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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

The fallout from Ronde Barber's return to the Bucs



I’ll preface this by saying this post will be somewhat incomplete because there are still some shoes that must drop.

But after tonight’s news that Ronde Barber will be returning to the Bucs for a 16th season, it’s not too early to address what, exactly, it all means.

Let’s start with this: The Bucs now have a bit more flexibility in their decision-making as it relates to the secondary. We don’t know for certain what Barber’s role is going to be because a) we don’t know what will become of Aqib Talib when he stands trial next month and b) it’s still too early to know where the Bucs will play new signee Eric Wright or whether they’ll select a cornerback in next month’s draft (we fully expect them to, though maybe not the first round).

To take things a step further, we don’t even know the details of the defensive scheme the Bucs are going to play under their new coaching staff and coordinator Bill Sheridan.

But this much we can all agree on: The Bucs have to feel a little better about the position tonight. They currently have three very proven players at cornerback in Barber, Talib and Wright. That would be a pretty formidable 1-2-3 lineup in any order, provided Talib emerges from his legal troubles.

Given that, you can make a case that LSU prospect Morris Claiborne, who might be available when the Bucs draft at No. 5 overall, might be less likely to be taken by the Bucs. At the very least, cornerback is at least a little lower of a draft priority after Barber’s decision.

This doesn’t represent a seismic shift in the Bucs’ offseason, but it’s definitely an important move that will affect other decisions. And given the fact Barber was mostly solid in 2011, the effects of Barber returning will certainly be positive.

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 9:05pm]


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