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2023 Buccaneers Free Agent Focus: Carl Nassib

OLB Carl Nassib, who has 16.0 sacks in 42 games as a Buccaneer and 9.5 sacks in his other 57 NFL outings, is one of three edge rushers from Tampa Bay's 2022 squad set to become free agents on Wednesday afternoon

Carl Nassib

Carl Nassib has played three of his seven NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but he's only spent one offseason at the AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa. That's because both times he joined the team, he did so relatively late in the year.

Nassib first came to the Buccaneers as a waiver claim on September 3, 2018 after he was unexpectedly cut by the Cleveland Browns after two seasons. It was a good acquisition for the Bucs, as Nassib put together two productive seasons before earning a multi-year deal with the Raiders in free agency in 2020.

Nassib's return to Tampa was in mid-August this past year, as the Bucs sought depth at the outside linebacker position after Cam Gill suffered a season-ending injury in training camp. Again, Nassib proved to be a quality addition, adding depth and a high-motor approach to the Bucs' edge rush rotation, though he had some injury issues of his own during the final month of the regular season.

So, could Nassib sign with the Buccaneers early in the league year for the first time in 2023. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent at 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday along with fellow outside linebackers Anthony Nelson and Genard Avery. The Buccaneers have Shaquil Barrett (returning from an Achilles tendon injury) and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka under contract at the outside linebacker position, while Gill will either be a restricted free agent or a free agent available to all teams. One way or another, the Buccaneers will be looking to add some depth on the edges of their defensive front; would a return of Nassib be part of the plan.

That's a question for the weeks ahead as free agency begins and fates are decided for the 22 pending unrestricted free agents the Bucs have from last year's roster (not counting the retired Tom Brady). Clearly, the Bucs have a lot to sort through as the new league year looms and close to two dozen players are very close to becoming unrestricted free agents.

Roster turnover from season to season is a given in the NFL and it's certain that the Bucs won't be able to retain all of those potential free agents, but they will surely try to retain as much talent as possible, especially homegrown talent. And so, in the weeks leading up to the start of the new league year, we are looking at 10 players who are currently poised to become unrestricted free agents. This is the full schedule of our 2023 Free Agent Focus rundown:

February 15: WR Julio Jones

February 17: ILB Lavonte David

February 22: OLB Anthony Nelson

February 24: CB Jamel Dean

March 1: S Mike Edwards

March 3: DL Will Gholston

March 10: DL Akiem Hicks

March 13: S Logan Ryan

March 15: OLB Carl Nassib

As our Free Agent Focus rundown comes to an end, we look at a hard-working veteran who has provided quality depth on defense for the Bucs in three of the last five seasons.

Player: Carl Nassib

Position: Outside Linebacker

Age at the Start of the 2023 Season: 30

Experience: Entering eighth NFL season

How Acquired: Signed as a free agent in August of 2022

Previous Contract(s): Started his career on the standard four-year contract given to all draft picks outside the first round (the Buccaneers inherited the final two years of that deal when they claimed him off waivers from the Browns, who had selected Nassib in the third round in 2016). Signed a three-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2020, a deal that was then renegotiated in 2021. Signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers in August of 2022 after being released by the Raiders with one year left on his deal.

Rank in Pro Football Focus Top 100 NFL Free Agents for 2023: Not listed.

2022 Performance: Nassib played in 13 games with one start for the Buccaneers during the regular season, logging a total of 251 defensive snaps. As part of a four-man OLB rotation with Barrett, Nelson and Tryon-Shoyinka for the first half of the season, he generally played between 15 and 20 snaps a game, though his role increased to about 30 snaps a game in the second half of the season when Barrett went down with his Achilles tendon injury. Nassib's growing play time was interrupted by a pectoral injury that cost him the last four games of the regular season. He returned to play 25 snaps in the playoff loss to Dallas.

In all, Nassib contributed 23 tackles, six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six quarterbacks his and three passes defensed. Despite relatively limited playing time he finished tied for fifth on the team in tackles for loss and sixth in sacks. He was coming on strong with his increase of playing time in late November and early December before being interrupted by his pec injury; in a three-game span from Week 12 to Week 14 Nassib contributed seven tackles, four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits and two passes defensed. He added two tackles and a tackle for loss against the Cowboys in the Wild Card round.

Career Accomplishments: Nassib played two seasons in Cleveland after being selected with the second pick of the third round (65th overall) in the 2016 draft, emerging as a starter in 2017. Overall he played two seasons for the Browns, starting 15 of 30 games and recording 52 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback hits.

Nassib found a good fit in Tampa after he was claimed off waivers in 2018. He immediately posted a career-high 6.5 sacks despite not moving into the starting lineup until Week Six. In his very first start for the Bucs, fittingly against Cleveland, he recorded two sacks in a 26-23 Tampa Bay victory. Nassib had another 6.0 sacks in 2019 while starting eight of the 14 games in which he played. His second stint in Tampa is detailed above, but overall Nassib has 16.0 sacks in 42 games for the Buccaneers and 9.5 in 57 other contests for the Browns and Raiders.

Overall, Nassib has played in 99 regular-season NFL games with 38 starts. He has recorded 187 tackles, 25.5 sacks, 45 tackles for loss, 59 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one interception and 19 passes defensed.

Other Potential Free Agent Edge Rushers: Marcus Davenport (Saints), Yannick Ngakoue (Colts), Charles Omenihu (49ers), Samson Ebukam (49ers), Jadeveon Clowney (Browns), Brandon Graham (Eagles), Kyle Van Noy (Chargers), Arden Key (Jaguars), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Texans), Melvin Ingram (Dolphins), Justin Houston (Ravens), Lorenzo Carter (Falcons)

Top EDGE Prospects in 2023 NFL Draft: Will Anderson (Alabama), Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech), Myles Murphy (Clemson), Nolan Smith (Georgia), Lukas Van Ness (Iowa), Keion White (Georgia Tech), B.J. Ojulari (LSU), Will McDonald (Iowa State), Laiatu Latu (UCLA), Jared Verse (Florida State), Andre Carter (Army), Zach Harrison (Ohio State), Felix Anudike-Uzomah (Kansas State), Tuli Tuipulotu (USC)

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