During last spring’s free agency period the Buccaneers brought a number of players – defensive tackle Henry Melton, safety Chris Conte, cornerback Sterling Moore, linebacker Bruce Carter and others – with experience in head coach Lovie Smith’s defensive scheme. That pattern continued on Thursday when Tampa Bay added another former Smith disciple in cornerback Tim Jennings who played in Chicago the previous five season. Jennings signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers.

Jennings was released by the Bears on Monday after five productive season which included two Pro Bowl appearances (2012, 2013) and during the 2012 season, led the NFL with nine interceptions.

General manager Jason Licht, who broke the news of the signing to Chris Myers and Ronde Barber in the announcing booth during Thursday night’s game, said the main reason for bringing Jennings in was because of his experience in the defense.

“Half the battle is learning the system,” Licht said. “If we can get a guy like Tim (Jennings), like Chris (Conte), like Major (Wright) who know the system – and Ronde you can attest to this – it helps with the learning curve quicker. He can fit in quicker and help up continue where we left off last year.”

While Licht said Jennings could potentially work in with the nickel corners, he’ll leave that decision up to Smith and Frazier. For now, he’s just excited to bring a veteran Pro Bowler aboard.

“Exactly where he fits in, that will be up to Lovie and Leslie,” Licht said. “But we know that we have a solid veteran that knows the system, and thats key. We’re pretty excited about getting a couple time Pro Bowler who’s a tough guy and had his best years under Lovie.”

At age 31, the Bucs are hoping their is some gas still left in the tank for the former Georgia Bulldog standout who began his career in Indianapolis, playing for former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy and who was a rookie on the Colts’ 2006 Super Bowl championship team.

Jennings underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this year, and also was was arrested for speeding, reckless driving and driving under the influence in January. PewterReport.com reports that Jennings is not expected to face any discipline from the NFL.

“Once the whole regime came in and everybody was here, I kind of knew,” Jennings told Brad Biggs via NFL.com “But they also gave me a heads up and told me I would be out there competing for a job. I had my best years here. I made two Pro Bowls. I played some good football. I had some ups and downs with injuries but for me, this is where I played my best football.

“They told me they were going to go younger.”

For his career Jennings has accounted for 463 tackles, 20 interceptions, nine forced fumbles and has three touchdowns to his credit.

Jennings will be added to a crowded defensive backs meeting room that includes current starters Alterraun Verner, Johnthan Banks, Mike Jenkins, Jude Adjei-Barimah, Brandon Dixon, Isaiah Frey and Sterling Moore.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Okay I am going to get negative. I don’t see any point in picking up three has been’s because they have been in the Tampa2. How many more games are they going to win for us; probably maybe one at most. I was all in with L & L last year and this year Rookies. Let them play and learn so next year we are ready to be contenders. Go Bucs!

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Oh I forgot to say one other thing. How convenient Bowers limps off the field with less than 60 seconds in the game. Does this mean he gets released with an injury settlement? What a bust he was and has been.

owlykat
owlykat
5 years ago

Jennings has a Super Bowl Ring and is a playmaker and Pro Bowler. We need him playing nickel CB. He is a big upgrade over Frey. If one of our two starters went down we would need Sterling Moore to step up and Jennings could do just as well as Moore does at nickel. He is better than Jenkins too!

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

Horse: The question for me is “Is Jennings better than the 5th or 6th CB on the roster?” That answer is “Yes”. While I share your philosophy of building through the Draft and am no fan of high-priced free agents, this signing seems to make sense to me for the short term. I suspect he gets a shot at nickle.

surferdudes
surferdudes
5 years ago

Makes sense to me also. We can put a young corner on the P.S. and not worry about anyone else plucking them, since none of them have stood out. This year we need to win some games, I like the Jennings signing, just wish he could play tackle, and guard also! I do believe we’ll be claiming some O line help after cuts, since Edwards should be cut, and Gilkey injury settlement, cut, or I.R..

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

I would agree with you all if we were close to winning 9-11 games; we not. I’d rather have that 5th or 6th best young CB learning the system by playing in it. Go Bucs!

georgehicks
georgehicks
5 years ago

Well guys I believe that when a coach of lovey smith has a lot of things to correct.alot of coaches goes with the veterans-Go Bucs

wnb0395
wnb0395
5 years ago

Im with Horse on this. Do we really want 3 of the starting 4 DBs for Chicago last year. Chicago had the 3oth rank pass defense last year. They were worse then us in pass defense last year.

DreadNaught
DreadNaught
5 years ago

Verner Banks and Moore are ALL 25-26 yrs old. Who cares if our 4th or 5th CB is 31?