Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs add defense with Robert Ayers, Brent Grimes

TAMPA — The Bucs can enter the draft next month having addressed their two biggest needs on defense: a pass-rushing end and a ball-hawking defensive back.

General manager Jason Licht moved swiftly Friday to lock up defensive end Robert Ayers just hours after the team agreed to terms with free agent cornerback Brent Grimes.

Ayers, 30, who had a career-high 9 1/2 sacks for the Giants last season, visited the Bucs on Wednesday night but left without a contract, moving on to the free-spending Jaguars. But Tampa Bay was able to woo Ayers back with a three-year deal worth $21 million, with $10.5 million guaranteed.

If Ayers can improve the Bucs' pass rush, it will benefit Grimes, 32, a four-time Pro Bowl player, including the past three seasons with the Dolphins during which he had 13 interceptions. Grimes agreed to a two-year, $13.5 million contract, with another $3 million in player incentives.

Grimes played for Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith with the Falcons from 2008-12. He was released by the Dolphins on Wednesday after the team completed a deal with the Eagles for cornerback Byron Maxwell.

Together, Ayers and Grimes should be big additions to a defense that allowed opposing quarterbacks to have a 102.5 passer rating, 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, only six coming from defensive backs. Grimes had four last season alone.

The moves also will allow the Bucs to be flexible with regard to position with the No. 9 overall pick in the draft April 28.

"Robert is a versatile pass rusher who can play a variety of positions along the defensive line and has been successful both from the interior as well as the edge," Licht said. "He has posted 20 sacks over the past three years, is coming off the best season of his career and is an ideal fit for our 4-3 defensive system.

"Experienced pass rushers who can provide consistent pressure and disrupt an opponent's passing game are critical to our defensive success, and Robert will do all those things, along with providing veteran leadership."

The Bucs had gone after the Panthers' Charles Johnson earlier in the week, only to see him return to the Panthers for less money. After the Giants spent big to re-sign former USF standout Jason Pierre-Paul and add Olivier Vernon, Ayers was looking for a new team. Now the Bucs have a veteran who has 26 1/2 sacks in his seven-year NFL career.

A familiarity with Smith's system made Grimes even more attractive to the Bucs, who also have veteran cornerbacks Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks.

"I am very excited to be able to continue my career playing in a defensive system and for a defensive coordinator that I am very familiar with," Grimes said. "Tampa Bay has a great core of players on both sides of the ball, and I am looking forward to doing what I can to help re-establish the Buccaneers defense as one of the best in the league."

 
Comments
Bucs awarded compensatory draft pick in seventh round

Bucs awarded compensatory draft pick in seventh round

The Bucs finally have a compensatory draft pick.For the first time since 2011, Tampa Bay has played the free-agent game well enough to be awarded a comp pick — after the seventh round, 255th overall, the next to last in the draft.Comp picks hav...
Published: 02/23/18
Bucs need a backup plan at quarterback; best bets are Ryan Fitzpatrick or (maybe) Mike Glennon

Bucs need a backup plan at quarterback; best bets are Ryan Fitzpatrick or (maybe) Mike Glennon

TAMPA – Finding a quarterback is a big priority for the Bucs this off-season. That's not a misprint. No, they're not looking to replace Jameis Winston. Far from it. But they may need to find their version of the Eagles' Nick Foles — excep...
Published: 02/23/18
Despite warnings to stay in school, Chase Litton confident about draft prospects

Despite warnings to stay in school, Chase Litton confident about draft prospects

As he made the tough decision whether to return to Marshall for his senior season, quarterback Chase Litton reached out to the NFL's advisory committee, which gives underclassmen a sense of where they're likely to be drafted should they leave early."...
Published: 02/23/18
Bucs wonít tender injured LB Adarius Glanton, DB Jude Adjei-Barimah

Bucs wonít tender injured LB Adarius Glanton, DB Jude Adjei-Barimah

The Bucs have started the internal decisions that lead up to the start of free agency in three weeks, letting two restricted free agents recovering from injury —  LB Adarius Glanton and DB Jude Adjei-Barimah — know that they won't be...
Published: 02/23/18
Police: DeSean Jacksonís former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

Police: DeSean Jacksonís former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

TAMPA  — With no witnesses and no video evidence, Tampa Police have stopped investigating a case from Christmas Eve that had a truck belonging to Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson found wrecked and abandoned in a mall parking lot with hollow-po...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Bucs QB Jameis Winston uninjured in car wreck

Bucs QB Jameis Winston uninjured in car wreck

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was not hurt in a car wreck last week in which he was cited for careless driving.Winston, 24, was driving on the Veterans Expressway near Waters Avenue in northwest Tampa on Feb. 13 when his Ford F250 truck rear-ended ...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Bucs sign ex-New Hampshire RB Dalton Crossan

Bucs sign ex-New Hampshire RB Dalton Crossan

February signings in the NFL usually face long odds to stick on rosters in the fall, but the Bucs added to their running back depth on Thursday, signing former New Hampshire star Dalton Crossan.Crossan, who turns 24 on Sunday, went to training camp l...
Published: 02/22/18
Brentson Buckner wants more than sacks from Bucs d-line

Brentson Buckner wants more than sacks from Bucs d-line

Much has been made of the Bucs finishing last in the NFL in sacks with just 22 during the 2017 season, but new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner says he measures success in much more than the ultimate goal of a sack."You play 1,300 plays, you hav...
Published: 02/22/18
New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

This isn't the first time Brentson Buckner has wanted to get closer to the Bucs defensive line.As a defensive tackle for the Panthers, Buckner's team went 7-9 in 2002, the inaugural season for the NFC South.Tampa Bay won the division that year, and w...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/22/18
New Bucs assistant Brentson Buckner knows challenge of NFC South QBs

New Bucs assistant Brentson Buckner knows challenge of NFC South QBs

New Bucs defensive line coach Brentson Buckner understands full well what a challenge he'll face in trying to bring down three talented quarterbacks in the NFC South this season."Not getting much sleep," Buckner said, asked of his expectations in a d...
Published: 02/21/18