Tampa Bay Buccaneers Are Suddenly Thin at Defensive Tackle

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IFebruary 16, 2012

Jason Jones putting the smack down on Josh Freeman.
Jason Jones putting the smack down on Josh Freeman.Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Truth be told, this Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese.

Maybe more.

With the release of Albert Haynesworth, the Bucs are suddenly really, really thin at the defensive tackle position.

Let's review what we've got.

First, you have the NFL's most overpaid player in 2011—one Gerald McCoy—who pocketed $12.8 million last year. All you McCoy lovers can go ahead and make a list of what he did to earn that.

Second, we have the still-recovering Brian Price, who needs to be fully recovered this year.

Who else? You've got Frank Okam and Roy Miller. Jovan Haye is a free agent.


Don't be surprised at all if the Bucs bring Haynesworth back, provided he's willing to play for about $2 million. The demand won't be that high for him. He did okay considering he never got into shape and with OTAs and training camp, it would be a low risk move to bring him back at the lower salary number.

Now, where were we?

Before you all go nuts and tell us how much the Bucs need to sign Mario Williams, figure out first the tackle positions. Stare at those names and tell us you feel really comfortable.

Thought so.

So while we mull over the impending free agency shopping spree that Mark Dominik has hinted at, here's a really good tackle who is available:

Jason Jones, Tennessee Titans.

Jones was moved to defensive end last year and he wasn't all that productive. He's more suited to be a tackle.

He's 6-5, 276 and only 25 years old, fits right into this team's mold.

Now, back to Mario Williams.

Sure it would be great to have him on the roster. When you look at the depth chart, defensive end isn't all that impressive. You have Adrian Claiborne and Da'Quan Bowers in there as the two starters. After that, you've got Michael Bennett and two guys named Daniel Te'o Nesheim and Nick Reed. Who the heck are they?

Again, one more time, sure it would be great to have Williams but you've drafted two would-be studs so that you don't have to go after Williams. Some team out there will have a greater perceived need at defensive end and pay him, it's that simple.

Here's a nice alternative to Williams—how about Robert Mathis from the Indianapolis Colts? Great player and won't command Williams money. How about him?

There is a huge depth of defensive tackle and ends available and don't be surprised if the Bucs find some nice second- and third-tier guys.

Here's a list for your perusal, check it over, play Mark Dominik and get back to me.