“We Tried To Get A Veteran Safety”

June 9th, 2019

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and GM Jason Licht

Logic guides Joe to believe the Buccaneers were in the free agent hunt for safety Tyrann Mathieu this offseason and now it appears they may have been.

Bucco Bruce Arians has said many times when talking about rookie savior linebacker Devin White that White can come in and lead the Bucs defense immediately because that’s exactly what Mathieu did in Arizona as a third-round pick safety in 2013.

“The safeties in Todd’s defense basically run the defense,'” new Bucs safeties coach Nick Rapone told local media back in May.

So chasing 27-year-old Mathieu was a no-brainer. Joe was convinced of that hearing Texans head coach talk about Mathieu after last season, detailing with great passion about how Mathieu landed in Houston on a one-year contract and was the nearly instant commander of a 2018 defense filled with established studs.

But the March price tag on Mathieu skyrocketed before he signed a free-agent deal with the Chiefs that will pay him about $27 million through the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Instead, the Bucs drafted Mike Edwards out of Kentucky in Round 3 and moved M.J. Stewart to safety while they cross their fingers Justin Evans can recover from toe and heel injuries.

In a TampaBay.com Q&A yesterday, Arians further backed up his stunning assertion that the Bucs secondary is “totally fixed.” but he noted the Bucs were in the hunt for a safety earlier this year.

“We’re young and not afraid of it. We tried to get a veteran safety, but I’m not sure now he would’ve made our team. He was smart and would’ve gotten everybody lined up, but with the guys we’re seeing out there right now, he can’t run anymore. So you’re kind of in this catch-22. I got this old smart guy who is lining everybody up but he can’t cover. So, yeah, Todd (Bowles) is going to put them in position to be competitive.”’

So was the safety Mathieu or Antoine Bethea? Both played for Arians in Arizona. Bethea, 34, joined the Giants and will earn $3.75 million this season.

And yes, in the world of NFL coaches who love to exaggerate, it is very possible Arians was referencing Mathieu as the guy whose speed and coverage ability has slipped since his younger days in Arizona. Many Cardinals fans felt that way in 2017.

Regardless, knowing which safety the Bucs were after this year represents an interesting slice of Bucs history.

27 Responses to ““We Tried To Get A Veteran Safety””

  1. FowlBall Says:

    Meanwhile, on the sartorial front, the Bucs’ G.M. displays how important it is to “dress for success.”

  2. adam from ny Says:

    one name…two people:

    sabby contetelli

  3. Magadude Says:

    The sad thing is in the MLB, there’s no salary cap, so when a team wants a player (a la NYY), they buy him if ownership simply wants to spend the cash. As we know, in the NFL, GMs have to manage their money, and probably the most pathetic part of the Bucs is a GM that has so many needs, but can’t afford anyone significant because he blew the cap like he was on a drunken weekend in Vegas. Hence why I say this team can’t affort to rebuild; as best, this is a bridge to rebuilding.

  4. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    Honey Badger would have been great but, as above, at those numbers we couldn’t afford him. Right or wrong the cap hamstrings this team and there won’t be quick fixes.

  5. Allbuccedup Says:

    There was and is a lot more free safeties out there, so JL didn’t try that hard. I wouldn’t have tried to get anyone who wanted 14 or 15 mil for any positions. BA and TB need to realize there are more players on earth that played for them in Arizona. Maybe BA will give Carson Palmer a call.

  6. Mike10 Says:

    When are we going to re-sign Godwin??

  7. Mike10 Says:

    When are we going to re-sign Godwin??

    ‘Under moderation”?.. my hot takes too hot out the kitchen, Joe?

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Drafting Mike Edwards will turn out to be huge IMO, but I don’t understand why you mentioned Evans & Stewart but NOT Brice & Whitehead. I’m convinced that Edwards will start back there, but I doubt that Stewart will … Brice & Whitehead have much better odds for winning the starting nod. And Justin Evans has already missed some valuable time in learning TB’s 3-4 hybrid defense … I wouldn’t put money on him becoming a starter for Game 1 at this point either. And folks forget that Bucannon … the ‘money backer’ … plays safety some as well. I expected them to go after a veteran safety earlier in FA, but money just didn’t allow it. Besides, we have some bigger NEEDS on the OLine IMO. Bucs’ defense will be OK once TB fits all the pieces together to suit his scheme.

  9. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Another one that got away , partially to Jason’s past FA blunders… hence the Bucs in 2019 couldn’t even keep their own FAs and not really in line for sloppy seconds

  10. Jeffbuc Says:

    Mike10 what the heck are you even talking about. Godwin is under contract for this year and next. We don’t have to worry about his contract until next year or 2021. So yeah I guess your takes are to hot for joe. Your worried about resigning a guy under contract for cheap for two more seasons.

  11. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    As long as Evans comes back, I think we’re alright at safety with Evans, Whitehead and Edwards.

  12. BigMacAttack Says:

    Jason, Todd, please lose the gut, you look like Gerald and Swaggy.

  13. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    BigMacAttack Says:
    June 9th, 2019 at 12:48 pm
    Jason, Todd, please lose the gut, you look like Gerald and Swaggy.
    They are pregnant with high expectations

  14. OneBuc55 Says:

    I’m hoping Justin Evans is 100% by training camp…I think him and Edwards could be a nice tandem as our safeties…

  15. Dom>Licht Says:

    More coach speak…. wanted a veteran safety but could not afford one because are GM has us in cap hell. When Jamies signs next year who are we releasing. Should have drafted Smiths and Jensen’s replacements this year. 30 mill a year for QB 20 mill year at WR… 1/2 your cap gone.

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    “We tried to get a veteran safety, but I’m not sure now he would’ve made our team”

    Yea right Joe – like he was talking about the Honey Badger… LOL

    You talk about Mathieu like hes 35 or something. Dude just had his 27th birthday last month. Probably has at least 5 or 6 great seasons in him if he can stay healthy.

    Honey Badger would have been a perfect fit for this team in free agency – alas his FA market price skyrocketed and there was no way we could have afforded him after that. Guarantee you the Bucs talked to him – but there was no competing on the dollars involved….

    That said – I’m very high on the pick of Ky safety Edwards. I believe this Wildcat is going to turn out to be a late 3rd round STEAL!

    Edwards and Whitehead is going to make for a young but solid and TOUGH pairing at Safety this year. And if athletic Justin Evans can get healthy and make it back into the mix – all the better.

    The jury is still out on MJ Stewart – but he did show some traits last year that would favor a move to Safety so we shall see if he can adapt and show himself to be at least situationally useful to this defense.

    I’m not concerned about the talent we have at Safety. Nor CB for that matter.

    Yes the Buccaneers secondary is very young across the board. But most all of these young DBs have the attributes our coaches are looking for. Namely – toughness, good man cover skills and solid tackling. A nice dose of speed was added this year as well in White, Bunting, Dean and Edwards.

    BA recently declared our secondary “fixed” – I believe him.

    Wish we could hear such a proclamation regarding the OL….

  17. Allbuccedup Says:

    There are ways to create cap space but you have to have a brain which our scarecrow Jason ” not too very bright ” Licht does not have when running a sports organization.

  18. Tom S. Says:

    In order to create cap space you have to put guaranteed money out over future years so Jason would have to hamstrung the next GM in order to give himself more breathing room. One can only assume the Glazers are not in the frame of mind to let Licht help put his successor (ironic word given his record) in the same cap hell he put this team in his last year here.

  19. Mike10 Says:


    I’d rather sign him now to a team friendly deal that keeps both him and Evans in town, than asking ourselves next year which we would rather keep.

    Foresight. Haven’t had a whole lot of that from management here lately.

  20. TexBuc Says:

    Hindsight is always 20/20 and some fans would have been downright upset if we did not spend money on free agents. Some would claim the Bucs front office was not even trying or ownership is not willing to spend money. Very few teams ever buy a team of free agents to win the Super Bowl. Time and again it is proven championships are won with a core group of players drafted.

  21. Mike Johnson Says:

    In Licht..I do not trust. He should have been booted with Koetter and Smitty.
    There is no way..you do not get anything for a 6 time pro bowler if you shop him very early. A Good GM would have packaged him during the draft. But licht played, Tx hold’em and lost. I’m not impressed with him. Never have been.

  22. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Its hard to fathom how we got in this situation regarding the cap . We had a defense that needed an overhaul , in part because because it was neglected for years. I like the guidance BA and Bowles provided Licht this year. Last year proved to me that he needed help to repair this roster on defense. Can’t wait to see White,
    Dean ,Bunting, and Edwards in action.

  23. westernbuc Says:

    If they cut GMC before free agency they might’ve been able to make a deal.

    How does Licht still have a job?

  24. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Now we know why Jason jumps in the pool in a suit after a victory (few and far between). Because he can’t fit in his GD suits.

  25. DraftJameis Says:

    This smells like Eric Berry.

  26. unbelievable Says:

    I mean if he was calling him old and/or saying he can’t run with the young guys any more, than there is no way that was the honey badger.

  27. Husker4Bucs Says:

    All you Licht haters are a bunch of idiots. You don’t think we got anything for McCoy ? We got Suh and about 4 million in cash. I’ll take that any day.

    As for a deal for McCoy, no one wanted to eat his 13 million dollar deal. His play did not warrant it. They were smart and waited for him to be cut and renegotiate it. That happens all the time with declining big name players with big contracts.