Monday, April 29, 2013
Do Bucs still have room for Ronde Barber?
By Pat Yasinskas
During the NFL draft, Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik said the door was still open for veteran cornerback Ronde Barber to return for another season.
But how wide is that door really open?
As Barber has been pondering whether to retire or play another season, the Buccaneers have been filling up their defensive backfield with talent.
Barber moved to free safety after playing his entire career at cornerback. But the starting free safety job no longer is available.
The Bucs filled that spot by signing free agent Dashon Goldson. Barber’s not really suited to play strong safety and the Bucs are set there with Mark Barron, last year’s first-round pick.
If Barber is going to return and wants to play safety, he’d be a third safety at best. Putting Barber in that role would be less than ideal for the Bucs because teams generally require their third safety to play special teams.
The other scenario for Barber to return would be for him to move back to cornerback. But the Bucs no longer have a big need there after trading for Darrelle Revis and drafting Johnthan Banks.
Revis, Eric Wright and Banks figure to be the top three cornerbacks.
The Bucs have been wise in repeatedly saying they want Barber back. That avoids the kind of public relations nightmare they endured when they unceremoniously released Derrick Brooks. But the Bucs also have been wise in going ahead and stocking up their secondary.
Maybe Barber still will return in some sort of ceremonial role. Having a guy like Barber in your locker room is a good thing because he sets a good example with his work ethic.
But, if Barber decides not to return to the Bucs, the team has set itself up nicely to move on without him.