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: What was the purpose of Mike Evans’ restructure if no cap space was created?
Answer: It was all a technical move that involved some legal stuff dealing with an insurance policy for Mike Evans. From what we were told, it is a pretty common things that often happens around the NFL with contracts of that magnitude. I am not a lawyer, so none of it really makes sense on my end, but it wasn’t a cap saving move as first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates.
Evans had $3 million of his $20 million base salary converted to a roster bonus rather than a signing bonus. Roster bonuses count against the cap just like base salaries do. Signing bonus money is divided up and prorated over the life of the contract and that’s where teams can gain some salary cap room, but that didn’t occur.
Question: I know we’re talking about hypotheticals, but would you rather trade Gerald McCoy to move up and get one of these so-called three studs at the top of the draft – Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen – or trade back to the teens and pick up a second rounder? Looking forward to seeing you over in UK this year!
Answer: I suppose it depends on who the Bucs could replace Gerald McCoy with. While salary cap space is crucial, Tampa Bay doesn’t currently have anyone of the team to even come close to filling McCoy’s shoes if he were to be dealt or released. Right now the Bucs be looking at Rakeem Nunez-Roches as their starter. That’s a considerable drop off.
As Scott Reynolds pointed out on our latest podcast, all of this public indecision from Jason Licht and Bruce Arians could just be the team posturing until finding his replacement via the draft, and if they don’t get one of the top defensive tackles then maybe McCoy sticks around. Reynolds also floats the scenario of the team possibly using McCoy in a trade to move up to get Quinnen Williams in his latest SR’s Fab 5 column.
And obviously the defensive coaching staff agrees with that thought. If Tampa Bay felt McCoy could be easily replaced, or his position wasn’t overly important in the new Todd Bowles scheme, then Licht and Arians would have already moved McCoy by now to save $13 million in cap room.
Is McCoy the same player he was a few years ago? Of course not, and Arians said as much last week in Arizona. He’s recorded six sacks in each of the last two years. However, McCoy was still one of the Bucs’ better defensive players last year, and plays a position where there aren’t a bunch of able replacement just walking the streets.
So to answer your question, trade up to get Williams in the first round, and draft the best guard in the second round.
Question: Any info on whether the Bucs may be adding anyone else prior to the draft, or do you see them waiting until after or even possibly final cut downs on August 31 to add a few more vets?
Answer: I don’t have a definite answer, but I do know they are still evaluating a lot of available players, and there could be additions at any point prior to, or following the draft. There are still holes on this roster that seven draft picks can’t fill. So there will be more additions and cornerback is one spot where I think you will see a veteran added regardless if they draft one early.
Rolling the dice that cornerback Vernon Hargreaves can stay healthy for 16 games, and that second-round cornerback Carlton Davis is going to be be much improved, are big gambles. That isn’t a knock on either player, but just the facts. And even if both perform up to expectations in 2019, where is the depth? There will likely be at least one starting-caliber veteran cornerback brought in before training camp.
Question: Why isn’t there more talk of Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns to the Bucs? He has the upside to be the best edge defender in this draft. Yet we’re linked to players like Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary, who has Bust written all over him.
Answer: When Brian Burns declared for the draft I thought he might have made a mistake. Watching his career closely at Florida State I saw a speed edge rusher, who, if he didn’t get to the quarterback, or got locked up on a tackle, was basically powerless. Playing around 225 in college, I didn’t really know where he would fit in the NFL. His biggest negative is his inability to convert speed to power – even though he’s added some weight this offseason.
But then the Seminoles junior showed up at the NFL Combine weighing in at 249 and then still showed elite speed running a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash, and all of a sudden, you see a 3-4 pass rushing linebacker, with enough athleticism to also drop in coverage at times. There is no doubt that he is a freak athlete, and is a driven young man. I love Burns’ relentlessness in Tallahassee, running sideline to sidemen and never showing any quit.
I am still not sure he is Top 10 worthy, but if Tampa Bay trades down then he could be in play. Burns will need good coaching to make him not so one-dimensional, but from what we have heard, he is very willing and very coachable.
Burns did show some improvement in developing a counter inside move this past season that excites NFL front office personnel, and my favorite thing about Burns was he was always looking for the strip. A sack is great, but his mentality was to create a turnover.
Burns recorded 23 sacks in three years at FSU, including 8.5 as a redshirt freshman in 2016, and a career-high 10 sacks last year. The rangy edge rusher also recorded seven career forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, along with 38.5 tackles for loss in his three years with the Seminoles.