Buyer Beware

February 15th, 2020

Might be done.

The Bucs sure could use a safety. But Joe isn’t sure this newly unemployed veteran is the answer.

Former Bucco Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles safety Tony Jefferson was released by the Crows yesterday. It was a move Jefferson had Twittered about previously; he expected it to happen.

Safety easily is the weakest link on what became a strong defense last season. Joe even wrote about this yesterday.

But from reading Jonas Shaffer’s writeup about the news for the Baltimore Sun, it seems Jefferson may have just run out of gas.

Shaffer explained Jefferson, signed prior to the 2017 season, hadn’t lived up to expectations. His 2019 season ended early with a knee injury in Week 5.

Jefferson became the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid safety in 2017 when he signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the Ravens, including $19 million guaranteed. Over three seasons in Baltimore, he posted 174 tackles (120 solo) and emerged as one of the locker room’s most respected voices and an off-the-field leader. In 2017, he made a $20,000 donation to a hurricane relief fund to help benefit victims in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.

But despite starting 35 of his first 37 games with the team, Jefferson struggled to make an impact in the Ravens’ pass defense. He finished with two interceptions and 11 passes defensed, and he had costly lapses in coverage over the first month of last season, when the Ravens defense was in disarray.

Shaffer also noted Jefferson was an awful tackler.

Just a hunch, but Joe has an idea that bad safeties can be had on the free agent market at rock-bottom rates in the summer.

So it seems Father Time has caught up with Jefferson, an undrafted free agent signed by the Cardinals in 2013, as it does for every player sooner or later.

Despite his connections to Arians and Bowles, the Bucs should take a hard pass here unless Jefferson wants to work for next to nothing. Why invest in a guy whose career is rapidly barreling south?

21 Responses to “Buyer Beware”

  1. westernbuc Says:

    Regardless if he’s the guy or not, this secondary needs veteran leadership. Might be good depth

  2. Tbbucs3 Says:

    I was hesitant at first cause thought he was old but he’s only 28 so the front office should look into this.

    The Bucs also need to shop for a bargain cornerback in free agency cause even though that position played pretty well in the 2d half of the season, it was still a very limited sample size and players like Jamal Dean, Carlton Davis and SMB are still unknown.

  3. Billy_45 Says:

    17 passes defended in 13 games is not unknown.

  4. Joe Says:

    Might be good depth

    He’s a good locker room guy per Baltimore people.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs have had a ton of ‘good locker room guys’ over this past decade who simply didn’t have it, and have won diddly as a result. Todd Bowles is building a strong defense here based on quality talent that can perform on the field. If they can’t git er done on the field, VHIII has a message for them about what their future holds.

    Ravens apparently felt that Jefferson couldn’t git er done on the field any longer … in THEIR defense. TB MAY have a different take on Jefferson’s skillset … in OUR defense (since he developed him?). Never hurts to look.

  6. Sport Says:

    I’m not at all interested in reaching for veterans. Look at how well this team performed after releasing a 1st round veteran. These young athletic players have the discipline and smarts to follow the teaching of their coaches. An extremely young secondary showed incredible growth last year.

    We don’t need the vet salary or tarnished talent. Stay young,fast,coachable, aggressive, hungry and disciplined.

    In BA I Trust!

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Sport … I trust in BA also, but when it comes to our defense, I trust TB more. I’m not a big fan of ‘reaching’ for veterans either (or anyone else for that matter) … I prefer proven PERFORMANCE in veterans. But the fact remains that the Bucs’ Secondary is extremely young, and proven, veteran LEADERSHIP would be helpful. And especially veterans who know TB’s system.

    Found an interesting (very recent) story on a Ravens site about Tony Jefferson ( And what it points back to is HOW TB used him out in Arizona (much differently than how Baltimore used him) … as more of a ‘hybrid’ player. He was good in Baltimore, but he was great in Arizona (which is why the Ravens signed him). Well worth a read.

  8. gbobucsfan Says:

    I’m with “Defense Rules”. The better the coaching, the less locker room veterans there need to be.

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

    I just coined this…The Grisel season” of the NFL calendar….this would otherwise only be a story if the Bucs signed him…

  10. Lunchbox Says:

    Costly lapses in coverage, bad tackler, out of gas… yeah no wonder he’s gonna be cheap….pass

  11. mark2001 Says:

    28? That is getting in that gray area. At least Bowles and Arians have experience with him…and there is plenty of film and contacts to get an answer to the “out of gas” question. Let’s hope so.

  12. geno711 Says:

    The offseason is all about acquiring talent at as many positions as you can. If he has something left and fits Bowles system well then I say give him a look.

    The best option in my opinion is go get Jamal Adams of the Jets. He is the best safety in the NFL being able to play the run and pass both superbly.

    Trade Chris Godwin for him. The jets badly want a wide receiver.
    If the Jets would be that stupid that is (but we already saw that they were considering trading him last season so maybe they are).

    Trade the 10th or 12th best receiver in the NFL for the best safety in the league. Of course fans who have only seen Godwin will shout no way but we already know that Jamal Adams fits in Bowles system and is a future hall of famer.

    Both Godwin and Adams will need to get paid before the end of next year.

  13. geno711 Says:

    By the way Koetter and Smith ignoring the secondary was ridiculous.
    For some reason some fans seemed to accept that you only need two corner backs and two safeties.

    You need at least 4 corners that can play and 3 safeties that can play. It is a position with one of the highest rates of players missing time.

    Jamal Dean, Sean Murphy Bunting, and Carlton Davis will be enough for the Buc’s if none get nicked up next year. If you are expecting that, you don’t follow NFL football.

    New England looks for corners every single year, so does Green Bay. We have to draft or sign a corner to be better 4th guy than what we currently have.

  14. geno711 Says:

    And if we do not get a good 4th corner, NDOG will be on here ripping the defense and who wants that!

  15. footballjunkie Says:

    Isn’t it funny…how these newspaper folks…think that by putting their typed word to paper, automatically implies some 20-30 year stint as personnel/scouting executives??? And people wonder, why paper’s fold, like the Tribune here. Readership drops dramatically, when topics are covered unnecessarily by people who don’t necessarily…know at all, what they’re talking about. See this Shaffer thing.

    Jefferson is 28 not 38.

    Sure he would need to prove he’s fully recovered from the ACL injury, and many come back stronger if not just as healthy as before the injury. Who’s also to say what scheme differences in later Baltimore era, kept him from the scheme successes that Jefferson enjoyed under Bowles’ tutelage.

    Paper..folks…just need to write what’s independently factual. And leave the inferential side of player evaluation, to those that actually know what they’re doing in that realm.

  16. Pewter power Says:


    100% agree opinions are taken as fact because a writer puts it on paper. A safety with a knee injury came back and wasn’t at his best it makes sense. The guy was a leader in the lock room and on the field and took the communication headset from the linebacker prior to the injury. Safeties need a vet like that

  17. Craig Says:

    Bucs can trade down in round 1, get an extra second round pick and draft either Delpit or McKinney.

    That extra pick will make it a long way, allowing a QB and RT in the second. A RB in three.

    That is if the the management can keep the defensive line together.

  18. Dapostman Says:

    There is so much passing in an NFL game that the safety position is becoming obsolete. You need 5 corners now a days. Big corners are a plus.

    Much like the NBA where big men who dominated the post are going the way of the Do Do Bird and are out at the 3 point line now your safetys must be able to cover first and foremost. We saw Edwards and Whitehead struggle in this area.

    Get guys who can run, cover and blitz.

  19. footballjunkie Says:

    Isn’t it funny…what Greg Auman from the Athletic tweeted today at 12:09…about the likely interest from the Bucs in Tony Jefferson now cut by Baltimore….

    When this guy said YESTERDAY….that the Bucs would likely be intrigued in the fit, before the release happened. Not too mention, this article.


  20. Tbbucs3 Says:


    “There is so much passing in an NFL game that the safety position is becoming obsolete.”

    Can you explain this? This doesn’t make any sense.

  21. Space Says:

    With Jameis, you’re going nowhere