For the second time in three years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have recognized the value that safety Keith Tandy brings to the roster by extending a new contract offer. On Wednesday, Tandy visited One Buccaneer Place to sign a two-year deal, just as he did in March of 2016. His most recent contract comes just hours before he was due to become an unrestricted free agent.
As General Manager Jason Licht noted on Tuesday, the Buccaneers have put a premium on retaining their own homegrown success stories, in preparation for subsequently adding to the roster through free agency. That comment was in regard to the recent re-signings of key offensive pieces Mike Evans and Cam Brate, but Tandy is one of those success stories from even farther back. A fifth-round draft pick in 2012, he joins Lavonte David as the only two remaining players from that class still with the team. While Evans and Brate just got their important second deals with the team, Tandy is now on his third.
The Buccaneers continued to be motivated to bring back the West Virginia product because he continues to produce, season after season, whether it be in the secondary or on special teams. Last year, for instance, some nagging injuries limited Tandy from being as involved in the safety rotation as originally expected, but he still was one of the Bucs' core special-teamers, finishing second on the team with eight kick-coverage stops. He also turned in 18 tackles on defense.
Tandy went into the 2017 season as a starter after finishing the previous campaign with a flurry. Starting the last five games of 2016 after an injury to Chris Conte, Tandy rang up 45 tackles, four interceptions and seven passes defensed in that span. His four picks tied for the most among all NFL players and his tackle and passes defensed totals equaled the most by any safety in that span.
In all, Tandy has played in 84 games with 15 starts since joining the Buccaneers. His career totals include 156 tackles, eight interceptions, 14 passes defensed, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and one sack. He has played in all but five games over the past five seasons and has two different campaigns in which he has started at least five contests.
Prior to 2016, Tandy's longest stretch as a starter came in 2013, his second year, when he opened five games. Once again, he was very productive with his share of playing time, recording 40 tackles, three interceptions and a forced fumble.
Recent moves have allowed the Buccaneers to maintain some depth at safety, despite the expected departure of T.J. Ward in free agency. The team previously exercised a 2018 option year on Conte's contract and now has Tandy back in place beside promising 2017 rookie Justin Evans, a second-round draft choice. Those moves give the Buccaneers more flexibility heading into free agency and the draft.