Impact Defender

January 31st, 2024

Top shelf free agent.

So the Bucs have three players who will get NFL general managers’ antennae up when the free agency dinner bell rings in six weeks.

But which one is the best player, the Bucs’ starting quarterback, Pro Bowler Baker Mayfield, the best receiver in franchise history, Mike Evans, or the best Bucs safety since John Lynch played, Antoine Winfield?

BSPN’s X’s and O’s guy Matt Bowen believes the best of those three is Winfield. In fact, Bowen, in a ranking of the top free agents-to-be, has Winfield ranked No. 10.

Winfield is an impact defender with the multidimensional traits to match in coverage, create pressure and show range to the ball. Entering his peak years, he already has 15 sacks, 11 forced fumbles and 7 interceptions over his career.

Well, last year was weird for the Bucs’ secondary. Winfield was simply superb, that’s all there is too it. However, Bucs coach Todd Bowles wanted to use more zone defense than man. This is not the strength of Carlton Davis or Jamel Dean.

The Bucs had the worst pass defense since Bowles showed up in Tampa Bay in 2019. The pass defense ranked No. 28 in the regular season, allowing 248 yards through the air a game.

Joe would hate to see what that would be if Winfield isn’t patrolling center field.

18 Responses to “Impact Defender”

  1. unbelievable Says:

    He’s blown some coverages here and there, especially in cover-3. But he’s a baller. Straight up.

    Need a real SS to pair him with though. Neal was terrible. Feel like they might be content rolling with Mayweather, which is also worriesome

  2. FortMyersDave Says:

    I am actually surprised the Bucs finished 28th on pass defense. For a while the Bucs were running neck and neck for #32 with Washington. I guess that 9-0 shut out over Bryce Young to finish out the season helped get them out of the bottom 4. Still, Bowles going with that soft zone with Dean, Davis and Neil in the secondary was just asking to get burned and they often were. It seemed like the dude was channeling Mike Smith in his final season under Koetter except Bowles’ D allowed long time consuming drives while Mikey simply allowed explosive play after play though the Bucs let opposing QBs get a few of those along the way this past season as well. I agree with unbelievable, pair a quality SS alongside Winfield via the draft of free agency.

  3. garro Says:

    Um I say we have five Joe…

    Come on man!

    Go Bucs!

  4. garro Says:

    And our entire offensive coaching staff…apparently.

    This is beyond ridiculous!

    Go Bucs!

  5. teacherman777 Says:

    No pash rush?

    No pass defense!

    Why didn’t we employ the same strategy against the Lions that we did against the Eagles?

    Why do coaches get cute instead of being simple?

    After we saw Vea get his sack at DE, he never took another snap at DE the rest of the season!? Why??

    It works! Vea at OLB give him the chance to take on 1 blocker not 2!

    And offensive tackles have a high center of gravity!

    Offensive tackles can’t block Vea!

    Vea needs 5 snaps at least per game at OLB/DE!

  6. VATom Says:

    Gotta wonder of Winfields Father is in his ear telling him to hold out for a big market and real recognition? His Dad understands the business and reality of playing/playing longevity and the money. Be interesting to see.

  7. Just Saying Says:

    VATom great point. In virtually any other market Winfield would have been voted to the probowl after the year he had. His dad is definitely aware of this. Would be terrible to lose our best defender.

  8. NutterBuccer Says:

    Winfield is #1 priority. Can’t lose 25 year old generational talent for no reason. Winfield makes plays all over the field. Love Mike but he’s 30. And I like mayfieod and don’t see him leaving. Shouldn’t be hard to keep all 3. We have tons of cap room in the years to come.

  9. All_da_way Says:

    Winfield is a must re-sign.

    Put a capable safety next to him and find another boundary CB that can stay healthy opposite of McCollum and the Bucs secondary will improve.

  10. FortMyersDave Says:

    If Winfield were to play games like VATom is saying, the Bucs would just franchise tag the guy and distribute the pie to other deserving players. Winfield and his Dad are too smart to allow this to happen so your argument is very very weak but at least you did not say Winfield will follow Canales to Carolina like the trolls on the board are saying on other posts about Mike Evans going to Carolina, LOL…..
    Winfield is not going anywhere, count on it.

  11. FortMyersDave Says:

    Spot on All_Da_Way!

  12. dmatt Says:

    Is there a possibility that we can bring back Jordan Whitehead.

  13. Allbuccedup Says:

    Draft Tyler Nubin at #26 pair with Winfield.

  14. TomBucsFan Says:

    He just needs to get those INT’s up

  15. unbelievable Says:

    @teacherman- we didn’t get cute against Detroit on defense, it actually was pretty simple. Perhaps too simple.

    But the strategy used against Philly (sending 5-6 guys half the time) would not have worked as Goff is much better against the blitz.

  16. Dave Pear Says:

    Bowles is a defensive fraud, a coward and a moron all wrapped up in a package with a big “L” on it.


  17. Allbuccedup Says:

    If Winfield left Davis and Dean would certainly be exposed!

  18. Bucsfan007 Says:

    Nobody talks about how the linebackers suck in coverage – Not even Joe.