The Jamel Dean Divide

February 22nd, 2023

Todd Bowles helped fuel one of the most heated debates in the history of world headquarters.

Why? Because Bowles benched cornerback Jamel Dean in the playoffs. Healthy and ready to go, Dean didn’t play one damn snap on defense against Dallas last month.

Joe saw how dejected Dean was in the locker room after the game and overheard part of his conversation with safety Mike Edwards.

The 2019 Bucs third-round picks were reflecting on four years of their Bucs careers flying by fast and how they could have just played their last game for Tampa Bay. Each is a pending free agent.

Again, Bowles benched Dean on defense in an all-or-nothing game. Think about that.

Dean played 17 snaps on special teams against Dallas, so it’s safe to say he was healthy enough to cover receivers. Bowles said after the game that Dean was ready to play but was still getting back to 100 percent health, and since he liked the recent work of Sean Murphy-Bunting, it was Murphy-Bunting who got all the work.

Bowles is the head coach, and Joe gets that was his call. But if Dean gets a massive contract from the Bucs, likely required to re-sign him in three weeks, then it might become the first time in NFL history that a team breaks the bank for a player benched in the playoffs the previous season — by a head coach still employed by the club.

Joe can only wonder what Team Glazer might think about guaranteeing Dean, say, $35 million while they wonder if he’ll see the field in the biggest games.

Dean is a very good cornerback representing a stellar job of drafting and developing by general manager Jason Licht and Todd Bowles. But Is Dean worth a massive investment by the Bucs with Carlton Davis already on the roster?

The Joe typing here isn’t so sure. And Bowles’ January decision is a factor in that mindset.

When it comes to playing man coverage, Dean is the prototypical Todd Bowles cornerback. He’s among the very best. But Dean isn’t versatile. He doesn’t play nickel and he’s subpar in zone coverage. He’s also not much of a ballhawk with 7 interceptions through four seasons and six playoff starts.

The Bucs have a big decision ahead with Dean, one that’s probably already been made at One Buc Palace. As for the Dean decision at world headquarters, it’s definitely split.

Joe will poll fans later this week on Dean’s future.

43 Responses to “The Jamel Dean Divide”

  1. HC Grover Says:

    Bowles Blunders plague the Bucs. They will never learn.

  2. miken Says:

    To have Dean benched is coaching malpractice and unforgivable of Bowles. Our pass D got eaten alive. Bowles will last one more year, maybe two. Our D on paper, looked pretty good, but its a passing league and our pass d was in the bottom 3rd.

  3. Dooley Says:

    Dean wasn’t healthy, he was listed as week-to-week since week 14 with the big toe injury that was allegedly a break and even left the San Francisco game early because of it or are we going to act like we weren’t questioning why SMB was playing on the outside so down the stretch? C’mon other Joe First, are any players really healthy in January? Dean went the distance against Carolina and didn’t get a full week off against Atlanta. Ask Dean, he was ready to go. –Joe

  4. LOL Says:

    Bowles sure showed him, huh? SMH. LOL

  5. Beej Says:

    Wonder if he (Bowles) was trying to drive Dean’s price down

  6. Ugotrobbed Says:

    Team is going nowhere but down with Bowels making decisions like that! Hello 1st pick in the 2024 NFL draft!!

  7. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    “But Dean isn’t versatile. He doesn’t play nickel and he’s subpar in zone coverage.”

    Hmm Revis had that same problem

  8. Jack Clark Says:

    So can we say Bruce Arians is the OC whisperer now?

    RIP no risk it no biscuit

  9. A Bucs Fan Says:

    That’s a mind numbing decision. He is the Bucs best coverage CB, and if he played special teams and felt he was ready he should have played.

    Bad decision, and one that could influence JD not to resign with Tampa.

  10. Dooley Says:

    “First, are any players really healthy in January? Dean went the distance against Carolina and didn’t get a full week off against Atlanta. Ask Dean, he was ready to go. –Joe”

    Also Joe:
    “Why? Because Bowles benched cornerback Jamel Dean in the playoffs. Healthy and ready to go, Dean didn’t play one damn snap on defense against Dallas last month.”

    Can’t have it both ways Other Joe, and if Dean was “ready to go” why was he inactive two games straight after aggravating his toe against the Niners. Dean played 7 snaps against Atlanta played more against Carolina after being inactive for two weeks. So was he in some dog house, or dealing with inflammation of that toe injury because your article is trying to make it sound like Bowles “benched” Dean for nothing and I’m calling BS on that notion’

    Joe will simplify. Dean was healthy and didn’t play on defense. Coach’s decision. Ask Dean and ask Bowles, both will say Dean was ready to play. That’s why Dean played 17 snaps on special teams in that game. –Joe

  11. Aceofaerospace Says:

    Fire Bowels.

  12. Marine Buc Says:

    Let Dean walk – re-sign SMB, Gholston, Edwards, L. Ryan and Nelson for the same price as Dean would cost.

    Then draft Joey Porter Jr. with pick #19…

    Problem solved.

    Dean is good but not great. Let another team overpay for his services.

  13. zzbucs Says:

    I am not 100% sure, but some of your colleagues said Dean had a broken toe…
    That being said, doesn´t make any sense to tag or even pay top dolars for Dean…
    He had really good games and really bad ones,,,,He is very inconsistent, as same as the other CB in the roster

  14. D-Rok Says:

    Bowles was just trying to channel his inner Belichick by benching his best corner in an important game.

    Didn’t work out too well for either decision, nor either coach.

  15. covertwo22 Says:

    He’s going to get top dollar and over payed for his services. Sucks to say it, but Tampa needs to let him go. They can keep SMB for a lot less.
    I’ve seen a few possibilities for cuts or trades on overpriced players on the current roster that can put the Bucs under the salary cap and not hurt the core group. Cut the fat!
    Don’t overpay for Dean or Edwards!

  16. YucsBall Says:

    yea he wasn’t healthy at all.

  17. gotbbucs Says:

    They won’t re-sign Dean. He’s our best press man corner, but Bowles is hell bent on playing off man more often than not, so Dean would be a waste of money.

  18. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    As always, it depends on the price. Davis is not very good but we’re apparently stuck with him. No one in our secondary is very capable of getting interceptions so keep the cheaper option and draft another CB. Maybe in R1, certainly by R2/R3. Probably should get OL/DL in the first two rounds though.

  19. sasquatch Says:

    Dean just isn’t affordable at this point. It’s going to require some magic to get under cap this year and there will be casualties. Letting good players walk is one of the likely outcomes. This is the price we pay for selling out for a Superbowl.

  20. Buc4evr Says:

    Wow that is insane, wonder what Bowles reasoning was for not letting Dean on the field as a CB, especially when things started to go wrong with the secondary in that game?

    Bowles will be gone after the next season. Maybe sanity will return?

  21. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Dean is okay but not top free agent money good. He earned his payday it’s just not coming from the Bucs.

  22. Tucker Says:

    Hard to make cuts on a broken toe its not surprising he was on special teams which is straight up and down come on now do better joe but it won’t be cheap to keep him I’d rather prepare for the Winfield contract and draft someone in the first round this year to play opposite Davis maybe sign a cheaper bunting.

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    Not sure when Dean’s toe injury occurred Joe, but several games in the 2nd half of the season he looked MUCH slower than he’d ever looked before. A broken toe or a turf toe can certainly do that to ya.

    Looking back on the games, it looks like Jamel got injured (or re-injured) in the 49ers game (only got 41 def snaps … 65%), and didn’t play in the next 2 games against the Bengals & Cards. Played all of the Panthers game, but gave up a TD, and only made 1 solo tackle (and missed a tackle). Only played 6 snaps in the last game against the Falcons.

    I’ll give Bowles the benefit of the doubt on this one. It was a playoff game, and the stakes for him were much higher than they were for any of us. He surely wanted to put his best players on that field. Jamel Dean is a warrior (like JPP was) and undoubtedly was ticked off that he was kept out of that game. I would be too. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Bowles was wrong in keeping him out.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    Buc4ever … ‘especially when things started to go wrong with the secondary in that game?’

    You mean like Carlton Davis giving up 2 TDs in that game? And typing Devin White in that game for the team lead with 2 missed tackles?

  25. Goatfarmer Says:

    Blowes lost in humiliating fashion to the Cows at home. Every decision he makes is wrong. Licht should ignore any input from the Jets failure and do what he knows best, while figuring out how to ensure this is Toad’s last year in football.

  26. BigMacAttack Says:

    We don’t need good players or players who aren’t versatile. We need great players that aren’t one dimensional. This is Bowles’ last shot to get it right and his mulligans are all used up.

  27. Ben Harvey Says:

    Playing SMB over Dean was a head scratcher for me as well, esp whdn the Bucs claimed they were the healthiest they have been all season. I dont trust Bowles at all with HC decisions. Ive said that since Day 1. You play your best players, your starters. SMB might have been playing well, but he has had 4 years to show us what he is, and he didnt come through again.

  28. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    From the immortal words of Ken “Hawk” Harrelson from the White Sox broadcast booth…..HE GONE!!!!!

  29. Don’t make a scene 35 Says:

    Things like
    Cover 0 last play of Rams playoff loss letting Cupp beat us
    Benching Dean Dallas playoff game
    Refusing to be critical about obvious bad play from Devin White for instance last season

    Makes me wonder about Bowles thinking

  30. chris l Says:

    To the Joe who thinks that if we lose dean the world will end. you add hyperbole to everything. you simplify the nfl way too much. yes logic says if we lose him we won’t be better but that same logic comes and goes each year. chiefs without tyreek hill? people panicked and they won a super bowl with a top offense. I am not syaing they will be worse or better but things change so much in the nfl you cant bank on prior performance. same thing when we said we brought back all 22 starters in 2021. they werent the best tam all season (and yes injuries played a part but things dont always work out as planned). look at our 2022 season, on paper we were champions but in reality not. there is only so much money to go around and losing one guy or signing another you make it seem as if the team is doomed. NFL stands for not for long and teams go from 1st to worst or the other way around all the time.

    you antagonize donovan smith haters or jameis winston lovers but you fall into the same trap. place trust in jason licht. our run game should be better so doesnt that offset something? 52 players on a team, 11 on at one time. so many variables at play in football, you cant pinpoint good or bad based on one player at a time.

  31. PewterPride Says:

    We are going to need all the help we can get in the secondary, our front 7 doesn’t create enough pressure to put sub-par cornerbacks on the field. Keep Dean, draft another CB for depth in the mid to later rounds, after we draft a few O-Linemen early.

  32. Bucsfanman Says:

    Would it have mattered? I’m not so sure.
    Secondly, Dean’s availability throughout the season was sketchy at best.
    Lastly, is he a game-changer? No.

    However, we know what it’s like without competent DBs. I wouldn’t break the bank for him but, show me the next best guy. SMB?! Zyon?! Careful what you wish for!

  33. Miller5252 Says:

    So what was Dean’s conversation about? Was he pissed and felt like it was personal or was it a disappointment he didn’t get a shot to help? Because if it was personal, will he even want to come back or sign with Atlanta and throw it in Bowles face when they play?

  34. Craig Says:

    Dean is a one trick wonder, so I would let him test the market.

    Confusing the QB is one job of a DB. If they can switch to zone, presnap, they are a liability. That is probably why he sat. along with some nagging injury.

  35. Cobraboy Says:

    Another Bowles indictment. Prescott had his way with Buc defenders…and no Dean.

  36. Gerald Yancy Says:

    Do y’all watch and understand the game, Dallas has smaller quick twitch Wrs and SMB was playing better than Dean the last few games. Dean is not good a covering small fast twitch Wrs.
    He’s great against a Metcalf, type but small guys give him trouble because he can’t break fast enough.

  37. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Don’t worry he’ll get paid by someone else and it’ll be another Bucs story of letting good players walk out the door

  38. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Gerald

    Nice observation… I agree.

  39. unbelievable Says:

    Yet another reason Todd Bowles needs to go.

    Clueless. Stubborn. Inept.

  40. Goatfarmer Says:

    “unbelievable Says:
    February 22nd, 2023 at 4:17 pm
    Yet another reason Todd Bowles needs to go.

    Clueless. Stubborn. Inept.”

    And those are Blowes’ strong points.

  41. IE Buc Says:

    Keep Dean, dump Davis.

  42. Jon Grudin Says:

    Toad Blowes is a mastermind!

    Bench all your best players in the playoffs and tank to move up one place in the NFL draft.

    The Toad Bowels way to NFL mediocrity. Toad is hard at work, working to bring the value of the Bucs franchise down.

    Brady for HC

  43. Rosalee Strader Says:

    Glad Arians got on wall of fame; but let him ride off into sunset for a happy retirement away from the Bucs.

    His influence in front office has been detrimental and crushing, keeping the horrible coaching of his “protégé coaches Leftwich and Bowles last year.

    Bowles is an excellent DC, but a dynamic winning Offensive head coach should have been brought in. I think the power Licht and Glazers gave to Arians, after he retired was a misplaced and devastating decision.