Buccaneers: Carlton Davis is going to make a lot of money in 2021

Carlton Davis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Carlton Davis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buccaneers are about to learn the cost of paying a true CB1 in Carlton Davis.

A consistent, top-tier corner is one of the most valuable positions in the modern NFL. With the increased dependability and success rate of throwing the football, finding players to slow the pass down can be a challenging task.

The Buccaneers are an excellent case study in what not to do with this regard, but they will have a chance to right the ship soon with Carlton Davis.

While Tampa had a few all-time greats in Ronde Barber (who should be in the Hall of Fame) and Darrelle Revis, who were both on the roster in the 2010s, the past decade was characterized mainly by poor play from the Buccaneer secondary.

The defense as a whole was nothing to write home about, but it always felt like the Bucs were particularly weak against the pass. As analytics and throwing the football have become more of a mainstay in recent years, the 2019 season seemed to be the breaking point for a pricey group that couldn’t stop the pass at all—everyone except for Carlton Davis.

Carlton Davis was the start of a revival of the Buccaneers defense

Davis was a diamond in the rough for the Bucs, one that far exceeded the initial expectations to the point that a move this smart had to be a fluke. Davis was initially supposed to supplement starters like Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes. The Bucs had already invested plenty of resources in trying to get quality starters to turn their woes around, but an injury to Hargreaves was actually a blessing in disguise.

Hargreaves was never able to get his footing, Grimes had a terrible 2018 season, and while Davis struggled at times during his rookie year when thrown into the fire, 2019 and 2020 were a sight to behold.

Davis was a crucial force in the dramatic turnaround that the secondary made. As the veteran ahead of the rookie duo of Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean in 2019, the unit took a massive step forward in a new system that allowed Davis to get handsy at the line of scrimmage.

After that point, Davis never looked back. With 37 passes defended and five interceptions during the past two years, the CB1 for the Bucs is playing like a man possessed. With consistent production and the ability to slow down almost any WR1 in the NFL, the Bucs have lucked their way into one of the most important players on the roster, and they need to double down now.

Given the importance of the position, corner is getting pricier by the day. Even a slow season from Davis would do little to weaken his contract position, as that would be the outlier and not the norm during his sample. On the other hand, another 19 passes defended and four interception season could be disastrous for the Bucs financially if they hold out on the extension.

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As there has been little information from either side indicating that a new contract is in the works, it looks like the Bucs are making the wrong decision by taking the wait-and-see approach. This is excellent news for Carlton Davis, though, as he should have another great season in this defense, a season that should put him in contention for a highest-paid corner in the NFL after this year.

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