Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fans have been clamoring all offseason for the front office to make a move to improve the pass defense. The lack of star power at cornerback combined with the struggles the team faced stopping the pass last season has led to many fans being frustrated that the free agent cornerbacks that were available this offseason have all found new homes. It was believed that the Buccaneers were heavily interested in the still available Brent Grimes, but today we learned that he is unlikely to come to Tampa Bay. Here is Rick Stroud breaking the news via Twitter:
Doesn’t look as though CB Brent Grimes is going to be a Buccaneer, according to someone with knowledge of the situation. Miami or Cleve? .
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) March 25, 2013
This is not particularly depressing from my perspective, as an older player coming off of a major injury (he suffered an injury to his Achilles last year and was placed on injured reserve) would not be a wise investment for a team looking to rebuild its pass defense. The need for cornerbacks in Tampa Bay is still real, but there are still veteran options that are not coming off of major leg injuries, and of course an option via trade that is coming off a major knee injury (Darrelle Revis, obviously).
The plan for the Buccaneers clearly never included any of the free agent corners. And as I’ve stated previously, that’s a completely defensible position, because players often hit free agency because they’re lacking something. Why would the Dolphins, of all teams, let Sean Smith go? Why wouldn’t the Falcons bring back Grimes after losing Dunta Robinson? The Buccaneers need to build a team made up of more than just the leftovers from other franchises.
That said, there is legitimate room for concern. While I believe Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer are both perfectly fine and have the potential to be good players in this league, they’re not ready to start 16 games a year across from one another in the NFL. And throwing a rookie into the mix would add more talent, but the unit would lack in veteran leadership.
But don’t mistake the lack of action for a lack of a plan. The Buccaneers will be bringing in multiple cornerbacks before the 2013 season begins, and the pass defense is already improved with the addition of Dashon Goldson and the shift in responsibilities for Mark Barron to becoming more of an in-the-box safety. So while I understand the concern, it’s not time to set any couches on fire. But it might be time to remember where you put the book of matches.