With free agency approaching it, the Bucs may be looking to free up some salary cap space. CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora reported on Friday that the Buccaneers approached starting side receiver Vincent Jackson about taking a pay cut, but the veteran said no. However, PewterReport.com has learned Jackson was never asked to take a pay cut.
La Canfora wrote, “Tampa shopped before the trade deadline and while they might still be open to dealing him, they haven’t restarted that process yet, sources said, and at this point it looks like he’ll be back. Jackson will not agree to a pay cut, sources said, and the Bucs have plenty of cap space and need all the assets they can get, especially with it looking more and more like a done deal that they draft quarterback Jameis Winston first overall. Jackson has a $10M base and $12.2M cap hit, and while his role in the offense dipped at times last season, with uncertainty at quarterback, I suspect he is one guy from this group who sticks around. But I’m sure there are three to four teams who would be interested in him for sure.”
The Bucs could be looking to restructure Jackson’s deal which calls for a $12 .2million cap hit in 2015, but both general manager Jason Licht and Lovie Smith have been adamant that Jackson is part of the Bucs plans for 2015. Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud tweeted on February 18, “#BucsGM Jason Licht will meet with the agent for Vincent Jackson in Indy, presumably to ask for a restructure of his $9.77-mil salary.” Licht also told Stroud that Jackson would “absolutely” be back with the Buccaneers and “we really like Jackson.”
According to Spotrac.com the Buccaneers have around $27 million in cap space currently, but can easily increase that with the release of some veteran players like Anthony Collins, Dashon Goldson, Michael Johnson and Michael Koenen. Other players could be asked to rework their current deals to provide the team more cap room.
The 2015 free agency period kicks off on March 10 at 4 p.m. and while Tampa Bay will be active, they are not expected to make any high-dollar splash signings, instead looking for more value free agents like defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, a player who was the most productive of Tampa Bay’s large free agent class of 2014.
Former Bucs Jon Gruden is a big fan of both, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, the top two quarterbacks in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Gruden, who might still be coaching the Bucs had he drafted and developed a young quarterback, seems enamored with both after being a guest on the Mike and Mike Morning Show on ESPN.
Gruden isn’t buying the system argument when it comes to Mariota.
“He’s not the offensive coordinator,” Gruden said. “It’s not his fault. What they do at Oregon is very unique. That type of football is on its way to the NFL. You’re seeing more and more no-huddle offenses. You see a lot of intermediate passes from 10 yards and in, which is a big part of Oregon.
“When you watch Philadelphia [which is coached by former Oregon coach Chip Kelly] play offense, you see the Oregon Ducks. The No. 1 offense in football the last two years is Philadelphia. So the system works. Mariota can play in that system. Somebody is going to see a (6-foot-4) quarterback with 4.5 speed. This guy is quick, he’s smart, he’s the most humble, hard-working guy maybe in this draft. I want him on my team. I’ll put my system in around him. I think personally Marcus Mariota can play in any system.”
Gruden also spoke highly of Winston as well.
“He’s a dynamic kid,” Gruden said. “You don’t go to Florida State and meet many people that don’t love being around Winston. He is a polarizing player for some. Some people can’t agree on what he is off the field. I’ve got a lot of confidence that he’s learned some valuable lessons and he knows he’s going to be in the spotlight for the rest of his career. It’s up to him to get it done.”
Gruden finished things up in classic Gruden fashion.
“If you don’t like Marcus Mariota, you don’t like human beings.”
The Bucs have finalized their 2015 coaching staff with the addition of Paul Spicer who will serve as the team’s assistant defensive line coach. Spicer replaces Mike Phair who left earlier this year to become co-defensive coordinator.
Spicer played 12 seasons in the NFL, mostly for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2000-2008) and collected 28.5 sacks to go along with 252 tackles and six forced fumbles. After retiring in 2011, Spicer joined the coaching ranks, working with current Bucs defensive line coach Joe Cullen in Jacksonville (2011-2012).
The Bucs have no current vacancies on their staff after adding Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator, Mike Bajakian to serve as the quarterback coach, Andrew Weidinger as assistant offensive line coach and now Spicer to assist the defensive line.
Pundits, draft forecasters and everyone in between have shared their thoughts on former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston since the NFL Scouting Combine. Now his former head coach, Jimbo Fisher, has weighed on, joining NFL AM on Wednesday morning to talk about his star pupil.
Fisher talked about Winston’s past issues, his interception totals and about the NFL teams who have contacted him regarding Winston, including if the Bucs have been in touch. Fisher was asked if he thought there was any way Tampa Bay would pass on Winston.
“I don’t think so,” Fisher said. “Here is how I look at players even when I recruit, there are certain guys that you don’t want to play against. It is not just can he do it, but there are certain guys you don’t want to play against.”
Fisher also addressed the interception issue in 2014.
“How do you make big plays if you don’t take chances?” Fisher said. “Every play is not wide open. This year some of it he forced the ball and some of it was not on him.”
Fisher went on to explain how the receivers were to blame at times with the interceptions.
“This year, some of it, he forced the ball,” Fisher said. “Some of it was not all him, some of it was young linemen in the middle making missed blocks, and making him get rid of the ball early. Or young receivers not knowing the backside of a route – or running the back side of a route saying, ‘Well I’m not going to get the ball,’ then all of a sudden he is throwing it to them because that is the matchup. He was playing chess, they were playing checkers.”
In the interview, Fisher was also very complimentary of Oregon Qb Marcus Mariota.
To watch and listen to the entire interview, click here.
Besides the bouts of immaturity displayed by Jameis Winston during his time at Florida State, there are other red flags for teams evaluating his future NFL success.
One of those red flags was Winston’s interceptions last year.
Winston tossed 18 interceptions in 2014, a dramatic jump from his record-setting 2013 freshmen Heisman winning season, but former NFL quarterback and current CBS analyst Phil Simms isn’t alarmed by that number one bit.
“Who cares?” Simms told Adam Schein on SiriusXM Radio recently. “What does it really mean? It basically means nothing. Think about all the college quarterbacks who had unbelievable touchdown-to-interception ratios and they were careful with the football and can’t play at all in the NFL or who do come into the NFL and become turnover machines.
“I find all that talk – it drives me crazy. If you have common intelligence, you don’t have to be a brain surgeon. The NFL is going to teach you, ‘Hey son, that’s open, throw it to him and if he’s not look at the next one.’ It doesn’t take a lot. It really doesn’t.”
Sims also talked about Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, but wasn’t quite as impressed with the Duck as he is the Seminole.
“The look, great shape, all that. Is he a knock-down, natural, NFL thrower? Absolutely not. Could he be? Yes,” Simms said. “I think his arm action and some of the things he does with the football I really like. He throws on the run well. I think he has the ability to really spin it and that’s going to play well wherever he goes. I always talk about guys who can make the ball rotate, that means you’re going to be able to throw in adverse conditions easier than other quarterbacks.”
Click here to listen to the full interview by Simms.
With the Buccaneers expected to select a quarterback with the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the question becomes, what happens to Mike Glennon?
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN the Browns have “sniffed around” about the availability of Glennon, as Cleveland is in the market for a player under center as well.
PewterReport.com brought up a possible trade scenario almost immediately after the Senior Bowl and believes if another team were to offer a third-rounder, it would be hard for the Bucs to turn it down. Teams inquired about Glennon last year before the draft but the Buccaneers declined to pursue a deal, and that was on the eve of a draft that had more QB depth in it than the 2015 class. Last year saw Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater go in the firs round, and Derek Carr go early in the second.
While Tampa Bay holds all the cards with Glennon – at least for the next two seasons – having him under contract at a relatively low $700,000 salary, sources have told PewterReport.com that Glennon wants to be the starter, and he knows if the Bucs select a quarterback with the first overall pick in 2015, his long-term future and chance to be an impact player with the Buccaneers is essentially over. Add in the fact, that despite 2014 starter Josh McCown struggling down the stretch last year, the Bucs never reinserted Glennon back into the lineup, instead saying they felt McCown gave them the best chance to win.
And while perhaps small in magnitude, but something that can’t be ignored, was Glennon’s bother Sean Glennon blasting Bucs’ head coach Lovie Smith via Twitter last year, after McCown was reinserted into the starting lineup, saying he had lost all respect for Smith in a tweet he later deleted.
A third round pick is not out of the question for Glennon who in 18 starts had thrown for 4,025 yards, 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. With a weak free agency class (Michael Vick, Mark Sanchez and Brian Hoyer being the top names) and a dramatic drop off in the draft after Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, Tampa Bay can expect more teams to start “sniffing around.”
The Bucs most likely would prefer to hold on to Glennon as a backup, but with multiple holes to fill on the roster, a significant draft pick offer could make a deal happen with Cleveland, or even a number of other teams in the market for a quarterback.
When asked about Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston on ESPN’s Mike and Mike radio show on Tuesday, and whether the Buccaneers should draft him with the first overall pick, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said Winston “scares me.”
“I don’t know yet,” Mayock said. “I take (Winston) No. 1 from a talent perspective. I’m all over it from a talent perspective, but I would have to do more homework off the field because, right now, he scares me. He was the face of Florida State football, and he continued to make bad decisions off the field.”
On the field, Mayock admires the fact that Winston won the Heisman Trophy and a national title in 2013 as a redshirt freshman and compiled a record of 26-1 as a starter. But the draft guru admitted that Winston’s penchant for throwing interceptions is bothersome. His 18 interceptions in 2014, which was eight more than the previous season, were tied for the second-most in the nation.
“I think Jameis throws way too many interceptions,” Mayock said on the show. “Obviously, he has the ability to close games. … He was at his best when the best was needed and I give him credit for that. But he threw (a combined) seven interceptions vs. Louisville and Florida, and it could have been 14 if the other team could catch the ball. He throws the ball up for grabs, in my opinion, way too often. That’s my big issue with him on the field.”
Mayock said that Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is competing with Winston to be the first overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, has solid character, but has his own concerns about his transition to be a pocket passer in the NFL.
“My concern, again, is that most of that pocket awareness feel is innate,” Mayock said. “I think you’re born with it or you’re not. So, it’s a little bit of a projection. I love the kid, and I think both of them will certainly be gone in the first six picks and probably in the first two.”
To read more of Mayock’s comments on Winston and Mariota, click this link.
Saying former Florida State quarterback and top draft prospect Jameis Winston came to Indianapolis with a lot to prove would be an understatement.
His list of immature acts, not including the most serious allegation of sexual assault, have been following Winston around and opening up the debate on whether he is worth the risk for a team like the Buccaneers that is drafting high in this year’s NFL Draft.
On Friday Winston won over many in attendance and watching live on television, with his charm and confidence during a press conference, where the obviously coached up former Heisman winner said all of the right things regarding his past and his future.
Saturday Winston wowed the same folks with his on-the-field play, showing an excellent arm and very good accuracy during the passing drills. Commentators, pundits, draft forecasters and the average Joe (no, not those guys), all seemed to be impressed with all things Winston. One of those that was blown away was NFL Network analyst and former 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci who said Winston was “the most astute X’s and O’s guy that he’s ever put on the board” for his draft breakdowns.
While there is still 67 days left before the draft (thank you Tampa Bay Times for the draft counter saving me from doing math), and plenty of homework left to be done – on both quarterbacks – Winston stepped up and hit a home run during his first at bat over the last few days in Indianapolis.
Here you can see the full video of Mariucci and Winston from The NFL Network.
On Thursday Jameis Winston was set to take the podium and address the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, but the press conference was rescheduled for Friday after what was explained as medical tests going longer than expected.
On Friday afternoon, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweeted that “Jameis Winston has had further testing to determine why he is experiencing weakness in his throwing shoulder. Underwent Electromyography.”
Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic procedure to assess the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them (motor neurons).
Motor neurons transmit electrical signals that cause muscles to contract. An EMG translates these signals into graphs, sounds or numerical values that a specialist interprets.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, an EMG uses tiny devices called electrodes to transmit or detect electrical signals.
During a needle EMG, a needle electrode inserted directly into a muscle records the electrical activity in that muscle.
A nerve conduction study, another part of an EMG, uses electrodes taped to the skin (surface electrodes) to measure the speed and strength of signals traveling between two or more points.
EMG results can reveal nerve dysfunction, muscle dysfunction or problems with nerve-to-muscle signal transmission.
Winston’s quarterback coach George Whitfield told some in the media following Mortensen’s tweet, that the additional tests “were news to him.”
What this means for Winston long-term is obviously still not know and could be something as simple as a tired arm or could be a sign of a more serious issue. PewterReport.com will follow the story and update any new news on Winston. However this latest revelation could mean Winston will not being throwing on Saturday as was expected.
You can read Mortensen’s blog by clicking here.
Despite Lovie Smith and Jason Licht’s recent endorsement of Mike Glennon, no one should expect the Buccaneers to pass up on Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota come draft day.
During a candid press conference on Wednesday general manager Jason Licht hinted that the team does indeed have a preference regarding the two quarterbacks, just not one they’re going to reveal to the public.
“It would be an insult to sit here after two rounds of draft meetings and watching every play of Lovie (Smith) and I, or Jon Robinson, our personnel director, Mike Biehl, our college scouting director, all of our scouts, to watch every play and say that, ‘OK, we have two guys tied at the top,’ ” Licht said. “We have a favorite, but we want to let the process play out.”
Licht was asked if the team would consider reaching for a quarterback, given the importance of the position and the situation they’re in with the No. 1 pick. And while he recognized the need for a franchise caliber player, he said that there needs to be a collective agreement before making such a critical decision, especially when it involves a quarterback.
“I don’t know about moving him up 20 spots, but if you have a player you feel is a franchise level player, quarterback especially, it’s tough to pass on him,” Licht said. “But you have to make that decision and collectively really feel that that player is that franchise level player, whatever that definition is to you.”