Evaluating the Bucs' non-Revis cornerback options
In case you’re wondering, no, the Bucs haven’t signed a cornerback yet. They still want Darrelle Revis, but that deal with the Jets continues to hang in the balance.
With that said, we know (or assume) the Bucs are going to add some cornerbacks – at some point. And that leaves an important question: Who’s even out there?
The big names among free-agent cornerbacks this year, in retrospect, were more names than anything else. The passive posture taken by teams toward available cornerbacks confirms this.
Only a handful of the better cornerbacks have even been signed, leaving numerous players with varying degrees of past success still available. As the Bucs look to improve what was, statistically, the NFL’s worst secondary, here’s a sampling of the free agents they’ll be choosing from (keeping in mind they might draft multiple cornerbacks next month).
(2012 team in parenthesis)
Nnamdi Asomugha (Eagles): He reportedly is nearing a deal with either the Saints or 49ers and hasn’t been connected to Tampa Bay. But he’s among the best cornerbacks still available despite his struggles last season.
Brent Grimes (Falcons): Grimes is coming off a ruptured Achilles and seems to have initially set his asking price too high. He's now generating quite a bit of interest, but the Bucs, we're told, aren't going to be his landing spot.
Antoine Winfield (Vikings): He’s 35, so he’s not a great option, but he’s experienced and can still play at a pretty high level. Some see him as a better fit in the slot, though he can obviously play on the perimeter, too. Winfield reportedly is visiting the Redskins on Wednesday.
Quentin Jammer (Chargers): This former first-round pick is also getting up there in age, now 33. He’s been a starter for his entire 12-year career, including last season when he made three interceptions for the Chargers. In any case, I’m told the Bucs haven’t contacted him so this might be a moot point.
Tracy Porter (Broncos): He didn’t have a good 2012 season, starting just four games for Denver, but he’s young (26) and has some ability. Porter was instrumental in the Saints’ 2009 championship season, and his past in the NFC South means the Bucs' front office is familiar with him. The Saints and Raiders reportedly are interested.
DeAngelo Hall (Redskins): Hall has superb ball skills. Always has, evidenced by his 39 career interceptions. But Hall’s weakness – man coverage – could be problematic for a team like the Bucs, who use the tactic extensively. Probably not the best fit for Tampa Bay.
Mike Jenkins (Cowboys): He experienced his share of struggles in Dallas last season, losing his place in the starting lineup. But Jenkins, formerly of USF, has put solid play on tape in the past. The 28-year old is from Manatee County and would likely find the Bucs appealing, but there’s been a very soft market for him to this point.
Joselio Hanson (Raiders): He’s been a reliable slot/third cornerback for most of his eight seasons, and that doesn’t appear likely to change. Whoever signs Hanson wouldn’t be doing so with plans of him being one of their top cover men. But he would provide far better depth than the Bucs had in 2012.