When a Football team has a lot of talent on a roster, expectations are high. With high expectations comes more of a chance that heads will roll if expectations are not met. Every media outlet hyped the 2017 Bucs up and it was all for not as they are now 4-8 and looking very doubtful to get to the playoffs. In this article, let’s take a look at the man who assembled this roster, the man who has been in charge of this team for the past 4 seasons. Yes, the man I am talking about is current general manager Jason Licht. Licht came to the Bucs in 2014, Lovie Smith picked him to help put the team back in the right direction. There has been a ton of ups and a ton of downs during Licht’s time here. With his contract expiring this offseason, what does the Glazer family do? Let’s examine all of Licht’s moves as the man in charge of the Bucs and let’s discuss.
Free Agency in the NFL is not a way to build a franchise, it can help the team if you can find the right guys buy very rarely is the team that makes the splash in March playing in February. Jason Licht learned that the hard way in his first ever offseason as the GM. He made a big splash, signing multiple top-tier free agents, let’s see how it turned out.
–Michael Johnson, Signed 5 year, 43.75 million dollar deal, had 4 sacks in his first and only year in Tampa Bay, was cut after 1 season exactly one year after he signed the original deal- Miss
–Clinton McDonald, Signed 4 year, 12 million dollar deal, rotational lineman, good leader, this is the type of free agents you want- Hit
–Brandon Myers, Signed 2 year, 4 million dollar deal, 1 total TD with the Bucs but that was not what Myers was brought in to do as he was more of a blocking tight end. Did not get re-signed by the Bucs last offseason. –Fair
– Josh McCown, Signed 2 year, 10 million dollar deal. Started 11 games, throwing 11 Touchdowns and 14 Interceptions. Was cut after one season in Tampa Bay, now with the Jets.- Miss
–Anthony Collins, Signed 5 year, 30 million dollar deal, started 10 games. Was cut after one season.- Miss
–Alterraun Verner, Signed 4 year, 26.5 million dollar deal. Lasted three seasons, totaling 4 interceptions. Cut this offseason, now with Miami.- Fair
–Evan Smith, Signed 4 year, 14.25 million dollar deal. Rotational Lineman, not the best but good depth. However, paying that much for a rotational guy is not ideal.- Miss
That Free Agency was not the best one for Mr. Licht. Now, it has been stated in the past that former head coach Lovie Smith ran most of the free agency things while Licht handled the draft. This was a bad free agency class and resulted in a 2-14 season.
–Bruce Carter, Signed 4 year, 17 million dollar deal. Was beat out in the preseason by Kwon Alexander. Cut after one season in Tampa Bay and is now with the New York Jets.- Miss
–Chris Conte, Signed 1 year deal, then signed for another year and this past offseason re-signed again on a 2 year deal. good depth at the safety position but just too inconsistent.- Fair
–Henry Melton, Signed 1 year, 5 million dollar deal. Was a true Lovie guy, average backup. Not on a NFL team currently.- Miss
I like what Licht and Lovie tried to do here. It just did not work out so well. The team went 6-10 in 2015 and that was mainly because of rookies Kwon Alexander and Jameis Winston stepping up and Doug Martin returning to form.
–Brent Grimes, Signed 2 year, 16.5 million dollar deal. Real solid signing, best corner on the team and still has that elite ball hawking skill. Likely to retire at the end of the season.- Hit
–Robert Ayers, Signed 3 year, 33.5 million dollar deal. Solid first year, bad second year. Has been injury prone in his time with the Bucs. Likely to be gone after this season.- Fair
–J.R. Sweezy, Signed 5 year, 32.5 million dollar deal. Did not play at all last year, has not lived up to expectations this year. May be a cap casualty after this season.- Miss
This was probably Licht’s best free agency as the Bucs GM and Brent Grimes is a big reason why. Played at an elite level at times last year and is still very solid. However, this being your best free agency period is not a good look.
–Desean Jackson, Signed 3 year, 33.5 million dollar deal. Jackson has been solid this year, pretty productive but also very underutilized (attention Dirk Koetter) Jackson should be here next year to help Jameis Winston out.-Hit
–Chris Baker, SWAGGY Signed a 3 year, 15.75 million dollar deal. Has not lived up to expectations but will likely get one more year to prove himself.- Miss
–TJ Ward, late addition to the team. Signed a 1 year, 5 million dollar deal after being cut by the Broncos in late August. Did not get much playing time to start out (Hello, Mike Smith) inconsistent when he has been in the game. Likely will not be back next year.-Miss
–Robert McClain, Signed 1 year deal, very underrated. Has 3 interceptions this year including 1 pick six. May be brought back for another season.- Hit
–Nick Folk, Was brought in for competition to Roberto Aguayo. Won the job in the preseason, missed 3 kicks week 5 vs the Patriots and was placed on IR shortly after.- Miss
–Patrick Murray, Saved the best for last. Signed after week 5 by beating out other kickers at a workout held by the team. Has been perfect on extra points and is 14/16 (87.5%) on field goals with a long of 50 yards. Thank god Licht got him back.- Hit
Well, if you judge Jason Licht’s performance as GM strictly on his free agency track record then he should and would be fired. Luckily for Licht though, there is something called the NFL draft and he has performed very well in that. Part 2 of this article will be looking at Licht’s past drafts and why that may save his job. Licht seems to be getting a bit better at free agency now that Lovie is gone and if he is signed to an extension, let’s hope he stays on that course. What do you think the Glazers should do with Jason Licht? We are all gonna get that answer in a few short weeks. GO BUCS!