The Buccaneers aren’t done with free agency. The “splash” signings are over, but they still need help. So why aren’t they looking at safety Reggie Nelson?
It made sense, didn’t it? The secondary was a revolving door last season and needed to be addressed in free agency and potentially the draft. The Buccaneers announced that cornerbacks Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks would get another shot under the new regime, they signed four-time Pro Bowler Brent Grimes, re-signed safety Keith Tandy, and are reportedly trying to hammer out a deal to bring back safety Chris Conte. That just isn’t enough improvement for a very poor secondary corps.
So why haven’t they called Reggie Nelson?
The Palm Bay high school alumni was quickly tied to the Bucs when the new coaching staff took over given his history with defensive coordinator Mike Smith from their time in Jacksonville. The Bucs have a need that Nelson would fill, the relationship and familiarity is there, and it’s a home coming of sorts. Seemed like a no-brainer.
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In his nine-year career, Nelson has posted 30 interceptions, including leading the NFL with eight in 2015. He also has 27 pass breakups over the last two seasons, including a career high fourteen last season. Now, a player turning 33-years old to start the 2016 season isn’t exactly a long term answer at a position, but he is an improvement and a bridge to the future of the team. Nelson would provide veteran leadership to whomever the Bucs were to tag as the safety of the future, either in the 2016 or 2017 NFL drafts.
It’s puzzling why the Bucs wouldn’t want to bring in a player of Nelson’s caliber. You can understand the lack of interest in Eric Weddle, considering he said he wanted to be on “a contender” and his price tag will likely be far higher than that of Nelson or Conte. But to not look into Nelson at all? It just doesn’t seem to make any sense.