Anthony Nelson will sign a second Buccaneers contract. The young edge rusher is staying in Tampa on a two-year deal, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.
The former fourth-round pick has become a solid complementary rusher for the team, racking up 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He will stick around alongside Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.
Barrett is coming off an Achilles tear, leading to Nelson’s first extended run in Tampa Bay’s starting lineup. The veteran sack artist’s injury made retaining Nelson more important for a Bucs team that, despite a Saints-level cap situation entering March, has found room to retain both Nelson and cornerback Jamel Dean.
A number of other veteran defenders’ futures are currently in doubt in Tampa Bay, a team which is due to see a substantial overhaul in spite of their success in keeping a key member of their pass rush in Nelson. The 26-year-old put up similar numbers to the 2021 season in terms of pressures and QB hits this season, in spite of the substantial increase in playing time.
That could mean his statistical ceiling has essentially been met, but his success in a rotational role, coupled with his age, makes a short-term deal a logical priority for the NFC South champions. Barrett is on the books for another two seasons, while Tryon-Shoyinka is likewise set to have his rookie contract expire after the 2024 season. They, along with Nelson, will now be linked financially as the mainstays of the Bucs’ edge group.
Tampa Bay still sits in a worse financial situation than most teams at the moment, after their numerous cost-cutting moves leading up to this week. Their success in retaining both Dean and Nelson is noteworthy, however, and will give the team some continuity on defense regardless of what happens in the coming days.