The Buccaneers decided to sign free agent running back LeSean McCoy to bolster the run game. Here is how that decision affects the other backs.
The signing of Shady came as a surprise. The Bucs were clearly dissatisfied with their rushing attack from previous years. However, their verbal support of the backs on the roster up until last week lent itself to the belief that nothing significant would change.
The Buccaneers drafted two running backs this year, one in the third round and one in the seventh, and this came on the heels of Jones finally getting a chance to start for half of the 2019 season. Clearly, the revolving door for running backs in Tampa Bay has not closed yet.
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McCoy will probably not have a substantial impact on the number of carries for Jones. The Bucs will use RoJo early, and if he begins to wane, Vaughn is the next man up. Tampa Bay used a third-round pick on the former Vanderbilt star, so it doesn’t make sense to sign him and then fracture his opportunities by signing a veteran option.
The two players who will bear the brunt of this signing are Dare Ogunbowale and Raymond Calais. Bruce Arians had high praise of Calais after the draft, and Ogunbowale looked ready to play third-down snaps in 2020, but that role and final spot could be reserved for McCoy.
Calais may have a shot to make the roster if the Bucs cut their third quarterback or free up space elsewhere, but Ogunbowale now looks like the odd man out. McCoy is a definite upgrade at the position. Training camp will aim to get Brady as comfortable with his new pass-catcher as possible, rather than being a legitimate tryout for the depth guys.
The running back room has improved, but an element of tension has been added to the unit. Jones and Vaughn both have the best running back of the 2010s right behind them on the depth chart, and this added pressure could be an exciting story to follow during the remainder of the offseason.