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 yr.
Of the three gamers talked about, Dean has spent probably the most time as a starter and possibly has the least quantity of competitors round him to jeopardize his place.
Murphy-Bunting struggled within the slot final yr, prompting the Bucs to herald Logan Ryan. Edwards has an incredible alternative in his first yr as a full-time starter. But when he can’t alter 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 nicely.
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 concentrate on this yr? Or will Dean put it by the wayside and never let it’s a distraction till subsequent offseason? Dean answered that query Tuesday.
“I take advantage of it as motivation,” Dean mentioned. “As a result of I’m treating it as if this may very well be my final yr in all probability ever taking part in soccer once more. Can’t take something with no consideration so I bought to present 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 yr, it’s for actual now. Simply bought to enhance my recreation so I can finish this yr off word.”
They are saying well being is wealth, and that’s an enormous a part of the place the corners try to enhance this yr. 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 mistaken and I can higher going into this yr.”
A kind 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 yr. Davis solely had one decide in 2021, whereas Murphy-Bunting didn’t document 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 need to be within the high class in that. In order that’s why I’ve bought to enhance my psychological facet of the sport. And that’s why I’ve been benefiting from all of the OTA reps I can get simply to attempt to excellent my craft.”
And if Dean didn’t have sufficient motivation for the pay day, he can simply look over at his pal Davis. The 2 have recognized one another since highschool and performed faculty soccer collectively at Auburn. Davis bought 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 joyful for him,” Dean mentioned. “I truthfully may’ve cried as a result of that’s how joyful I used to be. I’ve seen the entire grind from highschool to varsity 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.”