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It is no secret 2019 is a big year for Bucs general manager Jason Licht. After five seasons in charge of running Tampa Bay’s front office, the Buccaneers have yet to make the playoffs and have a record of 27-53 under Licht’s leadership.

While Bucs’ fans continue to debate Licht’s performance, the Glazer’s have shown faith in Licht and his staff. But how much patience they will continue to have in Licht is unknown. The bottom line is, if the Bucs can turn things around in 2019 and reach, or at least get close to the playoffs Licht, will most likely be rewarded with a multi-year extension.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But a recent article by USAToday.com’s Steven Ruiz doesn’t paint Licht in a very favorable light. Ruiz recently ranked all 32 of the NFL’s general managers, and had Licht 31st out of 32.

“Seriously, how does Jason Licht still have this job? He’s spent a TON of money in free agency and those moves have not paid off. He’s also botched most of his first-round picks, which have been near or in the top-10. And, oh yeah, he’s drafted TWO kickers! He justified this year’s pick by claiming that kicker is one of the most important positions on the roster. Let that sink in.”

While Licht would be the first to tell you he has made some mistakes, to say he has botched most of his first round picks isn’t a fair assessment. Wide receiver Mike Evans is a superstar, quarterback Jameis Winston many feel still has plenty of potential to live up to his first round status but O.J. Howard was on his way to being in the Pro Bowl conversation last year before an ankle injury ended his season prematurely. While cornerback Vernon Hargreaves has been a disappointment, Vita Vea showed flashes of being worthy of his draft status, and many feel this year’s selection of linebacker Devin White could be a home run.

2019 will be a turning point in Licht’s career in Tampa Bay, but with a new staff of proven successful coaches, Licht’s future with the Buccaneers is looking better. Now the team just has to prove it on the field and get back to the playoffs sooner rather than later.

You can see the full GM rankings by clicking here.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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ScottC543
2 years ago

Gee, that’s funny. I recently ranked NFL writers, and what a coincidence! Steven Ruiz ranks 31st out of 32 (in a tie).

Alldaway 2.0
2 years ago

Yup, if the Bucs first rounders play lights out that Licht will ascend the rankings because his free agent record is worse than Bruce Allen’s.

The 2019 season is a make or break season for Licht as a GM in this league IMO. This is because we will find out if it was a lack of coaching or lack of talent holding this team back?

Pewterpropoganda
2 years ago

You guys always stick up for Licht despite all of the very clear and obvious evidence to the contrary. There was literally no excuse for not trading D-Jax and McCoy halfway through last year to a super bowl contender for third round picks. Any competent GM would have done so. How many bottom feeding teams have the same salary cap issues we have? None. “Winston has plenty of potential” lol. You don’t pick a guy number one overall to HOPEFULLY be good by his fourth year in the league (see Mayfield, Wentz, Goff, Mahomes, Trubisky, and even Darnold already playing… Read more »

BigSombrero
2 years ago

Eagles GM #1 on this list? Haahhahahahaha. This writer’s credibility is in question. He wrote, “His trades always seem to pay off.” Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha Howie is the same guy who traded a 3rd at the trade deadline for Golden Tate who was a free agent after the season. Total fail. Same guy who traded the farm for Wentz who is always broken. Same guy who traded for slow Alshon Jeffrey who has missed half his games. Same guy who traded for Jay Ajayi who is always hurt. Same guy who has missed on 85% of his draft picks over the last… Read more »

Die Hard
2 years ago

How is Ruiz wrong? I agree with the quote in the article completely. How does this guy have a job?

BigSombrero
2 years ago

#1 GM vs #31 GM

Last 6 drafts for each GM: 1st round picks

Eagles/Roseman : Marcus Smith II, Nelson Agohlor, Carson Wentz, Derek Barnett, (none), Andre Dillard
Bucs/Licht : Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, VHIII, OJ Howard, Vita Vea, Devin White

Advantage Bucs.

slaythembucs
2 years ago

Licht deserves the criticism and i think he will agree too. I really don’t care who is the #1 GM as that doesn’t help the BUCS in anyway. That being said – by the end of this season Licht is either out of a job or will have moved to the Top 10 GMs in the league for bringing in Arians and sticking with Winston. There is no middle ground .

Sneedy16
2 years ago

I’m pretty sure you didn’t include Peyton Barber into your running back equation.

Schwifty9
2 years ago

Big Sombrero. Just 2 seasons ago the Eagles won the Super Bowl with a back up that Roseman signed.. Wentz was playing at an MVP level before getting injured that season. They had a top 5 O-line and D-line. A good running game and just a solid all around roster. They made the playoffs again last year despite Wentz getting injured again. He may not be the best, but Roseman but he’s damn close is significantly better than Licht. Oh it’s worth Mentioning that Roseman Survived the Chip Kelly coup and also hired Doug Pederson to replace him the same… Read more »

Bucsfan1983
2 years ago

Ruiz is right. Licht has spent tons on FA, with not many of them working out. He has done poor in the draft, with lots of mistakes. The biggest two coming in ’18 and ’19 drafts. Taking Vea over James, followed up this year with taking White over Allen.

If the Bucs fail to make the playoffs this season, Licht needs to be fired.

Devasher
2 years ago

27-53 A game worse than what got Dominik Fired. One Pro Bowler (alternate) Consecutive 5-11 seasons A team in cap hell. Very richly deserved second to last place The only players Mark Cook is citing are first round picks, many of which are top 10 or like Winston top overall. Like Mike Evans? Great! I’m sure if Licht had gone a different route and taken Odell Beckham or Aaron Donald with the pick it wouldn’t have changed that fact that they, like Evans, would’ve been the best player on the roster. It was a great year to have the seventh… Read more »

Buc on the Move
2 years ago

Wow, Licht stays out of last place because Gase has been handed the reins in NY.

I’d actually give him the edge over Licht at this point because Licht has done so little with SO MUCH capital.

martinii
2 years ago

Kinda tired of rankings, poles, and stats in general. I imagine that’s all we will see until training camp. You know I have always wandered in which pre-season game are the most hotdogs consumed at the RayJay. Careful, this is a trick question.

fredster
2 years ago

Nobody gives a damn about what he or any other writer thinks really. If Bucs win 8-10 games this year will be huge turn around and success and Licht will be here many more years. If they don’t then will have see ho patient Glazers are.

Jury is out still on Licht and plenty of criticism is fair but musical coaches and GMs doesn’t work either. If this a great draft and Bucs play better as expected he deserves to stay in my book.

fredster
2 years ago

I think this year will be make or break for Licht weather you want him here or gone. I’m ambivalent about him if they win 8-10 games and this kicker actually is good lol I say give him more time.

Remember Licht is why we have Arians and that will be clear of good or bad too soon enough.

Go Bucs I think it’s time for us fans that have waited long time to see a better team.

BigSombrero
2 years ago

FYI : “Cap Hell” is typically referencing DEAD CAP SPACE. The Bucs are the #1 best team in the NFL in dead cap space at $90k. They are not in cap hell.

Miami is truly in “Cap Hell”. They have $37.5 MILLION counting against their cap on players who are NO LONGER WITH THE TEAM because of signing bonuses and front end cash that is prorated over the entire contract.

tog
tog
2 years ago

BigSombrero – you’re clueless. First, since taking back over GM duties Roseman has averaged 9.7 wins. And a SUPER BOWL win. So please, compare Roseman to Licht & his many playoff appearances. Second, you seem hopeless unaware that Roseman did not draft Marcus Smith or Agholor. And his drafts have been largely successful (as has his team building and hiring). Again – 9.7 wins/season. Third, you again are clueless about compensatory picks. Roseman traded for Tate, got a half season tryout at a position of need (from a very good WR) and now gets a 4th in 2020 as a… Read more »

Devasher
2 years ago

“Cap hell” is when you can’t sign needed players because of your salary cap. BigSombrero conflated “dead cap” with it to try to justify himself. I’m glad tog could set him straight. Please justify 27-53 dear postee. The mental gymnastics some people do to shower praise on their Emporer with no clothes is surely as sad as it is entertaining. Though this is effectively Scott Reynold’s site, so I’m not surprised the last remaining members of the USS Lichtanic refuse to leave the ship as it sinks. @fredster opines that if Licht goes as low as 8-8, which would take… Read more »

Devasher
2 years ago

Also it should be noted, and rarely is, that cap space that remains available on a given season can be rolled over to the next. The reason why the Browns spent big this off-season and still have space is because they rolled over their space from previous years. The reason why Licht can’t sign anyone that isn’t a result of a player being released is because he’s spent like drunken sailor the first five seasons and had little to no money to roll into this year. It’s also why you never see the team with any compensatory picks. So keep… Read more »

Dman
2 years ago

Could care less about the definition of “cap hell”.

Bottom line is our teams under Licht don’t win. The roster has plenty of holes. We have paid and are paying high salaries for players that have not produced to their contracts. Maybe the influence of Arians and Bowles will help this year.

And for those who’ve pointed it out, I agree Pewter Report is part of the Licht rose-colored-glasses-brigade – and that’s putting it nicely.

EastEndBoy
2 years ago

I am probably the leader of the “Licht-is-horrible” pack but I disagree with both Ruiz and Cook in this piece: 1) I think the draft is incredibly difficult for all GMs. Assessing GMs based on whether their draft choices were “botched” or still have “potential”, would be like picking between which of your 32 cousins you want to take the prom. They are all going to look bad. 2) The reason I regularly rail against Licht for his drafting is because he either has no strategy, or a really bad one (as statistically measured over the years), when going in.… Read more »

kram0789
2 years ago

I agree with PR that the assessment of the first round picks is unfair. Even though it is too early to rank the pick of Vita Vea, I am still hurting over not picking Derwin James. I do agree with the writer that Licht (Lite) is not a successful GM and I think the rating of near bottom is deserved. His main failures are woeful record in the second round and not fixing either the OL, DL or DB position groups despite opportunities to do so. He seem to have no strategic feel for how to work the draft and… Read more »

BigSombrero
2 years ago

@tog Hey there buddy. Howie Roseman has been with the Eagles since 2000 and he’s been the GM since 2010. Get your facts straight if you want to debate. Roseman was lucky to have hired Pederson. Without that lucky hire, the Iggles are garbage as per usual. The Bucs didn’t have to cut McCoy. They could have restructured Evans. They could have extended Winston at a lower number. They could have cut Benenoch and Evan Smith to save the $4m. Arians called McCoy out about 10 times, or did you think it was a mind game? He isn’t counting fake… Read more »

BigSombrero
2 years ago

Which “needed” player did the Bucs miss out on exactly because of their cap hell? Adam Humphries? Kwon ALexander? Both have been upgraded in a big way. Maybe you thought the Honey Badger or Landon Collins was coming to Tampa. Thankfully the Bucs didn’t wast big money on shitty safeties.

Not in cap hell. The Bucs can make space in lots of ways to keep players or bring in players that the coaches want or need.

BigSombrero
2 years ago

@tog Admittedly I hate the Eagles. I do not follow them. In my humble opinion, even after eventually earning a comp pick, Tate was still a failed desperation trade by the Eagles. How exactly do you effectively evaluate a player who is on your team for 2 months and has no rapport with the QB or knowledge of the playbook? Detroit won that trade, not Howie Roseman. The Eagles gave up pick #81 in 2019 and will get a comp pick in the #135-#138 range in 2020 for a 4 game rental. That is NOT a win. If Licht had… Read more »

Devasher
2 years ago

@BigSombrero maybe you are comfortable with Earl Watford as your starting RG, with Peyton Barber as your starting RB, with Carl Nassib as your best healthy pass rusher, with starting defensive backfield of Jordan Whitehead, (currently injured) Justin Evans, VHIII, Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy Bunting but I’d say that’s a lot of people who haven’t proven much of anything in the NFL, except for Watford who’s proven to be a fringe player at best. To your point, and what you appear to miss, is that the contracts doled out to Michael Johnson(16 mil in cap for one year of… Read more »

BigSombrero
2 years ago

@Devasher I could be wrong, but I think the GM targets players his head coach requests. It has been completely collaborative under Jason Licht to my understanding. The previous coaching regimes gave targeting input and spoke with any potential free agents before they were signed. A recent example is that Suh came to Tampa because of Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians, not Jason Licht. The positional coach, coordinator, and head coach all signed off on the idea of bringing him in first and foremost. I actually don’t remember Jason Licht saying anything about Suh and very little about McCoy before… Read more »

Spitfire
2 years ago

People keep saying how bad our salary cap issues are and being in Salary Cap Hell. Salary Cap He’ll is having to cut 3 stars because you are over the cap like we used to be under Bruce Allen. Letting a #3 WR and hurt MLB take ridiculous dead in FA and choosing to release an aging DT to pick up another one is not Salary Cap Hell. We may have ranked low on Salary Cap Space and not been able to spend wildly this year but it was not a mess and will only get better from here… In… Read more »

BucFan circa76
2 years ago

I agree with Big Sombrero, the choice of Philly GM was “pee your pants laughable”. Upon further review, I noticed Ruiz is from the “City of Brotherly Love” aka in these parts as Rondelphia, so again, no surprise at this choice. 2nd most absurd was Bruce Allen at #20, for the record I think Haskins will be another in a long list of ‘Skins 1st round QB busts (Heath Shuler, Patrick Ramsey, Jason Campbell, and of course RG3…..). Ruiz obviously knows dip-spit of all 32 NFL teams and their GM’s. Licht wouldn’t even be in my top 20 GM’s (and… Read more »

BucFan circa76
2 years ago

Almost forgot…….what’s with the reader(s) wasting our Pewter/Bucs forum/discussion on licking the Browns up and down? They have been insignificant LONGER THAN WE HAVE and lost to us just a few months ago. Who cares about their salary cap surplus and/or carryover? Let’s see how their use of the surplus carries out in 2019, after reading press clippings since February about being perennial Super Bowl contenders. Go BUCS!!

Devasher
2 years ago

@BigSombrero there’s a BIG difference between working with the coaches on personnel and giving the head coach the blame for signings and draft picks that don’t work out over the GM. Jon Gruden/Bill Belichick don’t work here. At the minimum Licht has had two very different HC’s but with consistent record of failure in free agency and no one is saying that Dirk Koetter had the same level of influence in roster decisions that Lovie Smith had (power over final 53 in his contract). Either we give Licht credit for Mike Evans and Ali Marpet and give equal blame for… Read more »

drdneast
2 years ago

Good post Devashar and for the most part I agree with you. Well said.
Licht’s biggest failures have been in the second round and you are right, so far 2016 was his worst draft by far.
I really believe his drafting has been better than the Dummynick but so far the record doesn’t reflect that, mainly because of our stinky defense.

tog
tog
2 years ago

We’ll have to disagree about the Eagles trade. It may have been a bit of desperation, but it was a desperation play with limited downside. If they loved what they saw from Tate they could’ve resigned him. They decided they wanted to let him walk and recoup the 4th.

Not all trades work out. But to “lose” a trade and drop a year and 50 spots only? That’s smart.

scubog
2 years ago

@-- East End Boy: Loved your Prom analogy. Very Scubog-like. LOL I’ve always believed that it is the general manager’s role to acquire the best players that are suited for what they will be asked to do. “The Patriot Way” and teams like my hometown Steelers, succeed, at least partially, due to the consistency and stability of “what they do”. With our seemingly continuous turnover in coaching staffs, each likely requesting a different skill set, there’s little doubt that the player acquisitions have been unsuccessful on the field. The dilemma for me is whether the “groceries” are poor or the… Read more »

Captain Sly
2 years ago

I like Jason Licht but it’s hard to defend his W-L record, 2rd draft busts, FA Flops and poor roster management with salary cap issues. Licht’s on his 3rd coach in 5 years and at some point one runs out of excuses and the blame needs to get placed where it belongs.

Dave
2 years ago

Look, the jury is still out. And it’s fair to criticize him for his lack of success at GM. But I think his faults are either being piled on, or not evaluated fairly. For starters, if you’re gonna judge GM’s based on the draft, then Belichick is a bottom 5 GM, because his work in the draft over the years has been downright laughable. What has he produced out of the draft since he’s been the Pats coach? Other than lucking into a 6th round 1st ballot hall of famer? His track record is worse in the draft. To me,… Read more »

shuster
2 years ago

Same guy who has a Superbowl ring. How many rings for Licht? Its a bottom line league, dude, and the bottom line is, under Licht, this team has been a perennial cellar dweller. I don’t give a rat’s tail which one has more first round ‘stars’ or which one has the better free agent signings. Its all about wins, baby. Roseman is a winner and Licht ain’t.

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