Todd Bowles’ reaction to the Buccaneers losing Sean Murphy-Bunting to the Tennessee Titans this offseason makes his loss even more crushing.
While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to bring back key free agents like Jamel Dean and Lavonte David, the team wasn’t able to bring everyone back.
Mike Edwards and Keanu Neal both left for AFC contenders, with Edwards signing a cheap deal with the Super Bowl champions in Kansas City and Neal joining rank with the Steelers.
Sean Murphy-Bunting also left, choosing to sign a deal with the Tennessee Titans rather than return to Tampa Bay next season. Unlike most cases where free agents leave for better situations, it seems that the free agency losses the Bucs are experiencing are due almost exclusively to the team’s monetary situation.
Tampa Bay entered the offseason with a $55 million knot to untangle which meant players like Leonard Fournette and Cameron Brate ended up being cap casualties. Edwards, Neal, and Murphy-Bunting all fell into that category too, although it sounds like their decision to leave wasn’t what the team would have preferred.
Bucs head coach Todd Bowles recently talked with our pals over at JoeBucsFan and commented on the loss of Murphy-Bunting. As if it wasn’t already tough to watch him go, Bowles’ comments on the situation make it even more brutal.
Todd Bowles has brutal reaction to Bucs losing Sean Murphy-Bunting
In short, Bowles wanted him back but the money didn’t work out in Tampa Bay’s favor.
"“I think once Dean signed we didn’t have a whole lot of money to give out anyway. I think once Dean signed, you know, I guess he decided to go somewhere else. We’ll still be close for forever and a day. I will never lose that from him and I wish him all the best. But I still think he’s a very good football player. Him getting hurt early on kind of hampered him some, but when he got back healthy I think he played some good ball. I think there’s a lot of good football ahead for him.”"
Making matters even worse is how cheap Murphy-Bunting’s deal with Tennessee ended up being. He signed for just $3.5 million, which could have been a deal the Bucs easily matched in any other year except this one.
Edwards and Neal left for similarly cheap deals, which makes their loss even more devastating since they also likely could have been brought back in any other offseason. All three were key pieces of the Bucs defensive rotation, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Bowles accounts for their absence.
Based on his comments, managing the defense without Murphy-Bunting isn’t something Bowles is looking forward to doing.