As the NFL continues to react to the news of Jameis Winston’s discipline by the league, the Bucs slipped in a Friday afternoon news dump. They officially release guard J.R. Sweezy, ending an injury-plagued run with the franchise.
It’s been a rough few days for Bucs GM Jason Licht, who has seen his most important draft pick of his tenure embroiled in the kind of controversy you hoped he’d avoid when you ignored the warning signs in drafting him first overall and now his latest free agency flub.
We have released Guard J.R. Sweezy.https://t.co/nvTlsxdfNT
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) June 29, 2018
Now, in Licht’s defense, NFL free agency is a bigger crapshoot than the draft. It’s why many teams swear it off entirely or rarely dip their toe in the free agency pool. Most of the time, you’re overpaying for guys whose former team didn’t think they were worthy of the contract you gave them.
Yet, the Bucs certainly have had their struggles in this area since Licht took the big chair. For every Brent Grimes, there’s a Swaggy Baker. For every Clinton McDonald, who gave the Bucs several solid seasons before father time caught up to him, there’s a Sweezy, who gave the Bucs 14 games of mediocre to bad football in two years of service.
For teams like the Bucs, whose roster was barren after years of bad drafting by the previous regime, sometimes you have to roll the dice on a guy like Sweezy. You have to wonder if the medical team that looked him over and gave him the thumbs up is still employed by the Buccaneers because Sweezy seemed to be damaged goods from the day he signed in Tampa Bay.
Licht, knowing this is a make-or-break season for him and the coaching staff, went all in once again with Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, Mitch Unrein and Ryan Jensen. Then he traded for Jason Pierre-Paul. Odds are, one or more of these guys aren’t going to live up to the contract they signed and in a couple years, they too will no longer be Bucs.
For Licht’s sake, he better hope this year’s group is a bumper crop and last’s year free agency big fish, Desean Jackson, finds a fit in Dirk Koetter and Todd Monken’s offense, or he may not get another shot.