The Need To Keep Jamel Dean

March 13th, 2023

Impressive NextGen stat.

As you may recall in previous articles, there is a split decision at world headquarters concerning the near future of cornerback Jamel Dean.

The guy typing this here article is the one who is a strong proponent of keeping Dean. “This Joe” just doesn’t understand how you can draft a guy in the third round, develop him into one of the best corners in the NFL, and just as Dean is hitting the peak of his athletic life at 26, let him walk out the door.

Especially at corner. Especially when you have no edge rusher. Joe believes Bucs fans remember the horror show of former ghastly defensive coordinator Mike Smith when the Bucs had corners that couldn’t cover to go along with a non-existent pass rush. What a toxic blend!

Joe understands some Bucs fans still undergo therapy sessions from those experiences.

Well, dug up a way interesting factoid from NextGen Stats that blew Joe’s mind. It seems Dean is one of the best corners in the game for preventing big plays when targeted.

… Jamel Dean, who allowed only 386 yards as the nearest defender, the fifth-fewest yards among CBs this season (minimum of 60 targets).

So Joe broke out his calculator. Dean averaged 23 yards a game when he was targeted or was the nearest defender to a receiver. That’s pretty impressive.

Look, if Bucs sack king Shaq Barrett was returning healthy rather than blowing out his Achilles, or if Joe Tryon-Shoyinka had already established himself as a top-flight pass rusher, then Joe could (sort of) understand Dean walking.

Now if you want to tell Joe the Bucs have made plans during the combine to bring in an established pass rusher and are waiting on the right time to announce the deal (sort of like how the Bucs trading for Jason Pierre-Paul came together), then OK, Joe gets why they would let Dean walk.

Until or unless the Bucs get a pass rush, they don’t have one. And that makes Dean all the more valuable in a passing league. And perhaps it slipped past, but the NFC South suddenly added two talented quarterbacks in recent days, Derek Carr and possibly C.J. Stroud.

Interestingly, Dean was on the Buccaneers Cruise that the team had last week. Dean had a photo on his Instagram stories account where he was working out wearing a Bucs T-shirt with a huge smile on his face.

If Dean knew, or the team knew, Dean was gone, would the team have him tag along on the Buccaneers Cruise to the Keys and the Bahamas? Would Dean still proudly be wearing Bucs gear? Of course, Dean apparently didn’t say anything in a question-and-answer session he had with fans about leaving/staying, or otherwise Joe would have seen it on social media.

23 Responses to “The Need To Keep Jamel Dean”

  1. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Dean had his best year in a contract year. He was “just okay” before that. If he gets a big contract, is he going to be good, or go back to being “just okay”?

  2. bob in valrico Says:

    Long term, the Bucs could also lose Carton Davis in 2025, who will make 20 million+ in 2024. I don’t know how they will be able to afford his escalating salary. His strength is pass defense but has not been creating enough turnovers.
    Dean is a consistent performer both in run support and pass defense. In the last three years has the fewest missed tackles with 8, SMB with 20, and Davis with 24.

  3. Bucs Guy Says:

    Not enough $ to pay everyone. Do you keep Dean or 5 backup/depth players? I believe that’s some of the struggles the Bucs are facing. Nobody wanted to let LVD go to FA, but they made a financial decision. Unfortunately, I believe will suffer the same fate.

  4. #99 the Big fella Says:

    Russell gage reworked his contract.. we are now cap compliant. A few more veterans to go.

  5. Joe Swanson Says:

    Godwin contract restructured Gage contract restructured Evans ?.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    #99 the Big fella … ‘we are now cap compliant. A few more veterans to go.’

    Whoa big fella. We’re just about out of contracts to rework. Bucs are currently at MINUS $1.1 mil salary CAP, with Fournette (savings $3.5 mil) & Brate (savings $2.0 mil) still showing on the roster. So when they get released, we’ll be $4.4 mil UNDER the CAP.

    IF the Bucs choose to release Succop (savings $3.8 mil) and say Mason (savings $5.1 mil) we could get to $13.3 mil UNDER the salary CAP.

    IF the Bucs opt to extend Evans’ contract (it ends in 2023), we could save anywhere from $5.0 mil to possibly $15 mil this year. Take the halfway mark for kicks & let say we end up in the ballpark of $25 mil UNDER the salary CAP to work with.

    That’d leave us with 29 players from last years team still on the current roster, meaning that we’d need to add 24 players from free agency & the draft to make our 53-man roster.

    There’s another ‘gain’ that occurs though when we do sign those FAs & draft picks. They replace guys who we’re now getting a CAP hit on. That’d reduce our current CAP hit by $16 mil it looks like, bringing us to the position of having around $40 mil available to sign those 24 FAs & draft picks. Not nearly as much as most other teams, but still a little wiggle room. Of course, that has to be spread out among 24 players, so there’s that.

  7. Goatfarmer Says:

    Licht will figure it out. If Dean stays, Bloweszo will make sure to coich him down to Desir level.

  8. Reality_Check Says:

    He’s not staying and not taking a hometown discount. When your management is dumb enough to say the incapable Kyle Trask is good enough to be your starter, players won’t even consider signing here

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The cruise was a goodbye trip for Dean….

    DR…….a great cap breakdown….and it is an indicator that there really isn’t the money there for big contracts……just multiple smaller ones.

    We cannot afford Dean or LVD….and certainly can’t afford an expensive QB (Lamar)

    We will likely draft a CB in the first 2 rounds to replace Dean.

    We made our longterm choice fo CB & it was Davis.

  10. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Wish we would have signed dean instead of Davis. Nothing against CD but Dean is long and fast and he tackles better than CD

  11. THOMAS PFALZ Says:

    Dean should receive top priority signing. The Bucs best CB IMHO.

  12. zzbucs Says:

    And I need 50mm usd in my bank acct….

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … I think we COULD re-sign either Dean or LVD (almost surely not both) IF we were willing to push a large part of the new contract to future years. With that exception, I agree totally with what you wrote … ‘there really isn’t the money there for big contracts……just multiple smaller ones’.

    Obviously a lot of assumptions in that $40 mil number for 24 FAs & draft picks (new contract for Evans, release several players, etc), but we don’t have a huge number of adjustments we can make at this point. And pushing more & more of our current woes into 2024 & 2025 just digs a deeper hole for those years (and those 2 holes are already deeper than most realize because we’ve got so few players signed then).

    IF I were Licht (glad I’m not), I’d make a mad dash right now to (1) clear as much CAP space as I could; (2) re-sign those RFAs & UFAs from our 2022 team who we’d like to keep; (3) MAYBE pick up a couple of ‘prove it’ FAs to fill key holes; then (4) focus on the draft after I’ve got those holes filled. It’s hard to know what positions to draft (representing our biggest NEEDS) until we know who we’ve already got onboard. SOMEHOW we’ve got to lessen the number of variables we’re working with in this ‘equation’.

  14. Cobraboy Says:


    The team is barely under the cap, and a gaggle of productive players isn’t under contract.

    Did Licht graduate with honors from Hogwarts? ‘Cuz that’s the kind of majik it’ll take.

    If Licht gets this team cap clean, younger, and faster, I’ll consider this offseason a success. And NEXT year, this team will have monster cap space.

  15. bob in valrico Says:

    Chances are not good that we are able draft a CB ready to replace Dean. We have had our share of high second round picks not ready for the NFL. I also believe the Bucs will be hard pressed to retain Davis in 2025. They have to decide if he is worth a contract that could reach 25 million in the short term.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Cobraboy … ‘And NEXT year, this team will have monster cap space.’

    I love an optimist, but THAT optimism MAY be misplaced Cobra.

    What we just did over the past couple of days was to slide our miserable CAP position FORWARD to 2024 & 2025 to get back to even this year. We didn’t kick the can down the street, we shot it out of a cannon.

    Example: 2024. Spotrac shows the next CAP as being $235 mil for us (I think it’ll be a bit higher, but that’s beside the point). They show us with 30 players under contract, BUT … (1) it assumes we’ll pick up Wirfs 5th year option for $18.4 mil; AND (2) it includes 6 players who are on void years not on our roster who we’ll owe money to (ie, FAs) … ME13, Brady, Mason, LVD, Brate & Julio. Make that BIG money to: $30.9 mil to just those 6 NEXT year.

    So we’ll REALLY have 24 players on our 2024 roster, and THAT gives us a CAP position of $32.1 mil UNDER the CAP … to sign 29 players. That’s an even worse CAP position than we’re in right now assuming that we make all the right moves (like releasing Fournette, Brate, Succop & Mason & doing a new contract for Mike Evans?).

    That’s why I say I wouldn’t want to be Jason Licht right now. No room for error. He’s gotta make all the right CAP moves, all the right FA moves AND nail it in the draft, or we’re toast.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    Bob in Valrico … ‘I also believe the Bucs will be hard pressed to retain Davis in 2025. They have to decide if he is worth a contract that could reach 25 million in the short term.’

    Personally I think we screwed the pooch when we re-signed Davis to a big contract. He’ll walk after 2024. I would’ve much preferred to have done a longer deal with Dean (early) instead. I’m convinced he’s the better CB of the two. But … we are where we are.

    At this point, I think our best option is to try to re-sign SMB actually (for a reasonable amount of course) to about a 3-4 year contract, and draft a CB high (Top-2 Rnds) in both 2023 & 2024. We’ll also need to use probably a 3rd or a 4th Rnd pick on a safety in each of the next 2 years (that cupboard is just as empty as the CB, DT, DE/OLB & ILB cupboards.

  18. gotbbucs Says:

    They are going to let all of these guys go out and test the market. I’m sure there is a dollar amount that Licht has established that they will go to on all of these players, but the Bucs just aren’t in any kind of position to throw money around until they actually know what the rest of the NFL is willing to pay.
    Be patient. Alot of these questions will be answered in the next 48 hours.

  19. Craig Says:

    I don’t think Dean is worth more than 10 mil. Even putting his all into last season he still made a ton of mistakes, especially in zone coverage.

    That makes him more of a liability than an asset.

  20. SlyPirate Says:


    You draft guys, develop them into talented contributors, and pay them.

  21. sasquatch Says:

    Well, they’ve done a ton of manipulation on the cap already and they’re not close to having money to sign him. Do the math.

    This Joe apparently thinks the cap is imaginary.

    They could still dump Succop and Mason to create another 9 million in space.

    Dean’s gone.

  22. sasquatch Says:

    We could trade D. White. But if we did that, I’d want that money to go to Lavonte.

  23. BucsfanFred Says:

    How do the saints do it every year?