The Buccaneers made a run at Chicago Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea on the first day of free agency before he signed with Washington. Paea was a second-round pick by head coach Lovie Smith in Chicago, and recorded a career-high six sacks last year. He was virtually unblockable by the Bucs in Chicago’s 21-13 win over Tampa Bay last year, recording three tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.
Paea signed a four-year deal worth up to $21 million with $15 million guaranteed, according to ESPN.com. The Bucs viewed Paea as a rotational defensive tackle capable of playing both the three-technique and nose tackle positions in Tampa Bay, but he would serve as the primary backup for Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy at the three-technique spot. Instead, Paea will get the chance to start as a 3-4 defensive end in Washington, which is why he chose the Redskins over the Bucs and other teams that were bidding for his services.
In an attempt to find a fourth defensive tackle to back up McCoy and replace Da’Quan Bowers, who served in that capacity last year, the Bucs are hosting another former Smith draft pick in Chicago, Henry Melton, today at One Buccaneer Place. He played last year in Dallas and recorded five sacks and two fumble recoveries. Melton has 20.5 sacks, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles in five NFL seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 after recording six sacks and two forced fumbles.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR’s Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons’ Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
Paea is a promising young DT but only as a nose tackle. We have two pretty good guys there in McDonald and Spence.
We need another 3 tech to spell Gerald McCoy as we saw what happened down the stretch last year. Bowers is gone and Melton, when healthy, is a former pro bowl DT.
Melton would be filling a need if he is signed.
Agree mac, Melton would be good insurance if McCoy goes down and as a backup. Need to build a good rotation on the D-Line.
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