Six Safeties the Buccaneers Could Target in Free Agency


The free agent safety market is plentiful. The list of quality starting safeties that the Buccaneers could potentially sign to line up next to Antoine Winfield, Jr. is long, and while the position isn’t the most important priority for the Bucs this offseason (pass rush!), they currently have AWJ and… uh, no one else at the safety position. 

The draft will be a great place to draft a third (and fourth) safety to fill out the roster, but that doesn’t mean the Bucs can’t bring in one (or 2) of the veteran free agent options available. 

Some of them might be out of the Bucs’ price range, and while that’s difficult to anticipate, there’s no reason we can’t have some fun listing some great options the Bucs could explore signing. 

We’ll start with a familiar face that makes the most sense for both sides. 

Jordan Whitehead

The former Pittsburgh man has spent the past few seasons in New York, roaming the field as a hard-hitting safety who can (on occasion) break up a few passes too. His 68.1 PFF grade for the year in the 2023-2024 season was a solid number, and assuming he can keep up that level of production would be a pretty sizable upgrade over Ryan Neal.

Whitehead would likely be a bit more on the medium end of the price spectrum, with most projections having him earning from $5-$7 million a year on his next deal, and since he’s only going to be 27 he could be more of a multi-year option. Not ideal to be spending close to $30 million on the safety position when you combine that figure with AWJ’s likely earnings, but gotta spend money to make money, and reuniting the Grave Digger Super Bowl secondary would be a hoot. 

Kevin Byard

After a disappointing end to the season with the Eagles following his trade from the Tennessee Titans in mid-season, Byard is hitting the market as a savvy veteran who could use a bounce-back season on a talented defense. Hey, that’d be pretty good for the Bucs, right? Despite his perceived drop-off in Philly, Byard still managed an overall 74 PFF grade while racking up 88 solo tackles and a forced fumble and interception each. He’s entering his age 31 season and Spotrac has him at around $7.5 million, although with the influx of quality safeties from the past few days that number could go down as the offseason progresses. He’d be a nice 1-year option for the Bucs. 

Jordan Poyer

Poyer formed a dynamic duo with other former Bill safety Micah Hyde for quite a long time, providing some stellar Bills defenses over the years with a great back end. Now, the Oregon State man is hitting the open market in his age 33 season and is coming off a 73 PFF grade year. Poyer would be a great 1-year guy who could be a good leader in a defense that is going through some changes. The Buccaneers could sign Poyer and be comfortable with a durable, experienced option while developing a future starter through the draft. Poyer carries a chip on his shoulder as a former 7th rounder, and despite his draft status, he’s carved out an excellent career that could continue in the warm weather of Tampa Bay. 

Rayshawn Jenkins

So maybe the Bucs want to sign a 1-year guy who’s also going to be cheap, but can be a quality starter/depth piece. Jenkins is perfect for that. He had an OK season last year in Jacksonville with a couple of picks for the year and getting a 60.9 PFF grade overall. He’d be fine; not super exciting, but also (hopefully) not quite Ryan Neal-level awful. 

Jordan Fuller

The good news? Fuller is only 26, he had a really nice season in LA where he was a captain, and he earned a 66.7 PFF grade overall. The bad news? Because Fuller is going to be one of the younger options on the FA market, he might be able to command a bit more money over a few more years. If the Buccaneers were to sign Fuller, it’d likely be for at least 2 or 3 years and it’d mean committing to him as the starter for the foreseeable future. But, that could be a good thing too; his career hasn’t been unproductive, he played all 17 games last year, and he’d be a solid starter to pencil in (hopefully) next to AWJ for a while. 

Mike Edwards

I was going to stop at 5 players, but Edwards is a fun little inclusion to the list, because he’s not likely to be signed with the idea of him being a starter or anything; he didn’t start for Kansas City very often last year (only 5 games), but he has a familiarity with the Bucs and Todd Bowles that is valuable. He could be reunited with Jordan Whitehead (mentioned above) and give the Buccaneers those 3 quality safeties that won a Super Bowl with the team a few years ago. Not a bad idea. 

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