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?

Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney & J.J. Watt – Photo by Getty Images

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.

Bucs TE OJ Howard - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs TE OJ Howard – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

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.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images

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.

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

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.

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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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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]

21 COMMENTS

  1. Every losing team has or makes..a scapegoat. This temporarily take fans mind off the fact the team has sucked for so long. GMC became our poster boy because of his salary. Fans forget the guy played his heart out for us when we had virtually no support on that Defensive line. Fans even forget..we neglected our Defense for a long time trying to build a great offense. How has that worked for us? We won our superbowl with Dungy’s defense. Opps, they forgot that to huh? GMC will be in our ring of honor one day. You can take that to the bank. Its also time to say farewell to JPP. If you fans think he’s returning to his old self? You don’t know football. That neck injury is gonna haunt him forever. And opposing teams will devise strategies to make sure of that. No Mercy in this NFl. But our Bucs will hold on to him..Wishin and ahh hopin..Bad Move! All I say is Arians better win here. He has the largest staff assembled anywhere in the NFL. He’s got maybe 2 yrs to turn this thing around. If not, these fans..including me..will turn on him quicker than an……Arizona Diamondback!! OOUCH!

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  2. BA can’t possibly be any worse that Dirk Koetter! Nice guy but totally in over his head as a head coach! At least BA will attempt to change the losing culture and the Bucs willingness to pay average players star like salaries! It’s really quite simple this year as far as how the Bucs will do… as Jameis goes so will the Bucs! I’m just saying…

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  3. Koetter was a glorified Offensive coordinator posing as a head coach. In over his head and not ready. I wanted him to get a shot so I have to admit I was wrong too. Arians is better coach and has wins to prove it. Turned teams around and proved can do that too. Bowles knows his shit too. Koetter biggest issue was keeping mike smith around he was worst defensive coordinator I’ve ever seen. The better play mid season by D when fired smith and they played under a LB coach was proof!

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  4. Is Vincent Jackson in the ring of honor? How about James Wilder, Ronde Barber, Mark Carrier, Joey Galloway, Brad Johnson, Simeon Rice, Erict Rhett, Donnie Abraham, Brad Culpepper, Warrick Dunn, etc?

    McCoy should be waaaaaaaaaay down the list. He broke no records. He lead no teams to the playoffs. He set no precedents. Nice guy, but he epitomizes the last decade of losing.

    If Arians leads Tampa to the playoffs after cutting McCoy and adding Suh, it will further deepen the argument against McCoy making ROH.

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  5. Is Vincent Jackson in the ring of honor? How about James Wilder, Ronde Barber, Mark Carrier, Joey Galloway, Brad Johnson, Simeon Rice, Erict Rhett, Donnie Abraham, Brad Culpepper, Warrick Dunn, etc?

    McCoy should be waaaaaaaaaay down the list. He broke no records. He lead no teams to the playoffs. He set no precedents. Nice guy who was the Bucs “token” rep at the pro bowl, but he epitomizes the last decade of losing and bad defense.

    If Arians leads Tampa to the playoffs after cutting McCoy and adding Suh, it will further deepen the argument against McCoy making ROH.

    At the end of the day, I could care less about the ring of honor for McCoy.

    I’m as happy as a puppy with two Peters that McCoy is no longer a Buc.

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    • I’ve never seen a puppy that happy

      Go Buc !!!

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  6. Well, not technically, but Ronde Barber gets inducted this fall, no? And deservedly so!

    I do agree with you, though. The ring of honor is meaningless if we flood it with “OK” guys. I could maybe accept a case for Wilder… maybe. The rest should not go in. I appreciate everything the rest on your list have done, but the bar needs to be set pretty high in my opinion. I loved Earnest Graham, but that doesn’t mean he belongs!

    The problem is since the SB team, we haven’t really drafted/signed many, if any, guys that should truly belong on that list. If Evans keeps this pace up for awhile, I could see a case for him. Other than that, maybe White will be there in 15 years…

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  7. Saints and especially the Falcons don’t have room to sign McCoy. Plus they’ve seen him twice a year for awhile now. They know he’s nothing special.

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  8. Yeah nobody’s saying McCoy should be the next one in the Ring by any means, but one day down the line once everyone from the Super Bowl Team who is worthy is in there along with the Solo Stars through the 80’s and early 90’s then he will be in consideration a decade from now or so…

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  9. GMC’s departing remarks were that of a gentleman. No matter what happens between now and then he should be able to retire as a Buccaneer.
    _______________

    I am beginning to think that the problems with Smith as our Defensive Coordinator was more that he was behind the times than that he was an inherently bad coach. He did not see the changes in football and adapt his schemes thereto. He failed to grasp deeply enough how the game of football should be played in today’s NFL. Bowles appears to be up to speed if not ahead of the curve. This we will be determined soon enough.

    I personally have not kept up, but I am sure many of the rest of you realize what I am talking about. Hence, my need for a “back to basics” revamp in my football mindset.

    In addition, thinking in terms of a transition from the traditional 4-3 to a traditional 3-4 might also be very misleading. It could be an oversimplification and create a new set of misconceptions for me.

    I am sure that the first few weeks of the upcoming season will reveal much to me. I get to see how my new concepts jive with the real world.

    All of this gives me more reasons for hope and optimism. Maybe, things REALLY will be different this year.
    ____________
    Go Bucs!!! Win now!

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  10. sombrero i agree. I would like to see wilder in thou. He put in a lot of hard nosed work on laughable teams. Gmc never played that hard & he played on a few teams with more talent.

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  11. IMO the Buc’s need to focus on the OL. Both Winston and the RB’s will benefit from better OL play. I also believe there are players on this team as we speak that will benefit from BA and his approach to OL development.

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  12. I would love to see Howard become a hybrid player where he plays in several different positions. The wideout, TE, Fullback, even QB in an option play. I wonder if he can throw the ball?

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  13. I really don’t care where GMC ends up playing this season……… even if he lines up against the Bucs twice. He’s no longer a Buccaneer. No longer wearing the pewter and red. I’m moving on, so should everyone else.

    As far as #93 one day being in the Ring of Honor. I hope I’ll be alive to see it since it’s likely to be in the far distant future. Heck, I might not even remember who he was by then. McCoy? Is that Granpappy Amos or Little Luke?

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  14. I don’t get why some posters come to a thread about McCoy and tell others to not comment or have an opinion “Just Move On”. If you don’t want to talk about GMC don’t open the thread. But there are some of here who do care If GMC signs with the Saints and possibly ruin our chances of making the playoffs. Your feelings about McCoy are your feelings but don’t come here tell everybody else how we should feel.

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  15. Well said @captain-sly

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  16. The Jadeveon Clowney comment is really interesting though he’s becoming an elite pass rusher at age 25 and at 16 mil yr. As far as the money goes I don’t know but good GM’s figure out how to make it work. The Rams last year were in cap hell and still found a way to sign Suh, Dante Fowler jr, and give a huge extension to Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley. So it can work If that’s what we need to get us to elite status. Let’s stop handing out large contracts for mediocre talent D Smith, R Jensen, Beau Allen, B Perriman. All I’m saying is Let’s go out and get a proven talent and stop signing these rejects hoping they can help us. For a 5-11 team to be in salary cap trouble is senseless to say the least.

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  17. Last thing before I take my seat. All these people complaining about the Glazers not caring about winning are “NUTS”. No one spends their hard earned money on things that they don’t care about. They didn’t have to allow the GM to go out and sign Ndamukong Suh people but it shows that they care.

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  18. BigSombrero you forgot about Kevin House and Jimmie Giles! They should also be higher on the list than McCoy. And Batman Wood!

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  19. Although reports claimed the Bucs did not ask GMC to take a cut in pay, I find that hard to believe. I don’t think they held him as long just to hope for a trade. So, if McCoy takes less than Suh AND signs with an NFC South opponent, I think it would be fair to guess he did that on purpose after finding out his value isn’t what he thought. If he does that, then those who already dislike GMC will be more opinionated about him and those who are defending him will claim the Bucs deserve the diss.

    Until GMC and Suh have at least half the season in the books, neither side has anything but opinion. For me, I’m happy with Suh.

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  20. Jimmy Giles is already in the ring ….. Wilder should be included

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