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The Buccaneers have quietly been active in free agency, with the latest signing being another one of their own in Chris Conte, per multiple reports. Tampa Bay has agreed to a one-year deal with Conte, making him the third unrestricted free agent to re-sign following Doug Martin and Keith Tandy. Conte signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal last year from the Bucs, and this year’s deal is believed to be north of $2 million.

After signing Conte away from Chicago last offseason, the 27-year old proved to be one of the Bucs’ best free agent additions, as he went on to have one of the best years of his career. In 14 games (13 starts), Conte recorded 79 tackles, fourth most on the team, two forced fumbles and two interceptions, and was arguably the Bucs most productive player in the secondary.

While the former Bear had a history of injuries before coming to Tampa – often concussions – he was able to overcome a strained hamstring in time for the start of the regular season and missed just two games with a knee injury in 2015. Considering that former defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier called Conte’s health the biggest concern when they signed him, that’s an impressive mark and step in the right direction. Tampa Bay hopes for similar trends in 2016 and an even better year for Conte in Mike Smith’s defense.

Before re-signing with the Bucs, Conte visited the Giants and Saints during his brief free agency tour. With his new contract and the addition of Brent Grimes on Friday, the Bucs state of the secondary pre-draft is beginning to take shape. These moves should give a clearer indication of the team’s priorities come late April.

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders. Contact him at: zshapiro12@gmail.com
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plopes808
plopes808
5 years ago

Good move! He was the most consistent player in our secondary and deserved an extension. Now we can draft his replacement this year and take the year to break him in.

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

I’m starting to get excited that maybe our problem was much more to do with scheme than anything else. We may already have enough decent to good players to compete against the big boys; we might have turned the corner.

plopes808
plopes808
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

the new regime re-signing so many of our FAs seems to show you’re right. I always thought we had more talent than our record reflected

sidetrack
sidetrack
5 years ago

Good re-signing! Scheme wasn’t so much the problem as much as no pass rush – which was vital to make the scheme viable. No defensive draft picks undermined that philosophy. Mike Smith said that he would play the scheme that best fit his players, and right now that would be a similar scheme to that we ran. Add a stud pass-rusher on the edge (via the draft and cross our fingers), and viola things look better. Mike Smith will then gradually transition to a scheme he prefers. Now Resign Lansanna for depth and good character if nothing else.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

Good signing. Some people have put the knock on Conte for some mysterious reason but I never saw him blow a coverage last year and he was usually in the right place at the right time. I also saw him literally give up his body to make a tackle as well. I can only see what my eyes see, but we had some CB’s last year who couldn’t play one on one, zone, jam a receiver at the line or misdirect and force a WR to the outside. So when you can’t do any of those, where does that leave… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

Totally agree with you drdneast. The problems in the secondary had to be one of the reasons you cited. Had to be player, coaching or scheme.

I have a theory that Verner and Banks, both of whom had some previous success in the league, may have been benched for questioning the questionable coaching.

Ronald
Ronald
5 years ago

I still say coaching was at least one-half our problem in the secondary last year. That is being confirmed by the resignings this year.

russmillerwy
russmillerwy
5 years ago

Not sure they would sign him to consecutive one year “prove it” deals unless it’s because of the concussions. Maybe he’s just one concussion away from retirement? Stabilizes a position of ordinariness. Curious about Sterling Moore’s fate now.

76Buc
76Buc
5 years ago

I’m surprised. Where are all the haters?

jme0151
jme0151
Reply to  76Buc
5 years ago

OK…I hate this signing…..NO just kidding 76.
He plays tough. Just hope his noggin lasts the whole season.

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