The professional paths of Jason Licht and Jon Robinson have crossed enough that Thursday’s big-news trade between the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams didn’t totally surprise the Bucs’ general manager.
But he still didn’t foresee something quite like this. The Titans sent their No. 1 overall selection to the Rams, as well as their fourth- and sixth-round picks, in return for St. Louis’ first four slots in the draft (15th overall in the first, two in the second and one in the third) and the first- and third-round picks next year.
“That’s the way we grew up together, to be bold,” Licht said during his Thursday afternoon press conference at One Buccaneer Place, speaking of his and Robinson’s professional development over the years. The pair has spent eight years working for the same NFL organization, beginning with a three-year stint in New England and ending when Robinson left in January as the Bucs’ Director of Player Personnel to become the Titans’ general manager.
This trade, however, was exceptionally bold, Licht admitted.
“We’ve talked periodically the last couple months,” he said. “I’ll keep those conversations private but it did shock me they did this. I was happy for him.”
When asked to assess the transaction, Licht said it was far too early to tell if one team outmaneuvered the other.
“It seems like both teams got what they wanted,” he said. “If somebody just asked me, ‘who do you think won on that trade?’ you can’t say the answer to that right now. You’ve got to let it play out. It’s great to have a bunch of picks. If you’re a team like Jon Robinson and the Titans it’s great to have a bunch of picks – for any team. But if you’re L.A. and you have a player that you want, you’ve got to pay for it, go up and if that player works out they’re going to think they won.
“So I thought right now on the surface both teams got what they wanted.”
Thursday’s trade now takes a team with a designated franchise quarterback (Tennessee and Marcus Mariota) and slots it behind Tampa Bay’s pick at No. 9 overall and swaps it with a team, St. Louis, searching for an answer at the position.
There are still eight organizations that will take players off the board before the Bucs. But if the Rams go after a quarterback, as expected, that leaves one more available non-QB.
Without getting into specifics, Licht spoke about the trade’s potential impact and if it’s a positive for the Bucs.
“Yeah, it could, but it’s all a bunch of ifs, ands and buts still at this point,” he said. “The draft never works out the exact way that you put it down. You’ve got to wait to see how the draft flows.
“It’s kind of like a play caller. You have your script during the game. Dirk has things that he wants to do but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way and you have to revise your plan a little bit and shoot from the hip for the lack of a better phrase. But every draft is different.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org