Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles was requested a direct query on the ultimate episode of the Bucs Whole Entry radio program by host Casey Phillips. Who had been the staff’s most improved gamers in 2022?
It was no shock that Bowles, a defensive-minded head coach, rattled off the names of not only one, however two of his gamers on protection.
“Anthony Nelson and Jamel Dean,” Bowles stated. “I feel Nelson actually got here into his personal when Shaq [Barrett] received damage. He had some large sack-fumbles. I believed Dean within the first half to a few quarters of the yr was the most effective cowl guys within the league.”
It was additionally no shock that the Bucs made re-signing Dean and Nelson a precedence in free company. Each gamers signed multi-year contract extensions previous to hitting free company.
Dean was the primary Bucs participant to re-sign this offseason, inking a four-year contract value $52 million, together with $24.5 million in assured cash. The deal averages $13 million per season, which is lower than what Carlton Davis III obtained final yr when he signed a three-year extension value $44.5 million and averages $14.88 million per season.
Dean broke up eight passes in 15 video games and matched his profession excessive with two interceptions final yr, each of which got here in a Week 2 win at New Orleans. The Auburn product has seven profession interceptions, together with a pick-six in 2020 in opposition to Aaron Rodgers.
Nelson’s deal was two years at $10 million that may max out at $13 million. He was an instrumental a part of the Bucs’ go rush final yr, particularly when Shaq Barrett tore his Achilles in a Week 8 loss to Baltimore and was out for the season.
With Nelson again within the fold, Tampa Bay returns its high three edge rushers from a yr in the past. Nelson had a career-high 5.5 sacks, which was tied for second-most on the staff, and his three compelled fumbles led the Bucs.
Signings of Jamel Dean, Anthony Nelson Assist When It Comes To The Bucs’ Draft
The truth that the Bucs have each of their beginning cornerbacks in Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis III returning in 2023 makes cornerback a lesser want heading into the 2023 NFL Draft. Had Dean signed elsewhere in free company, Tampa Bay may need been compelled to make use of its first-round choose on a cornerback.
Now, the Bucs can draft one other cornerback for depth within the center rounds, particularly with second-year nook Zyon McCollum additionally on the roster, and deal with extra urgent wants elsewhere.
The Bucs will possible spend an early-round choose on an edge rusher in case Shaq Barrett, who turns 30 this yr, doesn’t totally recuperate from his torn Achilles tendon. And the staff must have a younger, developmental go rusher within the fold in case former first-round choose Joe Tryon-Shoyinka doesn’t ascend.
Tryon-Shoyinka has recorded back-to-back years with simply 4 sacks and must have a breakout season in 2023. The staff is hoping new exterior linebackers coach George Edwards will help take JTS, Nelson and the remainder of the gamers on the place to new heights.