Buccaneers defensive veteran fighting for role on the team in 2022

Kadarius Toney, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Kadarius Toney, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Sean Murphy-Bunting has experienced some highs and lows during his time with the Buccaneers. He will need to see more highs in 2022 to keep his job.

The Buccaneers need their secondary to be better in 2022. The unit was hamstrung by injuries for the majority of the 2021 season and this showed up in the box score in a huge way.

The secondary has never been the strength of this team during its most recent iterations, but what we saw last season on the field from a collection of backups and special teams was still far from good.

After seeing what happened with the depth in this area last season, the Buccaneers decided to invest some picks and money in free agency in corners and safeties. None of these players look primed to take anyone’s job early on, but the one player with an interesting level of upside is Logan Ryan.

Who would Ryan steal reps from? As everything currently projects, Ryan brings experienced and a quality track record to Sean Murphy-Bunting’s current role.

SMB has experienced some excellent moments during his time with the Bucs, especially with his run of interceptions during the Super Bowl run, but his overall coverage skills are still lower than Carlton Davis’ and Jamel Dean’s.

Davis just got paid by the Bucs, and between Dean and SMB, there is an obvious choice as to who has a payday coming their way. Dean is bigger, faster, and better on the outside. If one gets a deal and the other doesn’t at this point, the answer is clear.

Murphy-Bunting still has a chance to play well and earn a role on the team for the future, but that just got harder after the Bucs decided to bring in Ryan and Zyon McCollum. It seems like McCollum makes more sense on the outside longterm based on his size and speed, but maybe the Bucs see him as a quality third option to replace SMB if his 2022 season shows any upside.

It seems hard to imagine that the Bucs could decided to move on from a guy that was so highly-touted just a few years ago, but it is hard to peg where SMB’s contract desires land. If he truly wants to get paid, he is going to need a monster of a 2022 season.

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