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Tampa Bay solidified one of the fiercest front sevens in the NFL once edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul made his return to the Bucs’ defensive line in 2019, but heading into 2020 depth remains an issue at outside linebacker.

Pierre-Paul finished the season with 8.5 sacks in 10 games while his fellow pass-rusher Shaq Barrett led the league with 19.5 sacks, combining for 28 of the Bucs’ 47 total sacks last year. Behind Pierre-Paul and Barrett however, Tampa Bay’s young edge trio of Cam Gill, Quinton Bell and Anthony Nelson have yet to accrue a single sack at the NFL level.

Head coach Bruce Arians was asked on Friday about the possibility of adding veteran free agent Clay Matthews III as a situational pass rusher.

“We talked about it but there’s a lot of financial stuff that’s going on right now with us,” Arians said. “To pay another veteran guy would be tough but yeah, we talked about it. We like our young guys. He’s been a good player for a long time but I think that I like our young guys better. When you bring in a veteran like that you’re taking away a spot from a special teams player because they’re not going to play on special teams. It’s your whole roster so it’s just another guy fitting into a situation, as far as a pass rusher but it’s your whole football team that you’re effecting.”

Arians also added that if injuries were to hit the Bucs’ outside linebackers, leaving the unit hobbled at some point this season, that it would make the scenario of adding Matthews a whole different story.

Over an 11-year career with the Packers and Rams, Matthews has totaled 91.5 sacks, 130 tackles for loss, 200 quarterback hits, 17 forced fumbles and six interceptions. In 2019 for the Rams, Matthews had eight sacks, nine tackles for loss and two forced fumbles over 13 games.

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fredster
1 year ago

Given it’s questionable what Matthews has left in tank and Bucs cap situation, I’m glad they didn’t try to sign him. We are thin at pass rusher, but JPP and Shaq have both been very durable too. Took broken neck to stop JPP but not for long.

seat26
1 year ago

So instead they picked up 4 kickers. Age catches up with Athletes. A veteran can bring stability, but after a certain age there is a risk of injury. We got lucky with JPP. and Suh. But how much more can we reasonably expect from them?

BucNnole
Reply to  seat26
1 year ago

I’m so sick of your negative bullshit. Shut up.

danielob
Reply to  BucNnole
1 year ago

This is why I don’t post here anymore, classless people who are suppose to be Bucs fans but instead are nasty cutthroats. I have to look to see if I am on the Philadelphia Eagles sight ( the league’s worst fans).

seat26
Reply to  danielob
1 year ago

I’m not a sheep. If Licht finally turns us into champions I will hoot and holler, just like you.. But he has guided this Franchise into one disaster after another. He has had a few decent drafts splashed with a few very stupid picks, that have set us back. If Bucs win a Super Bowl with a 43 yr old former Superbowl QB I will be ecstatic. But don’t expect me to be a mindless cheerleader before we are even a winning team.

seat26
Reply to  BucNnole
1 year ago

Just realistic. Licht is gambling the Bucs future to save his own job because his record is so dismal. There is a lot to be excited about; but there continues to be horrible mismanagement. If we are successful this year I will be his greatest fan, but I am not going to be a believer until I see results. Arming this team with agede NFL greats one of which had already retired, and one who is about to be guarded by a rookie with almost no training camp is a formula for disaster. And what happens if Brady goes down?… Read more »

JBSouthpaw
Reply to  seat26
1 year ago

I think you can read between the lines, that Clay is looking for more than Vet Min.
The extra kicker was signed to a PS contract. Not apples to apples.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  JBSouthpaw
1 year ago

If not Matthews, then we should have (and still should) signed another of the bevy of veteran pass rushers who project well in a third edge kind of role – Cameron Wake, Jabaal Sheard, Zeke Ansah, and Terrell Suggs come to mind. Surely, in a clear buyer’s market, ONE of those guys could be had for a reasonable price. In whatever case, I would have prioritized improving on Anthony Nelson as our first edge rusher off the bench over signing Fournette, by far.

dmbucs
Reply to  seat26
1 year ago

So BucAssBob changed his name to seat26. Wondered where he went.

Captain Sly
1 year ago

Would have loved the Mathews signing but You start sacrificing players like Jack Cinchy and your roster begins to get too Top Heavy. Need those role players for more depth.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Captain Sly
1 year ago

Matthews probably wouldn’t have affected Cichy’s presence on the roster. He likely would have pushed off another edge rusher who’s currently on the squad, one of Quinton Bell and Cam Gill.

Captain Sly
Reply to  toofamiliar17
1 year ago

Point I was making and to what BA is saying is that: Role players like Cinchy, Bell, Gill may not get much playing time they do play a valuable role on special teams. What Big name players like Clay Mathews won’t do.

Bucsfan1983
1 year ago

Get it done.

Hockey Duckie
1 year ago

Tampa will sign a veteran DE after week 1 of the NFL regular season. This is to avoid paying a vested veteran a full year’s contract. This is all about the benjamins.

We did the same thing with C Joe Hawley several years ago.

FLBoy84
Reply to  Hockey Duckie
1 year ago

Agreed. Relying on Bell, Nelson or Gill as a starting OLB if Shaq or JJP go down, or even need to sit a spell, isn’t ideal. Understand the ST’s angle, but likely you could find ONE guy among the other position groups to cover ST if Matthews was added. And a few other guys out there too in Wake, Sheard, Ansah, Suggs, etc. to choose from as well.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  FLBoy84
1 year ago

All of this. The thing I think a lot of people don’t realize is how many snaps a third edge rusher gets. In general, that third guy is going to be on the field for roughly 40% of a defense’s snaps. Because rushing the passer is really exhausting, and teams want and need to keep their guys fresh throughout games and the season. So even if both JPP and Shaq never miss a down to injury, we really need a solid guy to spell them as needed and, if that injury does happen, to step in capably and get the… Read more »

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Hockey Duckie
1 year ago

That is possible, for sure. If that was going to be the case, though, I would have expected us to have brought in some of those veteran options for workouts, which is typically the kind of thing that leaks and gets reported if it happens. That we haven’t heard ANYTHING about the team seeking an addition off the edge, and that we’ve heard them constantly publicly propping up their depth edge guys, makes me think this might really be the direction the team wants to take.

Hope you’re right and I’m off here!

BigSombrero
1 year ago

What are the Bucs waiting for?

Get Matthews. Get Viniatieri. Get Earl Thomas.

The Cowboys always find ways to pay guys. Bucs can too!

Sign them all to 7 or 10 year Contracts that are voidable after the first year and give them huge signing bonuses. That will spread the cap hit over seven to ten seasons! Then you only have to come up with a couple million in cap space for this season!

toofamiliar17
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

Sheesh, this is a terrible idea. You do know that if/when you do that, and you cut those guys next offseason or the year after, that the rest of their signing bonus hits the cap all at once as dead money, right? Example – if a guy signs a 5 year deal with a $50M signing bonus and gets cut after the first season, at the BARE minimum, the team eats a $40M cap hit that season. Because the money paid to him has to affect the team’s cap at some point in time, cutting him makes it all hit… Read more »

BigSombrero
Reply to  toofamiliar17
1 year ago

Of course I know that it leads to dead cap money. Who cares? This team is gonna be blown up in 1-2 years anyway!

scubog
1 year ago

As I recall, everyone was concerned about our lack of a pass rusher heading into last season. And then some obscure cast-off from the Broncos came in and “shocked the world”. Perhaps one of those relatively unknown youngsters on the way up is better than an aging Clay Mathews on his way down. Just sayin.

Dman
Reply to  scubog
1 year ago

And I think that’s the point. Everyone remembers who Mathews was, not who he is.

FLBoy84
Reply to  Dman
1 year ago

In 2019 for the Rams, Matthews had eight sacks, nine tackles for loss and two forced fumbles over 13 games. Is this the “who he is” you were referencing? :)

Last edited 1 year ago by FLBoy84
matador
1 year ago

As usual Licht’s focus is not where it needs to be – on the OL. Did you see Osemele playing Thursday? I brought him up before, good enough to start with the Chiefs (he actually looked great) despite being a very late addition, why didn’t we pick him up when the right side of the line is a question mark starting the year and depth there may be our biggest vulnerability. TB12 needs time to throw and the backs need lanes, if those things happen we’re one of the better offenses in the league, but if not we are not.… Read more »

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