Does Pewter Report think LB Niko Koutouvides will be back in Tampa Bay? Why could he leave? Will Koutouvides have a lot of interest in free agency? Find out the answers and the prediction of Koutouvides’ future with the Bucs.
PewterReport.com continues this series of articles that predicts whether a Bucs veteran free agent will be back with the team in 2011.MIDDLE LINEBACKER NIKO KOUTOUVIDES
Koutouvides, 30, is entering unrestricted free agency after playing his seventh NFL season. The 6-foot-2, 238-pound Koutouvides was a fourth-round pick of the Seahawks in the 2004 NFL Draft out of Purdue. 2010 SEASON
Last season Koutouvides was fourth on the team in special teams tackles with 14. He did not record a tackle on defense. He played in 14 games with zero starts. CAREER UP TO THIS POINT
Koutouvides has been a backup for his entire career. He played four seasons in Seattle, one with Denver and the past two with Tampa Bay. Throughout his career, Koutouvides has had to fight to make the roster each preseason. He has stayed in the league due to his quality play on special teams. In 2009 Koutouvides led the Bucs in special teams tackles with 18. WHY HE COULD RE-SIGN
The Buccaneers special teams could lose some of their star contributors to free agency. Linebacker Adam Hayward led the Bucs in special teams tackles last season, and he is entering free agency. Other special teams contributors like Maurice Stovall, Quincy Black, John Gilmore and Tim Crowder are also entering free agency. Tampa Bay lost special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia in the offseason to the San Diego Chargers. Bisaccia was replaced with Dwayne Stukes, and Stukes may push to re-sign some of the Bucs core special teams players to help the continuity heading into the 2011 season. Koutouvides should be affordable and probably will not see much of a market in free agency considering he is not viewed as a linebacker that can have a big impact on the defense. WHY HE COULD DEPART
Tampa Bay has a lot of young linebackers that they like in Mason Foster, Dekoda Watson and Tyrone McKenzie. Veteran Geno Hayes is returning and the Bucs could bring back free agent linebackers Hayward, Black and Barrett Ruud. Tampa Bay will probably have at least one of that group returning if not two or three. Signing two of them would probably take away a roster spot from Koutouvides. Plus the Bucs will look at potential undrafted free agent linebackers to bring to training camp.
Perhaps Bisaccia will make a push to sign Koutouvides for the Chargers. San Diego had some of the worst special teams units in the NFL in 2010, and a reliable veteran like Koutouvides could appeal to Bisaccia. Koutouvides could also be looking for a change. Unlike Black and Hayward, Koutouvides did not attend the player-organized mini-camp. PREDICTION
Pewter Report’s prediction is that Koutouvides will not be re-signed by Tampa Bay in free agency.PREVIOUS PR PREDICTS
LB Quincy Black
LB Adam Hayward
G Davin Joseph
DE Stylez White
DE Tim Crowder
WR Maurice StovallLB Barrett RuudTE John Gilmore RT Jeremy TruebloodRB Cadillac Williams
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