The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were dreadful defending the pass last season, as they yielded 297.4 passing yards a game which ranks them dead last in the NFL. It’s not going to get better overnight, and general manager Mark Dominik has plenty of decisions to make after March 12th when NFL free agency begins.
First and foremost, the team needs to decide what they are going to do with Ronde Barber, who has been a Buccaneers cornerback for the last 16 seasons. Barber is a free agent this off-season, however at 38-years old, I can’t imagine him playing anywhere else but Tampa Bay in 2013.
I think the decision to bring back Barber as a non-starter and more of a tutor to last year seventh overall pick in Mark Barron makes sense for the Buccaneers. With that being said, the Bucs can’t afford to bring Barber back with a high price tag attached to his name, even if he had four interceptions last year.
In addition, Eric Wright is also a question mark as he didn’t pan out in 2012 after he received a five-year $38 million contract prior to the season. He was suspended for four games last year due to Adderall use, and was incredibly inconsistent in his first year as a Buccaneer.
Wright was owed $7.75 million, but the PED suspension washed away that guaranteed money. The Bucs will have to decide if they want to eat Wright’s big deal or bring him back on a lesser deal in 2013.
Greg Schiano has to improve upon his pass defense if he hopes to compete in the NFC South in 2013, and it starts this off-season with these two moves in particular.