The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' very young secondary suddenly has a significant veteran presence.
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers signed five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman to help a defense that will be without starting corner Sean Murphy-Bunting for the foreseeable future. Sherman became an unrestricted free agent in March after his third season with the San Francisco 49ers but hadn't signed before the season as he sought the right opportunity.
Tampa Bay's pass defense ranks 32nd in the NFL after three games, although some of that has to do with volume as they've faced an average of 47 passes per outing. The Bucs are 17th in yards allowed per pass play. That defense also could be missing cornerback Jamel Dean, who sustained a knee injury in Los Angeles on Sunday and missed the last three quarters of the game against the Rams.
The move to add Sherman, whose most recent Pro Bowl season was in 2019, is reminiscent to the Buccaneers' aggressive roster building in 2020 on their way to victory in Super Bowl LV. After adding Tom Brady in March, General Manager Jason Licht continued to take advantage of opportunities to add such players as Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette and Antonio Brown, all of whom became key contributors. Tampa Bay's across-the-board roster depth became critical in chasing that title.
Sherman's first run of dominant play came in Seattle, where he was one of the main stars in the Seahawks' 'Legion of Boom' defense. A fifth-round draft pick out of Stanford in 2011, Sherman quickly moved into the starting lineup as a rookie and contributed four interceptions and 17 passes defensed. He began a run of three straight Associated Press First Team All-Pro honors the next year and recorded two straight eight-interception seasons. Sherman made the Pro Bowl with Seattle every year from 2013-16 while leading the NFL in passes defensed in 2012 and interceptions in 2013.
Overall, Sherman has played in 139 regular season games with 133 starts, though a calf injury limited him to five contests last year in San Francisco. He has recorded career totals of 484 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 36 interceptions (three returned for touchdowns), 115 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries. His 36 interceptions since 2011 leads all NFL players in that span, and his 115 passes defensed ranks fourth.
View pictures from cornerback Richard Sherman's NFL career thus far.
Sherman also has extensive postseason experience, making it to the playoffs in six of his first 10 seasons and appearing in 15 total postseason contests. His Seahawks advanced to the Super Bowl at the end of the 2013 and 2014 seasons, winning Super Bowl XLVIII over Denver before falling to Tom Brady's Patriots the following year. Sherman has four career playoff interceptions and 12 passes defensed.