NFL Free Agency Primer: Jamel Dean

The regular season has come to a close, and most teams have already begun the complicated process of preparing for the 2023 season. In the coming months, we'll be covering the impending free agents most capable of shifting the balance of power in the NFL.

The Player: Jamel Dean

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a disappointing 2022 regular season, but cornerback Jamel Dean held up his end of the bargain. The fourth-year defensive back started 15 games in his contract year, nabbing two interceptions and allowing an 86.0 passer rating on throws in his direction. He's been a consistent cover corner since entering the league in 2019, earning overall grades of 74.5 or better from Pro Football Focus in all four of his seasons. With a big body and ultra-elite physical tools, the sky is the limit for Dean.

The Fit:

Every team in the league needs athletic outside corners, and Dean has a physical profile that matches up well with big-bodied number-one wide receivers. With a skillset better suited to man than zone, Dean excels when given the opportunity to disrupt wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. He belongs on a pass defense in desperate need of a thorough rebuild with cap space to spare, like the Detroit Lions or Atlanta Falcons.

The Cost:

Whether or not to franchise tag Dean will be a difficult decision for the Buccaneers. They're entering an extended rebuild in the post-Tom Brady era and are already $55 million over the 2023 salary cap; it may be difficult to justify overextending to fit Dean onto the roster. If Dean hits unrestricted free agency, he's unlikely to reset a market that has cooled down in recent years. A deal between the three-year, $44.5 million contract signed by fellow Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis and the five-year, $82.5 million pact signed by J.C. Jackson last offseason would be a fair deal. 

Photo Credit: © Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports