TAMPA — Hoping to boost one of the league’s worst pass defenses, the Bucs would consider signing Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman “if it’s the right fit,” coach Bruce Arians said Monday.
The Bucs (2-0) are ranked 30th in pass defense and 31st in sack percentage despite the Cowboys and Falcons combining to attempt 104 passes in the first two games.
Arians said that general manager Jason Licht has contacted Sherman, among other players. Tampa Bay is playing without starting cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who will miss four to six weeks after dislocating his right elbow in the win over the Cowboys.
Sherman, however, has some other issues he is dealing with. The former Seahawks and 49ers star was arrested in July after he tried to force his way into a family member’s home after crashing his SUV in a construction zone. He pleaded not guilty to five misdemeanor charges, including driving under the influence and second-degree criminal trespass, and has been speaking to a therapist since the arrest.
“Jason has reached out,” Arians said. “We’ve got to see. He’s got other things going on, too. Just a matter of I coach the ones we got and let him handle the rest of that. We’ll kick the tires on some other guys, too. ...
“If it’s the right fit, it’s the right fit and we’ll move on it.”
A year ago, with injuries to receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, the Bucs signed Antonio Brown after he finished serving an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct code.
Sherman, 33, also has drawn interest from the 49ers, Seahawks and Saints, so he has some leverage in negotiations if talks progress that far. He reportedly is back down to his playing weight of 195 pounds.
Murphy-Bunting eventually will return to the lineup. Would it be as a starter and would Sherman then accept a backup role?
Neither the Cowboys nor Falcons could run the ball against the Bucs. On Sunday, Atlanta rushed 20 times for 55 yards.
The game plan in each of the first two weeks has been to attack the Bucs’ secondary. Arians said that while the Bucs only have two sacks, they have affected the quarterback by knocking him down and tipping passes.
On Sunday, safety Mike Edwards returned two interceptions of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan for touchdowns.
“I thought our front four played really, really well,” Arians said of the defense. “We got a lot of pressure. We tipped a lot of balls. We got three interceptions, two of them off tipped balls. I think it’s just the volume of passes we’re seeing.
“We kept them in front of us for the most part. We missed a couple tackles, that was disturbing to me, one really tough guy to tackle, Cordarrelle Patterson, is a game-breaking type of guy. But we’ve got to tackle a little bit better. But those numbers, for the 100 or so passes we’ve seen, we’re going to give up some yards.”
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