TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers veteran cornerback Brent Grimes said he has not made any decision yet regarding his future. Grimes is 34 and finishing up the second year of a two-year contract, while the Bucs are wrapping up a difficult 4-9 season.
"I haven't thought about it. When the season's over, I will," said Grimes, who's currently in his 11th season. The four-time Pro Bowler also hasn't thought about places he might like to play should he not return to Tampa. Instead, he's focused on the present.
"I'm playing right now," Grimes said. "I'm thinking about the Falcons and then who we've got after that -- the Panthers, I think, I'll be thinking about them. And then [the Saints]. When it's over, I'll be thinking about stuff like that."
Grimes is still playing at a very high level. He led the NFL with 17 pass breakups last season and his four interceptions were tied for sixth-most among cornerbacks last year. Despite missing three games this season with a shoulder injury, his three picks are currently sixth-most in the league among cornerbacks. His three interceptions this year are also tied with cornerback Robert McClain and safety Justin Evans for the most on the team.
At 34 years, four months and 22 days, Grimes is currently the third-oldest active cornerback in the league, behind Terence Newman (39) and Tramon Williams (34 years, eight months and 25 days). His 73 starts are also second-most in that span.
"I'm having fun," Grimes said. "The season didn't go how anybody in this locker room wanted it to. Everybody's having fun playing -- it's just not the end result in what we want. But we're out there competing hard and nobody's quitting so it's a good time."
Grimes is undoubtedly the Bucs' best and most experienced corner. McClain, another veteran who can play both outside and nickelback, is also scheduled to become a free agent. Their returns will be impacted by what happens with the current coaching staff, as both played for defensive coordinator Mike Smith in Atlanta.
Behind those two, there is Vernon Hargreaves III and Ryan Smith. Hargreaves can play both outside and at nickel. Prior to him suffering a hamstring injury, he was lining up at nickel, as the coaching staff felt he was more aggressive inside. As a first-round talent, however, he needs to be outside. Smith has shown some promise on the outside in his first year of play (he did not take any snaps at safety last year) but does not line up inside and is still very inexperienced.
Then there is Javien Elliott, an undrafted free agent out of Florida State last year who became the Bucs' nickelback when Jude Adjei-Barimah was suspended. Adjei-Barimah has missed all of the 2017 with a knee injury but started eight games from 2015-2016. Adjei-Barimah has the flexibility to line up inside and outside.