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Bucs' Sterling Moore could capitalize on strong season in free agency

TAMPA, Fla. -- When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed cornerback Sterling Moore as a free agent in 2015, the team was looking for him to fill its nickel cornerback position. But as the season progressed, Moore proved to be much more valuable.

Moore was eventually moved to starting cornerback and soon became the team's most consistent player at that position. With his one-year deal expired, the 26-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and can sign with another team this winter.

The Buccaneers have 10 unrestricted free agents, including Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin. They must decide which players they want to keep -- and at what price.

Moore signed a one-year deal worth $1.525 million last March. He wants to be fairly compensated in free agency, but he also wants to be comfortable in the system, something he says he was with Tampa Bay.

"It's all about opportunity for me and where I feel comfortable," Moore said. "I came here because I felt comfortable in the system, so that's obviously something that goes into things, but it's all about the coaching staff and where I feel comfortable."

Part of that comfort for Moore will be knowing that he has earned an opportunity to play consistently. He played in 707 of the team's 1,101 defensive snaps in 2015 (64.2 percent), the highest by far of any Tampa Bay corner. That number would have been higher, but a virus limited him to 15 snaps in the season finale Sunday against Carolina.

Moore finished the season with 45 tackles, one interception, two forced fumbles and six pass breakups.

"There were a lot of ups and downs this season, but I proved I can be a starting corner in this league and make an impact on the team," Moore said. "I'm happy with the way I played when I got my chance.

"I feel like I'm a top-three guy," he said. "I feel I can be a No. 1 or a No. 2 [corner] and hopefully I will get that opportunity somewhere."