TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially hired Brentson Buckner as their new defensive line coach, taking over a unit that finished dead last in the NFL with 22 sacks in 2017.
Buckner spent the past five seasons as the defensive line coach for the Arizona Cardinals, leading them to a league-high 48 sacks in 2016. In five seasons, the Cardinals registered 203 sacks, seventh-most in the NFL. He also helped the Cardinals reach the postseason following the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
He and Bucs general manager Jason Licht were together for one year in Arizona, as Licht served as the Cardinals' vice president of player personnel before coming to Tampa.
Prior to his time in Arizona, Buckner interned under the legendary Dick LeBeau with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2010-12. Buckner also spent 12 seasons as a defensive tackle in the league, playing in 174 games with 125 starts. He suited up for the Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers, whom Buckner helped lead to a berth in Super Bowl XXXVIII. He also played in Super Bowl XXX with Pittsburgh.
He replaces Jay Hayes, who spent the past two seasons in Tampa before being fired last week.
The Bucs' defensive line will see some shuffling this offseason. Defensive tackle Chris Baker is expected to be released and there's a good chance defensive end Robert Ayers will be gone, too. Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, defensive tackle Sealver Siliga and defensive end Will Clarke will become unrestricted free agents in March, with defensive end Ryan Russell becoming a restricted free agent. Defensive end Noah Spence is coming off his second shoulder surgery in two seasons.