It is time for another edition of the Bucs’ Monday Mailbag, where PewterReport.com answers reader submitted questions each and every Monday. You can submit your questions via Twitter by using #PRMailbag.
This week, it’s Bucs beat reporter Trevor Sikkema who is answering the questions in place of the usual PR Monday Mailbag guru, Mark Cook.
Question: If money wasn’t an object, what amenities would you like to see in the new indoor facility? (Also give it a name.)
Answer: I very much enjoy when people start questions with anything that relates to, “If money wasn’t an issue…”
It’s already been reported that the Bucs’ indoor practice facility will include 4K video boards, cameras, a massive outdoor plaza and 3,500-person bleacher seating. That’s already a great start.
The outdoor plaza is where things could really get creative. I would personally say build a Chipotle there – if you’re #TeamMoe’s, get out. I’d love to see them incorporate the same football drill stations they did last year, just be more official with it. More set-up booths for kids to do football things. I also think there could be a cool way to incorporate a pirate ship with the fan entrance to the building.
The 3,500 seats are great. If I could have it my way, I’d put some of them on a balcony or a second level. I know that’s a bit of a stretch, but imagine how cool that view would be.
My vote for the name would be the, “Thank God This Isn’t At Disney’s Wide World Of Sports Buccaneers Indoor Practice Facility.”
Really rolls of the tongue.
Question: Any concern that Licht doesn’t have a contract past this season?
Answer: In short, no, not at all.
Bucs GM Jason Licht and Scott Reynolds – Photo by: Mark Cook/PR
For a franchise that has had plenty of well-documented failures and mediocrity over its 40 years of existence, letting go one of the few people they’ve ever had that is willing to take risks, make signings, surround themselves with the right people, and has the attitude to not be prideful in a harmful way would be silly, even if they somehow don’t make the playoffs. General manager Jason Licht has been a godsend to this franchise.
I think Licht’s drafts have been incredibly solid (could be great if this 2017 class pans out), finding a franchise QB in Jameis Winston and the quarterback of Tampa Bay’s defense in Kwon Alexander, and he’s built a nice roster in the appropriate amount of time (perhaps even faster, really) than you’d think for a team that was picking in the Top 10 not long ago. Plus, Licht hit a home run on his first-ever pick as a G.M., landing Pro Bowl wide receiver in 2014.
Free agency is a crapshoot, but Licht has been able to land some studs in defensive end Robert Ayers, Jr., cornerback Brent Grimes, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and defensive tackle Chris Baker over the last two years that have made people forget former Bucs like left tackle Anthony Collins, defensive end Michael Johnson and quarterback Josh McCown. Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg have successfully kept the team out of salary cap problems while navigating the large contract extensions of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, linebacker Lavonte David and running back Doug Martin. Contract extensions for Evans and Winston and are up next with Evans’ likely getting done in training camp.
I’d say Licht staying in Tampa Bay is about 95 percent – playoffs or not this year.
Question: I know it’s early, but which position do you think the Bucs could target in the draft next season? Any specific players?
Answer: This is an interesting question that will certainly change many times throughout the season and offseason, but I love the draft almost as much as I love Chipotle, so I’ll gladly answer it.
Going into the 2017 NFL Draft, I thought the move for this team was going to be to prioritize defensive backs. That didn’t exactly happen, especially when drafting a player who needs a good amount of time to learn in safety Justin Evans, who was drafted in the second round. Brent Grimes is still one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and the team is lucky to have him. But, he will be 34 next season, and no one lives forever in the NFL. With the playoffs in reach, I don’t see this team picking any higher than 20th next offseason.
So, if that’s the case, and they do decide to go cornerback, players like Florida State’s Tarvarus McFadden and Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick will certainly be names to watch, but I think those two will likely be gone by the time the Bucs get on the clock. Instead, players like Louisville’s Jaire Alexander, Alabama’s Tony Brown and Florida’s Duke Dawson could be late-first, early-second round cornerback who fit defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s style. If they once again wait on cornerbacks until round three and beyond, UConn’s Jamar Summers and USF’s Deatrick Nichols are names I really like.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that, if the offensive line struggles, specifically the offensive tackles, they’re going to be bringing in help. In terms of offensive tackles, Texas’ Connor Williams and Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchy are the top guys who likely won’t fall that far, but guys like Mississippi State’s Martinas Rankin and Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown could still be around.