NFL free agency is right around the corner and the Buccaneers need some upgrades. We’ve already taken a look at a few quality players and today we look at division rival Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe.
With the free agent addition of Chris Baker last season, many people thought the Buccaneers line finally found that guy that could help Gerald McCoy and the defensive line have one of their better seasons. While McCoy was still a Pro-Bowler and lead the team in sacks the defensive line as a whole was not nearly as good they were expected.
Looking at the best unrestricted free agents, Poe looks like the best available defensive tackle at this time. If the Buccaneers decide to make a change along the defensive line the Bucs could try and pry away former all-pro and two-time pro-bowler Dontari Poe from division rival Atlanta Falcons. At 27 years old the former Kansas City Cheif fan favorite still has some prime years left.
Would the Bucs want to blow up the line again? Would Dontari Poe make a much bigger impact than what is currently on the roster? Let’s look at some insight into the career of Poe and see if he’ll be a good fit.
Dontari Poe’s Career
Six seasons into his NFL career the Memphis product and former eleventh overall pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, has been a large individual along the defensive line for his entire career.
Without playing against elite competition in college Poe proved himself worthy of a first-round pick after his combine performance. He put up 44 reps at the bench press which is good for sixth best in combine history.
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At 6’3″ 346 pounds, Dontari Poe has been a force against the run. After five seasons with Kansas City, he had thirteen sacks, two forced fumbles, and 200 tackles. In 2013, just his second season Poe was named to the 2nd team All-Pro after a season with 51 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
In 2017 Poe was more of a cap casualty for the Chiefs and only signed a one year prove it deal with the Falcons this past season. With the Falcons he started every game and had a decent season, with 39 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two pass deflections. With the loss of Vic Beasley for most of the regular season, the sack numbers weren’t expected to be his highest. No one really expected Poe to rack up big sack numbers but he was very influential in the run game.
In 2016 the Falcons ranked 17th against the run and this season they jumped up to 9th in rush yards per game. With decent production this year Poe could look for a better deal from and make a better impact elsewhere.
Poe also has the record for the heaviest player to have a passing touchdown, so he’s a threat on both sides of the ball.
Why the Buccaneers Need Him
The Buccaneers need help on defense. The production for the defensive line compared to the price they are paying has to be near the worst in NFL history. The Buccaneers thought they fixed one of the issues with the signing of Chris Baker.
Baker came into the season with back to back productive seasons with the Redskins including 9.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and 100 tackles. Some analysts were considering him a better signing than Poe based on recent production this year. While the numbers were there for the Redskins, “Swaggy” significantly dropped in production this year with the Bucs. While he was a fan favorite on Hard Knocks this year he may not have worked as hard as the team needed to. With the second most starts of his career, Baker had the worst numbers per game of his career. The Buccaneers can cut him this season and save nearly $5 million in cap room for this year’s crop of free agents.
This is where Poe could fill the role. The Buccaneers like Clinton McDonald but right now Dontari Poe would be the clear starter next to Gerald McCoy. The Buccaneers run defense would receive an immediate boost in the rush game where the Bucs ranked 23rd last season.
What Will Poe Cost?
According to Spotrac, Poe is anticipated to receive a contract at around three years $17.25 million. This is a reasonable cost at $5.7 per season. While Poe’s past production might boost his salary he could join the Buccaneers line that desperately needs an upgrade.
Considering that Poe was an All-Pro his per year money could be more around $7-8 million. A slight decrease from the one year eight million dollars he signed with the Falcons might upset him but if he can get a long-term contract he may want to grab one while he’s still in his twenties.
Will It Happen?
While the Buccaneers clearly need help on the defensive line and upgrade over Chris Baker they might already have a cheaper option in-house. Clinton McDonald proved that he is a quality player when he got to play this season. The Buccaneers have money to spend but have bigger and more expensive needs than defensive tackle.
I would like to see Poe on the Bucs but his price tag might be too high for how much the Buccaneers will need to spend on other players and extensions in the upcoming season.
What are your thoughts on Dontari Poe? Should they have signed him last year? Should he join the Buccaneers this year? Sound off on Twitter or Facebook to discuss further.