Honey Badger And The Bucs

January 28th, 2020

What if?

There was a time last year when then-free agent and All-Pro safety “Honey Badger,” Tyrann Matthieu, seriously thought about playing for the Bucs.

Matthieu has a deep and fond affection for Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians. The two went to war in Arizona, and Honey Badger shined while playing for current Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles while with the Cardinals.

But the reason Honey Badger didn’t end up wearing an ugly Bucs uniform can be summed up with a line from one of Andrew Dice Clay’s nursery rhymes.

“He needed the money!”

Of course, Honey Badger was among Chiefs players, coaches and executives at Marlins Park in Miami for Super Bowl Opening Night last night. And Joe asked Honey Badger if Arians ever called him up to try to lure him to Tampa Bay.

Honey Badger’s face lit up. “Yeah, he did!” Honey Badger said.

So what happened?

“He told me he didn’t have enough money, “Honey Badger chuckled. “So that was pretty much the end of the conversation.”

Just think if the Bucs could have scraped up enough scratch to bring Honey Badger to Tampa Bay. How good would this defense have been?

Joe doesn’t think it is a stretch to suggest with Honey Badger, the Bucs would not have had a losing record, and maybe would have been in the wild card discussion.

Also think about it: The Bucs were just coming off a solid rookie season from Jordan Whitehead. The fact Arians wanted Honey Badger to come in despite Justin Evans being on the roster tells Joe the Bucs have strong reservations Evans can remain healthy.

Then, the Bucs went out and drafted Mike Edwards who had a so-so rookie year.

So Bucs fans, feel free to finger a player you don’t like who makes good money. Without “that guy,” Honey Badger might well be on the Bucs roster, and unlikely to be preparing to play in a Super Bowl on Sunday.

42 Responses to “Honey Badger And The Bucs”

  1. Buczilla Says:

    He’s a good player, but do we really want to spend 14 million per year (his average according to spotrac) on a safety? If he’s the second coming of Reed or Lynch Im cool with it, but he’s not in their league. You can only have so many 10 million plus players on your roster.

  2. BigHog Says:

    Lynch was not in Reeds league…and we had Revis..wait I know he was a corner but I’m talking mony now, 16mill is to much for any defensive back that is not a Lock-Down corner (PRIME TIME) ….we’ve been there done that, draft and develope seems to work when they can. stay healthy!!! JEEP GRINDING TEAM BUCS 2020!!!

  3. Buczilla Says:


    Was Reed better at free safety than Lynch was at strong safety? Yes he was, but not by an astronomical amount and they are both two of the best safeties to ever play the game. Not in Reed’s league? That’s a cute sentiment and also complete nonsense. I don’t see Honey Badger ever sniffing the hall of fame.

  4. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    No amount of defensive talent can overcome the qb consistently putting the defense in a bad spot with turnovers

    Hard to defend short fields in this league with the way the rules favor offense

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Honey Badger is a great example for how an impact player, on offense or defense, can make a big difference in how a TEAM performs.

    Chiefs had a great offense in 2018 (#1 with 565 points scored and gaining over 6,800 total yards) but they had a terrible defense (#24 with 421 Points Allowed). Their pass defense was particularly bad (#31 in Yardage Allowed, surrendering 30 Passing TDs on 4,374 Passing Yards Allowed). Their rushing defense wasn’t any better (#27 in Rushing Yardage Allowed, giving up 19 TDs). They went 12-4 but their defense was their Achilles Heel, losing to the Patriots in the Conference Championship 37-31.

    They made some very big changes in 2019, among them bringing in Honey Badger to shore up the pass defense. And he delivered. They ended up sacrificing some in their offensive stats (#5 with 451 points scored while still gaining slightly over 6,000 total yards) but their defense improved dramatically (#7 with only 308 Points Allowed). Their pass defense was particularly strong (#8 in Yardage Allowed, surrendering 21 Passing TDs on 3,543 Passing Yards Allowed). Their rushing defense improved a tad (#26 in Rushing Yardage Allowed, giving up 14 TDs). Again they went 12-4 and are now in the Super Bowl. And yes, Honey Badger led the team in INTs & PDs, and contributed 75 tackles to boot.

    So between the 2 years … same 12-4 record. Chiefs made it to the Conference Championship both years, but won this year. That despite their offense scoring 114 FEWER points on the season. But their DEFENSE allowed 113 FEWER points in 2019, thanks to a much improved pass defense. And in the process the Chiefs achieved better BALANCE as a TEAM.

    Oh and their TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL essentially stayed the same BOTH years. In 2019 they had 23 takeaways against 15 giveaways for a PLUS 8 differential. In 2018 they had 27 takeaways against 18 giveaways for a PLUS 9 differential. Being on the PLUS side of turnover differential helps (12-4 both seasons).

  6. adam from ny Says:

    “honey bear don’t care”

  7. stpetebucsfan Says:


    LMAO. Ok you’ve crushed we old AFL type let her fly fans!!!

    In the end though I can live with your TEAM concept. Here’s a new fan perspective.

    I don’t have to choose between exciting chunk plays and TD’s on offense or stifling defense…I can have both!!!

    We do not need a game manager or a wildly out of control #3…why not have both? An Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady type…there is only ONE Patrick Mahomes…and a stifling defense.

    We need aggressive ball hawking DB’s…monsters in the middle who crush running backs and blow up pockets for QB’s…edge rushers…we have them if we sign them and then stick the best LB’s in the middle of it all…we have one for sure and White could end up being off the charts good. White has something that can be an intangible…he’s around making the BIG plays when you need them.

    Which leaves QB. The ultimate problem for #3 is that he is not…nor will ever be..those QB’s I mentioned.

    “I’m going to be a good quarterback, a great quarterback.”

    JW COULD become a “good” QB if he could get past his own delusion of being a “great” QB. Could he win an SB? Did Brad Johnson, Joe Flacco, even freaking Trent Dilfer? Are they “great” QB’s?

    Can JW even carry Mahomes jock? Nah…he’s a victim of his own cognitive dissonance and until he gets past his belief in his own “greatness” and realizes that in the NFL…unlike the college game…he needs a TEAM.

  8. BigHog Says:

    Buczilla….Reed could play both safety spots at an elite level…Now Jiohn L was a beast but I think the Tampa Two Defensive Scheme helped him a lot!!! John Lynch was an enforcer but Ed Reed was a Ball-Hawking BOSS!! …better than Lynch astronomically…can you see Lynch even attempting to play free safety!!!

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Here we go again…..another high-priced FA trotted out in front of us for us to drool over……
    There should be a requirement to suggest which players we should cut in order to afford them.
    Sure……It makes for the subject of an article practically every day……but I would predict at this point that absolutely none of them end up in Tampa…..NONE!!!

  10. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Agree completely. And the beauty of this year is we do not NEED to go out searching for FA’s who are frequently another team’s reject. We have our own proven guys who fit in our schemes and our locker room!

    A good draft…figure out the QB spot…and we should have a winner.

  11. Pugs&Bucs Says:

    “How good would this defense have been?“

    Hard to say they’d be WORSE. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  12. Bob in Valrico Says:

    As usual ,great analysis DR. Since the Chiefs still have a pretty porous run defense, their best defense might be score a lot of points and force Garrapolo
    to be more involved. Shanahan seems to have have taken the ball out of Garrpolo’s a good bit.

  13. Tom Edrington Says:

    Love this time of year when the Joe(s) throw out the idea of free agent after free agent making a mad dash to play for the Bucs……only problem is salary cap and who wants to play for a team that doesn’t know how to spell “playoffs”

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The list goes on and on…..Now, at least other fan blogs like Perry’s Packer Fan & Larry’s Lions Fan are coveting some of our players…

    The Lions and Shaq Barrett
    The Packers and Breshad Perriman
    The Browns and JPP

    Their list goes on and on.

  15. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    John Lynch is nowhere near Ed Reed. Ed Reed is an all time great that could erase the field and then knock your teeth out. He erased passing lanes and ball carries when he was in college and continued that in the NFL. Reed is an all era player not sure Lynch could play in today’s NFL. Lynch was great here in this system and was a QB of the defense but Ed Reed is top 5 all time. Watch some Miami film of him playing against FSU…crazy good. And the bucs destroyed themselves by signing Revis, one of the dumbest moves in franchise history right up there with Bo Jackson and Booker Reese

  16. Ndog Says:

    Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:
    January 28th, 2020 at 5:45 am
    No amount of defensive talent can overcome the qb consistently putting the defense in a bad spot with turnovers

    Hard to defend short fields in this league with the way the rules favor offense

    Every article ⬆️ no matter what it’s about. You guys are obsessed.

  17. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Regardless of who the QB is , Bucs still have to fix the windmill at RT that is Dotson. Conklin and Ifedi are Pro Bowl caliber RT , so what are you waiting on Licht???
    Lynch may not get in , but no safety was more feared , Lynch would put you to sleep. Just ask his Brother In Law John Allred of the Bears about that. Lynch had a nickname among his defensive teammates – that was ” FRIENDLY FIRE” , because he was so brutal in his prosecution of the ball carrier that even his own teammates feared John blowing them up by accident.

  18. Bucsfan951 Says:

    NPUPPY. Let’s play that game. Are you ready? Pick which one of these stats is Winston.

    1. Yards: 274
    Tds: 1.68
    Int: 1.22

    2. Yards: 275
    Tds: 1.71
    Int: .89

    3. Yards: 259
    Tds: 1.66
    Ints: .76

    4. Yards: 231
    Tds: 1.45
    Ints: .81

    5. Yards: 242
    Tds: 1.52
    Ints: .65

    6. Yards: 253
    Tds: 1.73
    Int: .62

    7. Yards: 263
    Tds: 1.61
    Ints: .77

    Which one is Winston?

  19. Bob in Valrico Says:

    With 12 turnovers in the first half of the season just from the Qb, Turnovers
    were unquestionably one of the reasons we got off to such a bad start.Also of note Jameis had 4 games below 56 % completion percentage in the first half of
    the season.

  20. The Coroner Says:

    9-7 if Gay just makes FGs and PATs.

  21. D-Rome Says:

    I’d love to have him on the team. He’s one of my favorite players to watch in the NFL.

  22. 813bucboi Says:


    wait a minute…..

    in 2018 the chiefs made the AFC championship game with their defense being their “Achilles Heel”?……

    so mahommes won games despite not having an elite defense?….or running game?….

    so a QB drafted #1 overall needs an elite defense, elite o-line, elite weapons and elite run game but a QB that was drafted #10 only needs weapons and he can get you to the playoffs….

    i thought every QB that was drafted #1 overall and won the heisman needed an elite defense, elite o-line, elite weapons and elite run game to make the playoffs…..

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  23. Steven007 Says:

    Why are we having this conversation? He signed last year with the Chefs. End of story.

  24. 813bucboi Says:



    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  25. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Let’s not defend the Bucs defense but are they really as bad as everyone thinks? Let’s dive in.

    15 drives by the opponents started within the Bucs 30 yard line. 15!!!

    Bucs defense gave up 29.90 yards per drive which ranked 8th in the nfl.

    Points per drive Bucs d gave up was 2.11 points which rank 20th.

    Turnovers per drive, Bucs d ranked 8th in.

    Average start of the opponents LOS, Bucs ranked dead last.

    The opponents plays per drive were 5.85 which ranks 10th in the nfl.

    The opponents drive success rate of the opponent was .691 which ranks 11th.

    Couple all of this with the fact bucs opponents scored 121 points off of Winston turnovers alone, yikes!

    Let’s not defend the Bucs d bc it isn’t the greatest but the offense did the Bucs d no favors. They put them in some pretty bad situations. The numbers don’t lie.

    But the Bucs did lead the league in points scored off of turnovers produced by the Bucs.

    I’ll always wonder what might have been if Winston wasn’t a turnover machine in 2019.

  26. Hodad Says:

    To bad Evans was another Licht failed 2nd round pick. Dude has made a nice living on I.R. his whole career. Well if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. Edwards, Whitehead. We’ll see who’s next, just as sure as we’ll see another kicker before to long. Can’t wait to see how Licht F’s up this years picks.

  27. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:


  28. El Buco Realisto Says:


    Why are you trying to get the sheep to point the finger at a player, and not the GM??????? Is the Cap not the GM’s responsibility?????????? Is joe afraid of saying the GM had mismanaged the cap?????????? Will joe not place the blame accordingly because joe is so scared of the gm being replaced which would mean the end of Jay-miss???????? Is joe so blindly in love with jay-miss that he will not hold the GM ACCOUNTABLE for what is clearly his job????????????

    Go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Buccernutter Says:

    What is with you guys being sarcastic suggesting a qb needs ELITE everything to win? Do you ever actually comprehend what’s being said here?

    Jameis needs d, st, ol, or run game to be better than BOTTOM 5! Which is what he has had. Elite?! Come on man. And no, not every unit needs to be good or great. They all just can’t be terrible. Catch up dude.

    I do think he’ll have a solid defense this season so I do think it will be fair to judge him. No more excuses with his weapons and a supporting cast either on d or in the run game. Both would be great but I’m not holding my breath.

  30. NPRSageBoy. Says:

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda…..the sad story of the Bucs continues.

    Peace, out

  31. Buccernutter Says:


    There’s just a few holes in that logic. They didn’t need to give up a lot of yards to give up pts because they did start in unfavorable positions at times due to jameis’s ints. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t stop them from scoring. 2.11 per drive at 20th is bad. Not to mention, that was way worse the first half of the season. All of those metrics were way different. When the numbers improved, we were 5-3 and should have been 7-1 if it wasn’t for matt gay’s injury.

    So considering we were 5-3 or even 7-1 with those metrics, well then now we know we can win with this team if the defense plays like it did down the stretch. Which it will.

    Either way, the defense was terrible the first half of the season and not many qbs will win in that circumstance with no run game. If it comes out like it did to end the season, then we will be fine and will see our best year in a long long time in 2020.

  32. Buczilla Says:


    Lol, I guess we’ll just have to disagree about the extent by which Reed was better than Lynch. Lynch as a free safety? Not so much. Reed was no where near the enforcer that Lynch was at strong safety though. Reed is the second best safety that I have seen play behind only Ronnie Lott and was a hell of a player, so I can see your point even though I don’t agree.

  33. Craig Says:

    Typical of the Bucs to be a day late and a dollar short. They couldn’t make a honey badger decision because he didn’t stack up to NFL standards.

    Goes to show what heart can do on a football field. If you players want to play for you they will go far.

    Now the Bucs can’t make a decision about Jameis. He lives up to NFL standards in so many ways. There is just that slight problem of him almost directly causing six losses this year.

    There is no positive traction for Jameis either. He started to look like he could make something happen. The team rallied, the running game appeared and the defense flourished. Jameis seemed to lose heart because the rest of the team had gained it, so he threw away the last two games.

  34. Craig Says:

    your players, fricking auto correct.

  35. Bucsfan951 Says:

    BucNut: you mean to tell me the 41 turnovers, yes, 41 TURNOVERS, didn’t have anything to do with points scored and yardage from the other teams? I don’t know many teams that can hold other teams to minimal points on 41 EXTRA drives.

    Please stop with the should’ve been 5-3/7-1 bs. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. The cold hard facts are that there was 41 turnovers by the Bucs, 121 points scored off of Winston turnovers alone.

    Once again, I’m not saying the defense is above average or “fixed”. They do have their problems. But you can’t deny the turnovers didn’t contribute to their demise

  36. Buccernutter Says:


    At no point did i suggest that. In fact I said his turnovers gave them short fields. Read it again if you need too.

    There weren’t very many teams that gave up huge chunk passing plays like the bucs did either. That’s using the eye test.

    Fine we’ll stick with facts. Jameis was 2-6 with a terrible defense. He was 5-3 with an average one AND he still had a solid amount of picks.

    When you have a top 3 scoring offense, if a defense is even below average they should still win like we proved. But when the defense is worst in the league, then that top 3 scoring offense can’t make much of a difference.

  37. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Throwing Gay under the bus to claim 9-7 is simply absurd!!!

    It’s making the JW apologists look really lame!

    IF you wish to ignore EVERY play that takes place before the final play…as someone pointed out…the most dramatic..appearing to be decisive..but the first points COUNT the same as the FINAL points!

    But when the CHANCE to win becomes dramatic who chokes and who doesn’t.
    Blame Gay for one DRAMATIC MISS…”Blameless” for another! In fact I can’t remember anymore how many times “blameless” choked away a “chance’ with a pick or pick six late in the game.

    But here’s the bottom line “blameless” lovers. Russell Wilson took his team right down the field in OT against us. People wish to dismiss Wilsons quickness on his feet, impeccable accuracy, and Lockett’s outstanding performance and blame it all on Dean. That’s what you do when you earn 20 million much less 30!!!

    So that we all understand…a guy getting paid 20,000,000 is supposed to have his choking bacon saved by a rookie earning 585,000.

  38. westernbuc Says:

    We have a lot of guys to pay. Give a turnover machine $30+ million and we can’t build other positions. We cut McCoy and overpaid a mediocre Suh, when that money could’ve gone to Honey Badger. Sorry guys but it’s the truth

  39. Buccernutter Says:


    Come on man. You let me down every time I see your posts. Gay missed an easy layup vs the giants. If he made one vs falcons that is 9-7. These are inches not miles. It’s just one piece of the puzzle. Jameis has to pass, hand off the ball, avoid pressure, dump the ball off, throw it out of bounds, etc. GAY HAS TO KICK! It’s really just a fact that if he had made those and stayed healthy, then we’re likely 9-7 or better. I know you’re gonna blabber on if jameis had done this or that blah blah blah but he has a lot more responsibilities than just kicking. COME ON MAN YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS.

    If you had brought up the end of atlanta or houston then he would absolutely hold a ton of responsibility. But it wasn’t a direct result except overtime vs atlanta and then he still had to drive the field, not MAKE ONE KICK! He did a ton of good in some of those losses when there was more bad from gay in some of those losses and that’s the difference.

    And move on with the JW apologists BS. It’s so old now. Just because someone thinks jameis can be good or great, like favre, young, palmer, half the pro bowl, etc doesn’t mean they are JW addicts. I, for one, am supporting MY INEVITABLE STARTING QB. If people don’t agree I think that makes them more of a doubter than me an apologist.

    Some of you draw a bunch of conclusions about a person that backs up our qb that will be here in 2020 from a couple of lines on this site and it’s ridiculous. It’s people like you who alienate half the fans st pete. Not the other way around. One is positive and one is negative. PERIOD.

  40. Defense Rules Says:

    813bucboi … Keep up that line of reasoning & you’ll have Ndog all over you. Tread lightly? (Nah, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead).

    StPete … Used to love the Air Coryell ‘Bombs Away’ offenses also. Then I realized that although they were fun to watch, they never really won the whole enchilada without a complementary defense. There has to be a reasonable BALANCE in there or one side goes hog wild while the other side pees all over itself. The Saints figured that out after the 2016 season & have done awesome since then. The Chiefs figured it out after last year & now sport the #5 offense and #7 defense. Pretty good BALANCE, and it’s serving them well. San Fran took a similar route to go from 2-14 last year to 13-3 this year, now sporting the #2 offense and #8 defense. Again, pretty good BALANCE.

    The Bucs? We own the #3 offense & #29 defense. BALANCE? Apparently not so much. Of course, those stats are quite misleading in our case because the Bucs’ offense wasn’t held responsible (in the stats) for their excessive giveaways (the Bucs’ defense footed that bill), but the Bucs’ offense did benefit (in the stats) from our defense’s excellent year in terms of takeaways (#5 in the NFL). The bottom line though was a MINUS 13 TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL … and a 7-9 record. Watch … That’ll all get turned around this year.

  41. Defense Rules Says:

    @WesternBuc … “We cut McCoy and overpaid a mediocre Suh, when that money could’ve gone to Honey Badger. Sorry guys but it’s the truth”.

    No it’s not ‘the truth’ WesternBuc, it’s your OPINION. First off Ndamukong Suh played awesome for the Bucs this past year in more ways than you’ll ever see show up on a stat sheet. And he was well worth the $9 mil that we paid him, and was much more valuable to our defense than GMC would’ve been.

    But secondly, although I love Honey Badger’s game, the cost was prohibitive for the Bucs, and it may shortly prove to be prohibitive for the Chiefs. The mortgaged a LOT to make a run for the Super Bowl, just like we did back in 2002. Remember how it bit us in the arse? Matthieu only made $5.9 mil this past year (pretty much the same as Cam Brate). But he carried a Dead Cap value $27 mil (big implications there). Now in 2020 his pay goes up to $16.3 mil, and his Dead Cap drops a little to $21 mil. Then it goes up to $19.7 mil in 2021 with a Dead Cap of ‘only’ 5 mil … the very same year that Patrick Mahomes will expect to be paid some major $$$.

    IOW WesternBuc, 2019 & 2020 represent the Chiefs’ TWO YEAR WINDOW to go for the whole enchilada (they’re doing pretty well right now). After that, the chickens come home to roost.

  42. Buccernutter Says:

    No comment st pete?