Lost amid a lot of the news coming out last week was the fact that Ronde Barber will reportedly move to safety next season after spending his entire 15 year NFL career at corner. This move is a little surprising, but not really once you’re given time to think about it.
Barber is well past prime as an NFL corner, he wins now on his intelligence and instincts, but his athleticism is not what it once was. Moving him to safety allows the Bucs to keep his football IQ in the secondary, but alleviates some of the liability that comes with lining him up as a boundary or field corner (he’s still solid in the nickel).
Right now, the move seems to be more related to the Bucs’ needs than Barber’s skill-set though. With the exception of the oft-injured Cody Grimm, there are no safeties returning next season and the team is desperate to find a capable player to team with first round pick Mark Barron.
“If we need to make a move to pull Ronde back from safety and down to corner, we can do that in a heartbeat,” Dominik told the Tampa Tribune.
The team still needs to make a decision on Aqib Talib, but given their depth right now and the lack of corners that they added in the draft, I can’t see them making the decision to part with Talib lightly. Personally, I think they’ll cut ties with the troubled corner when his contract expires, but until then they need him in their secondary.
Either way, look for Barber to be lining up somewhere new next season…