5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Who Shouldn’t Be Back in 2014
5 Players Tampa Bay Bucs Shouldn't Bring Back
With new head coach Lovie Smith, who is a vast upgrade over the departed Greg Schiano, at the helm, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to return to prominence in the NFL. Or after having posted a 4-12 record in 2013, perhaps they'll just settle for a return to respectability. Smith's tenure as the head coach of the Chicago Bears produced mixed results with just three playoff appearances in his nine seasons, one trip to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Indianapolis Colts and an overall record of 81-63. He's a good coach who earns the respect of his players, and despite those mixed results, the Buccaneers are confident that they have the right man for the job.
Smith has moved quickly in assembling a highly talented staff of coaches around him. Jeff Tedford has been brought in to run the offense while Leslie Frazier will run the defense. Both are good, solid coaches who will do a terrific job of revamping things on both sides of the ball. He's also brought in a number of former players to fill positional coaching spots such as former linebacker Hardy Nickerson as the new linebackers coach and Marcus Arroyo to oversee the quarterbacks.
With his staff in place, Smith now must turn to his roster and make a number of key decisions about who will stay and who will go. There is no shortage of need areas in Tampa Bay, and with the No. 7 overall pick in the upcoming draft, it remains unclear whether they will trade up to snag one of the highly touted quarterbacks coming out or draft to an area of need on defense. It also remains unclear how active they will be in the free agent market or who they might be targeting. There is still a lot of speculation about what the Bucs will do, and Smith isn't yet tipping his hand.
Here, though, are five players the Buccaneers should probably part ways with this offseason.
5. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
Tampa Bay signed Daniel Te'o-Nesheim off of the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad in late 2011 to help shore up their defensive line. In the three seasons since, Te'o-Nesheim has accumulated a grand total of 37 solo tackles, 21 assists, an underwhelming total of six sacks and a consistent lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Considering he came out of his 49-game career at the University of Washington having recorded far better stats, including holding the career record for sacks, it makes the dropoff in his performance all the more troubling. Though he's not a huge cap hit, that's still not a lot of production in an area the Bucs need to improve on quickly.
4. Da'Quan Bowers
Taken out of Clemson in the second round of the 2011 draft, Da'Quan Bowers was expected to help bolster the defensive line and provide some pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. In his three seasons in Tampa Bay, Bowers has accumulated an underwhelming total of 34 solo tackles, 11 assists and 5.5 sacks. Add to that the fact that in 2013 he was arrested on weapons charges at La Guardia airport, and he might be more trouble than he's worth. It's certainly not a great track record for somebody Rivals.com once touted as the second coming of Reggie White and Bruce Smith.
3. Carl Nicks
In March 2012, the Buccaneers handed Carl Nicks a five-year, $47.5 million contract. In the two seasons since his signing, he's played a grand total of nine games for Tampa Bay. Nine. Prior to joining the Buccaneers, Nicks hadn't missed a game due to injury. But in October of 2012 he was placed on IR because of a toe injury that required surgery, and in 2013 he only started two games for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay needs to cut their losses and cut ties with Nicks because that's a whole lot of money to pay somebody who isn't even playing.
2. Akeem Spence
Drafted in 2013, Akeem Spence is another defensive lineman the Buccaneers had hoped would provide some run stopping ability and pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. His rookie campaign in Tampa Bay didn't turn out so well in that Spence was credited with a mere 19 solo tackles, 10 assists and just one lone sack. Perhaps he can turn it around in 2014, but with Lovie Smith looking to beef up a defense that was woefully lacking in 2013, the Buccaneers might do better to give his roster spot to somebody who can provide a little more production on the line.
1. Mike Williams
Buccaneers fans might disagree with this one. Strongly disagree, probably. Mike Williams is a fan favorite in Tampa Bay, after all. But fresh off signing his six-year, $40 million contract, Williams only appeared in six games for the Buccaneers in 2013, amassing a paltry 22 receptions for 216 yards. Those numbers are hardly worth the kind of money the team shelled out to him. Tampa Bay already has a legitimate No. 1 receiver in Vincent Jackson. They also already have a number of young, hungry and more importantly for Tampa Bay less expensive options to complement Jackson. Without a lot of flexibility under the salary cap, the Buccaneers should probably consider parting ways with Williams to free up the money that will allow them to address other areas of need.