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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs continue locking up young players- extend Hargreaves

Florida Football Insiders

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers continue to remain committed to their young players, and on Wednesday night and the eve of the 2019 NFL Draft, they have extended the contract of their 2016 number one pick, Vernon Hargreaves.

The team announced the move on their website that Hargreaves fifth year option of his rookie contract would be picked up:

Hargreaves struggled in his rookie season under new offensive coordinator Mike Smith’s scheme and was eventually demoted to playing slot corner. And, that meant not regularly chasing receivers downfield. The former Florida Gator star, had more inconsistent play and eventually, a hamstring injury that ended his 2017 season early.

Tampa Bay had high hopes for Hargraves is third year after a good training camp, but he was injured, again, in the opening game with the New Orleans Saints. Hargreaves eventually required surgery on his shoulder and missed the remainder of the regular season on injured reserve.

Needless to say, that resume is underwhelming and has many wondering, if Hargreaves wasn’t a mistake as a first-round pick?

He will now get an opportunity under a new coaching staff, including new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. It is believed that he will run a much more aggressive scheme, including defensive backs playing more “press coverage” up on the line of scrimmage. It remains to be seen how well Hargraves will fit into and succeed in that kind of system.

The Bucs picking up that fifth year option means of Hargreaves’ price tag will be just over $14 million for 2020.

Tampa Bay did the same thing with quarterback Jameis Winston and picking up his fifth year option for this season.

They continued their youth movement by giving new contracts last season to 2015 second round pick offensive lineman Ali Marpet. And his linemate and fellow second round pick from the same draft, Donovan Smith, cashed in with a huge new deal this past March to remain in Tampa Bay, also.

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