Release of Jackson leaves Bucs thin at safety
The Bucs made several statements in releasing Tanard Jackson. Here's the loudest one: they're in the market for a safety.
With Jackson gone, Tampa Bay has only four safeties on their roster -- Cody Grimm, Ahmad Black, Devin Holland and Larry Asante. Grimm is the only one to have started a regular-season NFL game.
Grimm is coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss 13 games last season. A broken leg ended his rookie year after 11 games in 2010.
Asante, who was signed off the Cleveland Browns practice squad in 2010, has appeared in 12 career games mostly on special teams and has one interception.
Black, a fifth-round pick by the Bucs from Florida last season, played in the final five games as a rookie after being elevated from the practice squad. Holland played in the first four games before a knee injury landed him on injured reserve. He recorded two tackles.
By releasing Jackson, the Bucs will free up $2.75-million in salary cap space. General manager Mark Dominik noted that there is more the Bucs can do in free agency. Sean Jones, who started the past two seasons for the Bucs, is an unrestricted free agent but the team has expressed no interest in re-signing him.
The safety position is pretty shallow in the NFL draft and traditionally, not many go in the first round. In 2010, Eric Berry went fifth overall to the Chiefs and Earl Thomas was selected 14th by the Seahawks.
The highest-rated safety in the draft this year is likely Alabama's Mark Barron, but he is projected by most to be a late first-rounder.