Chris Conte (Grade: C)
After playing some decent football under head coach Lovie Smith’s scheme, the Bucs gave Chris Conte a one-year, $3 million contract. Whether or not that was a reasonable contract for the 28-year-old safety depends on who you ask. At the time, it didn’t seem like too high of a price for him, but looking back on his 2016 season, it seems like way too much.
For the record, I’m not picking on Conte. A lot of people, including myself at times, got into a habit of that throughout the season. But, I think most would objectively say that he had a down year. He definitely had his moments and even helped the Bucs win a game or two, but he was a liability in the secondary far too often. He wasn’t difficult to beat in coverage (more often than not) and he missed his share of tackles.
There was an injury late in the season, which ended up costing him some playing time down the stretch. Keith Tandy played exceptionally well in Conte’s absence, which may give him some stronger consideration heading into the 2017 season. Either way, the return on last year’s deal with Conte turned out to be okay. The Bucs got some average to below-average play from No. 23 for just $3 million. It’s a deal that wasn’t a major problem, but likely not one the team will want to make again this year.