It is a large “show it” season for a lot of Bucs gamers that need a second contract. A lot of these gamers occur to be in Tampa Bay’s secondary with cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting and security Mike Edwards all getting into a contract 12 months.
Of the three gamers talked about, Dean has spent essentially the most time as a starter and doubtless has the least quantity of competitors round him to jeopardize his place.
Murphy-Bunting struggled within the slot final 12 months, prompting the Bucs to herald Logan Ryan. Edwards has an incredible alternative in his first 12 months as a full-time starter. But when he can’t modify to the rise in taking part in time, Tampa Bay additionally has Keanu Neal as an insurance coverage coverage. Plus, Ryan can play there as effectively.
That leaves Dean with competitors akin to reserve nook Dee Delaney, a former undrafted free agent, and rookie fifth-round decide Zyon McCollum out of Sam Houston. Lengthy story brief, solely Dean can cease himself from incomes a second contract.
Is it one thing that he’ll take into consideration and give attention to this 12 months? Or will Dean put it by the wayside and never let or not it’s a distraction till subsequent offseason? Dean answered that query Tuesday.
“I exploit it as motivation,” Dean mentioned. “As a result of I’m treating it as if this might be my final 12 months in all probability ever taking part in soccer once more. Can’t take something without any consideration so I received to provide it my all.”
This has truly been part of Dean’s routine since final season.
“I did in direction of just like the second half of the season,” Dean mentioned. “However this 12 months, it’s for actual now. Simply received to enhance my recreation so I can finish this 12 months off a great observe.”
They are saying well being is wealth, and that’s an enormous a part of the place the corners are attempting to enhance this 12 months. Dean missed two video games final season whereas additionally leaving two others – at Los Angeles and at Indianapolis – very early. Carlton Davis III missed seven video games and Murphy-Bunting missed eight among the many starters.
“Primarily taking the offseason severe sufficient to get our physique ready for the season,” Dean mentioned on how they will take the subsequent step. “And in addition simply put my recreation mentally, going again to what we did incorrect and I can higher going into this 12 months.”
A type of areas the place all three cornerbacks want extra work is selecting off passes. Dean has simply 5 interceptions in three seasons, together with a pair final 12 months. Davis solely had one decide in 2021, whereas Murphy-Bunting didn’t report a single INT.
“That’s in all probability the place I’ve actually been missing is the interceptions,” Dean mentioned. “One or two a season – that’s not sufficient in comparison with gamers which are getting 5 to 11. I at all times wish to be within the high class in that. In order that’s why I’ve received to enhance my psychological side of the sport. And that’s why I’ve been benefiting from all of the OTA reps I can get simply to attempt to good my craft.”
And if Dean didn’t have sufficient motivation for the pay day, he can simply look over at his good friend Davis. The 2 have recognized one another since highschool and performed faculty soccer collectively at Auburn. Davis received his contract this offseason, and it’s proof that the work could be put in to get his personal.
“I advised him I used to be glad for him,” Dean mentioned. “I truthfully may’ve cried as a result of that’s how glad I used to be. I’ve seen the entire grind from highschool to school to the NFL – it’s inspiration for me. I’ve seen you do it, [so] now I do know I’m able to doing it too.”