcuffed...”

Add to it the return of versatile players like Mike Edwards, and young guys who showed a lot of potential before suffering a season ending injury like D’Cota Dixon, and the Bucs’ defense looks primed to build off their late season success.

Catch the entire conversation between Jenkins, James Yarcho and I on the Locked On Bucs Podcast as we dove into some potential free-agents still available who could possibly come in and help the team, and evaluated what is expected to be an offense heavy draft class once Jason Licht and his staff get to late April.