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NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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Free Agent Spotlight: Linebacker, Haason Reddick

Coming off a big year, the fifth-year pro will be looking to cash in

As usual, we’re bringing you a collection of potential free-agent targets for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ahead of the NFL’s new league year.

Unlike our previous editions of this list, the Bucs are coming off a Super Bowl season with little-to-no holes on their roster if they can achieve their goal of returning their own pending free-agents.

History tells us the likelihood of bringing back both starting eleven following a championship run is nearly impossible. Because of this, we’re going to continue as usual, presenting Bucs Nation with some options for replacing some of those potential in-house losses.

We don’t want to see any of them walk, but if they do, we have some guys who could be considered as Plan-B.

With that in mind, we bring you our look at Arizona Cardinals linebacker, Haason Reddick.

Haason Reddick’s Career Thus Far

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In the same year the Buccaneers drafted tight end O.J. Howard, the Arizona Cardinals selected Temple linebacker, Haason Reddick.

Reddick got to Temple as a multi-positional player without a single defended position. Eventually, the Owls settled on making him an undersized defensive end who could win with speed and superior athleticism.

As he neared his NFL career however, most minds at the next level saw him playing standing up, as an off-ball linebacker.

Some Cardinals fans probably wrote him off as a ‘bust’ entering the 2020 season, but in reality it was the franchise who busted. Spending a top pick on a player who needed development to fit the team’s vision is a bad idea to start. Multiple changes in scheme and coaching along the way have done nothing but prevent Reddick from maximizing on his natural talents while developing the skills needed to succeed long-term.

It’s no surprise Reddick struggled with the Cardinals, at least until 2020.

After totaling just 7.5 sacks as an inside-linebacker-safety-sometimes-edge-defender-or-outside-linebacker, Arizona made a less confusing decision declining Reddick’s fifth-year option.

In 2020, they finally decided to accentuate what Reddick does best - although it took a Chandler Jones injury to force their hand - and he responded with 12.5 sacks in just eleven starts. Extrapolated to sixteen games, Reddick played at an 18+ sack pace this past season.

Amazing what happens when someone is allowed to maximize their strengths.

On a side note, if Arizona didn’t learn from their mistakes here, we may see Isaiah Simmons on this list in four years. So, stay tuned!

Why It Works

When you look at Reddick he most closely resembles Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David. So you can see why NFL minds thought Reddick would translate as an off-ball linebacker at this level.

Whatever team signs Reddick has hopefully been watching and realizes he’s one of those players who’s measurements don’t necessarily reflect what he does best, which is rush the passer.

After all, Reddick’s 12.5 sacks came from replacing injured outside linebacker Chandler Jones, who most closely resembles Tampa Bay’s Jason Pierre-Paul.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

See the point? Hopefully the Bucs do to if they decide to pursue him in free-agency.

You can never have too many pass rushers, and if the team can’t secure Shaquil Barrett for at least one more season, they’ll need to find one to fill his spot. Whether the answer is on the roster already or not, depth is going to be an area worth addressing this off-season.

But....

From a Buccaneers standpoint Reddick is more of a question mark than anything. Granted, he had great production from the edge in 2020, but it’s the only season in his career he’s shown this type of production or potential.

It may not be the player’s fault, but it’s not Tampa Bay’s either, so it kind of is what it is. If Jason Licht is going to fork over significant money, he’s going to do so for a proven talent, not a one-year wonder beating the odds.

What’s The Cost?

This is the big question. Reddick’s representatives are surely going to enter into any conversation with a new team by accentuating the 2020 production as the result of a talented player finally used properly. As they should.

Still, the market value estimation by Spotrac comes in north of $11M, which is similar value to players like Leonard Floyd (Chicago Bears), Preston Smith (Green Bay Packers), and Devon Kennard (Arizona Cardinals).

Kennard joined Reddick’s Cardinals in 2020, signing his like contract after back-to-back seven sack seasons in Detroit. This year, he had three while playing in fourteen games.

$11M isn’t the $19M Spotrac projects Shaquil Barrett to attract this off-season, but it isn’t nothing either. In fact, if the Bucs gave Reddick a contract averaging $11M per year, they’d be paying him just $1.5M less on average than they pay Jason Pierre-Paul.

What We Don’t Know

For one, we don’t know if Reddick’s 2020 output is going to be reflective of what he can do moving forward. There’s always something to be said about a player having a breakout year and what happens next season when all the opponents see him coming.

How will teams counter Reddick in 2021? And how will he respond? Answers we don’t have, and won’t, until he’s already being paid.

Then, we don’t know if he’ll even be available. Like Barrett before him, the Cardinals franchise is likely not looking to commit to a long and expensive contract for multiple years after seeing just one season of top-shelf defense.

Instead, they may opt to use the franchise tag on the fifth-year pro, and see if he can replicate what he did this year, in the next.

Make The Decision

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a pretty easy answer if Barrett returns for 2021. Not only do you lose the need, but you lose the cap flexibility to afford such an expense.

So, when making this call, do so with the mindset Barrett won’t be returning. Not that we’re wishing it, hoping it, or speaking it into existence. For discussion purposes though, if there’s a need, what decision would you have Jason Licht make?

Poll

When it comes to Haason Reddick, what would you have the Buccaneers do?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Sign him, no matter what
    (7 votes)
  • 37%
    Make an offer, but keep it reasonable
    (62 votes)
  • 20%
    Invite him for a cup of coffee and see where it goes
    (34 votes)
  • 25%
    Call him up if they have a need after the NFL Draft
    (43 votes)
  • 12%
    Don’t need him
    (20 votes)
166 votes total Vote Now

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