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March 7, 2014 @ 11:05 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Casillas Re-signing Signaling The End For Watson, Hayward?

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Buccaneers announced they re-signed linebacker Jonathan Casillas to a one-year deal on Friday. Will it affect the future of free agent linebackers Dekoda Watson and Adam Hayward?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced on Friday that they have re-signed free agent linebacker Jonathan Casillas to a one-year contract.
Casillas (6-1, 227) joined Tampa Bay in 2013, playing in 12 games, with four starts, recording 24 tackles, two passes defensed and one forced fumble, while adding nine special teams tackles,

Prior to joining the Buccaneers, Casillas spent four season with New Orleans (2009-12), where he was a member of the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV championship team as a rookie. For his career, Casillas has played in 50 games, with 11 starts, totaling 127 tackles, six passes defensed, 3.0 sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble, along with 26 special teams tackles.

Casillas now joins running back Bobby Rainey as two of Tampa Bay’s 20 scheduled free agents this offseason to re-sign before the official start of free agency on Tuesday. The signing of Casillas could signal the end of the Buccaneers career for linebackers Dekoda Watson and Adam Hayward, both unrestricted free agents. Watson started the season at strongside linebacker before giving way to Casillas who played well in his limited action.

The previous regime feared losing Watson to free agency, and despite his limited production at linebacker, a rival team would be intrigued with his athleticism and throw more money his way than the Buccaneers felt he was worth.

While the signing of Casillas may be a sign of things to come, Watson and Hayward could be brought back if they don’t find many suitors in free agency, as both are special teams standouts and fit the bill of what new special teams coordinator Kevin O’Dea is looking for to fill out his unit.

O’Dea spoke to PewterReport.com last month about the type of players he is looking for.

“I want about 15 guys that want to be in that (special teams meeting) room and be on that field,” O’Dea said. “And when you get that working, you have something special. That is what we need. And we don’t need just 11, because those 11 aren’t going to be with us the whole year. We know how it is with injuries and whatever else that comes up. So we need those 15 guys that say, ‘Hey, I want to be on punt team,’ or, ‘Hey, are you cramping because I will take a rep?’ You get it going like that – and we have had that where we were before – then you have something special ... then it feeds into the game.

"So if you get that type of mentality, in that room, for whatever phase (of special teams) you are dealing with, you are going to be doing just fine. We have a lot of those guys here right now. We just have to get them pointed in the right direction and we just have to get them to cut it loose all the time, every play.”

Last modified on Friday, 07 March 2014 23:18

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  • avatar

    I thought Casillas started to play well before his injury ended his season. He is worth re-signing, but his returning doesn't mean he will be given the starting SLB position.
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    Hayward has proven capable of playing multiple positions. I vote he stays. Watson plays tough on ST. After throwing Joseph away and recouping 6 mil, why dump Watson. Who do we have to fill his ST shoes?
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    Before Tampa goes out and spend all those dollars on other players.How about signing Tampa players that deserved new money.One player is All Pro Gerald McCoy. I believe if the ownership would come forth and see what Gerald would like to do. He wants to be here. Lets give hime the deal that all or both sides would agree with. I know that Devin Hester wants to come to Tampa lets take care of McCoy First-GO BUCS.Lets not fo a Warren Sapp-Derrick and John Lynch mistake!
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    Agree with @owlykat on Watson, but think Casillas may be more than just a ST performer. One thing this team has really lacked is quality depth at most positions. Foster could still be moved to SLB if the Bucs get an upgrade at MLB (which will more likely be found in the draft instead of FA), and the team maintains great flexibility if an injury occurs. At the worst, Casillas is a great ST player and valuable depth. BTW, someone needs to let Hayward know that the (legal) tampering window doesn’t open until 12:00pm today. He was on local news last night saying he’d like to return to Tampa, but he has a lot of teams that are already interested in him.
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    I believe that we are moving on from many of the borderline players and will try other ones. Heyward is too slow and Watson has trouble grasping new play situations. I would keep Watson if he is realistic as to what his real market value is; probably around a million.
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    I'm ok with wholesale change, try something else! Half of the roster needs to be new players.
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    I think Mark Cook is right on concerning Watson and Hayward. Casillas is a good move and a very good linebacker and special teams player and will make the BUCS better this year. Watson is an outstanding athlete, however, he makes too many mistakes as a linebacker, that his talent can't make up for. Adam Hayward is a pure class act and if he does not get resigned, he will be missed on the field and in the locker room.
  • avatar

    I do not think Casillas should be anything more than backup weak side linebacker and ace Special Team player. We need a Free Agent MLB and move Foster to SLB. I don't think we will be able to keep Watson who will be sought as an OLB by 3-4 teams and who will have an ace kick blocker in Watson for Special Teams too. They will run up Watson's price and we won't be able to keep him.
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