Under the terms of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, all teams must decide whether they'll pick up the fifth-year option on any rookie contracts the offseason before the player's fourth season begins. With the 2019 deadline of May 3 looming, the team made its move Wednesday, giving it control over Hargreaves through the 2020 season. The UF product has struggled with both injuries and play through his first three pro campaigns. However, he's received a vote of confidence from new head coach Bruce Arians due to Hargreaves' successful college track record with the press coverage that new coordinator Todd Bowles' scheme largely calls for.
Hargreaves will be playing press coverage much more often and lining up exclusively on the outside in new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles' 3-4 scheme, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. "It's everything that I do. It's kind of like taking me back to college," Hargreaves said of the new scheme, which is more aggressive than the read-and-react system favored by former defensive coordinator Mike Smith. "It's that same scheme [as the Florida Gators used] -- blitz the quarterback, man-to-man on the outside and let's get after it."
The 11th overall pick in 2016, Hargreaves has fallen short of his draft pedigree over his first three NFL seasons. A shoulder injury cost him all but one game in 2018, while a hamstring issue limited him to nine contests in 2017. A large part of the the 23-year-old's struggles might well trace back to former defensive coordinator Mike Smith's scheme, which called for Hargreaves to play an off-coverage style that was the antithesis of the physical press coverage he excelled at in college. Reverting back to an approach in which he's enjoyed success could lead to better results, a notion supported by the fact Hargreaves snagged 10 interceptions in three college seasons while consistently jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage.
Hargreaves, who played only one game last season due to a shoulder injury, has progressed through surgery and rehab without setbacks and appears to have fully recovered. The 2016 first-round pick projects to play a key role at outside cornerback in 2019.
Arians' defensive gameplan appears to include limiting Hargreaves to the outside, which could allow the 23-year-old to hone in on improving upon his inconsistent play. Hargreaves' career has been derailed by injuries since his rookie season, as the 2016 first-round pick has played only 10 games over the last two season, including one game in 2018. Though Hargreaves appears in line for a key role in Tampa Bay's secondary, he will likely remain off the fantasy radar unless he can increase his interception rate of just one in 26 career games.
Tampa Bay made the decision to shut down Hargreaves after he received a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews early Wednesday. Though the details surrounding Hargreaves' condition aren't completely clear, it's likely that Hargreaves was recommended to undergo surgery after sustaining what was believed to be a labrum tear in the Buccaneers' season-opening win over the Saints, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. The Buccaneers signed cornerback Marcus Williams on Tuesday to fortify their depth at the position with Hargreaves set to miss at least eight weeks -- if not the entire season -- with the shoulder issue.
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||76||68.0||8||0||1||0||0.0||0||0||9|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||9||42||37.0||5||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||5|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||7||6.0||1||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||1|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||5||0||29||5.8||12||0||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||9||0||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||0||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||9||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|