According to multiple reports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a scheduled visit with veteran free agent cornerback Richard Sherman on Tuesday. Several teams have been aggressively pursuing Sherman per the report, but the defending Super Bowl champions will have the first (and possibly only) go at convincing the five-time Pro Bowler to join their ranks.
It’s safe to say Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians have realized they need more help at the cornerback position. These things sometimes become evident after a few games, and it's now clear that if the Buccaneers have a weakness on their roster, it's at cornerback. Tampa is coming off of a Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in which opposing quarterback Matthew Stafford encountered little resistance from the Buccaneers' secondary while completing 27-of-38 passes for a staggering 343 yards and four touchdowns. The Buccaneers had no answer for Cooper Kupp, who caught nine balls for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Even DeSean Jackson got in on the fun by totaling 120 yards and a score on just three catches.
Whether or not the Buccaneers should add Sherman to the fold is a bit more complicated than what appears on the surface. It's worth noting that Sherman had a troubled offseason that included an incident with Washington police in July of this year. If the Buccaneers are comfortable with their evaluation of Sherman’s mental health and are convinced this was an isolated incident, then they should give serious consideration to offering him a contract on Tuesday.
Adding Sherman to their secondary would represent a low-risk, high-reward type of addition for Tampa. The 33-year-old Sherman appeared in just five games with the San Francisco 49ers last season due to a calf injury but still looked capable of competing at a high level. Sherman will undoubtedly be anxious to get back on the field after hardly featuring a year ago and would look to build on an impressive resume that includes one Super Bowl ring, 115 passes defended, and 36 interceptions. If signed by the Buccaneers, Sherman would compete for playing time immediately. He would join a struggling cornerback group that currently has Sean Murphy-Bunting on injured reserve. Fellow starting cornerback Jamel Dean is dealing with a knee issue and his status going forward is unknown, adding further insult to injury to what's already a questionable unit.
Questions regarding the validity of Tampa's secondary isn't a knee-jerk reaction to their Week 3 loss. What occurred against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday wasn't an anomaly. It's the same group that allowed Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to rack up 403 passing yards and three touchdowns in a Week 1 win. In Week 2, an anemic Falcons offense accounted for 300 passing yards and two touchdowns while scoring a season-high 25 points. Tampa's issues defending the passing game date back to last season when they were an average-at-best unit that allowed 29 passing touchdowns and 3,945 yards through the air.
If Tampa is serious in their quest to secure their second straight Super Bowl in 2021, and I assure you they are, they need to leave no stone unturned when it comes to improving their secondary. Giving defensive coordinator Todd Bowles another weapon on the back end like Sherman could prove to be a smart investment.