The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offseason can be boring at times. No football on Sundays. No press conferences from the head coach. No news stories. No Bucs podcasts or radio shows. Nothing. Just silence. Deafening silence. From that last game of the year to March 9th when free agency begins it can be brutal. Which is why so many of us fans enjoy, nay I say feel the need to speculate or add our
Nothing. Just silence. Deafening silence.
From that last game of the year to March 9th when free agency begins it can be brutal. Which is why so many of us fans enjoy, nay I say feel the need to speculate or add our “two cents” in as to what WE think Jason Licht and the Buccaneers organization should do to improve the team. Now sometimes, some people do make suggestions that make sense and every now and then, the Bucs may make that same choice. For instance, the release of cornerback Alterraun Verner was something I stated would probably happen and it did. That was kind of a no-brainer. But some of the ideas that I see on social media are just downright unrealistic, even silly at times. That’s what this piece is about…the darnedest things I’ve heard so far this offseason. Let the fun begin…..
Let the fun begin…..
1) “Re-sign Vincent Jackson and move him to tight end!”
Now let me preface this by stating that I love Vincent Jackson. He’s been a great player for this organization and an even better influence in the Tampa Bay community. He’s also a super nice dude! That being said, his playing days are probably done in Tampa. At 34-years old, he has to be thinking about life after football. I don’t see him coming back for the kind of money the Bucs would offer him because it wouldn’t be anything close to the $11 million he made last season. And then to ask him to move to an even more physically demanding position like tight end too? That’s asking a lot of an older veteran coming off of two injury-plagued seasons. Nope; not happening. If he does hang up the cleats then I’d love to see them retain him as a wide receiver coach, but I think he may have played his last down as a Buccaneer.
2) “The Bucs should sign Calais Campbell, Eric Berry and Kawaan Short in free agency…our defense would be unstoppable!”
Yes, it would. There are a few things wrong with this “brilliant” idea. First, it was no secret that the Panthers were going to slap Short with the franchise tag, which they did. Second, Berry was NEVER getting out of Kansas City in the first place and he just signed a $17 million a year deal making him the league’s highest-paid safety. Third, NO WAY IN HELL would Jason Licht have spent $50 million on three players in free agency. No chance! None! That’s it. It looks as though Campbell is still a possibility though.
3) “The Bucs should trade Mike Glennon AND a draft pick to Arizona for David Johnson!”
Ok, this is ridiculous on two levels. Number one, Glennon is a free agent which means the Bucs no longer have any rights to him. Their opportunity to trade him to anybody has come and gone. Two, the Cardinals would NEVER trade David Johnson, especially for a possible starting QB and an unknown draft pick. Johnson is one of the most dynamic and productive players in football and they’re not giving him up for a couple of question marks. Moving on.
4) “The Bucs should trade Gerald McCoy!”
I’m not even sure that I need to explain to our readers why this is absurd. It’s just absurd. The end.
5) “The Bucs should sign Kirk Cousins!”
This was a real “WTF?” kind of post for me. I didn’t understand the logic behind it and I didn’t even read any further. Why this was even a thought bouncing around in any Bucs fan’s head I have no idea. The Redskins just franchise tagged him and will pay him damn near $25 million next season. “YOU LIKE THAT? YOU LIKE THAT?”
6) “Who should the Bucs sign, Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles?”
Umm, is there a third option? Listen guys, both of these backs were phenomenal like 4 years ago. Now, Peterson is going to be 32-years old coming off of his second major knee injury in 3 years and Charles is 30-years old coming off of his second significant knee injury and has only played in 8 games since the 2014 season. Neither one is worth the money that the Bucs would have to shell out for them. Besides from the sound of things at One Buc, the Bucs may be waiting the Doug Martin situation out which makes sense. If he comes out of rehab and off of his 3-game suspension ready to play ball and they could keep him for a fraction of the $7 million he was supposed to earn next season, it’ll be well worth it.
7) “The Bucs should sign Colin Kaepernick as their new backup QB!”
Do I even need to elaborate as to how much of a terrible idea this is? Forget about the backlash from fans about his “political” beliefs. The guy sucks! He’s more than likely burned his bridges around the entire league and it wouldn’t surprise me if he never plays another down of NFL football should the Niners set him loose. No team wants to deal with that public relations nightmare. He has stated that he’ll be standing for the national anthem next season, which is nice to hear…but does seem a bit insincere since he’s probably looking for a new job.
8) “The Bucs should sign WR Josh Gordon!”
I admit that Gordon is an intriguing prospect. In his rookie season, he had 50 catches for 805 yards and 5 touchdowns in 16 games for an 18 yards per catch average. In 2013, he only played 14 games but still had an insane 1,646 yards and 9 touchdowns. He averaged almost 19 yards per catch and nearly 118 yards per game. RIDICULOUS…I KNOW! Snap back to reality though. He only played in 5 games in 2014 and hasn’t played a down since. He’s a risk. He supposedly came out of rehab a new man with a new outlook on life and is in the best shape of his life but it’s still a gamble. It’s not a terrible idea, but it would have to be a smart deal for the Bucs. It would need to be as risk-free as a deal could get with a player. Even then, I’m still not sure about it.
9) “The Bucs should trade up in the draft and get RB Dalvin Cook or WR Corey Davis!”
I can’t relay to you how much I HATE trading up in the draft for ANY player. The draft is already a gamble most of the time. When you trade away multiple picks to draft a player, it’s an even bigger gamble. Last year when Jason Licht gave away those 3rd and 4th round picks to trade up into the 2nd round to take Aguayo, I almost threw up in my mouth. And look how that’s turned out so far. I’m not against taking either player if one or both of them are somehow still there at the 19th pick, but I highly doubt they will be. The Bucs should be able to find plenty of playmakers through free agency and the draft without risking their future so I don’t see this scenario happening. If Cook and Howard are both gone at #19, then I would love to see them trade back and gain a couple of picks. This is a pretty deep draft, especially in the positions where the Bucs need to build some depth so some additional picks would be really nice.
10) “The Bucs should release DE Robert Ayers and DT Clinton McDonald to create more cap space!”
This doesn’t make sense at all. As of right now, this is half of the starting defensive line. Even if they signed two outstanding free agents to replace them, this is a terrible plan. Let me tell you why. Ayers is set to make $4 million next season and McDonald is only making $2 million. That’s cheap for starting d-line players. While I do agree that the Bucs need to sign a big name defensive tackle in free agency to team up with McCoy, releasing McDonald would be dumb. Having him as a reserve DT along with A. Spence and Siliga would give them a really nice rotation in the middle.
11) “The Bucs should sign Darrelle Revis back to play safety!”
It sounds like a good idea, in theory. However, he is going to be 32 years old going into next season and he’s coming off of what was arguably the worst season of his career. I personally don’t think that the Bucs are in bad enough shape at safety to go spending big bucks like this on a free agent, as long as they can re-sign McDougald and Conte, which leads me to the next topic.
12) “The Bucs need to draft a safety with their 19th pick!”
As I said before, the safety situation doesn’t concern me if they can re-sign their two current free agents. Some fans don’t like Conte and some fans think that safety is the biggest “need” of the team. I disagree. The safety play was sketchy in the first half of the season for a couple of reasons. First, it was a new defensive scheme for the secondary. New assignments. New responsibilities. New way of thinking. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith thought that it would take the defense 4 games to get the defense down, but it took more like 8 games. Second, the defensive line played much better in the second half of the season which made the jobs of the Bucs secondary much easier. The safeties on this roster aren’t elite by any means, but they can play and should be just fine if the defensive line can keep consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In conclusion, as long as they re-sign Conte and McDougald then safety is not a big enough “need” to use their first round pick on it. They could still draft one in the mid to late rounds to add some depth, but it won’t be an early pick if they get their free agents signed.
13) “The Bucs shouldn’t draft Alabama tight end O.J. Howard with the 19th pick because they already have Cam Brate!”
So, apparently having two pass catching tight ends on your roster is a bad thing? Hurry up, someone tell the Patriots that’s a terrible idea! Maybe that’s what has been holding them back all these years. Okay, that’s enough sarcasm for now. The way I see it, the Bucs likely won’t bring back Brandon Myers which leaves them with Brate, Stocker and Cross. That means that Brate is the only legitimate pass catcher in the group. They could use another. Jason Licht has stated over and over that one of their main focuses this offseason is to add more weapons for Jameis Winston. Howard would be a serious weapon to add to the arsenal. He’s hands down the best tight end in this draft and might be the best overall tight end to come out of the draft in years. I love Cam Brate and I’m excited to see what he’ll do next season, but I’ll be really excited if the Bucs add Howard to the mix as well.
14) “The Bucs have $78 million in cap space so let’s go shopping!”
Realistically, they don’t. After the Verner release, they have about $68 million in cap space and yes, that is a lot. It’s actually the 4th or 5th most in the league. However, when you start breaking it down and doing the math, they’re not as “cap rich” as it may seem. With a few more key roster moves, they could potentially get that number up to roughly $80 million. Doug Martin’s contract is basically voided by his positive drug test, so that saves the Bucs almost $7 million. George Johnson will more than likely be released freeing up another $2.25 million. Evan Smith is making more as the backup center than starter Joe Hawley, so that and his age could justify his release adding another $4.5 million. That saves them another $13 million on top of the $68 million they’ve got now. Now they need to put aside about $6 million for their draft picks and a few more for potential signings from the second free agency period after the draft. That would basically take them back down to roughly $70 million in cap space. If they re-sign all of the free agents that we think they will, it’ll cost them about $30 million reducing their cap space to approximately $40 million. Out of that money, they need to start planning for future contracts such as Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Kwon Alexander, Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith and possibly even Cam Brate if he has another productive year. Now the math for that is complicated and a bit difficult to predict. But for the sake of this article, let’s assume that they’ll need at least an additional $40 million in cap space over the next 3 years to re-sign all of those guys. So out of the $40 million in cap space they have left, let’s say they set aside about $15 million for the future which leaves them about $25 million to spend in free agency this year. How’s that shopping spree sound now? Not quite as exciting, right? The good news is that it could be just enough to sign the defensive tackle and one or two really good wide receivers that they need. The rest of their holes they should be able to fill through the draft.
15) “The Bucs should sign Johnny Manziel if Glennon leaves!”
AHH, the annual “draft/sign Johnny Football” post. If there was a way to smack someone through Facebook for this, I would. I’d rather sign Michael Vick AND Ray Rice than him. This guy drank and partied his football future right down the toilet without remorse. He lacks the passion and the love for the game to be successful, even as a backup. Thanks but no thanks on this one. I’ll pass.
That’s about it for the things that I’ve seen and heard. I’m sure that there’s plenty more out there that I’ve missed or forgotten about. I’m no expert by any means, but I do feel like I have a pretty good grasp on reality and a fairly decent amateur knowledge of football. Most of these armchair G.M.’s apparently don’t have either. I realize that this time of year is all about speculation and fantasizing. No harm in that at all. But, can we at least keep the suggestions and ideas within the realm of possibility, instead of looking at it through Madden eyes? All this said we, as Bucs fans, can look forward to a fun couple of months with free agency and the draft and hopefully another successful year on the field. Stay tuned for Part 3 of my offseason series where I’ll be going over possible draft scenarios and draft prospects. Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!