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: With Jason Pierre-Paul possibly not playing this year, do you see Bucs looking to make a trade for another pass rusher?

Answer: We still don’t have any idea for sure exactly how many months of the season Pierre-Paul will miss. It could be as little as half the season, or it may be all 16 games. Until the Bucs have a better grasp on exactly what his status for 2019 is, it it will be difficult to really guess what their current thoughts are in terms of any potential replacement. Head coach Bruce Arians said as much over the weekend at the Bucs rookie mini-camp when he was asked about Pierre-Paul’s future.

He did say something kind of interesting however, when asked about a contingency plan.

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

“It’s easy. When we get to training camp, we will have the guys that we want in there,” Arians said. “When I was in Arizona, every year that last week we would always add the missing piece. We’re looking for the missing piece right now. There is somebody out there. John Abraham came in, Dwight Freeney came in, guys that really impacted our defense and Todd [Bowles] did a great job of matching them up. We’re nowhere near where we are going to be in September, so we will just wait and see.”

To me, Arians is saying Jason Licht and his personnel team will be hard on the lookout for someone to step on as we get closer to the start of the season. I don’t necessarily think it will come via a trade, but instead possibly a late training camp or preseason cut. Licht has been pretty good at finding other teams’ castoffs that come in and still have some juice in the tank like he did when he signed defensive end Jacquise Smith, right tackle Gosder Cherilus and center Joe Hawley.

And of course we all know adding Carl Nassib last year turned out very good to say the least. Nassib will be counted on to step up in a contract along with newcomer Shaq Barrett, who signed a one-year deal this offseason, in addition to Anthony Nelson, this year’s fourth-round pick in the draft. If I had to guess I believe the starter at right DE/OLB who will play opposite Nassib isn’t currently on the Bucs roster right now, but it will come from a waiver claim as opposed to a trade.

Question: I know UDFA’s make the teams occasionally (Adam Humphries, Cam Brate, Leonard Wester, Bobo Wilson) but is there a REAL possibility if one of our new offensive linemen really impresses in camp that they could take Caleb Benenoch’s starting spot away from him?

Answer: Well of course anything is possible, but it is highly unlikely one of this year’s crop of undrafted guys would be ready to step in and start. Teams spend at least a year evaluating the upcoming draft class, and offensive linemen are in such high demand that if you’ve got two feet, don’t trip over your shoelaces and are 300 pounds, there is a good chance you get drafted. Not a ton of those guys slip through the cracks, although you can easily point to two huge success stories in Donald Penn and Demar Dotson right here in Tampa Bay.

However, neither were anywhere near ready to step in and start as rookies. And at this point I would be shocked if any of the Bucs’ undrafted free agents work their way into the starting lineup in 2019. Instead, expect veteran Earl Watford to get the first crack at right guard with second-year player Alex Cappa nipping at his heels. The Caleb Benenoch experiment at right guard is over and it was a failure. He’s back at right tackle where he belongs and is backing up Dotson.

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

Question: Am I crazy for liking the Bucs’ UDFA haul as much as the end of their draft?

Answer: Jason Licht would say no. We know he and his scouts see a few diamonds in the rough in the team’s undrafted free agents, and he also knows the “second draft” can be a productive place to at the least find depth, if not a developmental starter. We have mentioned some players already that went undrafted (Adam Humphries, Cameron Brate, Demar Dotson, Peyton Barber, ect.) that all went onto not only become starters, but guys who have made a ton of money with second contracts.

There will be a handful of these players who end up on the 53-man roster and practice squad and history suggest one or two might be viable NFL long-term starters. However, if you are building a team and thinking you can rely on undrafted free agents for long-term franchise success, you won’t be an NFL G.M. very long.

There are some notable names in this year’s group of undrafted free agents, including North Dakota State running back Bruce Anderson, Buffalo wide receiver Anthony Johnson, Ole Miss wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge, South Carolina guard Zack Bailey and Mississippi State quarterback/athlete Nick Fitzgerald. Don’t be surprised if a couple of these guys make the 53-man roster and maybe one or two of the team’s draft picks don’t this year.

Question: Which undrafted player(s) have a real shot at making the 53-man roster?

Answer: David Kenney, an outside linebacker that hasn’t played football in two years was easily the biggest standout from the two days we saw of rookie mini-camp. The guy was like a varsity player practicing against a middle school team. His quickness and burst was evident from the beginning but really flashed on Saturday. You could see his confidence grow every snap, and by the end of practice there was no question this tryout player would be signed. While we haven’t seen an official list, Arians confirmed it Saturday afternoon when asked about Kenney in his post practice press conference.

Bucs RB Bruce Anderson
Bucs RB Bruce Anderson – Photo courtesy of NDSU

It wouldn’t be a shocker to see either Anthony Johnson or DaMarkus Lodge make the roster at wide receiver where the competition is against the likes of Justin Watson, last year’s fifth-round pick, Bobo Wilson, K.J. Brent and Scotty Miller, who was this year’s sixth-round pick. Running back Bruce Anderson has a chance of sticking around as he will square off against a group of unheralded runners in camp, including Andre Ellington, Kerwynn Williams, Shaun Wilson, Dare Ogunbowale and Ronald Jones II, last year’s second-round pick, who is coming off a disastrous rookie season.

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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]

23 COMMENTS

  1. “Licht has been pretty good at finding other teams’ castoffs that come in and still have some juice in the tank like he did when he signed defensive end Jacquise Smith, right tackle Gosder Cherilus and center Joe Hawley.”

    That has been my hope exactly for JPP being absent. Next year they are going to have to think about drafting his replacement (or the year after) but for now that is their best option.

    One question – no mention about Testaverde’s son being an UDFA on the team. Yet they had a story when he was picked up. Shows what I said (and got a lot of thumbs down for) according to PewterReport is correct – he only got a story because of his name, not because of his potential for making the team. He may shock everyone and make the team or development team, don’t get me wrong, but the likelihood is not very high.

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  2. Licht will hold on to JPP, and his 14 million dollar price tag hoping for the best. Just like he pissed away 13 million on Grimes. In the end JPP will be no help to the Bucs this year, or in the future. That Bailey kid is already a better option then Cappa at RG. You see he played for S.C. in the SEC, he’s battle ready. Cappa played for Homboldt?, I think that’s a pot smoking college in No Cal where his opponents were stoned little white guys from other small schools.

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  3. Hope is not a plan. BA looking for other teams castoffs is equivalent to me going to the junkyard looking for a running engine to drop in my new Mercedes. Up to this point most of the replacement players have been Arizona castoffs that couldn’t get a job anywhere else except with BA. Now you want me to hope a team will cut a John Abraham type player and then he will just choose out of 31 other teams a 5-11 Bucs team that haven’t been to the playoffs in over a decade. I was always in favor of this hire and I like our GM Licht but this is not looking good.

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  4. Why would JPP miss half the season or all the season with a minor hairline crack that doctors said will be healed in 5 to 6 months OR LESS??? Doctors almost always diagnose a longer time then needed in the NFL. I bet JPP misses no more than 4 games, if any. Pretty sure that’s why he opted out of an operation because it probably guaranteed missing all or most of the season. Im not going to worry either way. GO BUCS!!!

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  5. Why isnt there more talk about Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney who the Texans are trying to decide whether to trade him or extend him. We cant count on finding a last second cut from another team or JPP playing and what happens if Nassib or Barret goes down in the first game and is lost for the season which would make Spence a starter. Last year our right guard situation torpedoed our entire season and the same could happen this year because of our pass rush. I’m open to any other options but I’d trade a 2nd from next year to get someone of quality who is still young. Tough to give up a 2nd for a 30+ year old player but Clowney is 26 so you are essentially drafting a former number 1 overall pick who is just heading into his prime years.

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  6. The Buccaneers list 10 names as defensive ends and 6 names as defensive tackles on their roster as of today.

    Any person who should be found by the end of camp as the replacement starter for JPP and presumed opposite across from Nassib is not of immediate interest to me right now.

    I for one cannot wait for my first opportunity to see these guys in practises for myself. (*) I will focus in particular on Anthony Nelson, Terry Beckner Jr and David Kenny. I also want to see how things shake out this year out as far as roles they may finally play as DE/OLB/DT. Are any of these guys diamonds in the rough?

    I also am anxious to see if Noah Spence finally emerges.
    ______________________
    Culture Change, Team=>Fans
    Go Bucs!!!!! Win Now!

    (* That would be whatever I am fortunate enough to see of them live along with the random highlight videos that I may come across in the media.)

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  7. No talk about Clowney because his price tag is out of range, especially given his injury history and next year’s cap situation.

    I doubt that we will know what kind of defense will be ran by Bowles until the season starts, so the loss of McCoy and/or JPP may not be as devastating as many think.

    JPP has a chance to return and he has proven he is mentally and physically tough enough to return from a devastating injury, even if they have been self inflicted.

    I wouldn’t count on Cleveland (or anyone else) giving up much compensation for McCoy. Don’t blame the cap, though. Cap space isn’t really a problem for many teams. 13 teams have $22 million or more($58M for Colts!), but that hasn’t mattered. GMC generated no rumors before or during the draft, even though it was apparent he was on the block. He’s apparently worth LESS than Desean Jackson to teams.

    For those fans who think Tampa can swindle Cleveland out of RB Johnson and DE Ogbah are nuts. McCoy isn’t worth either, much less both. McCoy will get cut and the Bucs will get nothing. McCoy will then sign for 1/3 somewhere else as a role player with little expectations. That’s what McCoy is…a non-leader and a role player who is just-a-guy.

    I look forward to mandatory camps in June where we will get to see the vets and rooks that will be fighting for jobs in August.

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  8. Winstonmvp, 5-6 months is half the season and there is a chance in 4 months he may still need the surgery. Even if he is cleared to play in 6 months it take a few weeks to get back in football shape.

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  9. @bigsombrero what GMC is worth is debatable certainly, but BA was brought here to bring some sort of vision & leadership. I’m struggling to see what they’re doing right now, If he doesn’t believe GMC is worth 13mil just cut bait and move on instead of playing Belichecht “I only want to talk about who’s here”. He’s not here because he’s not going to except your low ball offer to restructure, so just show some leadership and cut him and move on instead of playing this petty game. To me he’s coming off looking real small in this matter and I’m starting to wonder if he’s the right person for the job.

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  10. I forgot that Ogbah was traded 6 weeks ago to Kansas City.

    Clowney has one year left at $16 million. Extending him will cost as much or more than Mike Evans per season. That shit aint never gonna happen, especially considering he has a history of concussions, knee injuries, and has only played in all 16 games once since being drafted. He has started 55 out of 93 games(including playoffs) since being the #1 overall pick.

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  11. @captain-sly I think Arians vision and leadership is on full display. It’s not too different than Gruden last year regarding Mack and Cooper getting traded. BA is the boss and he doesn’t want McCoy eating up snaps due to his cap number.

    My example has some differences…those Raiders were really good players with BIG stats and entering their PRIME vs. McCoy and Jackson who are at the end of a career and have been average one trick ponies with low snap counts the last few seasons. They will be gone.

    I guarantee you the Bucs will field a team that is competitive next year. They need some fire and BA is bringing it.

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  12. So that means we go 4-12 this year and get the #4 pk in the draft next year. I don’t like Gruden and I don’t like that plan. Sorry

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  13. Te Bucs have to be watching potential cuts of other vets that can step in to replace GMC, JPP and possibly others. Couple there are rumblings about….

    Cards DT Robert Nkemdiche, Panthers DT Vernon Butler, Jets LB Darron Lee, Eagles OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, 49ers OG Joshua Garnett.

    There have to be guys on both side of the ball that will hit the waiver wire between now and training camp. No edge rushers in this list and each of these guys has a story whether cap hit, under performing, etc., but we have plenty of holes to fill….

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  14. Surferdudes, I pretty much agree with your assessment about PP.
    But the Bugs have till the end of August to look at grays so why be in a hurry to cut him.
    The rest of your musings are pure
    gibberish.
    For one thing the Bucs only paid Crimes $7.5 million for his final season.

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  15. All of I think of when I hear the name Gosder Cherilous is him getting absolutely destroyed in one of his final games of professional football with the Bucs. Like a horse with a broken leg it was brutal to watch him out there giving up sack after sack.

    The players Mark mentions that Licht signed were all productive for very short terms (usually one season). So expectations of a player having “juice” for more than a year is very unlikely based on his history.

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  16. You know who would have made a great replacement for JPP…..Josh Allen, that’s who. I hate Jason Licht as our GM!

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  17. Captain Sly, you’re acting like BA has the ability to trade or cut McCoy himself, they talk about him cutting the guys for taking his spot but he wasn’t a player eating up $13 mil of our Cap Space… Already you are trying to put it on BA when it has nothing to do with him. Licht is the only one with the power to keep or cut McCoy. So thinking he looks small because Licht is apparently trying everything before cutting him is a little short sided.

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  18. If McCoy was smart he would restructure and stay here. Everyone who wanted a DT drafted them. N. Suh is also just sitting on the market as we speak too.

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  19. @spitfire I am not sure you understand how this works, BA is the Head Coach and he absolutely has the power to cut or Trade McCoy. We just witnessed this with Gruden/Mack and the Raiders last year. By the middle of the season Gruden had traded Mack and Cooper away from the team and then turned around and fired the GM Reggie Mckenzie. Jason Licht will be lucky to make it to the bi week this year my friend, this is BA’s team and he is the new sheriff calling all of the shots.
    All of the tape is out on Mccoy and You know exactly what you are getting with him. So If that’s not worth 13 million then show some leadership and cut him instead of playing these games in front of the media.

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  20. I for one am already burned out on the GMC debate and the JPP neck issue. Too many letters instead of words nowadays, LOL. Who knows what’s being discussed behind the scenes? I know this much; we’ll field a Defense, with or with out the aforementioned “Lettermen” that can’t possibly be worse than the one that has trotted onto the field (especially away games) the past two seasons.

    Here a lot of folks asked about the chances that a few of the undrafted free agents will be surprise contributors. That’s because there are players every year that, as Gruden would say, “explode onto the scene”. There are also players like the ones BA (not another letters name) mentioned, who have one last gasp to help a team.

    Who knows, maybe BA will give the MIA GMC some TLC and he’ll put on his cape and shout “Here I come to save the day” and return.

    I look for JPP to go on reserve non-football IR so his lost $ can be distributed elsewhere.

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  21. wnb0395: JPP’s accident was 2 weeks ago. That’s 4 months till season starts. Doctors almost always say it will take longer then it actually does. So if JPP heals in 4 months. That gives him 4 weeks to get in Football shape so it is possible that JPP could be ready to roll by October. That’s all I am saying. I don’t think that it’s guaranteed that he misses half or all of 2019 season. Hopefully it’s closer to what I am saying then M Cook ( and others have said) suggested in this article. GO BUCS!!!

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  22. @captain sly
    Love how you blasted someone’s take and analogy of the Raiders and Gruden just to turn around and use them as your own analogy. Cant make this stuff up 😂😂😂😂

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  23. Our defense in 2017 was ranked 22nd (no JPP). In 2018 we were ranked 31st (with JPP). Both seasons were Mike Smith defenses so there was no scheme change. He is an amazing player that got 12.5 sacks, 20 QB hits, and 16 TFL on a defense that did not support his effort. Point being, stop expecting our defense to suck just because he won’t be there in game one.

    If they are actually going to be that “much improved” fierce blitzing defense that we keep hearing about, it won’t matter if JPP starts or is on IR. The next man will step up and fill some big shoes. But please stop crying about a lost season already. You make it sound like he’s the reason our defense was going to be good. The stats prove otherwise.

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