4 Free Agent cornerbacks Tampa Bay can sign ahead of preseason

Even four months into NFL free agency, the Bucs have no shortage of veteran cornerbacks that remain available to sign in free agency.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New England Patriots
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New England Patriots / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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Stephon Gilmore

As far as cornerbacks go, the shelf life and high-level production are often short-lived, typically six to seven years for most corners. Oftentimes, most corners fall off around their age-28 seasons because of the wear and tear the position yields. That said, Gilmore has still been a reliable and productive as any of the remaining corners on the market.

Gilmore, the No. 10 pick in the 2012 draft, had a productive start to his NFL career with Buffalo. Starting in 66 of 68 games played, Gilmore totaled 226 tackles, 62 pass breakups, 14 interceptions, and three forced fumbles. In 2016, Gilmore earned his first Pro Bowl selection, collecting 48 tackles, 12 pass breakups, and five interceptions in 15 games.

In the following offseason, Gilmore signed with New England in free agency, and was a key impact player in the Patriots' stout defense. Over his four-year tenure as a Patriot, Gilmore posted 185 tackles, 52 pass breakups, 11 interceptions, and two pick-sixes in 56 starts. Not only did Gilmore earn three more Pro Bowl selections, two All-Pro First Team nods, and win Super Bowl LIII, but the corner was named the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league with 20 pass breakups and six interceptions.

Following the 2020 season, Gilmore's last in New England, the 12-year veteran hasn't been the caliber of the player he once was. While Gilmore did make the Pro Bowl in 2021 with Carolina and amassed over ten pass breakups with Indianapolis and Dallas, Gilmore allowed an average completion percentage of 60% and a 78.4 coverage rating, all career-worsts.

Gilmore, who is entering his age-34 season, hasn't seen much demand from teams this offseason. That's why the former DPOY remains unsigned four months into free agency. Yes, Gilmore would be just the fifth corner to be on a team that's 31 or older, but has shown he can still cover for a corner-needy team like Tampa Bay.