Dec 22, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey (12) carries the ball as Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Dashon Goldson (38) looks for the tackle during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Connecting the Dots: Why Jairus Byrd Won't Be Coming to Tampa, Despite His Dad Coaching There

One of the easiest “connect the dots” bits of rumor mill fodder recently has been the Buccaneers pursuing the services of Jairus Byrd, who is unlikely to return to the Buffalo Bills. Byrd’s father, Gill, is a member of the Tampa Bay coaching staff, and apparently that’s all it takes for even the biggest names in football media to link him to the franchise.

Peter King of MMQB is the latest to link the Bucs to Byrd, citing it as “a thing he thinks he thinks.” In other words, King isn’t truly reporting this rumor, but merely connecting the dots.

The problem? The Buccaneers won’t be signing Jairus Byrd.

Here’s why:

Safety Is Not a Need

The Buccaneers have a talented strong safety on a rookie contract in Mark Barron, and a talented free safety on a still-guaranteed big money deal in Dashon Goldson, meaning they don’t have room to add a safety to their roster. Both of their current safeties are above average in terms of talent, and figure to only get better in a smarter defensive system next season.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Listen to Jason Licht, as reported by Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune:

  • “With the possible exception of running back and safety, which are the only positions where Licht said he’s comfortable with his starters and immediate backups, the Bucs might get retooled everywhere.”

The Buccaneers have all the safeties they need, and it seems highly unlikely they’d open the checkbook to pay for another top-flight player at the position to be a backup or sub-package player.

And I know what some of you are thinking, so moving on to the next point…

Trading Either Current Safety Makes No Sense

Trading Mark Barron would be incredibly dumb. His contract is ideal, he’s an improving talent, and it would just be a huge mistake. But most people aren’t lobbying to trade Barron.

They’re discussing a trade of Goldson, who the Buccaneers signed for a big money deal last offseason. So why would trading Goldson be a mistake?

  • He’s a talented player.
  • He’s on a non-trade friendly contract.
  • If other NFL teams know the Buccaneers are only trading Goldson to sign Byrd, it decreases their leverage in a trade.
  • Getting rid of an above average player just to replace him with another above average player isn’t something NFL teams do often.

The fact that there is even a slight bit of risk involved in the “trade Goldson, sign Byrd” scenario means it shouldn’t even cross the mind of the Buccaneers’ front office (and according to the quote above, it probably won’t). The possibility of ditching Goldson only to see Byrd sign elsewhere would be a true worst-case scenario for Tampa Bay.

Dashon Goldson was a frustrating player last season, but that doesn’t subtract from his talent and ability. Under a better coach in 2014, Goldson will more closely resemble the player the Buccaneers thought they were signing in 2013.

So while it’s fun to connect Jairus Byrd to the Buccaneers because his dad works in Tampa, it’s also failing to consider all of the things that would need to happen for the Buccaneers to pull off that sort of move. With an entire roster in need of an overhaul, it’s very unlikely that the Bucs will make any moves at safety, as it’s one position where they can be happy with their talent.

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