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 the Bucs going to get this hire right, and do they need a true football executive between the Glazers and general manager Jason Licht?
Answer: Your guess is as good as mine on if this will be the right hire. It is encouraging however, if it does in fact end up being former Arizona head coach Bruce Arians. First, he has a proven resumé. From his time as an assistant in places like Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, to winning NFL Coach of the Year twice (2012 in Indy, 2014 in Arizona) to wearing two Super Bowl rings he won as an assistant. I think he would garner instant respect inside the locker room, while also getting the fan base truly excited for the first time in a long time.
As far as the Bucs hiring a team president or executive, I don’t know where I see the benefit. To me it only muddies the water and now you have three people essentially answering to ownership. You could make the argument that a middle man would make a better decision on a new coach than Jason Licht, but who is to say he wouldn’t make a worse decision? There are no guarantees either way. The Glazers appear to have chosen to ride with Licht at least one more season.
If the Glazers were to hire a team president, what does that even mean? He would be the de facto general manager and Licht would be a G.M. in title only and would really be a glorified personnel executive. It’s kind of pointless, really.
Question: Who stands to benefit most from a coaching change on this roster?
Answer: I think the fans stand to benefit the most. And if it does end up being Bruce Arians, it isn’t a situation of a former coach who wore out his welcome or hasn’t been in the league in several years. He basically has had one year off to recharge his batteries and get his health issue/issues under control. But the fans would really benefit if Arians proves to be the guy and gets this franchise back on track because of his proven track record as a winning coach (49-30-1 in Arizona) and a developer of quarterbacks.
As far as players, obviously Jameis Winston comes to mind first. Winston and Dirk Koetter didn’t always see eye to eye on everything. Of course Winston and Jimbo Fisher butted heads at Florida State, too. But when you look at the quarterback play under Arians, in his assistant and head coaching career, the results have been very solid. Heck, he won Coach of the Year with the Colts as an interim coach, making him the only interim coach to ever win that award in NFL history. Overall, I think the entire roster benefits from a coach with proven coaching success. But if I had to pick one player, it would be Winston.
Question: I am hopeful that Jason Licht can find trade partners for two Bucs that it seems clear will not be back next year (DeSean Jackson and Gerald McCoy). I have eyed the Jason Pierre-Paul (third-rounder) and Jarvis Landry (fourth-rounder) trades from last year as good comps. Do you think that either player will be traded? If so, do you think that a third- or fourth-round pick is a reasonable return?
Answer: I think there is a much better chance to get something for Gerald McCoy than DeSean Jackson. Teams know the Bucs are almost certainly dumping Jackson this year to clear $10 million in salary cap space. So why waste a draft pick on a player who will be an unrestricted free agent soon? From what we were told, there were teams interested in Jackson at the trade deadline last October, but no one bowled the team over with a significant offer. Most likely a fourth-round pick was the most offered – if even that.
McCoy could bring a more legitimate chance of compensation, if the team even wants to trade him. It isn’t a foregone conclusion that McCoy, who turns 31 in February, will be shipped off, either via a trade or his outright release. Yes, he eats up a chunk of salary cap next year at $13 million, but why has no one suggested a more cap-friendly, renegotiated deal?
McCoy is established in the Tampa Bay community and would like to finish his career here. I can’t say for sure he would agree to a restructure, but it would be worth pursuing before doing something drastic. While he may be on the backside of his career, he is still a potentially impactful player moving forward and could be part of a solid rotation on the defensive line.
I suppose part of the decision on McCoy will be determined by the type of defense and the thoughts of the new head coach and the defensive scheme his team will employ. I’m not sure McCoy is a good fit in a 3-4 scheme, and if Bruce Arians is hired he may bring Todd Bowles with him as his defensive coordinator. Bowles was the defensive coordinator under Arians in Arizona prior to being hired as the head coach of the Jets and runs a 3-4 defense.
Question: Should the Bucs contact Pittsburgh and see what it would take to acquire Mike Tomlin? Why isn’t there more talk in this regard? I would rather have him over Baltimore’s John Harbaugh. Would you be in favor of the potential hire?
Answer: Bruce Arians would be my first choice regardless, but why not explore the possibility of adding Mike Tomlin or even John Harbaugh for that matter? Until Arians is signed, sealed and delivered, I will still be uneasy just because I have seen this team too many times get close to the coach they want, only to see the rug pulled out from underneath them.
I remember Bill Parcells coming to replace Tony Dungy in 2002 and Mark Dominik hiring Chip Kelly to replace Raheem Morris. Both coaches backed out at the last minute. It worked out okay in 2002 when Malcolm Glazer traded for Jon Gruden and won a Super Bowl. Dominik turned to Greg Schiano instead in 2012 and he lasted just two years before he wore out his welcome.
I like Tomlin a lot, and like Arians, he would command an instant respect inside the Bucs locker room. He’s a Super Bowl-winning head coach. It’s the same with Harbaugh. You can’t argue with the success both have had, and both are significantly younger than the 66-year old Arians. It wouldn’t hurt to at least make a few phone calls and it is possible that general manager Jason Licht has already done that due diligence.