The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our Twitter account. You can submit your question each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.

Below are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the PR Bucs Monday Mailbag. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section.

Question: Are we going see Ronald Jones in more an Alvin Kamara type role? I have a suspicion this coaching staff thinks Barber can be the bell cow back.

Answer: While no one really knows how it will pan out between now and the start of the season, I think if the Bucs got the same production of out of Jones as the Saints did with Kamara, they would be thrilled. 728 rushing yards, along with another 826 as a receiver, plus a total of 13 touchdowns would please Dirk Koetter and his staff very much. However, is Barber capable of the almost 1,600 total combined yards and 12 touchdowns that Mark Ingram was able to put up for the Saints in 2017?

I do believe the Bucs will let the battle play out in camp, and Jones could very well be the starter and get the majority of the snaps, if he shows the ability to learn the little details of playing in the NFL (like pass protection). But, as Koetter has shown, he does platoon his backs over the course of the game, somewhat. Barber will get his touches for sure. And of course we aren’t even bringing up the possibility of injuries, or that Charles Sims most likely will also see the field some as well.

Kamara and Ingram had a terrific season last year, and it will be very difficult for the Bucs’ backs to duplicate the success. In fact, it will be hard for the Saints to duplicate the same success. And I can’t say at this point that either Jones or Barber are the same receiver Kamara is out of the backfield.

Question: Any chance Jameis Winston takes a hometown discount, meaning at least not becoming the highest paid QB when he hits FA (hopefully only in Top 5-10 in salary)? We drafted him with the question marks and we have continued to support him on and off the field.

Answer: I see what you are saying, and yes this team has supported him 100 percent, but with that said, if I am Winston, I am not giving a discount to anyone. Getting the second contract in the NFL is the one that players and agents strive for and try to get the most out of, as the career life expectancy in the NFL can be short lived. While I can definitely see Winston playing another 8-10 years, who really knows what will happen? Does the shoulder issue become a chronic problem down the road? Is there another injury on the horizon? No one can look into the future and see, so why would any player or agent give a discount on their second deal? Now, I do see Winston as a guy who would be quick to restructure to help free up money down the road, like many top quarterbacks do. But not in this next deal.

If Winston performs like a Top 10 quarterback in 2018 then he will deserve every penny he gets. The Bucs have spent 42 years trying to find a franchise quarterback and don’t want to spend the next 42 trying to find another. Bite the bullet, lock him up with a new deal and rest easy for the next 6-10 years with the deal he gets. And while he could be the highest paid quarterback, or maybe Top 3 after next season, five years from now he could easily be the 15th highest paid with the rise in quarterback contracts.

Question: What are your thoughts on the fact that the Bucs have approximately $13 million in cap space in 2019 and have Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Kwon Alexander and Jameis Winston to sign? Who is priority for Bucs to get signed?

Answer: No one really knows the exact cap number will be in 2019, but we do know it won’t be enough to cover all of the players you mentioned if the Bucs extend/re-sign them. Obviously of the ones you mentioned, Winston is the most important and will also take up the biggest chunk of change. But, of those, Winston might be the last of them to get a new deal. Tampa Bay has already locked up his fifth-year option for 2019, and then could always use the franchise tag on him, if it got to that point in 2020.

But also remember, the money that the new deal includes, if done early, takes the place of the money he was scheduled to earned. So, for instance, if a player is projected to count say $5 million on the books, and a new deal is done for let’s say $9 million a year, that is only a $4 million net increase. So when people see only $13 million available, and then all these projected increases, you have to deduct the current salary from the total. Now that is only the case with re-done deals that come before the current contract expires. If a player hits unrestricted free agency then of course it is the full annual amount that gets counted against the cap.

With that said, the Bucs have the best in the business, in my opinion, when handling these deals and they won’t be caught off guard. Mike Greenberg and the front office that handles the financial ends of things have already looked into that far more intently than we have on how they can make these deals work. Will there be a time when the Bucs have $70 million to spend in free agency anytime soon? Hopefully not, to be honest. Because that means you don’t have a franchise quarterback, and a nucleus of players that have earned second contract deals, which means you haven’t drafted well, which then means you aren’t a very good football team.

The Bucs don’t seem to be heading in that direction — thank goodness.

Question: Curious to know when the Bucs plan on using the new indoor facility. I know they will still practice outside for conditioning reasons, but when will they go indoors?

Answers: There hasn’t been really any announcement on how the facility will be used, but we do know rained out or rescheduled training camp and regular season practices are a thing of the past. The new facility also has room for seating inside and perhaps there will even be a few training camp practices indoors although there aren’t four football fields inside of it like there are outside. So I think any indoor practices in training camp would be rare. Dirk Koetter isn’t one of those Ray Perkins-types who thinks the players need to grind and sweat under the sweltering heat two or three times a day, and thinks while it could be an advantage over visiting teams to a degree, he also knows the long-term effect could be more detrimental than beneficial. I suspect at last once a week you will see the team indoors, at least until the brutal heat and humidity months are over around late October. The team most likely also uses the facility more on the weeks that they will be playing road games in turfed stadiums. Like Week 1 against the Saints to open the season.

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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 [email protected]
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Horse
Horse
4 years ago

Mark I think this was your best Q&A ever!!!

Freeman Strickland
Freeman Strickland
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

I have to quibble about the Bucs waiting 42 years to have a franchise quarterback. I like Winston, but he has not played in a playoff game yet. It seems premature to call him a franchise quarterback. But, Doug Williams should qualify. Before Doug, the Bucs had never been to the playoffs. As the lowest paid starting quarterback in the NFL, Doug led the Bucs to the playoffs three of the five years he played for Tampa including a conference championship game in 1979. To get paid fairly, Doug left the Bucs and the NFL to play in the UFL.… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Freeman Strickland
4 years ago

I was a big Doug Williams fan, but these days, with folks doing little but read a set of statistics to form an opinion, they would never get past Dougie’s 50% =/- completion rate. Heck some even thought he threw the ball too hard to which he replied, “They caught it in college.” Give Jameis the same running game and defense Doug had and we’d see what he is.

Wausa
Wausa
4 years ago

I think the smart play by the Bucs would be to extend Jamies this offseason.

The Bucs could save a good amount of money on their cap position if they do it now instead of after this season or the next.

However, my guess is their focus is on resigning Donavan Smith and Ali Marpet before the start of the season.

Horse
Horse
Reply to  Wausa
4 years ago

Sometime who already has a big contract might have to be released for that to happen; my guess is it will be Sweezy (not sure of the spelling).

Wausa
Wausa
4 years ago

My guess is Sweezy is released after June 1 and Will Gholsten will be cut after this season regardless of how well he realistically plays this year.

Also, the odds are very high DJax is cut or traded after this year unless he turns in a 1,500 yard receiving year.

wnb0395
wnb0395
4 years ago

Sweezy, Jackson, Curry, and Golston all will be gone next season. McCoys days might be numbered also baring a break out season. That will free up another 24-37 million plus the cap will go up some. Winstons only going to cost us 4-5 million more. Even if we keep McCoy, that should leave us with 30+ million to sign Marpet, Smith, and Kwon which is more than enough.

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  wnb0395
4 years ago

I agree with part of this. I think there’s a good chance Sweezy is cut before this season, much less next. And I agree that Gholston has virtually no chance of hanging around for 2019. If the team could go back and re-do things, knowing we were going to land both Curry and JPP, my guess is they’d have released him before his 2018 salary became fully guaranteed early in the league year. I don’t think Curry is likely to go next offseason, unless he has a poor 2018. He’s a good player on a reasonable contract, and we don’t… Read more »

wnb0395
wnb0395
Reply to  toofamiliar17
4 years ago

I think Curry goes because of he number game also due to his 8 mil salary. We cant afford to resign Marpet, Smith, and Kwon with out cutting at least 2 more players besides Sweezy and Gholston. So we will have to cut 2 of these 3 players (McCoy, D Jackson, or Curry). We can only afford 4 of these 6 players (Marpet, Kwon, Smith, McCoy, Curry, and D Jackson). Which 4 do we keep? Maybe we don’t resign Smith and draft a good LT in the draft next year and keep Curry. Maybe Vea steps up and we can… Read more »

Westley Chapman
Westley Chapman
4 years ago

Our concerns reflected in this Q&A are Much less worrisome to read than in prior years. I know we’ve been disappointed (many times) before but this team and offseason feel special. The last time we traded picks for a NY player was Revis. What a difference only 5 years make! Better trade, better team, better leadership… Better today and a clear path/philosophy to better tomorrow with some obvious departures next year (DJ, Sweezy, Grimes) providing cap room to keep core together. Still got to win some games but hats off to the Bucs.

BUC-ASS-BOB
BUC-ASS-BOB
4 years ago

I think Ronald Jones will be brought in slowly, I feel game plans will be built around Barber 2018 and Jones will be used more during 2nd half season but most work going to Barber.

surferdudes
4 years ago

If Koetter only uses the indoor facility once a week during training camp he should be fired. That would only be four days of relief from the heat out of about 28 days of camp. I would rather it be the other way around.

Freeman Strickland
Freeman Strickland
Reply to  surferdudes
4 years ago

Yes. Once or twice a week outside to acclimate over the summer. But, mostly indoor to improve performance.

During the early part of the season, the break from from the heat for practices could be a game winning factor.

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  Freeman Strickland
4 years ago

I’m still trying to remember a time when hot, humid and sunny was an advantage for any team over another, home or away.

DT25
DT25
4 years ago

I actually do think we’ll use RoJo somewhat similarly to Kamara…maybe not in the sense that he’s primarily a 3rd down back, but we’ll likely use Barber to keep some mileage off RoJo’s legs too. If I had to guess, a lot of short yardage work will be done with Barber, while the work between the 20’s will see a lot of Jones. That should lead to somewhere close to a 50/50 split, maybe 60/40 Jones to Barber if Jones shows enough prowess in pass blocking and receiving duties…with Sims still filling in on 3rd and long situations where a… Read more »

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  DT25
4 years ago

Hey man. How long have you been posting over here, too? Don’t think I’ve seen you here before, but could be wrong. Glad to have a fellow BNer over here at PR.

macabee
macabee
4 years ago

The salary cap is the least of my worries due part and parcel to Mike Greenberg, Bucs capologist – the best in the NFL. As many of you suggest there will be turnover of several big dollar players in 2019. Then there is the usual 10mil annual cap increase due to major NFL contracts. You should also apply the Top 51 Rule because the Bucs are at 90 players now. Come September there will only be 53 plus 10 on the PS at minimum wage. All those heartbeats listed at 450k or more will be gone. If need be maturing… Read more »

Freeman Strickland
Freeman Strickland
4 years ago

For a healthy season, Blount and Martin made a dynamic RB combination behind a decent healthy OL. Barber and RoJo have more potential than that if the OL is up to it.

GoldsonAges
GoldsonAges
4 years ago

Rojo is nothing like Kamara. He’s a change of pace back.