Rondé Barber: Bucs May Be Hunting A Safety

August 19th, 2023

“What safety are you looking at, Jason?”

Joe knows who Bucs icon and Pro Football Hall of Fame corner Rondé Barber hangs with that also has a high-level office in the football operations at One Buc Palace.

So when Barber ever so gently claims the Bucs may be looking for a veteran safety, Joe interprets that as the Bucs are looking for a veteran safety.

Joe thinks Ryan Neal, who the team signed as a free agent, is going to be a fan favorite. Underrated player. Big personality. Hungry for football. And the Bucs did the smart thing by flipping Antoine Winfield back to his Pro Bowl position, safety (he played a lot of nickel corner last year).

Currently, there isn’t much depth. And Barber, via his work for, believes Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht will be sifting through the glut of players soon hitting the streets when teams shave their rosters to the mandatory 53 players.

The Bucs signed Ryan Neal in the offseason as an upgrade at safety to play alongside Antoine Winfield Jr. Currently, there’s no quality depth behind them, and Todd Bowles likes to play with multiple safeties at times. Nolan Turner got some meaningful snaps in 2022, but he, like the other three players on the roster, is an undrafted free agent.

So don’t be surprised if this team starts scouring the bottom of other rosters for vets who could fill a need in terms of some quality depth at the safety position.

Initially in training camp, Joe thought this Christian Izien, an undrafted Schiano Man from Rutgers, would be a quality backup safety. But he’s played so well it sure smells like Bucs coach Todd Bowles will have him play nickel.

It’s not so much how a team obtained you, it’s how you perform on the field. For example, once Barber got the hang of the NFL, he sure didn’t play like a third-round pick, did he?

So yeah, there are a couple of positions where the Bucs may go second-hand shopping in two weeks. Joe isn’t sure if Licht and Bowles want to enter the regular season with a rookie as a No. 3 receiver in the wake of losing Russell Gage for the season.

And if a quality center happens to find his way to the unemployment line due to a salary cap casualty, the Bucs could go there, too. Are the Bucs fully convinced Robert Hainsey and/or Nick Leverett can get the job done at center?

15 Responses to “Rondé Barber: Bucs May Be Hunting A Safety”

  1. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Isn’t fellow Schiano man Logan Ryan still out there/available? He didn’t appear to be “washed” last season.

  2. ATLBuc Says:

    More than center, I’m wondering about the right tackle position

  3. unbelievable Says:

    I assume Licht will be looking at most positions. Seems to me the only spots where we really have any significant depth right now are at WR, ILB and OLB.

  4. Leopold Stotch Says:

    Hoping Center, Safety and Tackle in case Wirfs needs to go back to the right side. Awful lot of hope going on at One Buc.

  5. garro Says:

    Agreed Joe but I still like Turner. He has played and has shown up on the tape.

    Go Bucs!

  6. BillyBucco Says:

    Safety makes sense to go shopping for because the guys are undrafted for a reason. Yes Turner and Merriweather are “Hopefuls”, but let’s not pretend here either is close to a Pro Bowler yet.
    With OL outside of Feiler, we have 1st and 2nd round picks. Remember BA said you usually draft an OL for the next coach, which speaks to the amount of time it can take to transition to the NFL as an Offensive Lineman. Not everyone is Tristan Wirfs. Teams miss on 1st round draft picks all the time as tackles and guards.
    I really think Goedeke will be fine, especially with Wirfs taking him under his wing. Hainsey is a wild card to me and often gets washed like a title wave hit him. Still better than Leverett IMO. It takes so much chemistry with the guards and both are new to him, so I’m hoping Canales can combo block with him, because let’s face it, he is our starting center.
    Outside of a quality trade there, safety is still the only position that makes sense, this late in the game. Winfield and Neal will be stellar, so it’s still a backup, but I agree the injury to Gage has them thinking what ifs.

  7. Stanglassman Says:

    Avery Young and Kendrick Whitehead are the other two rookies currently on the roster. Young is another well coached Rutgers guy. Merriweather has had a good camp and is someone to keep an eye on tomorrow night.

    As far as OL goes, watching hard knocks is should remind us all how it’s often the case that DLs are ahead of OLs this time of year. The panthers and Jets DLs were dominating. Fans always panic this time of year because OLs take longer to develop their chemistry. Hainsey supposably got much stronger this offseason. It’s looking like we’ll soon find soon enough if it translates into his play.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    As it stands, the Buccaneers currently have $1,468,391 in cap space, the lowest in the NFL according to the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report.

    But good enough to find that S.

  9. Voice of Truth Says:

    I swear it’s like the 90’s again –

    You remember – when Beckles was a “Quality starter” – hahahahahahaha – he was barely in the league, he played for us

    This year, is all hype for a 5-12 team – Matt Feiler, Ryan Neal – these are low level starters we are banking on with no backup to speak of – you know like Mayfield!

    Our talent is thin and our coach is a joke

    Can’t wait for the real bullets so we can be put out of our misery by Halloween

  10. Alanbucsfan Says:

    I can’t think of a more devastating roster decision for the Bucs than the decision to sign Gage instead of Whitehead.

  11. Destinjohnny Says:

    Gm has had 11 drafts…

  12. Joe Says:

    Yes Turner and Merriweather are “Hopefuls”, but let’s not pretend here either is close to a Pro Bowler yet.

    Merriweather has made some sweet plays in training camp. Joe once heard an NFL type say, “You can’t go wrong with an Iowa safety.”

    Turner appears solid.

    Again, Joe knows who Ronde hangs with at the football wing of One Buc Palace. 🙂

  13. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Super Bowl champion Andrew Adams performed well for us over the course of several call-ups. I believe he was under contract last year, but he’s a free agent again, I think.

  14. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Alanbucsfan Says:
    “I can’t think of a more devastating roster decision for the Bucs than the decision to sign Gage instead of Whitehead.”

    Pretty sure Gage was already under contract, but we did choose Julio over whitehead. Center JC Tretter AND Whitehead could have been had instead of Julio, probably.

  15. Lakeland Steve Says:

    Hopefully Leverett plays much better than Hainsey because after last week Hainsey looks like he has gotten worse (if that’s possible) since last year. I think we didn’t realize last year just how good or bad the O-line was because Brady got rid of the ball so quickly.