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.
Question: If we do in fact land Tom Brady in free agency how does that impact the overall draft strategy?
Answer: It shouldn’t really affect anything at all for the most part. Perhaps if Tom Brady is signed, the Bucs might consider drafting a quarterback early to wait in the wings and develop much like a Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers situation.
However if Brady is brought in, the goal is to win a Super Bowl in the next two years. The team will be all in on making that happen. Now it will be all hands on deck to fill holes and improve depth to make that happen in their two-year window. But also to keep the defense as intact as Tampa Bay possibly can. Bruce Arians has repeatedly stated keeping as many of the defensive pieces together is priority No. 1.
But I can’t really see the draft strategy changing much, if at all, whether it be Brady, Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgwater or anyone else under center. The Bucs are trying to get to the Super Bowl with Arians as the head coach, and that isn’t going to be a five-year plan. So that means drafting for offense, specifically to find a starting right tackle and depth along the O-line, as well as drafting another running back or two to improve the ground game and bring more balance to the offense.
Question: If the Bucs sign Tom Brady in favor of Jameis Winston and the team misses the playoffs again are Jason Licht and Bruce Arians back in 2021?
Answer: I suppose it all depends on how they miss the playoffs. If they go 9-7 and miss out on a tie-breaker then I wouldn’t think there would be any shakeup. If Brady goes down in say Week 3 and Blaine Gabbert or whoever might be a backup falters, again, how does ownership blame Bruce Arians or Jason Licht for that?
But if this team implodes with Brady or Winston – Teddy Bridgewater, Philip Rivers or whoever – and goes say 5-11 or worse, I would be hard pressed to find a scenario where either would be back. Arians would be less likely to be fired, but could just decide this franchise is snake-bitten and decides to pull his own plug.
Licht on the other hand really needs things to go right for him in 2020. He has had three head coaches (two he has hired in Dirk Koetter and Arians), a No. 1 overall draft pick and plenty of authority to sign guys in free agency, and if the team is sub .500 in 2020, the Glazers may have seen enough and decide to go in another direction.
The NFL is a results-based business and no one understands that more than Arians and Licht. Neither is afraid of the challenge or the consequences, and will coach and draft with that attitude, which I respect. It is going to be a fun thing to watch this play out over the next seven months.
Question: With the newly expanded salary cap, do you see the Bucs adding a veteran in the trenches (*cough* Jack Conklin *cough*), whereas this may have been a draft-only area without those extra funds available?
Answer: Sources told PewterReport.com on Sunday, NFL teams were expecting even more of an increase in the salary cap than the approximate $10 million that it has ended up being. Teams have been budget planning all along with the knowledge that there could be a bump in the cap, but also had the CBA not been signed, knowing they wouldn’t have the extra space. So there weren’t any surprises really, just a wish for more money.
With that said, I believe the extra salary cap space all along was intended to be used to sign their own free agents, especially on the defensive side. Maybe the extra money keeps a player like Carl Nassib in Tampa Bay. Or maybe if Jason Pierre-Paul comes to the table demanding more than the team expected, they can still work out that deal.
As far as Tennessee right tackle Jack Conklin goes, I can’t see the Buccaneers dropping $13 plus million on a right tackle, especially with a fairly deep draft class at tackle and the fact that Tampa Bay already has three offensive linemen making $10 million or more in Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet and Ryan Jensen. Although there is a significant drop off once you get out of the first round, there are still some talented tackles that could be taken on Day 2. The best-case scenario is teams start moving up to try and get a quarterback, and that pushing one of the first round tackles in their laps.
Question: How will the coronavirus (COVID-19) affect the NFL and the Bucs? Will it delay free agency or the draft or the season? Will the Bucs sign players they can’t fly to Tampa for workouts?
Answer: There really is no concrete answer at this point. As of now, as I write this, free agency is a go for today at noon. When the 2020 NFL Draft takes place is still up in the air. There have been some reports that it won’t be happening in Las Vegas, if at all, next month. A lot depends on how quickly things might be contained when it comes to this virus.
But if I were a betting man, I would put my chips all in on the draft being pushed back at least a month. If we look at the timeframe in China, from the start to the maximum cases – until now – it was a couple months to get things under really any kind of control. I think that is the best-case scenario for the United States, but that is just my opinion.
I pray I am wrong. I hope we all heed the advice of officials and do begin taking it seriously, regardless if we aren’t in a high-risk category (I unfortunately am). Even if it doesn’t affect a young person that doesn’t mean it can’t be carried to a parent or grandparent or any loved one that might not recover if they were to be contaminated. Like hurricanes here in Florida, why not be as prepared as possible and laugh in a few years that we overreacted, as opposed to crying and wishing we had done more?