Reunion? Linebacker Daryl Smith reportedly visiting Bucs
As much as the Bucs have worked to address their biggest needs in free agency, strongside linebacker remains a glaring hole, with Bruce Carter cut and Danny Lansanah not tendered, suggesting an all-new look at the position in 2016.
Toward that end, veteran linebacker Daryl Smith is visiting the Bucs, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, and the 34-year-old would bring not only experience and leadership to a young position for the Bucs, but a long history with the key coaches he would work with.
Smith has had at least 120 tackles in each of his last three seasons with the Ravens, but he spent his first nine NFL seasons in Jacksonville, and he overlapped there with three Bucs coaches -- from 2007-11 with head coach Dirk Koetter, who was Jacksonville's offensive coordinator, and more directly from 2004-07 with Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith, then in the same role for the Jaguars, and from 2006-12 with linebackers coach Mark Duffner, who was in the same role in Jacksonville.
In theory, moving to strongside linebacker would allow Smith to take a less demanding role at the end of his NFL career -- the Bucs have their SLB on the field on less than half of their defensive snaps, generally using a nickel defense more often as opponents line up with three-receiver sets quite often. The Bucs have strong talent at linebacker in Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, but Smith would bring a veteran presence the position hasn't had in recent years.
Smith shouldn't be terribly expensive, either -- the Ravens cut him rather than pay him the $3.5-million he was due to make in 2016 as part of a five-year deal he signed in 2013.