The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of three teams interested in trading for New York Jets inside linebacker Darron Lee, according to NFL Insider Benjamin Allbright.
The Jets are looking to trade their former first-round pick because he’s apparently not an ideal fit for Gregg Williams’ new defense in New York. The Jets are reportedly looking for a third-round pick in a trade, and Albright reports that Cleveland and Denver are also interested in acquiring Lee.
Lee played for Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who drafted him with the 20th overall pick in 2016, and has recorded 238 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 11 passes defensed, four sacks, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and one defensive touchdown in his first three years in the NFL. He would be an ideal fit Tampa Bay because he knows Bowles’ scheme and would come cheap, as Lee is in the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to make $1,843,861 in base salary in 2019.
Here is a look at how Bowles used Lee in his 3-4 Jets defense during the 2017 season.
The 6-foot-1, 232-pound Lee won a national championship at Ohio State and ran a 4.47 at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2016. He would bring much needed speed to Tampa Bay’s defense, and the fact that the Bucs could pick up his fifth-year option in 2020, as he was a former first-rounder, would essentially give the team two years to gauge his value before having to commit to a long-term contract.
Lee was suspended for the final four games of the 2018 season due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He has other bouts of immaturity during his time in New York, as chronicled by JetsWire.com.
Tampa Bay has a need at inside linebacker after losing Kwon Alexander to San Francisco in free agency, coupled with the fact that Jack Cichy, last year’s sixth-round pick, tore his ACL during his rookie season, and that Kendell Beckwith, a former third-round pick, missed all of last year recovering from a bad ankle injury that could wind up being career-threatening.
The Bucs are interested in possibly drafting one of the top two inside linebackers in LSU’s Devin White or Michigan’s Devin Bush in the first round this year. White was featured in PewterReport.com’s first two 2019 Bucs mock drafts, while Bush was recently featured in the new SR’s Fab 5 column.
Here are some highlights from Lee’s Ohio State career.