Things have not gone well for Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting over the past calendar year.

Coming off a historical postseason, Murphy-Bunting was expected to evolve into the cornerback the Buccaneers envisioned when they took him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Things didn’t shake out as expected in 2021, however. In fact, they never really got off to a start. SMB dislocated his elbow against the Dallas Cowboys in the season opener and proceeded to miss the next eight games.

Murphy-Bunting struggled upon his return to action, as well, and he was especially bad in the postseason. SMB’s bad year became even worse after he fell down covering Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp in the playoffs, which set up the deep shot that led to Matt Gay’s game-winning field goal.

The fresh slate that is the 2022 season hasn’t done Murphy-Bunting any favors so far, either. He lost his job to teammates Jamel Dean and Antoine Winfield Jr. over the summer. While the coaches say his loss to Dean was a close one, it still strikes a chord that SMB lost both his starting outside and inside responsibilities.

The situation then became even worse on Sunday night against the Cowboys. SMB wasn’t on the field for a single defensive snap, despite the Cowboys deploying 11 personnel for the majority of the night. Instead of going with SMB, Carlton Davis III, Jamel Dean, Logan Ryan, and Winfield Jr. in nickel packages, the Buccaneers ran with CDIII, Dean, Ryan, Winfield Jr., and safety Mike Edwards. All five players were on the field for at least 83% of the team’s defensive snaps.

This is not a good look for SMB. Granted, Todd Bowles’ usage of the secondary could be strictly game plan-oriented, but to not get on the field for a single defensive snap after being the incumbent starter for the last three years does not bode well for SMB’s future in Tampa Bay.

Especially when considering 2022 is the last year of his rookie deal.

There’s still time to reverse course and make this uphill climb, but it’s clear the clock is ticking in Tampa Bay for Murphy-Bunting.

Featured image via Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports