Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Smith Signs with Kansas City Chiefs, Buccaneers Losing Leverage and Options

When Derek Cox, a player who was reportedly a top candidate to come to Tampa Bay, signed a deal with the Chargers late last night, it was a sign that the cornerback market might be taking off. With news that the Kansas City Chiefs had signed Sean Smith Thursday afternoon, the market might have officially been set, and a feeding frenzy on corners may begin.

With two of the Buccaneers’ most likely options gone, attention must now turn to Brent Grimes, a veteran corner coming off an injury. Because other than Grimes, there’s not a ton of options left for the Buccaneers that could give an instant upgrade at the cornerback position. Aqib Talib is still available, but is a virtual certainty to land elsewhere as the Bucs wouldn’t try again with the troubled cornerback.

Derek Cox and Sean Smith were the best fits for the Tampa Bay defense, and with them off the market, it gives the Buccaneers two fewer options in free agency. But it also gives the New York Jets more leverage in a deal involving Darrelle Revis. Other than Grimes, who shares a similar injury concern, the Jets know that the Buccaneers have few other options to make a splash at the cornerback position, and can hold out for better compensation as a result. Every cornerback signed from here on out will only serve to hurt the Buccaneers’ chances of avoiding the surrender of a first round pick in a deal for Revis.

There are veteran options on the free agent market who would provide an upgrade over starting E.J. Biggers and Leonard Johnson, but the question becomes what the right price is to sign these players, and which ones we’re actually meeting with. As Adam Schefter reported, it appears even New Orleans is out shopping for corners:

So when will the Buccaneers be able to land a corner? It’s too early to panic, but it’s certainly not too early for a bit of frustration. Sean Smith’s deal with the Chiefs is worth 6 million dollars per year, meaning cornerbacks are coming for very reasonable prices right now. Mark Dominik would be foolish to not make some deals in the coming hours to ensure his team isn’t left on an island waiting for Revis Island.

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Tags: Free Agency Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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