With Free Agency officially beginning Wednesday afternoon, the Buccaneers have had a clear strategy over the past few days-“reward as many of our own that we can, first.”
Therefore, WR Mike Evans cashed in with his massive new five year contract that guarantees him $55 million. And, the Bucs are also bringing back tight end Cameron Brate with a new contract that guarantees him $18 million and DB Brent Grimes, who got a one year deal that can be worth up to $10 million.
Then Wednesday, the Bucs locked up another solid contributor/part time starter/special teams performer in bringing back safety Keith Tandy.
The team confirmed the move in the early afternoon:
We have re-signed safety @kytandy to a two-year contract.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) March 14, 2018
Tandy was originally a sixth round pick out of West Virigina, who had not played safety for the Mountaineers, but quickly adjusted in the NFL with the Bucs. He gradually saw significant playing time as a safety, and actually became the Bucs starter down the stretch of 2016, and Tandy led the team that year with four interceptions.
This included his game clinching INTs in the wins that year against the Saints and the Chargers.
Tandy now has 15 career starts at safety, but is better known as a “special teams hit-man,” on kickoff and punt coverage. And his 28 career special teams tackles lead all active Buccaneers.
While special teams is obviously not the sole focus of a franchise, it can play a significant role. The Buccaneers lost one of Tandy’s compatriots during last year’s free agency, when WR and ace special teams takckler, Russell Shepard, signed at this time in 2017 with the division rival Carolina Panthers. And the Bucs special teams suffered, including giving up a 106 yard kickoff return for a TD to New Orleans late in the year.
Back to Tandy, he’s a very popular player in the Bucs locker room and it’s obviously a goal of GM Jason Licht and coach Dirk Koetter to keep a corp of players, who like each other, and want to go to battle together, in tact.
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