The Buccaneers will have a key component of Cardinals Southeast in the fold. Todd Bowles will, in fact, choose Tampa Bay over Chicago.
Bowles and the Bucs worked out offset language in his contract, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link), adding the recently fired Jets coach will become the Bucs’ defensive coordinator.
A possible Bruce Arians-Bowles reunion had been planned for around six weeks, assuming the Jets did follow through on firing the latter and that the former received a head coaching job, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets.
Arians will be taking Bowles, Byron Leftwich and Harold Goodwin with him to Tampa Bay. More former Arizona assistants may well be en route. But when the Broncos hired Vic Fangio to be their head coach, Bowles — who has known Matt Nagy for decades — the Bears entered the equation. However, Bowles will be following Arians, leaving the Bears with a DC vacancy.
One of those assistants will be former Jets DC Kacy Rodgers, per Mehta (on Twitter). Rodgers will coach the Bucs’ defensive line. Bowles tabbed Rodgers to follow him for more than a month, Mehta notes. Rodgers dealt with health concerns this year but returned to the Jets’ sideline shortly after taking a leave of absence. He does not have a history with Arians, coming to the Jets from Miami when Bowles was hired.
Bowles will replace Mike Smith as Tampa Bay’s full-time DC. He oversaw two top-10 defenses in Arizona before taking the New York HC job. After a brief period of uncertainty, the 55-year-old coach can again go light on winter-gear packing.