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 does the market seem slow for the Buccaneers this offseason? Other than Tom Brady and Joe Haeg I am surprised nothing has been done at running back. Is there a plan in place for drafting a RB in second- or third-round or would Devonta Freeman be an option?

Answer: The biggest factor – and priority – was figuring out Tampa Bay’s quarterback situation. That also was a large chunk of the team’s salary cap since the official signing of Tom Brady last Friday to a two-year, $50 million contract. Since then the team has been able to concentrate its efforts on other positions and knew how much money they would have to work with.

Bucs GM Jason Licht
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But as PewterReport.com stated over the last few weeks, the Bucs were focusing on quarterback, and then keeping as many pieces of the defense together as possible. And with the re-signing of outside linebacker Jason Pierre Paul and the tagging of outside linebacker Shaq Barrett they are well on their way. Those two signings weren’t cheap so now the team is being budget conscience with their remaining cap space.

Tampa Bay also brought back safety Andrew Adams and defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches and would still like to have defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh returns as well. They may be waiting to see what kind of interest Suh draws on the open market before making a firm offer. But remember, it was May before Suh signed with Tampa Bay in 2019, and the two sides don’t seem to be in a huge rush to get it done.

The Buccaneers are still evaluating some of their other free agents, and what they plan to do, including offensive tackle Demar Dotson. The Bucs addition of tackle Joe Haeg may have some bearing on what they decide on the future of Dotson, as Haeg can play right tackle.

As far as running back, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them sign a veteran running back – perhaps Devonta Freeman – depending on cost, and then also draft one early. While running back is normally one of the easier positions for a rookie to be successful at early, we saw the development of Ronald Jones II take a full season. The problem with that is, the Bucs don’t have a year to spare waiting on a rookie to develop, in my opinion. The window is two years at the most with Brady on board, that is why I think they could bring in an established back to give the offense more balance in 2020.

Question: Was there ever any doubt that Tom Brady was coming to Tampa Bay? Did he seriously consider the Chargers or did everybody just agree to keep quiet until free agency opened?

Answer: For most Bucs fans, there was doubt right up until we saw Brady announce his signing on social media last Friday. Bucs fans have been burned a number of times over the years – Bill Parcells, Brett Favre, Chip Kelly and so on – so until it was official, there was some warranted nervousness throughout the fan base.

Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Getty Images

But there was some discussions with other teams including the Chargers, and a recent report suggested the Raiders were also sniffing around last week as well, considering if Brady was an upgrade over Derek Carr.

Personally, the team I was most concerned about were the Patriots. While it appeared the two sides were both agreeing a divorce was ultimately going to be the finals verdict, you always worry about one of the two parties deciding at the last minute that they can’t live without each other. Twenty years and six Super Bowl championships is a lot to throw away, but in the end, the two sides stayed firm in their belief they were better off without each other.

Question: What further free agent signings do you see the Bucs making – QB? RB? WR? Do they re-sign Breshad Perriman or Ndamukong Suh?

Answer: The team most likely signs a quarterback and Blaine Gabbert could be that guy back with the Buccaneers. Bruce Arians was high on Gabbert last year before a shoulder injury sent him to injured reserve and with his knowledge of the system it makes sense he could return as a backup and also a guy in the meeting room to help Brady grasp things that Arians likes a to do a little quicker.

Bucs WR Breshad Perriman
Bucs WR Breshad Perriman – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Drew Stanton is another possibility as well, but Gabbert seems to make the most sense in my opinion since he was here a year ago and is younger at age 30 than the 35-year old Stanton.

As I mentioned earlier, adding a veteran running back might be on the agenda. Dion Lewis is someone the Bucs could have some interest in. He played with Brady in New England before joining the Titans but was recently released. Perhaps former Falcons running back Devonta Freeman could be of interest at the right price. Both Lewis and Freeman are good pass catchers out of the backfield.

And lastly, the Bucs are definitely interested in bringing Breshad Perriman back – but at their price. The former first-rounder did have a breakout last few games of the season after Mike Evans and Chris Godwin went down with injuries. Perriman has always had the talent, but up until late last season, had never been able to put it all together and show any type of consistency.

Perriman is an option but the team isn’t going to go crazy and overpay him just based on a handful of successful games. Perriman not being signed by another team is an indication that the other teams in the NFL aren’t convinced he is a 16-game starter as well. And he could be back on another one-year deal – perhaps around $4 million again.

Question: I want the team to win it all. However, I keep having the feeling the organization will do more to win now since Tom Brady is QB1 more than ever before. I believe in the past they robbed Peter to pay Paul with certain players i.e. moving Ali Marpet. Do you think so?

Answer: The Bucs have to do all they can to win now. Tom Brady is here for two years and that’s it. Most likely the same with head coach Bruce Arians, who turns 68 this year. Tampa Bay didn’t walk away from Jameis Winston, the franchise leader in most passing categories and sign a six-time Super Bowl winner, to just hope things work out. The team will be proactive in giving Brady everything within its power to be successful over the next two seasons to see if it is enough to win a Super Bowl.

Bucs RB Ronald Jones – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs RB Ronald Jones – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Of course an argument could be made, why didn’t they do this when Winston was here? But the team wasn’t as close as it is now – at least that’s how the organization feels. Things have come together to the point where the Bucs believe they can compete for a Super Bowl title in the next two years. They knew that wasn’t the case over the last five seasons. There were too many needs and holes on this roster and the organization was realistic. The Bucs defense needed to be rebuilt and that happened at the end of the 2019 season.

I will say this, had Brady not come to Tampa Bay and had the Buccaneers been forced to fall back to Winston as the starter, I truly believe they would be doing the same things for Winston as they want and will do for Brady, which will include upgrading the offensive line and running backs by the time the offseason is over.

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]

33 COMMENTS

  1. Really curious to see, during this two-year window, if the Licht and Greenberg alter their long-held contract strategy to sign a few players they would’ve been unable to sign otherwise, by using the signing bonus model temporarily.

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  2. No one has talked about the kicker. This team has had a terrible kicking situation the last 5 years. We lost multiple games because of the kicking situation. Gay didn’t prove anything. He’s just as shaky as what we’ve had. I don’t care how good Brady might be still. No quarterback can survive missed all of those missed kicks. Keep in mind every Super Bowl Brady won was down to the wire. The early ones with winning kicks. This team needs to upgrade the kicker.

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  3. I would like to sign a veteran RB. How about Dion Lewis? No thanks to Freeman. Lewis and Brady have history, not a bad thing.
    I hope Bucs draft a RB by the third.

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  4. I think the Bucs gave Winston a team capable of winning in the playoffs last year. So far they haven’t exactly added a bunch of superstars for Brady. They’ve resigned the same players that Winston had.
    The reason the Bucs didn’t make the playoffs last year comes down to Winston’s turnovers and game killing pick sixes. If Brady had been QB last year, Bucs would have won four more games at least.
    I like Winston a lot, but the losing record last year is on him, not the organization for not giving him enough help.

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    • If the Bucs gave Winston a team capable of winning last year, why change anything else? Give brady the same team, the GOAT should be able to succeed where Winston failed.

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  5. I wonder with Tom Brady at Qb now does the draft board change significantly. I’m concerned about the depth on the defensive side. I know T(r) and Rb is high up there. As with a development Qb. Some feel a need a Wr. I know the Bucs are waiting through the first few waves to get good players on good contracts. Just peeking at other sites and seeing some of the veteran minimum to 3mil deals, I feel they are missing out. We’ll see what happens.

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  6. This season is likely going to be delayed and shortened if not canceled. Games played in empty stadiums? Cheerleaders in Hazmat suits? Corporate sponsors will be hard to find. It is hard to think about Football when this season might have to be scrapped.

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  7. I have the same concerns, seat26. We finally get a proven winner at quarterback and the chances of there being a standard 16 game season starting and ending on time are slim. So many people are buying season tickets when there may not even be a full season or at least one in front of fans in the stands. This could be another “what if” situation for the Bucs before this is all sorted out. Sigh.

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  8. Good points, Buc76.

    I fully expect that the Bucs will bring in competition for all kicking duties. I expect that we will seek to upgrade at kickoff and kick return slots as well. I also anticipate an elevation of all special teams play this upcoming season.

    Bruce Arians has stated that he has a policy of continuous churning of the roster at all times. I observed a lot of that during the offseason and during the playing season last year.
    ________________
    Go Bucs!!! In BA I trust!

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  9. @Pete Wood,
    I find it humorous that there are many here that point the finger solely at Winston as to why this team did not achieve the playoffs. If I am not mistaken the defense has been in the back half of the league in points allowed during the Winston tenure, giving up close to 30 points a game is a big pill for any QB to swallow. They had one adequate rushing year on offense with Doug Martin which coincidentally coincided with a winning record, the running game in general has been poor. Some here believe Winston was well protected where my eyes told me differently and getting sacked near 50 times a season does not bode well for great offensive line play. I would certainly agree that Winston made plenty of bone headed decisions with careless passes but lets be fair and honest, with exception of the receiving group he did not have stellar play around him. The offensive line needs help in a big way, they are a highly paid underachieving unit. The defense under Bowls was just starting to show signs of coming together in the secondary the last quarter of the season which they should build on.

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  10. I don’t think that’s entirely true Pete Wood. We lost 3 games where Winston had 1 turnover or less. Fact of the matter is this team last year could have been 11-13 win team partly due to turnover for sure, but defense was historically shitty first 8 weeks, terrible kicking in 2 games, and RB didn’t go over 100 yards until the last week of the season, out QB was our leading rusher a few weeks and unless it’s lamar jackson u can’t win like that. Winston doesn’t kick FG or misses tackles. We upgraded at QB as far as the turnovers go but if we don’t fix those other holes on the team Tom Brady will just be a bandaid for our team, a legendary bandaid but a bandaid still

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  11. Don’t worry about this being shortened or cancelled. Tom is signed for two seasons. The Bucs can just collect their superbowl win next year if this season is cancelled. Plus, by then Antonio Brown might be reinstated and he can take Chris Godwin’s place. My only question is: When is Edelman and Gronk coming?

    Good news to those wondering about kickers…Gostkowski was just released by the Patriots and he’s only 36! Maybe the Bucs can sign him! He’s the greatest kicker in NFL history with many superbowl victories. Nevermind his hip injury from last year.

    Veteran RB? Dion Lewis, Legarrett Blount both won with Tom and are not on a roster currently. Also, is Corey Dillon available? I think he’s gotten plenty of rest the last 10 years out of the league. Wait, better yet, what about Emmitt Smith? He may the best running back of all time. Heck, just bring them all in!

    #Dream-team!

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    • Great analysis like always. Sarcasm! Only thing you forgot is that you love Jonathan Taylor and if the Buc’s get him everything else works out.

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  12. I was worried too about finally getting someone like Brady and then not being able to play, but the Covid situation will get worse in April and maybe May but it should be getting better in time for NFL teams to get to camp and get to work. There’s a chance they could push the season back a month and it shouldn’t really affect anything. If things go well Football should be just fine.

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  13. Remember the Falcon dumped Freeman and took a $6m cap hit, just to free up $3.2m. Not a strong endorsement.

    Instead of Perriman (projected $8m), the Bucs can bring in Phillip Dorsett for a lot less money. Similar talent and Brady already knows him. Agholor went for only $1,047,500

    I would rather see the Bucs save money and spend on a veteran OL or 2.

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  14. Mike and Captain Ahab, good points. Like I said, I really like Winston. If Bucs had kept him, I’d be dealing with it and kinda happy actually. You are both right in that he was not solely responsible for losing all nine games. Gay lost 2. And the defense allowed more points than Winston scored in several games.
    But, some of those games where it was a group suckfest, Winston could have won without turnovers. And the San Francisco loss, the Atlanta loss, and the Houston loss would have been wins without the pick sixes.
    Fun to debate this stuff. Good posts, y’all.

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  15. @geno711 Lol. I’m just trying to help the Glazers sell more jerseys and suites. Think about how much more they can (over)charge if they bring in Gronk, Edelman, AB, Emmitt, and Gostkowski!

    Anyway, its been widely reported that Tom chose the best team for him. He wanted to be close to New York City, so naturally, Tampa was PERFECT!! It was just a bonus that they have RoJo and Dare Ogunbawale!

    And did you hear the bogus story about how the Raiders and Jon Gruden decided to drop out of the Brady sweepstakes upon viewing his last 2 years of game tape? Who comes up with these stories? Mayock and Gruden must be morons when compared to Jason Licht and QB whisperer Bruce Arians.

    Tom Brady is still the best player in the NFL!! He’s going to lead the Bucs to many, many superbowls! He makes EVERYONE better!! He won’t put up with missed tackles, dropped passes, bad coaching, balls getting tipped at the line of scrimmage, bad kicks, or bad calls! Terriffic Tom Tuck Rule has got it covered!!

    16-0!

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  16. I’d really like to see Suh signed. For the RB position, Dion Lewis would be a great pick up and the from the draft I’d love to bring in AJ Dillion from BC. Add those two with Rojo and then another RB in FS and we’d be much better in the backfield. [Not excited about Logan or Dare OG – neither of them should make the roster.]

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  17. If Dion Lewis can return to the same production he had with Brady in NE he would be a great addition.

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  18. Dion Lewis got signed by the Giants. And for the comment that was made that Jameis wasn’t the only reason the Bucs lost 9 games and blah blah blah. Yeah of course he was not the ONLY reason, but don’t kid yourselves, he was the #1 reason with a bullet. I want you to wrap your heads around this stat. The Bucs allowed 449 pts(28/GM) which was 29th out of 32 teams. Opponents scored a mind numbing 113 points off Jameis Winston TO’s. That is a season average of 7 PPG off JW TO’s. Obviously no QB is ever having a season where there are no points scored off their TO’s. However, without those 113 points off JW TO’s, the Bucs scoring defense would have allowed 336 points, which would have ranked 13th in the NFL. For Comparison, Pats opponents scored 38 points off Brady TO’s last year. So when you wanna try and blame the Bucs defense, keep in mind that their scoring defense is very misleading. Without 113 points off Jameis TO’s, their defense all of a sudden doesn’t look nearly as bad

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    • Funny how everyone seems to forget Brady’s season and Jameis’ season ended the same way, both throwing a pick 6.

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  19. The idea that we are one player away from the playoffs and Superbowl is absurd. There are plenty of holes on this team and depth is weak even at the strong points. I think we have a good nucleus, but we have put a lot of stock in older players, and maybe too much faith in the rooks who have just started to show flashes. Speaking of which, are we going to let Suh walk like Carl Nassib?

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  20. Dion Lewis signed with the Giants. Bucs should take a look at Cardale Jones to back up Brady, still young, has NFL experience and can compete with whoever is drafted. With all the QB gurus on board, he seems to be a person that would benefit with Brady as a tutor

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  21. Big Sombrero, please tell me you weren’t Ass Bob all along? I thought you were a fan, the Ass Bob route is not a good look. I’m gonna choose to take your sarcasm as pure joy! So… You’re right, Gruden and Mayock are just as full of shiz as anyone else and if Brady wanted to go there he would have. Look at His past two years of game tape and see 8,400 yards, 53 TDs and 19 INTs, 23 wins and only 9 losses, one Super Bowl and yet another playoff appearance with almost no one to throw to, sounds pretty good to me. He’s older and short term, but why not enjoy it? I rooted for Winston because he was our QB through thick and thin and I could see the potential if he could just avoid the terrible. Brady is our QB now and the potential is great if he can avoid the terrible. I’m rooting for his best.

    Brady was apparently doing research on coaches at last years combine and was asking about Arians and I guarantee you he didn’t wanna play for Gruden. You ask any ex-Bud that played under Gruden and they will tell you what a sleaze ball two face he is to the players and untrustworthy, Brady wouldn’t have wanted to play for that ego. Yes all coaches have an ego including Arians but he is humble and upfront about it, Gruden not so much. He saw weapons here with a Defense on the rise and a Head Coach that he will like and appreciate and wants to stick it to Belichick and I hope he does.

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    • Look at Patriots Defensive stats against Offensive stats, Brady was asked to do less because his defense was #1 in the league in many categories.

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  22. Too many reasons/excuses that could be discussed. I have said it many times, I think the game is won at the line of scrimmage. Regardless of Jameis, RoJo or the Kicker…Jameis is constantly running for his life, our running back can’t consistently get 3+ yds per carry and we are unable to keep control of the ball (time of possession requires a running game). We have to find balance or nothing will change. One possession or the final minutes will determine every game. If we in fact have turned the corner on defense, we better do something with our OL. Whatever it takes to run the ball!

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  23. Sorry seat but I absolutely believe we are 1 player away from being a playoff team. Or should I say 1 player swap away( Brady for Winston. I’ll reiterate my previous post. Opponents scored 113 points off Jameis TO’s last year( 7 PPG) the defense was constantly either put on short fields, minimal time to catch their breath because of constant TO’s, and constantly having to defend down multiple scores early because Jameis consistently started out games with first drive or first quarter TO’s. And we still have the draft to get better. Hopefully we can land one of the big 4 OLineman(Wills, Wirfs, Becton, or Thomas) if not, then try and trade back, and hopefully swap for an early 2nd In the process, and then hopefully Josh Jones falls to them in the 1st, and then use the early 2nd on one of the big 4 RB’s(Swift, Taylor, Dobbins, Helaire)

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    • If we are one player away, why is it hopeful “we can land one of the big 4 O Lineman”. Could we be more than one player away? I think that since we were on replacing Jameis away from being the most dominate team in history we should trade away all of our draft picks as stock for the future.

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  24. Interesting how some folks who reside in Bucville have been so accustomed to disappointment that they are hesitant to allow hope and lofty expectations to be a part of their fragile mindset. They shield their psyche by looking for any morsel of evidence to keep them from feeling any hint of excitement. They have learned to temper their enthusiasm to minimize what they anticipate will be the inevitable fall back to reality. They live in a self-created world in which they think all is lost. They even see their glass half-full…………they don’t even think they have a glass. They put the fly in their own ointment.

    Shouldn’t we all be looking forward to this season instead of predicting it will be canceled? Shouldn’t we be dreaming about having the best QB of all time leading our team to victories instead of worrying that he’ll get hurt? Shouldn’t we think that maybe, just maybe our offensive line is better than it looked when teams don’t know we’re passing? Shouldn’t we think PK Matt Gay was pretty good except for a couple of games? Shouldn’t we think that Tom Brady will put less stress on the the Ghost Whisperer’s and all of our hearts instead of blowing a gasket when the first pass is a pick 6? Shouldn’t we finally stop the debate about Jameis Winston instead of rehashing the now pointless argument? There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll all be cheering when Tom Brady trots on to the field without a walker.

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    • Well said scubog!

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  25. Its because most of the posters are more concerned about being right than they are about Winning!!

    No point in this continueous debate on Winston. Those who predicted that Winston would be back just admit that you were wrong and let’s #MoveOn!! The organization has spoken loud and clear about their feelings on Winston and if you we’re truly fans of the team instead of a player you should be beaming with excitement about the Possibilities on the upcoming Season!

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  26. @43 is only old. Nope, my original comment seemed pretty self explanatory. As is, before any other FA’s are signed and before a single player is drafted, the Bucs are a playoff team. Adding one of the big 4 OLineman and trying to nab one of the big 4 RB’s as well is about not “just” being a playoff team, but a team that make a deep run. Having a great draft and adequately filling the holes we have via FA is the difference between a 9-7 final wild card team, and a 10-6/11-5 playoff team that gets a home playoff game

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  27. Pete Woods I have to disagree that Winston was given a “playoff” team last year. Some people’s perception is just crazy to me. Yes Winston had too many int. But let’s not re-write history.

    First half last season was S.O.B. (Same old a Bucs!) Until young secondary started to gel. They lost to teams like the Giants despite having huge halftime leads. Let Daniel Jones come to Tampa and win his first start. Then he went most of rest of season without winning again! We were pathetic! Winston has great drive end of game with bomb to Evans that set up a 34 yard fg to win that and Gay couldn’t make it. So let’s stop they were a playoff team last year non sense if not for Winston.

    They started playing better defense second half last season for first time in years and low and behold won 5 of 6 games at one point.

    Brady has 1-2 years left. Hoping it’s two. This defense is finally going to be at least average a whole season.

    The lack of run game and balance also was a big problem last year and pretty much for 5 years.

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