While the Buccaneers would be wise to keep their free agent channels open, they don’t need to go after linebacker Dee Ford.
Good teams never stop adding. The Buccaneers put this on display well but signing Julio Jones to the surprise of many pundits, and the team’s Super Bowl hopes improved as a result.
The Bucs don’t need to stop there. Signing J.C. Tretter seems like a safer move than hoping that Robert Hainsey is ready, although there are reasons to believe that the third-round pick is up to the task on a team with a win-now mentality, and there are plenty of veterans at other positions that would help round the roster out.
One such position that still needs a bit of help is at pass-rusher. Shaquil Barrett is the only proven option so far. Fans can talk about the hype for Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Anthony Nelson’s improvements all they want; the room just hasn’t shown enough to rule a veteran out.
This has led some to say that the Bucs need to go out and find a veteran immediately, and Dee Ford’s name has been thrown out there a few times.
The Buccaneers need to stay away.
Ford has remarkable talent when he is on the field, but it is arguable that the most important talent in the NFL is actually staying on the field, and Ford doesn’t have that one. The Bucs can’t count on Ford to stay healthy, and that should be enough to push their gaze in a different direction. Eighteen games over three years just isn’t enough for a team to see this as a safe bet.
The Buccaneers need someone that they can count on to start if JTS isn’t playing at a high level or if Barrett gets hurt. Dee Ford can’t reliably be that player.
Still, none of this means that the Bucs need to stop looking. There are other names out there, and Tampa would be wise to at least bring in one of them.
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