The Tampa Bay buccaneers are light on tackle depth, and Demar Dotson is still a very good player with great reasons to re-sign with the Bucs.
In 2020, the Bucs had extremely good injury luck on the offensive line. They lost Alex Cappa in the playoff run, but Aaron Stinnie played well enough to make up for it (playing with Marpet and Tristan Wirfs allowed him to get a lot of help from Jensen too). With Joe Haeg exiting in free agency, that leaves only Josh Wells in reserve. Wells is… to be blunt, not good. He’s a decent run blocker, but he can get manhandled in pass protection. A veteran backup like Demar Dotson would help.
Dotson was the starting right tackle for the Bucs in 2019 and had a much better year than he gets credit for. Let’s start with what he’s not good at. He’s a subpar run blocker, especially on outside runs and screens. He’s big, old, and slow.
As a starting tackle, the lack of athleticism is kind of a big deal, but in a backup role, you can’t expect a perfectly rounded high-level player. What the Bucs need him for is to step in in case of injury and keep Brady upright.
Demar Dotson still fits with the Buccaneers
He’s still very good at that. He’s a great pass protector, and his freakishly long arms give him a huge advantage over the vast majority of edge rushers in the league. He got a lot of flak from Bucs fans, especially in his last year on the team, but most of his sacks and penalties were on Jameis Winston.
On top of being terrible at calling protections, Winston would run himself into sacks, lacked pocket awareness, and refused to throw the ball away. That left his tackles in the awkward position of either “giving up” a sack, or committing a penalty to keep him from getting clobbered. In an offense led by Bruce Arians, tackles are just going to be asked to hold out for much much longer too. For the Broncos, Dotson had 0 sacks allowed on 450 snaps last year.
Dotson has familiarity with the coaching staff and lived in the area for years. He’d be asked to do quite a bit less as a bench warmer, likely picking up some checks while playing limited snaps. He also gets a good shot at a Super Bowl, which he’s never really had, and a chance to play with Tom Brady. There is always the chance he gets signed again as a starter for a team that is desperate, but if he doesn’t, a high-level backup tackle would be a great addition. It’s highly unlikely that the Bucs could draft anyone who would provide better depth off the bat, even if the team went that direction.
The most important positions on the field for the Bucs in 2021 are left and right tackle. The most likely reason for regression in 2021 would be injury, and Dotson would help mitigate the damage.