ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are giving defensive coordinator Todd Bowles a new three-year contract. Though Bowles still had one year remaining, the new contract will entirely replace the old. The new deal does not preclude him from taking a head coaching job with another NFL club.
Does the sparkly new contract — which continues to make Bowles the highest-paid DC in the NFL — mean he’s next in line for the head coaching gig? For the sake of the Buccaneers, I hope not. Bowles is a smart man and should know by now that his strength is on defense.
Bowles, 57, has been named head coach twice in his 10-year coaching career, once with the Miami Dolphins and again with the New York Jets. He fell into the Dolphins job in Week 15 after Tony Sparano was given his walking papers. Bowles being named interim HC that deep into the 2011 season could lead one to think a permanent promotion was never in the cards. The Phins finished the season 2-1 under Bowles; good for third in the AFC South.
The Jets stint yielded less-than-stellar results. Bowles was given 64 games to turn around a franchise that was a combined 26-38 in the four years prior, and he just couldn’t hack it. In fact, the Jets got worse with each new season and Bowles was fired in 2018.
The following season, Todd Bowles inherited a defense that was one of the worst in the NFL. The DC worked his magic and the opposite of what happened with the Jets occurred in Tampa — the Bucs went from 27th to 4th in two seasons.
Coaching up the D is where clearly Bowles belongs. Perhaps an up-and-comer like Byron Leftwich should be heir to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throne after Bruce Arians heads back to the golf course for good.
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