The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the game’s best right tackles in All-Pro Tristan Wirfs. And unfortunately, the Buccaneers discovered just how rough life can be without Wirfs when he had to sit out the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams in January.
That’s because, Josh Wells, Wirfs’ replacement, was worked all throughout the game. Now, in Wells’ defense, he was dealing with his own ankle injury suffered the previous week against the Philadelphia Eagles. And, he re-aggravated that same injury during the game against the Rams.
At the same time, however, Wells has only been a serviceable backup, at best, throughout his career. It’s fair to say the Buccaneers could certainly use an upgrade when it comes to their 2022 swing tackle.
And when your quarterback is Tom Brady, it’s as important as ever to have top-quality offensive linemen on hand. Even when it comes to the depth positions.
Fortunately, there’s one future Hall of Famer out there in Jason Peters that is not only available, but willing to come in and play a backup role on a contending team.
“I’m looking for an up-and-coming offensive line [on a] good team or a playoff team,” Peters recently said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via NFL.com. “Either way is good for me because I can teach or I can sit back and listen and learn from other veterans of the game, too.”
“I don’t have a time frame,” he later added. “Whenever the opportunity comes, I am going to give it one more run at it. Try to get me another ring or pass on some knowledge to some of the young kids, up-and-coming. But I don’t have a time frame on when I’m gonna get signed. Last year was like two-and-a-half weeks into training camp. Whenever the time comes, I’ll be ready.”
Granted, Peters is 40-years-old, but 2021 was his best year, in a while. Per Pro Football Focus, Peters graded out as the sixth-best tackle (77.2) among tackles with at least 517 pass blocking snaps when protecting out of a true pass set. He also tied for the seventh-fewest pressures allowed (10) and finished 23rd in pass blocking efficiency (94.3).
Having Peters as a depth option is easily a win for the Buccaneers. And, he showed in 2021 he can still effectively handle a starter’s workload if either Wirfs or Donovan Smith go down for an extended period of time.
The fact Peters is willing to wait is good for the Buccaneers. They can see how Wells and the others are playing during camp and if they aren’t satisfied, they can bring Peters in to raise the stakes and hopefully, find a very solid swing tackle that can still play at a solid level.
And right now, the Buccaneers roster has 88 players. They still have to sign Cade Otton, so, technically the roster is at 89 players. But, that still means the Buccaneers have an open roster spot to add a player, if they desire to do so.
They have enough cap space to bring Peters in, as well. Peters cost the Chicago Bears $1.525 million in 2021, which is peanuts in the NFL.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Buccaneers make this move -or any other moves- in the coming weeks.
Featured image via Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports