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.
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.
While the Wednesday morning headlines have been mostly about Bucs head coach Lovie Smith’s thoughts on former Noles quarterback Jameis Winston, Smith also had plenty of good things to say about Oregon’s Marcus Mariota via JoeBucsfan.com.
“I think there is enough throws for you to like what [Mariota] has done. I’ve seen him complete every throw that he’ll have to make in the NFL,” Lovie said. “And I know part of the game and system he runs there are a lot of flare routes and different screens, and people tend focus on that, but I think you can find him completing and throwing into tight windows throughout.”
On Mariota, Smith added, “What I see is a big strong athlete that’s great off the field and on, that’s won a lot of football games, protected the ball, given his team an opportunity to win quite a few games.”
In his press conference later in the day Smith also answered some questions about Mariota.
“I’ve heard a lot about this pro-style system in college, but I think if you look at a quarterback, I think there are some offenses you can run in college that maybe will get you more ready to make that transition,” Smith said. “But it is a transition for any college player coming to the NFL and in Marcus’ case, he ran an offense that most teams in the league don’t run, but I see him scrambling around, I see him making decisions, I see him making – for the most part – most of the throws that he’ll be making in the league. Again, you look in our league right now, there are different quarterbacks. There are some mobile quarterbacks, there are some more drop-back, pocket quarterbacks, but guys are having success doing it a lot of different ways.
“I think it probably helps a little bit if you’ve done more of the things that you’ll be doing in an NFL game, but a lot of this is about projections though, really.”
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock hosted a conference call with the media on Monday to discuss the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine and to talk about some of the players who will be showcasing their skills beginning on Friday in Indianapolis. With the Buccaneers holding the overall No. 1 pick, Mayock shared his thoughts on the top quarterbacks in the draft, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston.
While most would assume the Bucs are in an envious position, Mayock disagreed.
“I don’t envy Jason [Licht] and Lovie [Smith] and that group, their decision, because there’s a consensus top two at the quarterback position, but there’s contrasting issues with both of them,” Mayock said. “Obviously with Jameis Winston, my concern number one is on the field. That is I think he throws too many interceptions. However, I can see everything I want on the field, on tape, beyond that. He’s a pocket aware guy. He throws with anticipation and timing, which is unusual in today’s college football world.“He’s tough. He gets smacked in the face. He delivers the football.
“I think the bigger concern is whether or not this guy can be the face of your franchise. Let’s face it. He was the face of the Florida State franchise and that didn’t stop him from making a bunch of bad decisions off the field.”
Mayock then discussed Mariota.
“With the other quarterback, Marcus Mariota, you don’t have any worries off the field, and all the individual components are there. He’s athletic. He’s got a big arm. He’s 6’4″, 215 pounds. He’s got great feet. He’s going to run 4:5, 4:55. All the individual components are available. However, can he put them together in a pro style offense where he has to throw with anticipation, has to go through progressions?
“They’ve got a ton of homework ahead of them, and I think both quarterbacks have question marks.”
PewterReport.com will have more from Mayock’s conference call later on Tuesday and Wednesday.