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: Why are fans against going to get a talent like Jadeveon Clowney from Houston for a second-rounder or whatever the cost would be, but want to hold on to Jason Pierre-Paul, who I would argue could have been cut with Gerald McCoy this year?
Answer: I haven’t heard too many fans who would be against getting Jadeveon Clowney, even if it meant letting Jason Pierre-Paul walk. There is no question he is on the right side of 30 compared to Pierre-Paul, who turned 30 on January 1, and most likely has a few more years left to play at a high level in the NFL. As with acquiring any player at this point for the Buccaneers, the issue is the salary cap situation they are in. Clowney will earn nearly $16 million in 2019, and while the team could get a bit of cap relief from releasing Pierre-Paul, it would still fall several million dollars short of having enough.
Pierre-Paul accounts for $14.9 million in salary cap room this year, and $7.5 million of that became guaranteed on March 17, which was before the car accident that fractured a vertebrae in his neck. So Tampa Bay would only be able to clear $7.4 million by releasing JPP.
Remember, the Bucs will also need to carry some spare cash into the season in reserve in case they have find some replacements for injured players once the season starts. I would never say never, as this team appears to be all in on 2019, but from a cap standpoint, they would have to sacrifice quite a bit to bring in Clowney, who if he has a great season, will be the top free agent pass rusher on the market next spring.
Question: Do you see Bruce Arians finding better uses for tight end O.J.Howard, such as more work in the slot/standing up so that we can see more of this freak of an athlete create nightmares for defensive coordinators around the league? I mean O.J. and Mike Evans on same side of the field with Chris Godwin on the other side?
Answer: If you don’t see Bruce Arians and Bryon Leftwich get creative with O.J. Howard then they both have no business being in the NFL. You are correct. Howard is definitely a freak of an athlete, who possesses top wide receiver skills in the body of a tight end. And from all indications, Howard has worked extremely hard this offseason in preparation for a breakout year.
NFL coaches and teams know about Howard, but this is the season he gets the national recognition from the fans around the NFL. The only thing that can stop Howard will be injuries, and remember that he has finished the season early on injured reserve in each of the last two years.
I have complete faith in Arians and Leftwich using Howard in a number of different formations this season, and when teams commit to stopping Howard, then it opens up other receivers to exploit opposing defenses – and we already know how dangerous Mike Evans is. I see no reason why this offense, with all the talent it has in its arsenal, won’t be just as – or dare I say even more – explosive than last year. And a healthy Howard will be a big part of that.
Question: we all know Jamies Winston is in his fifth-year option. How crucial is Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones’ success to Winston’s future with the Bucs?
Answer: I think it is a given that a productive running game will only help Jameis Winston succeed and help this team win football games. Keeping defenses guessing should result in fewer forced passes that could lead to interceptions. However, the most crucial two things to Winston’s success is actually the play of the offensive line and also the play of the defense. Both of those, in turn, help the running game which at the end of the day benefits Winston. If the defense is playing well then the Bucs aren’t playing from behind as often, and the team can be a little more patient with the running game.
Dirk Koetter and Todd Monken abandoned the run too often last year, but I can’t say I blame them. The Bucs defense was so bad at times, Koetter felt like the only option was to try and win shootout games, and in the NFL that happens by throwing the football. You can argue that part of the reason the Bucs were down early in some games was because of turnovers by Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick, but those things will happen from time to time with most quarterbacks. The difference was, the Bucs defense rarely stopped teams from turning those turnovers into points.
And with a competent defense comes the ability to be patient with the running game. The most effective way to destroy an opposing team’s will is by running the football down its throat. I can’t think of game last year where that happened. I can’t even think of a single drive last year where that happened. The offensive line must be better in 2019, not only in pass protection, but also in the run game. Those things can help Winston become an elite talent in my opinion.
Question: Would there be more animosity between Bucs fans and Gerald McCoy if he were to join the Falcons and or the Saints like some reports are saying he could? I think McCoy one day will be in the Bucs Ring of Honor, and with the NFL being a business, he should do what’s best for him.
Answer: As we have seen with many players that end up leaving their original team, they will be respected for what they did for that team, but when the team plays against them twice a year within the division they will become bitter enemies for the three hours on that given Sunday.
I don’t know if there would be more animosity if Gerald McCoy ends up in New Orleans or Atlanta, than if he wound up on some other team in the league like Cleveland where he would never play against the Bucs. It just means twice a year Bucs fans will cheer against him if he is wearing a rival team’s uniform.
How can fans be angry if McCoy signs with a NFC South team? The Bucs cut him. He wanted to stay in Tampa Bay and didn’t voluntary leave as an unrestricted free agent. Any fan who would be personally angry with McCoy joining an NFC South rival for that isn’t thinking clearly.
And I do agree that one day McCoy does enter the Bucs Ring of Honor eventually. Scott Reynolds isn’t so sure because he would be the only inductee that was never part of a Bucs playoff team, and we can debate all day if his on the field accomplishments are worthy as he didn’t break a single team record and finished as the team’s fourth-leading sacker, but did make six Pro Bowls.
The Glazers are the only ones who really know what the prerequisites are to enter. I have a feeling McCoy’s entire body of work and what he meant to the community as the Bucs’ Man of the Year in 2018 is enough to one day see him back for that honor. McCoy said he wants to retire as a Buccaneer and I believe the team will allow that to happen in the future.