Reading Into Casillas Re-SigningMarch 8th, 2014
Last night when the Bucs re-signed outside linebacker Jonathan Casillas, it was a smart move. Casillas came in last year off a knee injury and he was not promised playing time. Instead, Casillas worked and fought his way to a starting gig by midseason and was one of the more productive players on the defense until he was hurt.
Now Joe isn’t about to suggest Casillas is the next Jack Ham. But he was pretty solid. So what does his signing mean? Joe can look at this all sorts of ways.
Was Casillas just signed to play special teams and be a backup linebacker? If so, there is only so much room for that on a roster and it tells Joe that Adam Hayward, pretty much a special teams-only kind of player, is expendable.
Then there is another almost free agent, Dekoda Watson. All around good guy Watson, even when an opening was placed before him on a silver platter, was unable to secure the job that he often split with Casillas. Watson, another strong special teams guy, could also replace Hayward on the roster if indeed Bucs coach Lovie Smith sees Watson as a special teams-only guy.
Then there are the draft ramifications. Many draftniks had the Bucs going after Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr, two guys that can play both linebacker and, on passing downs, put their hands in the dirt.
Do the Bucs foresee Mack or Barr to be a full-time defensive end? Or will the Bucs chase a defensive end(s) in free agency and concentrate on offense in the draft?
A lot depends on whether Lovie sees Casillas as a starter in his system.