Keeping Sean Murphy-Bunting At Nickel

March 16th, 2022

Playoff hero Sean Murphy-Bunting

Personnel moves often are about more than what’s seen on face value.

Buccaneers Super Bowl safety Jordan Whitehead is now a member of the New York Jets, and cornerback Carlton Davis was just re-signed by Tampa Bay for a whopping $15 million per year.

That means sometimes-nickel-cornerback Mike Edwards might be needed full-time at safety, his primary position. And now that Davis is back, he’ll be manning outside with fellow cover cornerback Jamel Dean.

All that movement likely locks in Sean Murphy-Bunting to nickel corner. And that’s a good thing, if you ask former Bucs quarterback and lifelong Tampa Bay fan Shaun King.

King made that point on WDAE Radio this week and it’s one that Joe was about to write when King said it.

Murphy-Bunting is most dangerous at nickel — in coverage and as an underrated blitzer. And the Bucs likely will need to blitz more from the nickel slot this season unless they can find more front-line pressure than last year.

Murphy-Bunting’s major elbow injury cost him a load of games and effectiveness last season, so Joe is very much looking forward to seeing him fresh out of the gate in 2022, in a contract year.

Settling him in at nickel — an experienced nickel — should be an upgrade for the Bucs. Hopefully, Dean, Davis and Murphy-Bunting can all avoid the injury bug this season. The trio combined to miss 17 games last season.

84 Responses to “Keeping Sean Murphy-Bunting At Nickel”

  1. Ash Says:

    Yikes guess he didnt watch any of his games before the injury.

  2. Bird Says:

    Not a huge fan of smb. To inconsistent with leaning more to not that good

    He should be in cockrell spot. #4
    We need to draft a young db early. Especially since dean and his contract about to expire. Round 1 or 2.

  3. Caleb Says:

    They need to draft a nickel corner to push Bunting. Besides the playoffs in 2020, he has been disappointing in outside and nickel.

  4. Dooley Says:

    Dean started showing noticeable improvement after we acquired Richard Sherman last season. Teams were legit picking on him the fist 2-4 games of the year and quietly that all stopped. im hoping he and sherm maintain that Miyagi-Daniel-san relationship going.

  5. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    SMB seems to give up a big play every game. I’m OK with him playing nickel.

  6. BradyBucs Says:

    SMB is terrible, just like Dean.

    How many 3rd down tackles did SMB miss one-on-one on his many along the sidelines that gave teams critical 1st downs?

    This guy sucks and is overrated.

    I still don’t get all the hype over the Three Stooges (Davis, Dean, SMB)

  7. Coburn Says:

    We will draft a corner early, or at least is hope.. along with dline/edge

  8. unbelievable Says:

    The way things look right now, I think DE/OLB is our biggest need.

    Followed by DT and then probably CB.

    Maybe a RB in the 3rd?

    TE/OL/DL in the 4th…

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    Carl Nassib got cut. While he’s a clown with the self centered ‘I’m gay and need attention’ routine, and really is a d-bag after saying he needed to take time off work because Gruden made a gay joke in an email a decade ago, anywho, despite him being an a-hole, he was productive in Tampa and if he’s cheap, he might be someone you consider bringing back.

  10. Thisisouryear!!! Says:

    I know our secondary was hurt most of last season, but they have been awful for years other than the playoffs. I think we need JPP up front too. We have to be able to generate pressure with our front 4 and we haven’t been. Bowles played JPP over Nelson and JTS with a torn rotator cuff. That’s essentially saying a 1 armed man is better than the 2 backup edge rushers. We definitely need help here. Also, not a fan of SMB. I don’t want to hear the name grave diggers or see them celebrating until they are stopping offenses the majority of drives. It’s been maddening.

  11. Joe in Michigan Says:

    The question is, is SMB a good nickel? Is it him, or is it a flawed scheme? I like the Michigan kid, but is he the best the Bucs can do?

  12. Listnfrmafar Says:

    NOOOOOO the king of giving extra yards during the tackle. What are they doing? He’s bad. Can you say flashback of 2021 D. 🤮

  13. webster Says:

    So announcing you are gay is attention seeking or self centered? You far right wingers are completely nuts

  14. kyle Says:

    not a huge fan of dean or bunting… its a different league now, guys get burnt..if we dont address the def line in free agency, those boys are going to get killed. Deion Sanders cant help this defense without addressing the huge issues on our line.

  15. William Walls Says:

    What some of you expect from players is ridiculous. Do you know what every coach in the league would call a guy whovhets beat on one play a game? A pro-bowler, that’s what. Some if y’all have stared at hot garbage for so long that you’ve got no idea what a good player even looks like.

  16. SOEbuc Says:

    Dean is trash! I would believe more in SMB more if Dean wasn’t so bad. All the moves being made at the moment, trade back into the second and get a DT and CB with the first two picks.

  17. TBD Says:

    William, I do agree with you that fans tend to focus too much on the missed play here or there.

    I do believe that Sean Murphy-Bunting is an asset to this team, who has shown a propensity to make some splash plays, and get better. He seems to have a great head on his shoulders and his a good teammate, and very coachable. Looking forward to much more from SMB.

  18. TBD Says:

    (and can get better)

  19. SlyPirate Says:


    I bet the same fans that crap on every player Joe writes about are the same people who hate bandwagoners that actually root for the Bucs.

  20. SOEbuc Says:


    “Bowles played JPP over Nelson and JTS with a torn rotator cuff”

    I am not some kinda bandwagon, but Bowles also sent a full blitz against the best QB under blitz, Cooper Kupp, and the best kicker Matt Gay at the end of the monstrous division comeback.

    I think JPP is done. At least with the Bucs.

  21. TBD Says:

    Well said, SlyPirate.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    webster – You really think Nassib is the first gay player? Here’s a hint — he’s not. He’s just the first gay guy who wanted to cash in on people like you buying his jersey, that’s why he made it all about himself, why he was doing press conferences and issuing public statements about Gruden telling a gay joke, in private, a decade ago, was so hurtful he had to take time off work to reflect on it. If you don’t get his act, that’s on you.

    With that said, unlike yourself, I don’t care about his personal life, if he can play and be productive, then sign him.

  23. Listnfrmafar Says:

    SOEbuc, well said. Webster, apparently Rod Munch is stuck in the 60’s.

  24. Listnfrmafar Says:

    I still can’t believe they passed on Jackson for Davis. Simce 2019 the guy has the most takeaways in the NFL.

  25. SufferingSince76 Says:

    SlyPirate, they’re Jr. GMs with their toy cap money.

  26. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We need to draft a CB in the 1st 2 rounds……someone who will push Dean & SMB……someone who will fill in with injuries….you can never have enough CBx.

    The other pick needs to go to DT/OLB…..

    The rest….RB, TE, Oline depth & of course, a Kicker & Punter.

  27. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Sarcasm on the Kicker/Punter….but I wouldn’t be shocked….

  28. Steven007 Says:

    Tbbf, if you haven’t heard there is definitely a draftable punter this year. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him picked beginning around the 4th round. Seems like a generational kind of guy. Huge leg and also a great directional kicker. If he were still around I’d be happy to grab him in the 6th round or so but he’ll be gone by then.

  29. #8 Says:

    Matt Araiza gave big field position value for sure.
    He can place kick too & is pretty fast.

  30. PassingThru Says:

    SMB is not a good nickel CB. CB problems were apparent last season as well, even before the injuries. The position group remains shaky and shallow. This team needs two CB picks to right the ship, preferably both by the end of the third round, plus a couple of promising UDFAs.

    CB is one of the tougher positions to draft. At this point, I’d like to see multiple rooks in camp fighting for playing time.

  31. SC Bucs fan Says:

    How did the kickers survive today?

  32. Killian Says:

    Wonder how bad Julio Jones wants a Super Bowl?

  33. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Munch, really? There have been gay players probably since the NFL was formed. However, they’ve been shunned. Do you understand that? I’m proud Nassib came out as gay. I really doubt it he did it for jersey sales.

  34. William Tierney Says:

    “im hoping he and sherm maintain that Miyagi-Daniel-san relationship going.”

    Good one.

    Any word on Miyaqi Sherman sticking around as coach?

  35. Killian Says:

    Report out that we are signing the Honey Badger!

  36. Rod Munch Says:

    Alvin – LOL! They’ve been shunned? It’s amazing how you woke warriors think it’s 1960, meanwhile you accuse everyone else of thinking it’s 1960. Have you ever heard players talk about how they knew gay guys were on their teams – and how they didn’t care. Former players who later come out gay, when it’s not profitable to do so like Nassib, they say the same thing – their teammates knew and didn’t care. Literally the only people that care about this stuff are nutjobs like yourself who view it as some sort of disability, thus you need to celebrate that someone who is gay can do the same thing everyone else does, that’s why you’re ‘proud’ of him.

    As for jersey sales – he literally had the #1 selling jersey after his press release, thanks to the woksters like yourself who felt the need to reward his publicity stunt. When jersey sales slowed down and people forgot about him, he felt the need to get his name back in the news with his PR stunt saying he needed to take time off to process Gruden’s joke in private from a decade prior. Really a guy to be ‘proud’ of.

    “Carl Nassib has NFL’s top-selling jersey after coming out as gay. Nassib’s No. 94 Raiders jersey has been the highest-selling NFL jersey for both Monday and Tuesday, according to a Fanatics spokesperson. “

  37. Anonymous Says:

    It wasn’t a defensive PLAYER who gave up the strong probability of a repeat Championship on those last two downs before the Rams kicked the winning FG. An absolute defensive coaching fail TWICE on back to back plays, at the most crucial time, something TB has only ever seen an opposing team do. Keep an eye on the Bucs coaching staff. Maybe an addition, or two.

  38. Leopold Stotch/BuccaneerButters Says:

    Can confirm Rod, the Meijer (Midwest grocery store that’s LGBT friendly) had an abundance of Nassib jersey shirts and Raiders gear… In Wisconsin. It hasn’t sold well lol

  39. adam from ny Says:

    bill signed oj howard…

    he might do ok there

  40. Elita Vita Says:

    Common down Rob Gronkowski!

  41. adam from ny Says:

    i wanna see more gronk robot touchdown moves

  42. adam from ny Says:


  43. Rod Munch Says:

    Leopold – You’d think in Packers country he’d do well… LOL!

    Oh no, now he’s going to need to take off week to deal with the pain I caused with my attempt at humor…

    I kid, I kid. Again, the only reason I brought him up, is because he could be a good replacement for JPP, assuming he’s cheap and is still playing football and not just a full time SJW. I haven’t checked his stats or seen his play since he left, so I should probably do that before thinking he might be a good fit.

  44. Rod Munch Says:

    OJ gets $3.5m from Bills, could be worth up to $5m.

    That’s pretty much in line with what I thought he’d get. TE’s, even backups, if they have any ability at all to catch the ball, make a ton of money.

    Sort of stinks, I was hoping Joe’s $2m figure was right and they kept him. He’s still a lottery ticket in my mind – he looked great before his last injury, and if he is fully healthy, and could stay healthy, he’d be very productive.

  45. DaBux Says:

    I just saw Hooper at TE is being dumped by the Brownies. If the Bucs can sign him and dump Howard, that’s a win.

  46. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Rams just got weaker Miller to the Bills

  47. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    People here were down on Davis at one point in his development.

    If anything, the fact that some of you are criticizing him probably means he’s about to have a good year.

  48. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    By him, I mean bunting.

  49. Francisco Guzman Says:

    Are they gonna use the draft to play players upfront? Don’t you need some veterans upfront on the DL at least? No word on gronkowski as well.

  50. Francisco Guzman Says:

    How is JPP done here? The guy was effective in 2020 when he was healthy. Last year he was hurt. Playing with a torn rotator cuff. I hope we bring him back. We need veterans upfront ah least.

  51. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Go back to your closet lil webster

  52. BucsFan81 Says:

    OJ Howard just signed with the Bills.

  53. Rod Munch Says:

    Greg Auman has a great retweet of a video of Gronk saying there’s a very good chance he’ll resign with the Bucs. Also says, jokingly, he’ll wait a few months to give them a good scare, the way Brady did to him.

    That’s fantastic news.

  54. SC Bucs fan Says:

    Have to make cap space for Gronk but he will be here

  55. WalkdaPlank Says:

    OJ to the Bills

    He’s their problem now

  56. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Rod Munch, I figured as much.

    I really don’t see why people want to rush signing Gronk. He’s not going to play anywhere else, and wwe doesn’t want him anymore.

  57. JimmyJack Says:

    Bunting has shown the ability to be a bigtime playmaker. You dont just go and break Ronde Barber playoff records without no skill.

    With them kind of skills Bunting is not a guy you give up on. But he did have a dreadful season so I expect the Bucs to bring in some competition…….which is necessary anyways after seeing our depth corners last year.

    Most important then corners is passrush. Bunting feeds off of hurried passes. If we get our passrush humming again I bet it leads to a nice comeback year for Bunting.

  58. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    If I had money to bet with, I would lay it all on the Bucs going to the Superbowl this year. Brady has a history that aligns with it happening.

  59. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    JimmyJack Says
    “Bunting has shown the ability to be a bigtime playmaker. You dont just go and break Ronde Barber playoff records without no skill. ”

    Ironically, Barber took until his 4th year to excel.

  60. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    So the Bills get another OJ……that’s apropos..

  61. William Walls Says:

    ^^^^ I almost spilled my drink!

  62. Adrnagy Says:

    Bunting is the best. I like what we have done so far. Now its adding 2,3 tier FA

    I would love jpp back. That guy is a beast.

  63. JimmyJack Says:

    Guzman. The age is the biggest deterant with JPP. Whether he is done or not the better plan might be to bring in some fresh legs into that position.

    Why not draft some passrush?

  64. Bird Says:

    Von miller getting stupid money

    6 years 120 mil?
    He turns 33 in a few days

    Hey – he is leaving rams so that is a win

  65. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Has Buffalo retired the #32?
    If not……

  66. HOward Cosell Says:

    Who is OJ “Howard”? Are you guys making fun of me?

  67. unbelievable Says:

    Gronk will be back.

    No doubt in my mind.

    Still need a younger TE to develop tho.

  68. Brandon Says:

    Anybody criticizing Dean don’t know anything. Check his stats. Go on any site that charts DBs being targeted and go back to his rookie year. The dude is excellent.

  69. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Good riddance OJ…..Thanks for 5 years of……pretty much nothing!

  70. BucfaninMi Says:

    Carl Nassib just got released, I’d like to see him come back to TB.

  71. Colonel Angus Says:

    Keeping the secondary together is a good thing. They never got themselves in a groove last season with all the injuries. SMB on a contract year? He’s gonna ball out for that payday. Gotta stay healthy this year.

  72. SC. Bucs Fan Says:

    Brandon for me Dean gives a huge cushion.

  73. unbelievable Says:

    @Brandon 100%

    He’s had his share of burnt moments, but overall is pretty solid. And he has an genuine instinct for the ball, without question. You could see it even during his very first game against Seattle. Most ppl were piling on him bc Wilson was targeting him all game long, but he showed real instincts and a knack for the ball through it all.

    By a few weeks later, I believe he was leading the league, or at the very least our team, in passes defended. His biggest problems are that he gets turned around at times and/or slips (a common theme amongst all our DBs last season). And he can be a little handsy at times. And of course… staying healthy.

    But he has the skills.

  74. Tom Sumner Says:



    There will definitely be a headline tomorrow in Buffalo that says…..

    “OJ signs with Buffalo!!”

  76. Coquiro FIR Says:

    23 is terrible. Burnt toast on many games. From a non meaninful college program. Fire the scout. He’s a liability. Watch the tape coaches

  77. geno711 Says:

    SMB has been a little worse than average 2nd round pick. He is good enough to play but normally not one of our better players. But I will give him a break because he had one of the best playoff runs in our 2020 season and playing well in the playoffs matters to me.

    I see no reason why he can not have another great playoff run again this year.

  78. geno711 Says:

    I find it funny that Munch is somehow equating two days of Jersey sales to Nassib as a publicity stunt.

    1. He can be the 1st gay player to come out while playing because he thought it was socially important. Maybe it was just for a publicity “stunt”. Just not sure how you know better than Nassib.
    2. He could have actually been upset by the Gruden emails. Again, how the heck do you know if he was upset. I was disappointed with Gruden’s email’s so not everyone agrees with your take. Why is he considered a d-bag instead of honest about his feelings?
    3. Never heard anyone describe Nassib as self-centered until you did today. Are you suggesting that any gay man that came out in the NFL was automatically self-centered?

    I would just love to know your insights into Nassib’s thought processes that you possess.

  79. David Says:


    No thank you. He has 2 average years out of 6.

    I’ll put money on a much improved JTS and a surging Nelson

  80. David Says:


    I love JPP, he is a warrior but after what he’s been through and now recovering from a shoulder injury, which never ever heal correctly or all the way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him cut today so they comply with the 4 PM deadline.
    If he does stay, he’s going to have to take a pay cut.

    Same with Suh. Suh is a great presence and leader on that line but he really did not produce a lot last year, age is catching up.

  81. steele Says:

    I am uneasy with both SMB and Dean. We need a big defensive focus in the draft and the rest of free agency. Need to patch up many holes. And greatly improve the porous scheme.

  82. geno711 Says:


    I am not sure that we were that porous of a scheme.
    I think the Bucs gave up the 5th fewest points in the NFL last year.

    And that was with the injuries in the secondary and JPP playing with one shoulder.

  83. David Says:


    Exactly right. Because of JPP and somewhat ineffective SUH up the middle, the front four pass rush was not nearly the same this past year.
    They had a ton of injuries in the secondary which forced them to play a lot more zone and less man with blitzing for long stretches.
    So basically when they played zone they give up a lot of passing yards. They weren’t getting pressure. When they blitzed they didn’t always have the horses to play man and LVD missing was a big factor.
    I still believe they take a DB in the draft and maybe sign one in free agency still. They need another D lineman too

  84. BradyBucs Says:

    The most humorous thing about this site and comments from supposed “Bucs Fans” that think they know the game…

    They rate players and ‘hype’ them based on a few splash plays they made a or a lucky stretch of playoff games like SMB had in the past and never came close to repeating again.

    It’s like anointing Ronald Jones the greatest RB in history because he ripped off a 98-yard run in a game.

    The ‘homer’ love and analysis or Dean & SMB is such a JOKE.

    These are guys are terrible. Missing tackles, out of position, get burned all the time.

    Our Secondary will once again keep us from getting back to the Super Bowl. We can’t rely on teams in the NFC Championship game and then the Super Bowl to have banged up O-Lines which would make any team’s pass rush more dominant; which takes the pressure off the secondary.