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: When does DeSean Jackson go?

Answer: He just got traded to Philadelphia for a sixth-round pick in 2019 and a conditional seventh-rounder 2020. It was almost a forgone conclusion after the 2018 season that DeSean Jackson had played his last game for the Buccaneers, but there was a lot of talk this offseason he could possibly stay, especially at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis from head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht, who met with Jackson this offseason and discussed him staying in red and pewter.

If the Bucs were in a better place with their salary cap, he might have returned, but with Tampa Bay struggling just to have enough money to re-sign some of its own players before even thinking about the open free agent market, the team needed the salary cap space. In the end it looked like all that bluster in Indy was done to attempt to drive up his trade value. Tampa Bay attempted to trade Jackson to Philadelphia over the weekend, and his $10 million salary for 2019 looked like it might be prohibitive.

Bucs WR DeSean Jackson - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Washington was reportedly interested in signing Jackson if he were to be released, and the Eagles didn’t want him going to their NFC East rival, so they pulled the trigger on the trade. Jackson bid Tampa Bay farewell on Twitter earlier on Monday, but the Bucs didn’t want to release him and were holding out hope that a deal could still be worked out.

In the end, Jackson got what he wanted, which was to go back to Philadelphia where his career began in 2008 as a second-round pick. The Bucs got something for releasing him rather than nothing – in addition to the $10 million of precious salary cap room that Tampa Bay needed.

Question: General thought is that we hired Bruce Arians to win now. Does cutting some talented veterans and trading down to get draft picks to replace them really help that scenario more than keeping veterans like Adam Humphries, Gerald McCoy, and Kwon Alexander?

Answer: I see your point, but let’s not forget this was a 5-11 football team the last two seasons. While I believe much of the Bucs’ problem over the last couple of years was coaching, you can’t let the guys in the locker room off the hook completely. While Adam Humphries is a fan favorite, and one of the most humble and hard-working players on the team, replacing him for a third of what he would cost to re-sign, isn’t too far-fetched – especially since he will get $9 million a year in Tennessee.

Humphries is a solid player, but in Tampa Bay he was the team’s third option in the receiving game – at best – and really closer to being the fourth option. Teams can’t build a Super Bowl contender paying $9 million per year for an 800-yard receiver that is that far down the pecking order behind the likes of receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and tight end O.J. Howard. Humphries won’t be returning to Tampa Bay and is set to sign with Tennessee for four years at $36 million – $9 million per year).

With Gerald McCoy, while still a Top 10 defensive tackle in the league, can the Bucs really justify paying him $13 million per season for another six-sack season? And at age 31, is McCoy, who has battled through injuries in recent years, even capable of putting up six sacks in Todd Bowles’ new defense? Time will tell.

Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs general manager Jason Licht called middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, the “heartbeat of the defense,” but couldn’t justify paying more than $10 million per year for a player coming off a torn ACL surgery. Alexander cashed in on a four-year, $54 million deal in San Francisco where he’ll average $13.5 million per year and receive $27 million in guaranteed money. In return, Tampa Bay should receive a compensatory pick in the 2020 draft for losing Alexander in free agency, perhaps in the third round.

Drafting, developing and re-signing your own talent is of course the most proven way to succeed in the NFL, but sometimes good players end up walking and you have to hope you have developed players to fill that role, or that you draft the right ones to take over. And maybe ones with even more potential and higher ceilings.

Question: Which current Bucs players do you think could make a “successful” transition to 3-4 OLB?

Answer: I think both starting defensive ends, Carl Nassib and Jason Pierre-Paul will have no problems adjusting to the roles of strongside and weakside linebacker, respectively in certain packages, especially Pierre-Paul who has already showcased his versatility over his career. The wild card in the bunch might be Noah Spence.

Personally, I am sick of talking about a guy who for whatever reason, just hasn’t lived up to his second-round draft status, but the Bucs front office still believes in his potential. But it is do-or-die for Spence this season. This will be his third defensive line coach now, and the excuses are running thin at One Buccaneer Place.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s first see what the Buccaneers actually run once the mini-camps get started. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has repeatedly said, the scheme will be built around the players he has not the other way around. Expect Tampa Bay to deploy a 3-4 and a 4-3 defensive scheme under Bowles.

Question: You guys were at the Combine, any rumblings of other teams interested trading for Gerald McCoy or Cameron Brate?

Answer: Scott Reynolds attended this year and came away with some great information. While the Bucs were talking up Gerald McCoy and DeSean Jackson, Reynolds cautioned the likelihood both are back was quite slim. And now that’s the case with Jackson being traded, and Reynolds was correct. Much of the praise was likely some posturing by Bruce Arians and Jason Licht to keep potential trade partners guessing in hopes of getting something in return.

Bucs TE Cameron Brate - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs TE Cameron Brate – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

We’ll see if McCoy is the next to go via a trade or if Arians and Licht were sincere about keeping him in red and pewter for one more season. Another good get from Indianapolis was that Cameron Brate isn’t going anywhere this season despite counting $7 million against the cap, as PewterReport.com previously reported. The Bucs value Brate’s red zone production and have also seen O.J. Howard’s first two seasons but short due to injury.

With Adam Humphries leaving via free agency for Tennessee, the Bucs didn’t want Jameis Winston to have to lose another valuable, trusted target in an ever-important contract year. Thus Brate, who had hip surgery to repair a torn labrum this offseason, will remain in Tampa Bay and play for $7 million in 2019.

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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]

13 COMMENTS

  1. Brate is also not that expensive at $7 million. TEs with his stats are getting closer to $9 million or $10 million. Starters are getting over $10 million. So at $7 million and being a very good backup TE to Howard he is a good keeper to hold onto. He is another free agent signing back in 2014 by Jason Licht who has outperformed from the undrafted pool.

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    • I hadn’t thought about the OJ injury factor in previous statements, but yeah, Brate is a good bargain at $7 mil for his end zone production and his overall chemistry with Jameis.

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      Rating: +12. From 14 votes.
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  2. The only guy on the roster who you could argue is overpaid is Jensen. But there probably will be some monster contracts coming to interior OL in the coming days to wipe out what I just said lol.

    McCoy and JPP while both have high cap numbers are below market value as the market for pass rushers is at $17mil per year now.

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    Rating: +11. From 15 votes.
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  3. Wow, Bucs and Pewter Report fans like myself are eating a big feast with all this great coverage.
    There is more news, both good and bad, happening right now than in the regular season.
    Great job on keeping us well fed and up to date you guys.

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    Rating: +24. From 24 votes.
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  4. Slight change in the pick compensation.

    @NFLSTROUD

    Confirmed Bucs will receive the Eagles sixth-round pick in 2019 in exchange for Tampa Bay’s seventh-round selection in 2020 for DeSean Jackson, pending his agreement on a new contract.

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    Rating: +7. From 15 votes.
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  5. Mark: Scott did a podcast called “BS in Indy” where point out some of the bogus romours at the time. I will go ahead and predict that Brate is traded soon. His 7mil contract buys us a top notch safety Mathieu/Collins, and now Kwon is gone MLB is a priority. I would be stunned if they are not tempted now.

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    Rating: -7. From 9 votes.
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    • Both of those guys signed for $14mil today.

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      Rating: +6. From 8 votes.
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    • Collins and Matthieu are signing with Washington and Kansas City respectively. No money to sign either player. Their deals were 18m/year and 14m/year, again respectively.

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  6. Outlook for next season looks grim..not much to look forward to so far
    – Lost WR Hump, ILB Kwon, and WR MeSean Jackson
    – Resigned OT Smith, OT Dotson, ILB Minter, and S Johnson
    – Signed RB Ellington and a European kicker
    – too broke to resign RB peyton barber…yikes

    this so-called transition to Bowles’ 3-4 is looking very suspicious. Nassib, JPP, and McCoy are 4-3 down linemen. Vea and Gholston could potentially play any position on the 3-4 DLine. Unrein and Allen should get cut regardless. With the loss of Kwon, we don’t have 4x healthy LB’s on the roster. JPP and Nassib aren’t exactly burners off the edge, they’re better with their hand on the ground. Moving our best player from WLB to MLB isn’t going to solve our defensive problems. Not sure what we would do if Lavonte were to get hurt or miss time next year. Montez Sweat looks awfully good as a rush end prospect, but Devin White is probably the safer pick. We absolutely need to find a gem in the secondary whether it’s in the draft or free agency this year

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    Rating: -3. From 15 votes.
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    • Vea, Stevie T, McCoy, Unrein, and Allen all missed games last year with injuries.

      Kwon, Beckwith missed games at linebacker.

      In the secondary Jordan Whitehead, Chris Conte, Justin Evans, VH3, Davis, Grimes, MJ Stewart, Isaiah Johnson and Ryan Smith all missed games.

      Most expect Bucs to cut or not resign Allen, Unrein, Conte, Grimes, and maybe even Gholston. Kwon is already gone. Beckwith may never play football again. Spence and Stevie T are unproven and not guaranteed spots, even if they can stay healthy.

      They’ve missed out on big name free agent safeties or corners.

      This team is looking rough on defense, regardless of the latest savior/miracle worker to coach the players.

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      Rating: -5. From 11 votes.
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  7. Still haven’t heard from anyone at the Buc’s say it’s going to be a winning season, i.e., 9-7. Only saying they are going to win means 1+ from a literal standpoint. The dominoes have started, let’s see how many fall between now and training camp.

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  8. You guys have given FA not even 24 hours and you’re crying that we have no one and throwing in the flag already. Arians didn’t come out of retirement and bring on the stress of being a head coach to not have enough guys to fill the roster and just take a dump on the field.

    You have to have patience, you’re gonna have to wait until after the Draft and Unsigned period to see what this team will look like before you can start dogging the team and turning in your season tickets…

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    Rating: +19. From 21 votes.
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  9. GMC a Top 10 DT? C’mon man, not even close.

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