The little engine that could is about to get paid.

The question now is – by whom?

From undrafted free agent to making the Bucs on a tryout basis to becoming a coveted free agent one month from now – wide receiver Adam Humphries may have played his last down in pewter and red.

While the Buccaneers would love to have the former Clemson Tiger back in 2019 and beyond the business side of the NFL most likely will prevent it. After setting career highs in receptions (71), yards (816) and touchdowns (five), Humphries has played himself into another tax bracket, and possibly right out of Tampa Bay.

The Bucs looked to extend Humphries on a long-term deal last year, but his asking price was rumored to be in the $8 million per year range. Tampa Bay decided to shelve the extension talks at the time and now with free agency approaching, the thought that $8 million was crazy money appears to be fair market value in a fairly weak class of free agent receivers.

Looking at the list, Demayrius Thomas (31 and injured), Randall Cobb (29), Golden Tate (31) and Cole Beasley (30) are some recognizable names on a fairly unimpressive list of aging veterans. Then you see Humphries at 25 years old and all of a sudden he moves way up the list of players teams will want to talk to in early March. The 2019 NFL Draft isn’t flush with great receivers, either.

Bucs WR Adam Humphries - Photo by Mary Holt/PR
Bucs WR Adam Humphries – Photo by Mary Holt/PR

How much are the Bucs willing to pay for a guy that may have hit his ceiling with 76 receptions, 816 yards (107 avg.) and five touchdowns? Or the better questions is, how much can they afford to pay Humphries, who also served as the team’s punt returner over the last couple of years? Those are solid numbers, no doubt, but $8 million a year for a receiver who has yet to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in a season? A more reasonable number for Humphries in Tampa Bay may be closer to $6 million per year, but he’s likely to fetch closer to $8 million on the open market where he will have plenty of suitors.

With the release of defensive end Vinny Curry on Tuesday, the Bucs have an estimated $16 million in cap space, and have a number of other pending free agents that will need to be addressed as well. Left tackle Donovan Smith will eat up around $14 million after the team places the franchise tag on him if Tampa Bay doesn’t sign him to a long-term extension first.

Middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, who is coming off a torn ACL, is another unrestricted free agent the team will need to make a decision on as well, in addition to players like safety Andrew Adams, linebacker Adarius Taylor, running back Peyton Barber, who will be a restricted free agent and other contributors. And even if the Bucs let some of them walk, they will still need to replace them with new players.

Should Humphries depart it would likely leave the Bucs thin at wide receiver as the team will likely part ways with DeSean Jackson either via trade or release this offseason to save $10 million in cap room. Mike Evans and emerging star Chris Godwin would be the starters with Justin Watson and Bobo Wilson – both unproven NFL players – serving as the primary backups, which would facilitate the need to sign another wide receiver in free agency or draft one.

Bucs WR Adam Humphries
Bucs WR Adam Humphries – Photo by: PewterReport.com

Humphries’ path and story to the NFL should be posted and shared with every youth and high school player in the country. He is the epitomé of hard work, perseverance and following your dream. All he does is come to work, do his job without complaining, seems genuinely happy to be an NFL football player – and produces. He is a dream to coach, and won’t pout or sulk if he doesn’t get the ball.

One thing the Bucs do have going for them is Humphries wants to be a Buccaneer. He loves playing here, loves the area and has a lot of friends inside the locker room. But the opportunity to secure his financial future will be a strong pull, and who could blame him if he takes the bigger paycheck?

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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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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 [email protected]

57 COMMENTS

  1. Man, I hope he stays. I don’t think we give him enough credit of how good he can be.

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    • Me too. I think Hump is fully capable of being a 1000 yd receiver as a no. 2 somewhere. I’d take Humphry’s reliability, route running and work ethic over a lot of the no. 2 receiver talent in the league.

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      • Maybe not a number 2, but definitely a number 3 or 2 when needed. Not to mention a return man.

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  2. Good for him… Get paid. He deserves it. The Bucs should look at WR Hunter Renfrow, Adam’s alum at Clemson if they would like another warrior slot guy.

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  3. I hope the Bucs re-sign Humphries too. But if they can’t and he walks then there is a Humphries clone at same school/Clemson that will be available in the 4th round. He is Hunter Renfrow 5-10 175 4.54. See his Youtube highlights – Humphries part deux. Make no mistake, I want Hump back. Go Bucs!

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  4. On the bright side, we have Jensen for 10.5 mil guaranteed next year.

    There is always a silver lining.

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    • LMAO. BUC-ASS-BOB, this is what dry, sarcastic humor looks like

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  5. If he leaves the Bucs, I bet he’d be a great fit with the Broncos, Colts, Cardinals, Jets, Steelers, Texans, Browns, and of course, the Patriots.

    He would be a horrible, absolutely awful fit in New Orleans, Atlanta, or Carolina. If you’re reading this Hump, avoid those places at all costs! Lol.

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    • He’ll go to the Pats.

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      • The Pats have Braxton Berrios, who is the next Edelman.

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        • New England has never met a white receiver they didn’t love and want to immediately sign in the Belichek era.

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          • You missed out on ‘undersized’ as in … never met an undersized white receive they didn’t love… – but the old man up in Boston isn’t known for paying guys.

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          • Yep it seems like all the dependable dynamic receivers as of late do tend to be white boy’s

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    • yep NE is licking their chops…we need to keep him

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  6. I’d be sad to see him go, but if we lose him, we should look into getting John Brown from the Ravens…another guy Bruce Arians coached and could also replace Djax as our deepthreat. He’s still only 28 years old..I don’t know how much he wants to get paid, but maybe we can get him at a reasonable price. I would atleast bring him in, I know the colts have said they want him as well.

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    • Brown is looking at around $6.1mil a year so that would be a good deal with a lot more speed added. JJ Nelson from the Cards will be a free agent too, he’s another burner.

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      • Hell, bring both of them in. See if they can be had for around the same price tag as DeSean Jackass. If not, move Brate to free up a little more space and roll out with OJ, Auclair and Ernsberger. WR corps of Evans, Godwin, Brown, Nelson and Watson. Fortunately, with the production of the WR room last yr, this should be an attractive destination for offensive players. I love Hump and the “possibilities” DJax brought to the table. But a receivers/TEs group like that would make opposing DCs cry the night before a game.

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        • NOOOOO we can’t lose Brate, losing Hump would be bad enough

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          • P cola, why keep grate. With the emergence of Howard Brates usage is going to continue to stop. He makes like 7-8 mil. We could use that money to sign players like the honey badger.

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      • I think the Bucs will extend an offer to Hump for about the same money, but Arians may be insistent on getting a speed guy. If so, I don’t see the Bucs keeping Humphries and a speed guy for $12mil+ unless they draft a speedy receiver.

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        • Speaking of speedy guys, let’s not forget about Bobo Wilson. Kid has some burners, needs to work on fundamentals, though. If they can tune up his routes, make them more crisp, and improve his ability to watch the ball into his hands while on the move, we have a legit top-off-the-defense receiver already on the roster

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          • Gray balls, you do realize Bobo Wilson is the slowest WR we have on our roster right. OJ Howard is faster than Bobo.

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  7. This would be god awful if we losing him

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  8. I hope Humphries stays, he deserves to be paid. The Guy is so clutch on 3rd downs it’s hard to make up for that. Let’s get this done and keep him as a Buc.

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  9. I have been a Buc fan since 1976. Die Hard. I was curious the other day and looked at the 43 seasons we as Buc fans have had to endure. So in 43 season, 30 of those have been losing seasons!! Only 13 seasons 8-8 or better. Those 13 winning seasons 7 are with double digit winning seasons. Good God, please let Arians turn this around!!!! It’s been painful !!!!

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    • It sure has JuJu. Been right there with you. I even have my aluminum bench from the old stadium as a reminder. Often I just wished the Bucs weren’t the worst team, picking first in the Draft so many times. As the years have gone by I’ve become, as the song goes, “comfortably numb”. At least we got that Super Bowl trophy before I, as Culverhouse would say, “crossed the creek”.

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      • Amen Scubog, I have a letter my Mom found when I wrote to Coach McKay saying how bad I want to play for him and the Bucs. The Bucs returned the letter with a team poster and a few stickers, as a 9 year old Kid I was beyond excited. I was even a season ticket holder living in California. Culverhouse was a disaster as an owner. The Glazers actually care about the team. But damn almighty!!! Yes, we do have a Lombardi trophy, more than a lot of teams can say. But can we at least get to the playoffs please? Hahaha!! “Go Bucs!!” Forever!!

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      • As a side note 12 is for Doug Williams 42 is for Ricky Bell.

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        • What a great tribute to two players so important to that 1979 Worst to First team.

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          • I will never forget that season, Bucs beat the Rams Earlier that season. The NFC Championship game was so Damn Close!!!! Bucs I live in California The Headline in the LA Times was a Photo of Rams Safety Nolan Cromwell Jumping and barely getting a finger on a deep ball. Heartbreaking. I had the Sports Illistrated cover with Steve Spurrier and another one for the “79” season with the Selmon Brothers ” Bucs 6-0 unbeaten, unbelievable “. In youth football I wore 42 and in High School and College I wore 12. Both Great Men, So was Leroy Selmon.

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  10. His replacement is bigger and faster, and already on the roster- Justin Watson.

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    • I like Watson’s intangibles, but we’ve only seen a sample size. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with that type of prognosticating

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    • Is Watson faster than Evans?

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      • A little bit. Only 2″ shorter, too

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  11. Licht signed Vinny curry to 8$M but not humphries?? Just like Michael Johnson and Anthony crybaby Collins. I’ll be outraged if they let him go.

    This is a no brainier. Give him 8$M asafp

    Humphries, Godwin, and Evans give us the best depth we have at any position. And he’s a great punt returner on the side

    Hump had the fewest drops of any skill player on our offense last year. I bet the Patriots sign him if we dont. He’s basically our Edelman/welker

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    • I wouldn’t say he’s a “great punt returner”. In that regard, middle of the pack. But his reliable hands and exceptional route running ability are what set him apart. Dude has no area where his physical abilities really stand out, he’s all hard work and fundamentals

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      • ~135 catches over two years isn’t a backup. Especially when we run without a fullback.

        You don’t need to be a combine hero to be a football player. No one ever earned a starting spot because of their bench press or mandex 40 time. Edelman is a 185lb 5’10” former MAC QB. Hard work and Dedication to the craft is everything in the NFL.

        Why didnt MeSean Jackson return punts with his 4.3 40? Hump doesn’t dance and gets positive yards. Knows when to fair catch. Sure hands, puts us in good field position. 108,73 yard TD returns in the preseason. Just a matter of time until he gets respect

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    • DE and WR value doesn’t align, there is no way you compare the price tag. The value and need for DE over WR is exponential. 8 mill for a starting DE quite frankly is a steal, sure he didn’t pan out this year, but we needed someone and the market was weak in that position.

      Good DEs don’t hit the market, good WRs do because you can essentially sign an undrafted guy and groom him like the did with Humphreys. He’s more or less expendable..

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      • 8mil is 8mil, of course they align. We were dead last in sacks coming out of 2017 so licht had to overpay for an average DE coming off a Superbowl win. They can groom O/D linemen just like receivers but koetter was soft. We paid Mike Evans 18.25$ million last year which was 5$M more than JPP

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        • Yes deeznuts, but your comparing Evans, who is a top five receiver in the league, to Jpp who would probably top 20. So you can’t even begin to compare the two. Defensive ends are a much more expensive commodity unless your talking about a number one receiver, not a slot guy. I want Humphries to stay as well, but $8 million is way too much.

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  12. A lot of teams can’t or won’t pay $8 million for a slot receiver. I don’t think Edelman makes $8 million and he is the gold standard for slot receivers.
    Still, this guy is the epitome of what the Bucs should want in every player.
    They need to get rid of Jackson and give him some of his money.

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    • The most attractive thing about Humphries was his price tag. The value we got him for… There are few positions Licht has been consistently good with in the draft; TEs, LBs, and WRs.

      I have no doubt they would find his replacement in the late rounds or as an undrafted free agent. We just need to trust the process. Not to mention 6-8 mill for a slot receiver is absurd, we could get Tyrann Mathieu for about that… Let that sink in.

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  13. The more I think about it the more I believe we should try to get Le’Veon Bell. He’s a proven player who has been in playoffs, I’m still young enough to perform strong for another 4 years. At the sacrifice of Jackson, McCoy, Humphreys, I would sign Bell. The first three picks in the draft should be defensive players. Just my opinion.

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  14. He’s, not I

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    • don’t sell yourself short @horse, I’m sure you’re young enough to perform strong for another 4 years too. LOL 🙂

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  15. Congratulations to Humphreys. He’s either going to score a fat contract or win the Superbowl in New England. I wish this team could retain him, but they’ll do fine with Evans and Godwin. Given the Tight Ends on this team, they could throw out just about anybody at WR#3 and it would be fine.

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  16. Do you want to know a big reason why the Buc’s are bottom dwellers and have been for 10 years? It’s because they reward failure and let success walk. Hunp is a home grown success story and for $2mil we will let him walk. Sounds like Arian’s wants to pay DJAX $10 mil who is and has been our least productive wide receiver. For those who say it’s just a business, I say BS. If you want to build a winner you must keep those players who are proven winners. Their hard work and effort are examples that will attract and help develop new winners. I’m with drdneast Humphries is important to this team in more ways than one.

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    • Well, for sure I agree with your proposition that keeping Humphries and letting DJax walk is a no-brainer.

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  17. Bucs need to use the money to pay for starting positions (eg Right Guard) on the roster. Humphries is indeed a homegrown talent and the Glazers do love rewarding homegrown Bucs. But you can’t overpay for a backup when this roster has holes at starting spots.

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    • Great point. Right now the priorities are OLine, Dline,CB,LB in that order. Humphries and Brate are luxuries we just can’t afford, can’t expect hump to take that big of a pay cut.

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  18. Love they guy for sure but we have cap issues and cannot pay a slot WR 8 million. This is hard part of NFL it is a business. Good luck to him. He earned it and now will get paid just not by the Bucs. Good luck we will miss you.

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  19. It sucks the thought of losing Humphries and possibly Brate, they both have great chemistry with Winston.

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  20. I think the level of our top 2 receivers makes it easier on the number 3. Which might be why he had a career year.

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  21. Cannot lose Hump–sign him!!!!!!! Dump djax, evan smith, Dotson, Rodgers, Unrein, trade GMC even trade Cameron Brate, dump Kwon–yeah I said that BUT DON”T LET HUMP WALK! Dump Beau Allen–the draft is loaded with defensive line, even dump Donovan Smith firsst–replace his ass in the draft but DONT LET HUMP WALK!

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  22. Be real guys. He won’t be the first and certainly not the last. Prediction, over a half dozen FA’s that people will claim to be the end of the world. He most certainly deserves what he can get in the FA market, he turned down 8 million a year last year, so you are looking at the basement. As a slot receiver, it is at least double or more what the Bucs can afford – regardless of potential value. If you look at WAR only you are talking 1-2 games max. I’m not going to go into the details of what that means as 99% will not only understand or care. Bottom line, you can replace him potentially at 1/3 to 1/2 the price (unless, of which they’re are many who needs his skill set). Prediction only: 40-60 million more cuts before we’e done, many of who will think many on this board will be the end of the world. Once we hit the the 100 million cap number we can pursue 2-3 FA’s, sign our own (sorry only 2-3) non-guaranteed vets, and move on to FA, Draft, and post-FA cuts. Love Adam, but role (on our team) doesn’t come close to meeting the value he will get. Good Luck Hump – hope you break the bank!

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  23. I can virtually guarantee that either Brate, or Hump, or both will end up with the Pats if they leave us… Both are big needs for Pats, Brate fills Gronk hole, Hump fills Edelman hole. Coach B loves grabbing smart, talented, un-sung, under the radar cap casualties, and paying them slightly less than they’d make somewhere else – with the last line of his sales pitch being, “well you’ll be catching passes from Tom Brady, and there’s a good chance you’ll win a Super Bowl here kid…”. That would be tough to pass on, it will resonate with the smart and talented side of the young prospect, and presto, he has a pen in his hand. I hope I’m wrong, I’d love to keep them both but hey it’s a business.

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