Buccaneers Urged to Sign 2-Time Super Bowl Champion Safety

Jason Licht

Getty Jason Licht could make a move at safety to help the Buccaneers defense.

Because of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ secondary crash in Houston, the team needs to make changes in the defensive backfield to relaunch the season.

The Buccaneers could sign free agent safety Eric Rowe Jr., as Bleacher Report suggests, to shore up a struggling secondary. Rowe, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, could fill in for one of the Buccaneers’ defensive backs who has underperformed the most in 2023.

“Ryan Neal has struggled this season, heading into Sunday with a poor grade from Pro Football Focus, especially in coverage. Per PFF, he had allowed 17 completions on 18 targets and a perfect passer rating when targeted,” Bleacher Report wrote.

“Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are in the middle of a dogfight for the division crown and can’t afford to wait for Neal to turn it around. Rowe wouldn’t be a perfect solution, but he’s been a solid coverage defender in the past and would give the team another veteran option to turn to in case of an emergency,” Bleacher Report concluded.

Eric Rowe Would Give Buccaneers a Reliable and Affordable Option

Rowe has been a solid rotational player throughout his career amid five interceptions, 41 pass deflections, six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two sacks, one defensive touchdown, and 381 tackles in his career.

Last season with the Miami Dolphins, Rowe tallied 56 tackles, two forced fumbles and two pass deflections in 14 games played. He signed with the Carolina Panthers this year, but he never made it off of the practice squad and got cut on September 19.

A former second-round NFL Draft pick in 2015 out of Utah by the Philadelphia Eagles, Rowe played one season in Philly followed by three in New England and four in Miami. The Dolphins notably started him regularly in 2019 and 2020 with 29 starts in that span.

Tampa Bay could sign Rowe affordably, based on his previous contract with the Panthers — a one-year, $1.31 million deal. The Buccaneers currently have $4.32 million in salary cap space to work with.

B/R Suggests Replacements for Robert Hainsey and Star Wide Receiver

Bleacher Report also floated key roster changes for the Buccaneers to consider in 2024 through free agency and the draft.

Tampa Bay could sign Tennessee Titans center Aaron Brewer to replace center Robert Hainsey and injured center Ryan Jensen. Bleacher Report noted that Hainsey “has struggled to replace” Jensen and that “Jensen’s knee injury might be a career-ender”.

Jensen injured his knee in 2022, and he returned for the playoffs, but he went on injured reserve this year in training camp due to the same injury. The Buccaneers notably drafted Hainsey for his versatility and could use him elsewhere on the offensive line.

“Meanwhile, Aaron Brewer has been playing well this year and just turned 26 at the end of last month,” Bleacher Report wrote. “Brewer’s youth and performance on the field make him a good long-term option to anchor Tampa Bay’s offensive line moving forward.”

As for wide receiver, Bleacher Report suggests that the Buccaneers draft LSU’s Malik Nabers, a “vertical threat with his speed”, amid future doubts about Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Evans could become a free agent, and Godwin only has one more year on his deal in 2024, Bleacher Report noted.

“Speed will always be in vogue and Malik Nabers has it in spades,” Bleacher Report’s Derrik Klassen said. “Though not a complete receiver yet, Nabers’ stop-start ability is nasty and he has blazing track speed once he gets rolling down the field.”

Tampa Bay already fared well drafting a wide receiver this year in Trey Palmer from the sixth round. Palmer has 15 catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns in eight games.

Read More