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4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback options

Vincent Frank

The short-handed Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply couldn’t contain Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday’s big Week 3 NFL matchup.

With Sean Murphy-Bunting sidelined to an elbow injury and after watching Jamel Dean go down with a knee injury, it became clear that the defending champs just didn’t have the bodies to keep up with Stafford.

Making his third start as a member of the Rams, Stafford completed 27-of-38 passes for 343 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the 34-24 win. He also connected with DeSean Jackson on a 75-yard touchdown, putting fear in to the rest of the NFC.

As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they had to rely on the likes of Ross Cockrell, Dee Delaney and Carlton Davis to get it done. Needless to say, that’s not a recipe for success. Following their first loss of the season, we look at four cornerback options for the Buccaneers moving forward.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign Richard Sherman

Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign Richard Sherman
Dec 16, 2018; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman (25) warms up before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

“We’ve got to see,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians recently said regarding Sherman. “Just a matter of I coach the ones we got and let (Licht) handle the rest of that. We’ll kick the tires on some other guys, too. … If it’s the right fit, we’ll move on it.”

Of all the options, this might make the most sense. Sherman, 33, remains unsigned after an offseason arrest on domestic violence charges. While the four-time Pro Bowler might face a suspension from the NFL once he is signed, a momentary lapse in judgement doesn’t discount what he’s done off the field throughout his decade in the league. Sherman wants to join a contender. The Bucs are defending champs and need help at corner. You can do the math here.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade for C.J. Henderson

tampa bay buccaneers trade for c.j. henderson
Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback C.J. Henderson (23) intercepts an early second-quarter pass by Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17). The half ended with the Colts with a 17 to 14 lead over the Jaguars. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Indianapolis Colts for the season-opening game at TIAA Bank Field Sunday, September 13, 2020. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

Ahead of Week 1, rumors persisted that the Jacksonville Jaguars’ new brass was not sold on this 2020 top-10 pick. The likes of Tre Herndon and Shaquill Griffin have remained ahead of Henderson on the depth chart for a Jags team that’s now lost 18 consecutive games. In fact, Henderson played just 30 snaps in a Week 2 loss to the Denver Broncos. Why wouldn’t Tampa Bay want to take a chance that the 22-year-old Florida native might turn it around in his home state?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign Quinton Dunbar

tampa bay buccaneers sign quinton dunbar
Oct 25, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar (22) and defensive end L.J. Collier (91) react against the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

Recently released by the Detroit Lions, Dunbar might end up being the best low-cost option for Tampa Bay. In fact, the team might look to add another corner in a trade if it is able to sign the 29-year-old veteran. From 2017-20 with Washington and Seattle, this former undrafted free agent recorded 30 passes defended and eight interceptions. While he’s taken a step back recently, that ball-hawking ability would come in handy for Tampa.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade for Stephon Gilmore

Stephon GIlmore
Oct 18, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) wears a mask prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors about the New England Patriots potentially trading this former NFL Defensive Player of the Year just won’t die down. That’s magnified by the fact he was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list immediately ahead of Week 1. Set to come off said list some time ahead of the NFL trade deadline, it would not be a shock if Tampa Bay kicked the tires on Gilmore. It would likely cost a higher-round pick, but he’s that difference-maker the team seeks. Over the course of his four seasons with New England, Gilmore has registered 52 passes defended and 11 interceptions.