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March 28, 2014 @ 9:50 am
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/4 Votes

SR's Fab 5 - 3-28

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Why were the Bucs forced to sign so many free agents? Does DT Gerald McCoy deserve a contract extension? Did Tampa Bay prefer Ndamukong Suh over McCoy in the 2010 draft? How much dead salary cap room does Tampa Bay have? Get the answers to these questions, plus insight on QB Josh Freeman, CB Lamarcus Joyner and WR Mike Williams in this edition of SR's Fab 5.
SR's Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, Pewter Report publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place:

FAB 1. BUCS’ SHAKY DRAFTING HAS FORCED TEAM TO BUILD VIA FREE AGENCY
Lovie Smith saw it first hand in Tampa Bay. As the Buccaneers rose to prominence in the late 1990s, the perennial playoff contender was built through the draft. Hall of Famers like defensive tackle Warren Sapp and linebacker Derrick Brooks were already on the roster when former head coach Tony Dungy and Smith, who was the Bucs linebackers, arrived in 1996, as were Pro Bowl middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson and Pro Bowl strong safety John Lynch.

But shrewd drafting added the likes of fullback Mike Alstott and cornerback Donnie Abraham to the roster in 1996, running back Warrick Dunn and cornerback Ronde Barber in 1997, cornerback Brian Kelly in 1998, defensive tackle Anthony “Booger” McFarland, kicker Martin Gramatica and free safety Dexter Jackson in 1999. The Bucs had several misses in the draft at the wide receiver position, including Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green, and along the offensive line where the likes of offensive tackles Jason Odom and Jerry Wunsch and guard Frank Middleton flamed out after a couple of years.

So it came as no surprise in 2002 when the Bucs had to overhaul their receiving corps and offensive line through free agency in order to reach the Super Bowl. New receivers like Joe Jurevicius and Keenan McCardell were brought in during the 2002 offseason, as were left tackle Roman Oben and left guard Kerry Jenkins. That’s what happens when a team misses in the draft. The team is forced to make up for those mistakes in free agency, and it’s more costly.

While the Bucs landed a Pro Bowl cornerback in Alterraun Verner, Tampa Bay is slated to pay the 25-year old an average of $6.5 million per year. By comparison, All Pro Bucs weakside linebacker Lavonte David, who is entering his third season in the NFL, is still on his rookie contract and is slated to earn $705,000 in base salary in 2014. That is a bargain of epic proportions.

With linebacker Adam Hayward’s departure to Washington in free agency, there are no more players left in Tampa Bay from the 2007 draft that was highlighted by the selections of defensive end Gaines Adams, guard Arron Sears and safety Sabby Piscitelli. Adams passed away due to a heart defect, Sears has battled mental illness that caused the end of his pro career, and Piscitelli lasted just two and a half years in Tampa Bay and has been out of the league since 2012.

The Bucs’ trade of offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah on Sunday signaled the official end of Tampa Bay’s 2008 draft class, that also featured cornerback Aqib Talib (first round) and wide receiver Dexter Jackson (second round), a total bust. Zuttah had a sub-par year in 2013 and was deemed to be too expensive at $4 million per season. As a result there are no contributors from 2008 on the Bucs’ current roster.

The departure of quarterback Josh Freeman, whose NFL career is in a downward spiral, last year meant that none of Tampa Bay’s 2009 draft class remains on the roster.

Tampa Bay’s 2010 draft is highlighted by the selection of two-time Pro Bowler and All Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, but after this season McCoy might be the only player left from the Bucs’ nine-player draft class. Defensive tackle Brian Price and wide receiver Arrelious Benn, both second-rounders, were busts, as was third-round cornerback Myron Lewis.

Wide receiver Mike Williams has been a productive player on the field when healthy, but a person of questionable character and citizenship off the field, and that may cost him his job under Smith. If Williams gets cut this year or next, he would join fullback Erik Lorig and linebacker Dekoda Watson as former starters who are no longer in Tampa Bay from the 2010 draft class.

Even the Bucs’ 2011 draft class is on shaky ground as defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers are in the final year of their respective contracts. Clayborn has been a good, but not great, starter for the Bucs, while Bowers, a former second-round pick, has underachieved and been a bust, as has fourth-round tight end Luke Stocker. Starting middle linebacker Mason Foster and seldom used and oft-injured cornerback Anthony Gaitor are also entering a contract year in 2015 and aren’t locks to return after this season.

It’s possible that McCoy, who needs a contract extension before he hits free agency in 2015, could be the lone Buccaneer standing from Tampa Bay’s draft classes between 2007-11. The Bucs picked 40 players during those drafts, and may only have McCoy, the lone Pro Bowler from that span, to show for it in 2015 as Smith and new general manager Jason Licht are forced to use free agency to fill holes in the roster instead of numerous draft picks from years ago maturing into players entering their prime for Tampa Bay.

It doesn’t mean that all of those players that were drafted by former general managers Bruce Allen and Mark Dominik were busts, but there were many. Talib is a Pro Bowl cornerback, but it took him going to New England for two years to stay out of trouble and take his game to a higher level. Defensive tackle Roy Miller, a third-round pick in Tampa Bay in 2009, is a starter in Jacksonville, as is linebacker Geno Hayes, a sixth-round pick by the Bucs in 2008. Watson will join Hayes and Miller with the Jaguars this year, while Lorig will start for New Orleans.

Still, to possibly have one player remain – McCoy – from a draft class four years ago is quite damning, and is a big reason why the Glazers did some housecleaning with the firing of Dominik, and why they didn’t even consider interviewing director of pro personnel and the former director of college scouting, Dennis Hickey, as his replacement.

Players that were supposed to be entering their prime for the Buccaneers are no longer on their roster – or any roster in the NFL for that matter. That’s why Smith and Licht had to begin the overhaul of the roster in free agency, especially since the team only has five selections heading into the 2014 NFL Draft.

FAB 2. IT’S TIME FOR TAMPA BAY TO LOCK UP McCOY WITH A CONTRACT EXTENSION
With all of the salary cap room that has been created in 2014 and 2015 with the departure of pricey players like Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, left tackle Donald Penn, right guard Davin Joseph and offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah, it’s time for the Buccaneers to put that cap space to good use and lock up defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, a two-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro, with a well-deserved, long-term contract extension. McCoy is entering a contract year this season and is set to earn $12,732,253 in base salary in 2014, which makes him the highest-paid Buccaneer now that Revis is gone.

Now I’m not the first to proclaim this idea as my esteemed colleague, Pat Yasinskas, Bucs beat writer for ESPN.com, beat me to the punch on this one last week. The good news is that general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith feel the same way.

“I think it’s very important,” Smith said at the NFL Owners Meeting on Wednesday. “In an ideal situation, you do a great job of drafting players and then you reward your players that have come up through the system and done it the right way. The first guy to contact me when I was sitting in my basement down there in Chicago was Gerald McCoy. [He said], ‘I can’t wait to get started.’ I followed him at the University of Oklahoma, his career that he had here, and for our defense, and there’s a reason why.

“[Bucs Hall of Fame defensive tackle] Warren [Sapp] will tell you it was just him, but it’s a position also where you need a special player and Gerald McCoy is that. The guys who drafted him did a great job. You know what he’s done in the community. I know right now coming in he’s going to be one of our leaders. Through free agency, [he said] ‘What can I do?’ Gerald was popping up on the phone quite a bit, texting me, excited about who we’re getting, what we’re doing with his new teammates. So yes, that is definitely a priority. He’s a guy that we definitely want around for a while, to say the least.”

McCoy, a man of impeccable character, faith and leadership qualities, has not only deserved a rich new contract extension, he has shown he can be trusted with his money. The Oklahoma product is already a multi-millionaire, which was assured the day he was selected third overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay. The NFL didn’t have the rookie salary cap come into place until 2011, so McCoy has the luxury of a huge salary and bonuses in his final year that will push his total earnings north of $15 million.

But McCoy proved his responsibility with a large contract early on, making over $15 million in each of the first two seasons with huge roster bonuses. McCoy received a $3.6 million signing bonus in addition to his $2.295 million base salary and a $12.1925 million incentive bonus as a rookie in 2010. In 2011, McCoy had a modest base salary of $873,750 followed by a roster bonus of $12 million and an option bonus of another $9.975 million.

No one in Tampa Bay should be concerned about McCoy’s level of play or incentive declining with another huge payday. His level of performance has actually increased every year, evidenced by Pro Bowl selections in each of the last two years and a well-deserved All Pro honor in 2013.

McCoy plays the three-technique defensive tackle position, which is the most important role in the Tampa 2 defense, which primarily relies on pressuring the quarterback with four defensive linemen. That’s the primary reason why Smith and Licht want McCoy locked up. He’s the best at his position in the NFL, and it’s a position that’s awfully hard to find great players at.

In fact, the position is so important that the Bucs should still strongly consider drafting Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Award, the Outland Trophy and the Chuck Bednarik Award. The 6-foot-1, 285-pound Donald is the closest thing I have seen to Bucs legendary Hall of Famer Warren Sapp since No. 99 last wore red and pewter in 2003. Donald used his cat-like quickness and wicked swim move to record 59 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles last year.

Drafting Donald to be McCoy’s sidekick, would give the team a vital insurance policy at the three-technique as a safeguard in case McCoy gets hurt, an additional interior pass rusher, and an heir apparent at the position as McCoy just turned 26 in February. Donald, who turns 23 in May, could ensure longevity at the prime position in Smith’s defense for years to come.

Additionally, drafting Donald gives the Bucs a little bit of leverage in McCoy’s contract extension discussions with agent Ben Dogra – just in case the numbers start to get a little unrealistic. Former Bucs general manager Mark Dominik tried in vain to extend McCoy last December after Cincinnati Pro Bowler, Geno Atkins, who is generally regarded as the league’s best three-technique tackle, signed a five-year, $54.755-million extension.

Atkins’ deal averages just under $11 million per season and includes a $15 million signing bonus. That deal averages less per year than McCoy or Suh will make in 2014, and that’s why Dominik pursued it, but McCoy’s agents weren’t ready. Yet given the fact that Suh is a three-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro, compared to Atkins being just a two-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro, it’s safe to say that either Suh or McCoy will drive the annual base salary price for defensive tackles north of $12 million.

Regardless of the amount, McCoy has proven he’s worth it.

FAB 3. BUCCANEERS ORIGINALLY WANTED SUH, GOT THE BETTER DT IN THE END
The Buccaneers had designs on drafting Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh with the third overall pick in 2010, but knew that they would have to “settle” for Oklahoma junior defensive tackle Gerald McCoy as Suh was likely going to be selected second overall by Detroit. That’s what happened, as McCoy became Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in 2010.

After writing a pre-draft column for PewterReport.com in 2010 about how more dominant Suh was than McCoy in college – and in the weight room – former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris called me and asked me to tone it down and not bash McCoy too much because he was likely going to be the Bucs’ pick. Morris really liked McCoy, so it wasn’t as if he was a consolation pick, but he didn’t want it to seem like Tampa Bay got the second-best defensive tackle in the draft. Morris even went so far as to proclaim McCoy to be the player the team wanted all along on draft day that year.

Upon meeting McCoy the day after the draft and seeing his infectious personality, and his desire to win and be the best, I immediately got on the McCoy bandwagon. Morris thanked me for having a positive view of McCoy after the Bucs’ drafted him, but it wasn’t at his urging. It was because of meeting McCoy. What struck me was his presence and his believability.

The son of a minister in Oklahoma and a man of faith, McCoy revealed to the Bucs beat writers in his initial interview that he never played with contacts, but desperately needed glasses to see off the field. However, once he got on the football field he didn’t need glasses as he could see as clear as crystal without them. It’s a miraculous story when you think about it, and McCoy said he was blessed. I believed him then and still do.

The first two years were rough as McCoy ended up on injured reserve in each of those seasons with torn biceps, while Suh posted 66 tackles, 10 sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception in his rookie season alone. But once McCoy got healthy he used a swim move on the “bust label” he was being tagged with by some in the Tampa Bay area and lived up to his draft status as a dominant three-technique defensive tackle.

Over the past two years, McCoy has stayed healthy, starting all 16 games in each of the last two campaigns. As a result, he has posted comparable – or better – numbers than Suh, who has earned a league-wide reputation as a dirty player. McCoy has notched 80 tackles, 14.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery during the 2012-13 seasons, while Suh has posted 84 tackles, 13.5 sacks and one forced fumble over that span.

The arrow is pointing up for McCoy, who is coming off a career-best 9.5 sacks in 2013, while Suh had 5.5 sacks last year and is still trying to live up to his rookie season. Both are angling for new contracts prior to the 2015 seasons, and it will be interesting to see which player gets paid more when it’s all said and done.

It will likely be Suh, as he has only missed two games over the past four seasons and has 27.5 sacks compared to McCoy’s 18.5. By virtue of staying healthier, Suh’s production will probably warrant a slightly richer deal.

Regardless of which player gets the bragging rights after the contracts have been extended, in the end, the Buccaneers got the better defensive tackle in 2010 when you factor in leadership, character as well as the production.

FAB 4. BUCCANEERS HAVE LEAGUE’S LOWEST DEAD SALARY CAP MONEY
Former Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik has been criticized for spending too much on free agents and a very spotty draft record during five-year reign in Tampa Bay, and rightly so as I pointed out in Fab 1. But one area he truly excelled in was salary cap management and he helped initiate a revolutionary approach that is still being used by director of football administration Mike Greenberg, general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith today in the halls of One Buccaneer Place.

That practice involves the use of guaranteed base salaries, typically the first two years of the contract, instead of a signing bonus. The genius is in its simplicity because the first year of a contract with any free agent is guaranteed in theory and reality. That free agent is going to be on the roster in the first year. If the signing doesn’t work out and the Bucs decide to move on after the first year, only the next year typically features guaranteed money and the cap hit is whatever the next base salary is.

That allowed the team to move on from right guard Davin Joseph and offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah to create some needed salary cap room in 2014 and beyond, and do so without any dead salary cap money. Left tackle Donald Penn was one of the last player extensions in Tampa Bay to have a signing bonus, and it was minimal in nature. Penn had a proration of his $2 million bonus accelerate in 2014, which contributed $666,666 worth of dead salary cap money this year because he had two years left on his contract.

Sometimes Dominik’s contracts featured three years of guaranteed money, which is the case of wide receiver Mike Williams. His base salary was guaranteed in 2013, and is guaranteed in 2014 ($1.2 million) and 2015 ($5.2 million). Sometimes the Bucs’ contracts didn’t feature any guaranteed money, which was the case of Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis. Tampa Bay could – and did – part ways with him two weeks ago without any salary cap ramification.

Currently, Tampa Bay has $805,787, according to OverTheCap.com, which is easily the lowest dead money figure in the league. To put that number in perspective, only five teams have less than $3 million in dead money, and the next closest team to Tampa Bay is Indianapolis, which has $1,867,402. By comparison, 12 teams have at least $10 million in dead salary cap room in 2014, led by Dallas, which has a staggering $20,605,939.

The Bucs used to be like Dallas, and had to make some tough decisions, such as releasing strong safety John Lynch and others as salary cap casualties due to excessive spending in the early 2000s. Since Dominik took over in 2009, the Bucs’ salary cap has been in great shape – due to part to the team’s lack of spending until 2012. But even after signing several players, including wide receiver Vincent Jackson, guard Carl Nicks, free safety Dashon Goldson and Revis, among others, to staggering contracts, those deals were structured in a way that the Bucs could part ways with a player typically after the second year and not face any negative salary cap ramifications.

Dominik was an understudy of general managers Rich McKay and Bruce Allen as he spent 19 years in the Buccaneers organization. After being hired as a pro personnel assistant in 1995, Dominik was a part of the rise of Tampa Bay to a playoff contender in the late 1990s and eventually a Super Bowl champion in 2002. Before McKay left for Atlanta in 2003, he restructured several veteran contracts and doled out lavish pay raises to the likes of wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, defensive tackle Booger McFarland, kicker Martin Gramatica and made defensive end Simeon Rice the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.

Rice’s contract was so excessive at the time that he was the league’s highest-paid defender for three years. That typically doesn’t happen as a player will be the highest paid until the next year when another contract for another player will come along and top. That didn’t happen.

Rice signed a five-year, $41 million deal with Tampa Bay, including $20 million in bonuses back when the NFL salary cap was $75 million in 2003. Rice became the league’s first $8 million-per-year man, and his $20 million in bonus money topped the $19 million that Baltimore gave middle linebacker Ray Lewis a year earlier.

Tampa Bay’s excessive spending on players like Rice, who suffered a career-altering shoulder injury in 2005 that prompted his release the following year, put the team in such dire straits when it came to the salary cap that the Bucs were no longer in position to afford to re-sign wide receiver Keenan McCardell, who had a Pro Bowl season in 2003, or defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who was a cornerstone of the franchise.

Dominik knew that the Bucs couldn’t afford to return to the days where great players and team legends were sacrificed because of negligent cap management. So he instituted a policy of high guaranteed base salaries and little to no signing bonuses for players outside of rookies. That practice allowed Licht and Smith the ability to start free agency with over $18 million in salary cap room and to easily create more cap room by purging the team of some higher-priced veterans without the ramification of much dead salary cap space.

Thankfully this practice has been adopted and continued by Greenberg, and endorsed by the Glazers, as it will continue to serve this franchise well for the current new regime and beyond.

FAB 5. Here are a few things to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5:

• There are still some Josh Freeman supporters out there who feel like he was wronged by former Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano. I was one of them initially, after he was released last October, until I got the full story from sources within the organization. Now, I realize that the Freeman situation in Tampa Bay is clouded with mystery and is still a hot topic for some Bucs fans.

I’ve said all I’m prepared to say about the matters surrounding his departure from Tampa Bay, but here’s a little interesting tidbit from NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, who spoke with Freeman at length last fall in Dallas.

“When the Vikings came to Dallas in November, I talked to Freeman – who was in street clothes – for about 30 minutes, and it didn't look like his mind was on football,” Brandt said. “When Freeman was jettisoned by the Bucs, ending a rocky relationship, I thought he still had a chance to do something in the NFL, because he did have some talent. But I think I was wrong about him. I'm not sure if he has the desire to get better. At this point, I think Vince Young, who is out of football altogether, is better than him.”

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Brandt. Freeman needs to get his life together before he wrecks any opportunity he might have left in the NFL. But it may be too late. Matt Schaub and Blaine Gabbert have been traded for and former backups Matt Cassell, Mark Sanchez and Michael Vick have been signed. I wouldn’t be surprised if Freeman goes unsigned this year or if he ever suits up for an NFL game again as his pro career is in the downward spiral. What a shame.

• I have to give good friend and colleague Luke Easterling of the TheDraftReport.com (follow him on Twitter @NFLDraftReport), major props for his selection of Tampa Bay taking Florida State defensive back Lamarcus Joyner in the second round of his latest Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft. The 5-foot-8, 194-pound Joyner may be the hardest-hitting draft prospect pound-for-pound, evidenced by this highlight video.

But what Easterling alludes to and I’ll further point out is that Joyner started his career as a cornerback and a safety before being moved to nickel cornerback during his senior season. Joyner had a career-high 5.5 sacks, four pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two interceptions in 2013 while helping Florida State win a national title. He’s got 13 pass breakups, eight interceptions, 6.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in his Seminoles career and carries a second-round grade.

While I happen to like the versatility, size and ability of Oregon State’s Rashaad Reynolds, a third- or fourth-round prospect, a bit more, I can’t deny that Joyner would be an ideal fit for the dedicated role of nickel cornerback in Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 defense.

“Our No. 1 and No. 2 corner, whoever that is, they’re going to stay outside,” Smith told me at the NFL Owners Meeting. “Our nickel position is a position in itself. We have a coach, Larry Marmie, that will coach only it, and every second he has will have guys in the nickel room being coached at that position. As far as who that will be, that’s still up for debate right now. We have options, some that you mentioned and others that we have on the football team. But I see, as you look on the offensive side, really there are 12 positions. I count that third receiver as one and I count the nickel position as the 12th position on defense.”

• Some of you agreed with my opinion that it’s time for Tampa Bay to move on from wide receiver Mike Williams, and some of you are against my stance, stating that I’m jumping the gun with a knee-jerk reaction by suggesting to the Buccaneers to cut him. Bucs head coach Lovie Smith came out this week at the NFL Owners Meeting in Orlando, Fla. and said that he wasn’t going to cut Williams because he was the victim of a stabbing.

“I don’t believe a guy should get a death sentence on one infraction,” Williams said. “I made the statement that I’m not going to kick someone off the team based on them being a victim of what I was initially told. Again, you don’t get a (death) sentence from one incident.”

Nor should he, but a lot of Williams’ supporters, Bucs fans and even some in the media took Smith’s words at face value and wrongly assumed that the troubled wide receiver is safe and destined to be on Tampa Bay’s roster in 2014. Here is what Smith also said about Williams.

“You look for a pattern,” Smith continued. “If a player shows a pattern of behavior that we don’t feel like is what we want displayed by our Tampa Bay Buccaneers then more drastic measures come into play. I’m not to that point right now.”

The key words are “pattern of behavior” and “right now.” The fact that Williams has 16 traffic violations since 2010, a dropped DUI charge, a misdemeanor property damage and trespassing charge and five 911 calls from homes that he has occupied or rented within a six-month time span over the past year, in addition to racking up $43,000 in damage to a rented house, followed by doing or saying something to make his own brother want to stab him is a clear pattern of behavior to me.

This negative pattern of behavior with Williams’ off-field antics has embarrassed the organization and the Glazers. That was made clear when the Glazers spoke to the media on Tuesday.

However, Smith is going to cut him “right now” and let this incident play out in the courts while he gathers facts. He’s not going to cut Williams “right now” because he doesn’t want his perception of his players in the locker room to be one of being unfair and unjust.

While Williams was the victim of a stabbing by his brother, witnesses say there was an argument and an altercation and not horseplay, as Williams tried to suggest to the police. It is my belief that Williams will be released prior to training camp because of a pattern of behavior that has now escalated to the point of a violent exchange between Williams and his brother. What’s next?

The Bucs front office’s modus operandi this offseason is to cut players no longer valued by the franchise after a replacement has been secured. Starting right guard Davin Joseph was cut once Jamon Meredith was-resigned. Left tackle Donald Penn was released once Anthony Collins was acquired. Cornerback Darrelle Revis was jettisoned once Alterraun Verner was signed.

Tampa Bay may sniff around former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who played for Jeff Tedford at California and was just released by Philadelphia for wide receiver help, but look for the Bucs to draft a wide receiver or two in the 2014 NFL Draft, possibly Clemson’s Sammy Watkins in the first round. Then look for the team to part ways with Williams in May prior to the start of training camp.

• Just a reminder to listen to my weekly Pewter Report segments on the Kirk and Dinger Morning Show on 98.7 The Fan every Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. ET, and to Mark Cook’s Pewter Report segments with Justin Pawlowski and Jim Lighthall on Fan Interference on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. ET. And to get even more Pewter Report, we ask that you follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

And thank you for helping us get over 14,000 followers this week on Twitter! Please help us get to over 15,000 by continuing to spread the word to other Bucs fans.

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Last modified on Friday, 28 March 2014 13:02
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    I have no issues with who they draft, I just want the organization to get it right. To me there are 2 sure-fire, right it down, take a pictures CAN'T MISS players in this draft...And NO...one of them is NOT Clowney. They are Sammie Watkins and Aaron Donald. Those two guys will be stars in the NFL. To me I do not care the need level...You take the BEST player at the #7 spot if you stay put and draft a guy. Those two to me are cant miss players.
  • avatar


    I think Lovie sees a young man who has strayed a littel bit from the path and is now letting Mike Williams know what is expected of him as a Buc. "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"! We have all made mistakes and Mike Williams is no different than the rest of us. If he continues to stray from the path once he's been warned then what happens next is on him.
  • avatar


    Pro football can act like "Onward Christian Soldiers" all they want. What those guys do to each other between whistles is not real Christian imo. We could all get on our high horse and wish Mike Williams out of town. That's the kind of logic that has gutted this team of talent. SR I don't think Jesus would be attending NFL football games just as he missed out on Gladiators back in his time.
  • avatar


    SR still banging the drum to get rid of Williams - sad. Please stop. Sure he might not be a squeaky clean church goer but he is a great teammate and a basically good guy. And he produces. After hearing about Ray rice, anything that Williams has done pales in comparison. Let's give the young man some support and embrace him, he does love being a buc
  • avatar

    Williams situation has worsened greatly since the DeSean "bad company" Jackson release, but I think he's on the roster this year given the contract situation. That said, Lovie out Dungies Father Dungy and Licht spent years around the Hoodie. It's a real bad idea to piss them off.
  • avatar


    Biff Barker, DeSean was released yesterday; what worsened with Williams?
  • avatar


    surferdudes...Had a good time, huge crowd. Couldn't believe they gave free beer, wine and food to everyone. Yes, the new uni's have drawn big interest, hope that translates to people going to the games and filling Ray J.
  • avatar


    Kinderrt, saw pictures of the event on Bucs.com. Looked packed, and a good time. Love em, or hate em the uni's are having the desired affect of generating interest. Everyone including players seem to be excited about whats to come.
  • avatar


    Off topic....Went to Ray J to see the new uniforms live and up close, the pewter looks more black to me but I do like the white jerseys with the dark pants.
  • avatar


    What's that Meatloaf song Horse, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad"? I must admit I got a kick out of poking fun at you for your early stance on McCoy. But I must tell you; I was starting to wonder if you were right. We here in Tampa seem just so eager to make quick verdicts. McCoy is everything Buc Nation could want in a player. I really like Pitt's Aaron Donald and think he might be one of the safest options with that 7th pick. Much as I enjoy watching Johnny Manziel; he is small and plays so aggressively that I fear he may spend a lot of time in the infirmary. Gruden did a sit down with him on ESPN that was very insightful. That young man exudes confidence and most importantly, instincts for the position. I'll just have to have faith (Scott loves that word) in the organization to get it right.
  • avatar


    scubog; you're great and I love your humor. I have no problem "poking fun at me" as I know it is never mean spirited.
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    Horse, your one mistake only means you are human. You are one of the very top posters for accuracy. This year I misread the height of a MLB and discovered my error and have corrected it. I wish we could pick all the top ten players in the draft but we c,an only pick one of them. I agree Donald is going to be a star, however, I believe we can get the DT from Syracuse who got 10 sacks his senior year and is an above average 3 Technique who could step in for McCoy if injured, and also play well in rotation, and we could get him in the third round pick. I agree that Carr is the best of the top four QBs and there are some holes in his game, but don't forget that Tedford can fix every single hole for Carr, but he cannot make Glennon a mobile QB to avoid sacks and keep plays alive. In time Carr can be trained by both Tedford and Josh to become a Franchise QB by winning a SB. Now as to DOM, I thank Scott for his very detailed examination of DOM and especially the importance of DOM's contract innovation in helping us right now. Yes, there was a big learning curve for DOM and he made a number of early misses in drafting, but he greatly improved at it with experience and put a number of our present players on this team. I do wish Scott had gone further and gave details as to all the hidden talent DOM found for us off practise squads and waiver wires and in free agency. He brought us two big backs who were thousand yard rushers who Schiano cut or almost gave away and who played well for the Patriots and Giants. He found Najee Goode who we need right now at MLB to cover passes in Tampa Two, and dumb Schiano cut him too. There are three talents we could have right now but for Schiano. He got us Tanny, who took over when Golston was suspended and played very well at safety. I could go on and on, and just when DOM had learned his GM job really well he got cut. I like Licht and think he will do well in this draft except I worry he may continue a troubling pattern of convincing his teams to gamble on later round QBs just because he did hit it big doing that long ago with Brady. If he does it again this year we may suffer him continuing his learning curve on us, and DOM would have known better!
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    Need to stay away from Jackson, if the Eagles don't want him there must be a problem and he is way OVERPAID! We want to get rid of MW but now some of us want to take another questionable player with a high salary on the team?. Build through the draft and not take somebody's problem and make it our problem.
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    I don't believe you can call drafting in recent years any shakier than in the late 90's just yet. We drafted McCoy, David, Martin, Clayborn, Barron , Foster, Banks and Williams. There is know way we can say that McCoy is Sapp or David is Brooks, but this appears to be a pretty good group go guys drafted in recent years. Can't call it shaky drafting yet. Sure, Freeman didn't pan out, but neither did Dilfer.
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    Well...this draft may be deep, but so was supposedly the 2010 one following the college eligibility rule changes and entrance of an "extra" class of players to that draft....McCoy at 3 overall was great, but Price (a supposed first rounder in any other year), Benn, And need we even recall Myron.....I firmly believe you use a top-10 pick if you are "lucky" enough to have one because that's your best chance of getting immediate help...even in a "deep" draft the following rounds get more and more unlikely to find contributors....use the pick!
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    The talk against Jackson is ALLEGED - there is no really hard proof to this point other than gang hand signs that ALLEGED he used..since most things you can do with your hands( be it devil horns,peace fingers,hang loose) can be used by gangs and their members,you better be damn sure that's what he is doing..DJAX is from So Cal like myself and I'm a father of two and I know some gang bangers- not that I hang out with them,but when you are young and go out and do your thing in LA,chances are you are gonna run into some guys with gang affiliation and might actually befriend one or two while not being supportive of their gang bangin..the ones I know currently live in my neighborhood and are very respectful to me and my family but they can get a lil testy around folks that aren't from the neighborhood..does this make me a gang banger? I have thrown both the crip and blood hand signs (in jest) - but I've never banged a day in my life.. .."...............check the facts and get the evidence first before passing judgement..The Bucs should bring in DJAX for a look,it would be stupid not to..seems more like a difference in philosophy between his new coach and himself( never heard much of this when Andy was at the helm).........I can just imagine DJAX and VJAX being our answer to White and Jones..it would be scarier to face us since no one wants a run in with V/D! Let's infect the NFC south with a lil dual JACKSON...
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    cremdonado; I agree. I would consider Jackson. I would sign him, then we can go for a WR in a later round. This would allow us to draft Donald or Mathews at spot 7.
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    Tampa is not the place to live for rich and arrogant people who show no respect to police officers. I was born in Tampa and that position of the way the police act is acceptable for most citizens. I was wrong about McCoy after year 1 and 2 due to his injuries and he started off in year 3 slowly, but came on big time after mid season. I should not have declared him a bust after game 2 of his third year. I have had to take the beating that Garv and scubog remind me of from time to time. I deserve it because I got that one wrong. I am a big time McCoy fan now because he is a good guy and a very good player. I was right about Freeman because I was told of a substance abuse problem and that he had to get away from the night life by a friends friend. My inside source confirmed that Revis was coming way before it was acknowledged that Revis was coming and that we were overpaying him along with high draft picks. Two out of three is not bad; dang I wished I had kept my mouth shut about McCoy.
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    Reports are starting to come out about Jackson being a gang banger. Stay far away!
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    Get off your soapbox!!!
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    Scott, great read as usual. Fab 1 details why an abundance of us posters wanted Dom out of here for so long, although Fab 4 details his skills at capology & contract negotiations. Too bad he wasn't a better player evaluator (with some bad luck to boot); but so far, I'm thrilled with the performance of the new GM.
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    What should we expect from the Buc’s at pick #7 in the draft? Do the math!There are 6 teams picking before the Bucs, but only 4 will likely pick a QB. If each of them picks a QB, then 2 of Clowney, Robinson, Watkins or Mack will be there at #7. If rumors are to be believed, the Texans are aggressively shopping the first pick! If 3 of them pick a QB, then 1 of the non-QB group and 1 of the top 4 QBs will be there. If 2 of them pick a QB, then 2 of the top 4 QBs will be there. If only 1 of them pick a QB, then 3 of the top 4 QBs will be there. What does all of this mean for the Bucs? Under any scenario above, the Bucs have an attractive selection at #7. If the Bucs choose to trade down, they will undoubtedly have willing trade partners for the attractive and available player/s at #7. It would be fine with me if they picked Donald, Evans, Mathews, Ebron, or several other players slated for the 1st round. At #7, some of the first 4 QB-needy teams may want to get back into the 1st round. The ideal situation would be to trade down one place with the Vikings to ensure they got their QB and we pick up a 4th. Get our man in the 1st, then trade down a few spots in the 2nd and pick up a 6th to round out the draft. Deep draft, lots of good players at almost every position. Bucs can’t lose in this draft. Only the previous administration could screw this one up (unnecessary shot, but I had to take it)! lol
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    I like Donald, and so do the Boys at 16. If we pick him at 7 no telling what Jerry might give up for him. Either way we win.
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    I also agree that Donald would be a very smart move as not only a backup for McCoy but also another guy that can rush the passer and rotate in and out. Going back many drafts I have wanted players that the Buc's didn't pick that went on to become stars for other teams. I guess wanting us to take Donald does not seem possible as they haven't picked a first round pick that I wanted in the last ten years. Moving on to MW being let go, I would think they give Mike this year to clean up his life style or hit the road in 2015. I read an article that said none of MW salary is guaranteed in 2015 but PR says that it is, which it it?
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    Assuming we go Oline or Dline when our pick is up, and we could go either way, Aaron Donald is probably the 'best available.' Then Oline, OG, in the second round. Best available the rest of the way.
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    I generaly like to have a dominant unit - either Dline, linebackers, or secondary(one could split this into safeties and corners). Having a dominating unit spreads wrinkles throughout the rest of the D; you can free up others to do other things. Dominant corners allows you to blitz and double cover with the safeties. A dominant Dline frees up all the linebackers and secondary. You can play cover 2. You don't have to blitz as much.
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    Finally some love being shown to Arron Donald. Please bring him to Tampa. He is special and I think whoever gets him should jump up and down for joy. I completely agree with SR that we got the better DT in McCoy. when Suh was drafted I thought we did not get the better player. I'm so glad I was wrong. Everytime I hear or see GMac on TV he makes me smile with what is just a fabulous outlook on life and football. Arron Donald reminds me of GMac. He's a great footballer and a great person. Please draft him, at #7 or at #1 he's worth it. GO BUCS
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    "followed by doing or saying something to make his own brother want to stab him is a clear pattern of behavior to me." Scott, I'm in no way a Mike Williams' apologist but you cannot MAKE someone want to stab you. His brother has to take ownership of his own actions, not Mike. The brother could have left the situation at any time but CHOSE to make a foolish and life threatening one. I think had it been Derek Carr's brother David who stabbed him in the leg, you wouldn't be blaming Derek for MAKING his brother do such a thing regardless of past parking tickets, because you think so highly of the upstanding christian Derek. Which shows clear bias in this situation.
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    Excellent Five as always Scott! The first one is the most telling IMO. We all knew we had had some poor drafts but even so I was shocked to read point by point just HOW bad they were. After many of them I thought we had struck gold too. Remember how getting both McCoy and Price and Clayborn and Bowers the following years seemed like genius? I thought so at the time. Freeman fooled us all for a while, some like myself more than others. Wouldn't it be great if we could draft well AND avoid the dead money? Why not? Signing McCoy long term is a must IMO, would have the same impact of Sapp's first long term deal after his rookie contract. Next year David. An advantage to not having the franchise QB yet is being able to sign multiple players with at huge CAP hit. Let's all hope this is going to work as well as it looks to so far. Again, great, if sobering stuff Scott. Thanks and a hat tip!
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    Some BAD whispers going around about why Jackson was cut by the Eagles. Bad enough that Williams, warts and all, would be preferable to him. I hope that's not the direction the Bucs end up going in.
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