TAMPA, Fla. – One area of the Bucs that we haven’t talked much about this offseason is the defensive secondary.
It’s time to change that because there’s going to be movement in this area. That’s bound to happen when the pass defense ranks No. 28 in the league. The Bucs don’t need to start from scratch, but they do need to make some tweaks.
Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks are a solid pair of starting cornerbacks. Verner graded out as an elite player by Pro Football Focus and Banks blossomed as last season went on. But the Bucs could use an upgrade over Leonard Johnson at nickelback. Johnson was beaten too much in coverage last year. The Bucs need to decide if they’re going to bring back Mike Jenkins, who missed last season with an injury.
Jenkins had been scheduled to start ahead of Banks before the injury. Banks’ development means keeping Jenkins from leaving as a free agent isn’t an urgent matter. But, if Jenkins can be kept at a reasonable salary, it would be nice to have three cornerbacks capable of starting.
There almost certainly will be change at safety. Dashon Goldson is scheduled to make $8 million. It became obvious last year that Goldson isn’t a great fit in the Tampa Two scheme. The Bucs could save $4 million against the salary cap by releasing Goldson and that seems likely.
That leaves Bradley McDougald as one starting safety and he can either free safety or strong safety. The Bucs could fill the other spot through free agency or the draft.