Todd Bowles Reflects On Wanting, Losing Sean Murphy-Bunting

March 31st, 2023

Five very young defensive backs were groomed by Todd Bowles and became key cogs in the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl season of 2020.

Two of those DBs found new teams this month in free agency.

The 2019 second-round pick, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, grabbed a one-year contract from the Tennessee Titans. With him went nine career interceptions. (Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis each have 7.)

When Joe talked to Bowles on Tuesday in Phoenix, it almost sounded like a little piece of his football heart left with Murphy-Bunting.

In December, Bowles talked about Murphy-Bunting being as smarter or smarter than anyone on his defnese. Back in October, Bowles said Murphy-Bunting is future NFL coach material.

Joe asked Bowles to talk about losing one of his prized pupils.

“Sean’s a good football player. You know, when you reach free agency, you have to make decisions and I would have loved to have Sean back,” Bowles said.

“I think once Dean signed we didn’t have a whole lot of money to give out anyway. I think once Dean signed, you know, I guess he decided to go somewhere else. We’ll still be close for forever and a day. I will never lose that from him and I wish him all the best. But I still think he’s a very good football player. Him getting hurt early on kind of hampered him some, but when he got back healthy I think he played some good ball. I think there’s a lot of good football ahead for him.”

Bowles will see Murphy-Bunting this season when Tennessee plays at The Licht House.

Will the Bucs miss SMB? That’s unclear. But he and safety Mike Edwards, now with the Chiefs, combined for 8 interceptions, 3 touchdowns and 2 forced fumbles over the past two seasons (including playoffs).

28 Responses to “Todd Bowles Reflects On Wanting, Losing Sean Murphy-Bunting”

  1. Tap-Out Says:

    Replaceable? …. Of course!

  2. HC Grover Says:

    Bowles curse

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    As a coach, having players who know you & know your defense intimately allow you to take things to the next level. DC Bowles will probably have to ‘dummy down’ this defense considerably this year on the back end (and the front end), especially for about the first half season because of the new adds.

  4. FrontFour Says:

    SMB had a great playoff and SB run but always seemed to be nicked up. Last couple years it was alway the promise of being better.

  5. dmatt Says:

    Com on, r u serious!!! SMB had one really standout game in the playoff run leading up to the Super Bowl. He’s a very passive poor tackler n is often juked after his many arm tackles attempts. I’m sorry but I beg the difference on Bowles belief in this guy. He’s a hybrid Vernon Hargreaves, who was also a disappointment. I’m ready to see Don Gardner in action, I’d take him over SMB any day. Poof, be gone SMB. I’m glad we let go of the following passive players, SMB, Scotty Miller,Cam Brate, n last year’s Jaylen Darden. We need to replace them with aggressive true grit type players.

  6. BucsfanFred Says:

    Good luck SMB.

  7. Fansince76 Says:

    A good DB but Dean was better.
    Keeping Dean was the right move.

  8. Bucsfanman Says:

    Well, it appears the Bucs are banking on Zyon to emerge but you have to assume that they will bring in some more DBs.

    You can NEVER have enough competent DBs.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We are starting to add up credit for a comp pick or two…..

    SMB, Edwards, Nacho, Neal.Miller…..have brought in Edmonds & Gaines

    May lose Hicks, Gholston, Succop, D Smith, Lenny also

  10. Dooley Says:

    Yea, we’ll be drafting at least one CB and one safety this draft.

  11. Rick Says:

    he’s a fine player but you really should only be giving difference making players a second contract. His contributions should be able to be filled through the draft.

  12. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    He willl be missed

  13. Goatfarmer Says:

    Bloweso loved SMB so much he benched him healthy for the Dallas home playoff game where, as happens against playoff caliber teams, Bloweszo’s defense got smoked.

    This guy gets paid. Jason knows and will sort it out for 2024.

  14. Mark Says:

    Could have kept SMB and Mike Edwards and saved money over the Dean deal.

  15. Goatfarmer Says:

    With Mark on his point.

  16. Lee Jackson Says:

    One more season and he might remember the defense for an entire game.

  17. Nighead Says:

    No matter what without SMB would not have won a Superbowl very smart and tough. Will miss his toughness and big game mentality. Three picks three weeks in a row big time he will be seventy years old before another Championship buddy🙏😀

  18. Nighead Says:

    Get the game right SMB has nine picks alone buddy 😀

  19. Rod Munch Says:

    Wayne Haddix, 1990, 7 INTs, 231 return yards, 3 TDs
    Wayne Haddix, 1991, cut by the Bucs after 6 games.

    INTs often just mean you’re the worst corner on the field, so that’s who the QB is throwing the ball at. Top flight corners are rarely thrown at and their stats are often not all that impressive because of it.

  20. Joe Says:

    without SMB would not have won a Superbowl


    His pick late in the first half set up the Scotty Miller touchdown. That was the difference in the game.

  21. Rod Munch Says:

    Joe Says:
    March 31st, 2023 at 12:33 pm
    without SMB would not have won a Superbowl


    His pick late in the first half set up the Scotty Miller touchdown. That was the difference in the game.


    The Bucs need to go ahead and resign Scotty, then use him as part of the deal to get Rodgers. I’m telling you, Miller is totally in their heads up there. Last season, before the Bucs game where Evans and Godwin were out, listening to their dumb fan podcasts, all those morons kept saying how it doesn’t matter if Evans and Godwin are out because the Bucs have such a deep and talented WR core, and Scotty Miller could start for half the teams in the NFL. Seriously, that line was literally said.

    So throw the Packers, let say, a 4th rounder and a starting WR in Scotty Miller, maybe a conditional 6th next season and lets get the deal done.

  22. Trask To The Future Says:


    Scotty Miller is an Atlanta Falcon.

  23. rrsrq Says:

    How many DB’s have left the Bucs lately SB rings, Ryan Smith (non factor but good on ST’s), Whitehead, Edwards and SMB. Next up, that’s all I can say. Interesting Jason Licht did not try and bring back Justin Evans, especially since we are so weak at safety, I thought he played a year under Bowles, in their first year

  24. Dooley Says:


    Justin Evans last year in Tampa was 2019, but the last time he played a game as a Buc was 2018. I’d put him up there with Kendall Beckwith as a “what could have been” because both those young guys showed some promise before injuries threw both off their respective career paths.

  25. Joe Says:

    I’d put him up there with Kendall Beckwith as a “what could have been”

    That car wreck (some dude was driving Beckwith’s car and ran into a ditch???) cost Beckwith millions. 🙁

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    Trask To The Future Says:
    March 31st, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    Scotty Miller is an Atlanta Falcon.


    I didn’t even notice he got signed. That’s pretty funny.

    Although he’s smart to go somewhere to play indoors on a fast surface, although not having a QB might be an issue.

    Of course with the Bucs luck (pre-Brady, and I assume post-Brady as well) he’ll catch like 9 passes a year, all vs the Bucs, and like 4 of them will be for over 50 yards.

  27. Rod Munch Says:

    Talking about Kendall Beckwith and Justin Evans, it’s really a credit to Licht. With as, overall, good as his drafts have been, some bad luck has cut into that list of draft hits.

    Then take into account things like Matt Gay becoming the 2nd highest paid kicker in the game – like what if the Bucs had just stuck with him and had a kicker for the next 15-years, people would have finally shutup about Roberto (who, unlike Gay, never cost the Bucs a game – well 2 games).

  28. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Beckwith was turning out to be a stud. Really can’t go wrong drafting LBs from LSU.