Bucs lose Safety Bradley McDougald in free agency to Seahawks

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Given a choice between re-signing either of their two starting safeties – Bradley McDougald or Chris Conte – most Buccaneers fans probably would have chosen McDougald.

The Bucs, on the other hand, chose to re-sign Conte, much to the consternation of many of their faithful followers. Now, the Seahawks have taken advantage.

After a journey through free agency that probably lasted a lot longer than he hoped or possibly even expected, McDougald signed a one-year, $2 million with Seattle on Wednesday.

It’s one of those prove-it deals that aren’t all that out of the ordinary these days, but it allows the Seahawks to fill a void at a spot where they were once very strong.

As for the Bucs, the writing was on the wall for McDougald from the moment the Bucs signed J.J. Wilcox in free agency, but you get the feeling the Bucs may have another move in mind here.

Their top three safeties are now Conte, Wilcox and Keith Tandy, and no one in that group is considered elite, which makes you wonder if the Bucs aren’t targeting someone in the draft.

The Bucs aren’t likely to have a shot at either Ohio State’s Malik Hooker or Jamal Adams of LSU but there’s a good chance Jabrill Peppers of Michigan will still be around when their first pick comes up at No. 19 overall.

Some may consider that to be too high for a hybrid player like Peppers but he would add some more playmaking skill to the Bucs secondary and could possibly play a little linebacker for them as well.

The Bucs may also have their eye on Obi Melifonwu of Connecticut, Justin Evans of Texas A&M or Marcus Williams of Utah, any of whom could still be around when their second pick comes up.

It’s a deep safety class this year and the loss of McDougald likely means the Bucs will dip into that class somewhere along the line and probably sooner rather than later.

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