3 former Buccaneers players who could potentially return this offseason
By Josh Hill
Buccaneers Depth Chart – Safety:
- Antoine Winfield Jr.
- Ryan Neal
- Nolan Turner
- Kaevon Merriweather (R)
- Christian Izien (R)
There were a few positions of need the Bucs had heading into the NFL Draft that went unaddressed. One of those was safety, as the Bucs had just two legitimate starters on the depth chart in Antoine Winfield and Ryan Neal. Nolan Turner is around too, but he was a practice squad player for most of last season and will likely be competing for a roster spot with the handful of undrafted free agents Tampa Bay signed after the draft.
What this means is the Bucs essentially have a bunch of UDFA’s (Turner was one back in 2022) competing for depth positions on the roster. If something happens to either Winfield or Neal, there isn’t a ton of support behind them outside of unproven young players.
This doesn’t mean one of them can’t step up, but there’s also a serious lack of veteran experience at the position. Winfield is the longest-tenured player and the resident vet. Bringing back Logan Ryan could do a few things, not the least of which is add some more wisdom in the safety room. He’d also slot in as a third safety who not only gives the Bucs some depth behind their two starters but could rotate in as an active contributor on defense.
Todd Bowles brought him in for a reason when he signed with the Bucs a few years ago, and his exit was more a result of the team needing to navigate a tricky salary cap situation. There isn’t a ton of money left, but Ryan won’t be an expensive addition but could provide more value than what his contract reflects.