Continuing our preview of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster, today we’re looking at the defensive line.
Arguably the worst unit on the Buccaneers roster was the defensive line. This, despite the presence of All-Pro Gerald McCoy.
Heading into the 2018 NFL league year, just about everyone is agreeing with the narrative Tampa’s defensive line has to get better. Especially in their pass rushing ability.
It seems, at least to some level, the Bucs themselves agree. Evidenced by the firing of defensive line coach Jay Hayes.
However, before the team can get better, they have to evaluate what they’re going to do with players currently under contract for the 2018 season. As they start, so do we.
Defensive Linemen under contract for 2018
These carry-overs from 2017 contributed to the league’s last-place finisher in sacks (22) and contributed to the Buccaneers defense giving up the tenth most rushing yards.
Of their 22 sacks, only 9.5 came from guys currently under roster, including McCoy’s team high six by himself.
Gholston was a key re-signing before the 2017 season and isn’t known as a pass rushing specialist, but his zero sacks were certainly disappointing considering the $7 Million he was paid from his new five-year deal.
Not alone as an underachiever, free-agent acquisition Chris Baker was expected to have a big impact playing in the middle with McCoy.
Instead, he notched just one share of a sack and had his lowest tackle total since becoming a starter with the Redskins in 2014.
Add this to the terrible penalty he committed late in the year against the Carolina Panthers in a very winnable game, and the locker room disruption which followed, and it’s no surprise many are calling for his release after just one tour of duty with the Buccaneers.
Considering the understandable angst residing with the guys the team has locked up for 2018, it’s no wonder our next glimpse at the unit is one of the most talked about Bucs topics of the year thus far.