Will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign Osi Umenyiora?
By Leo Howell
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Rotoworld released an NFL Free Agency primer today, projecting where the top free agents will sign this offseason. Sean Smith, a player popular amongst Buccaneer fans, is projected to sign with the Jaguars, and none of the other big name corners are connected with the Buccaneers. In fact, only two players among the top 50 are linked with Tampa Bay, and one of them is a re-signed Michael Bennett, who Rotoworld predicts will command around 7 million dollars per year. This would give the Bucs 3 defensive ends, so why not sign a fourth? That must have been the author’s prospective, as he also has the Buccaneers signing Giants’ veteran pass rusher Osi Umenyiora. He had this to say about the Buccaneers’ hypothetical acquisition of Osi:
"Still an effective situational pass rusher at age 31, Umenyiora registered six sacks and two forced fumbles last season while playing 61 percent of the Giants’ defensive snaps. The Bucs are starving for an improved pass rush, and Osi is familiar with Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan from his five-year stint (2005-09) on the Giants’ staff."
He does fail to address where Umenyiora would fit in a defensive line rotation, and why a player who registered only 6 sacks at an advancing age would help a team improve their pass rush. But let’s assume Osi’s connection with Sheridan (a linebacker coach) is valid, and Osi would show improved production with the Buccaneers. Would he be a fit in Tampa Bay?
At his best, Osi is a pass rusher extraordinaire who forces lots of fumbles. This means the Buccaneers could use him in passing situations to get additional pressure on the quarterback, but at the expense of Michael Bennett, Adrian Clayborn or Da’Quan Bowers. Clayborn provided a strong pass rush in his rookie season, and Bowers shows signs of being a dynamic pass rusher if he can stay on the field for a full season. Michael Bennett took a big step forward in 2012, and if he’s re-signed, would be a key part of the pass rush. Does Osi line up as a linebacker on 3rd downs and simply blitz? Otherwise, I don’t see how he fits.
Or is the author assuming that Bowers will be in prison and Clayborn fails to return to health? I can only assume it’s something like that, because a situational pass rusher who’s getting on in years should not command… wait for it…
"Free Agent Forecast: Buccaneers on a three-year, $20 million contract."
If Mark Dominik pays 7 million dollars per year for a fourth defensive end, I will call the authorities on behalf of the safety of the public and have him brought into custody to be sure his mental instability is properly managed. That would be the equivalent of throwing a big contract at Mike Wallace to be our slot receiver, or offering Steven Jackson a ton of cash to be a backup to Doug Martin.
If Michael Bennett doesn’t come back, and Da’Quan Bowers is suspended or imprisoned, I wouldn’t mind the thought of bringing in Osi at a decent price. But seven million dollars per year for a aging pass rusher who may have seen his best days come and go is too much for my liking, when the draft is full of options at the position that will come with fewer miles and a better salary. What do you think, Bucs fans? Let us know in the comments section, or on Twitter.