2012 NFL Free Agents: Ronde Barber's Return Gives Buccaneers More Options

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IMarch 22, 2012

Ronde Barber can still be a big contributor to the Bucs.
Ronde Barber can still be a big contributor to the Bucs.Marc Serota/Getty Images

Apparently after spending countless nights tossing and turning, Ronde Barber came to the conclusion that you can always use an extra $4 million or $3 million or even $2 million—whatever it is he and Mark Dominik have shaken on.

The return of Ronde Barber also proves that money can make you overlook a lot of things. You may recall that Ronde was the one beating the drum the loudest when Raheem Morris' neck was on the line and threatened retirement if his guy was fired.

So much for that.

Ronde's back and let's sit back a minute here and explore how this affects the current State of the Union over there at One Schiano Place.

First, it's great to have a veteran player like Barber on the roster. He's still got some gas in the tank. Though it may not be as a full-time starter, Barber can play the nickel back position probably as well as anyone, even at the advanced age of 37. He's crafty, he's a great blitzer, can cover tight ends—basically Ronde's still got skills.

Good deal.

Second, with the signing of Eric Wright, there is some more stability back there. He's no world-beater, he's solid and certainly head and shoulders above guys named Myron Lewis, Elbert Mack and E.J. Biggers.

Third, things may really be looking up for Aqib Talib. His trial will start April 16 and there will be resolution prior to the draft. The latest twist in that soap opera is that the man Talib allegedly fired a weapon at was arrested recent on child molestation charges. Take that into consideration and perhaps Talib should be receiving a medal rather than going on trial.

If Talib is found innocent, then that goes a long way when the hanging-commish, Roger Goodell, surveys the results.

No suspension for Talib would put the Bucs in even better shape, which now makes us pull the $64 million question out of the hat: With Barber back, Talib potentially found innocent and Eric Wright signed, do the Bucs desperately need to draft Morris Claiborne?

Let's throw something at you here.

There are some really good corner prospects available after Claiborne, guys the Bucs could get later in the selection process. For example, Janoris Jenkins from North Alabama, Stephon Gilmore from South Carolina and my favorite, Josh Robinson, who played close to Tampa over there at UCF. He was the fastest man at the combine.

Options, especially the Alabama-loving, Crimson-wearing crowd that espouses Trent Richardson to be the second coming of a cross between Emmitt Smith and Adrian Peterson.

Whatever the thinking in regards to the draft, it's nice to see that the Bucs have more options.

Now that Ronde wrestled his way to that decision, maybe he can get some sleep and get ready for the upcoming season. This team is better with him, even if it's just for one more year.