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: Where would you put Gerald McCoy’s odds of staying as a Buc?
Answer: Without any inside knowledge, and just speculation, I would say around 25 percent. Gerald McCoy sure seemed liked a guy who saw the writing on the wall going into the last game of the season and following that loss to the Falcons. And in the meantime, there have been a couple cryptic tweets from the veteran defensive tackle that make you wonder if he is talking about his future with the team.
“Embrace change, even when the change slaps you in the face”
— Gerald McCoy (@Geraldini93) January 23, 2019
Now that one, and a few other tweets, could mean something completely different, but when you look at the fact McCoy is due $13 million this upcoming season at age 31, and the Bucs not being in very good salary cap shape, it would seem possible the team moves on from him via trade or just outright release. The the debate is what – if anything – would teams be willing to give up in a trade for an aging tackle that is most likely on the downside of his career while absorbing his $13 million salary?
Those saying the Bucs could get a first- or second-rounder or a top starting cornerback or other position, are really being overly optimistic. Keep in mind that a younger, better player in defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul only fetched a third-round pick from the Bucs last offseason.
Another possible alternative is a restructuring of his deal or a release, and if he isn’t claimed off of waivers by another team, perhaps he gets re-signed for a lesser contract – although those scenarios seems unlikely at this point.
The last thing I would say on the subject is, from all the people we have talked to, they have said, as of last week, that no decision on McCoy has been made yet by the Bucs. The coaches were left back in Tampa last week to watch and evaluate the film of the current roster and give their honest assessment while general manager Jason Licht and the Bucs scouts went to Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl. If head coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles think McCoy can be an impact player in this new defense then it is possible McCoy returns for another year.
Question: Are there any OL free agents that we should be hoping come to the Bucs?
Answer: Well, left tackle Donovan Smith, of course. And half of you reading this just saw your blood pressure spike to unhealthy levels. But honestly, when looking at the list of players slated to be free agents, Smith and New England left tackle Trent Brown are probably the best of the bunch, and Brown is expected to stay with the Patriots. Offensive linemen get paid a fortune in free agency – even average ones.
Remember, Nate Solder got a four-year, $62 million deal last offseason with the Giants. That is an average of $15.5 million per season. Guess how many Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams he has made in his career? Zero. Bringing back Smith with the franchise tag and paying him in the neighborhood of $14 million isn’t the worst idea in the world to see how he fares with the new coaching staff.
Just scanning the list of available players and it is rather underwhelming. Jared Veldheer of the Broncos looks to be the top name tackle available, but expect him to command crazy money. Guard-wise a player like Arizona’s Mike Iupati might make some sense, but he isn’t getting any younger. A.J. Cann and John Greco are two guards on the radar for some, but neither is going to make fans jump up and down.
I really expect this team to draft at least one guard and see if a new coach can salvage Caleb Benenoch and develop Alex Cappa. Draft-wise I would take Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom over any of the above mentioned free agent guards as he would have lot more upside and be a lot cheaper if he is drafted in the second round.
Question: Will the Bucs be playoff bound next year? Are expectations already too high?
Answer: Looking into my crystal ball I see a team making noise towards the end of the season. I see a team in red and pewter being talked about as the 2019 season heads into December. I see a battle for a wild card spot. I see … oh no, it is getting cloudy.
If you ask head coach Bruce Arians I am guessing he would say yes. Every coach for the most part believes this time of year that they can coach their team into the postseason. The coaching ego game is strong across the league, but do you know what? I like that. As a coach, if you don’t believe that you are great, how do you convince the 53 guys in the locker room that they can also become great?
The Patriots are not the best team in football from a roster talent standpoint. But they are the best organization with a coach and a quarterback that believe they are the greatest to ever step onto a football field, and it works. And probably works again next Sunday.
Arians isn’t here with a 10-year plan like Jon Gruden is out in Oakland. He is here to win, and win soon. Expectations are good as long as the players buy into the hard work it takes to get to the postseason. While the Patriots believe they are the best, part of that comes from the amount of work they put into it. The Bucs needs to understand that part of winning, show up and work and have Arians and his staff hold them accountable. That’s the biggest thing.
Question: In Arians’ best years with the Cardinals, he had David Johnson. These were also Carson Palmer’s best years. Can you see Bruce Arians making it a priority to go get a dual-threat RB, and if so what are some names to look for?
Answer: I think he will make a strong suggestion for that to take place. Nothing gives more credence to that than looking right here with this football team. Despite being in the Top 10 in virtually every offensive category last season, this team won a whopping five games. We all know the defense was a huge contributor to the the awful record, but a lack of a running game didn’t help things either. If Bruce Arians want to cut down on Jameis Winston’s turnovers he shouldn’t have him drop back to pass an average of 40 times a game.
I really like Peyton Barber. He’s a great young man, a hard worker and is tough as nails. But he is no David Johnson. Barber just isn’t as dynamic as Johnson is. And Ronald Jones? Does anyone think the light automatically clicks on in his second season? The team would love for that to happen, but you can’t build your roster on the hopes of Jones becoming a feature back who is going to run for 1,000 yards next season. And let’s not forget that he struggles catching the football.
In the draft, keep an eye on on names like Memphis running backs Darrell Henderson and Tony Pollard, in addition to Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams. I do think the Bucs address the position again in the draft this year, but maybe not until the third round.