The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made improving their play in the trenches a priority this off-season. With the news Alex Okafor will return to the New Orleans Saints however, they’ll have to look elsewhere to continue these efforts.
Beau Allen continues to be the crown jewel of this year’s free-agent class for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while they wait to see what Ryan Jensen will do following his visit with the Indianapolis Colts.
The team was hoping to add pass rusher Alex Okafor to the mix as well, but there are reports coming out from multiple outlets that the 27-year old will return to the Saints rather than play for the Bucs or anyone else for that matter.
Okafor was considered a favorite to land in Tampa Bay because of a serious combination of needs of the team and connections between the player and Tampa’s new defensive line coach.
His impact there was chronicled in an earlier post here on the Pewter Plank.
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Okafor had arguably his best season in 2014 under Buckner’s tutelage when he tallied eight sacks in his second season out of Texas.
The Cardinals let Okafor out the door in 2017 when he landed with the Saints. In the 2016 season, Pro Football Focus rated the talented pass rusher as the third most effective at his craft.
New Orleans swept him up, and the result was ten starts last year resulting in 4.5 sacks and a career high 43 tackles.
The reunion has been put on hold however, with the news he’ll be returning to New Orleans.
All is not lost though. There are still young talented free-agents available and of course Bradley Chubb’s name still looms in the minds of the draft-focused.
Kony Ealy is a player I’ve been rallying for all off-season as a potential fit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We’ll all have to wait and see however, just what Jason Licht intends to do moving forward.
What do you think Bucs fans? Should the team continue to dive into the free-agent pool or should Licht turn his focus for a pass rusher to the draft? What names do you want to see pop-up on the team’s radar?
"Greg Auman returns to the Locked on Bucs podcast for this special episode where he discusses free-agency to this point with James and Dave!"
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