The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our Twitter account, however this week Taylor Jenkins will be taking over. 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 Monday Mailbag.
Question: Will Chris Godwin get a contract extension before season starts?
Answer: While the Bucs would surely like to extend the contract for wide receiver Chris Godwin, the timeline for when that could happen isn’t exactly known.
From a financial standpoint, Tampa Bay is limited with less than $5 million in remaining cap space while still having Godwin under contract for (just) the 2020 season. In addition, Godwin’s breakout season in 2019 where he racked up 1,333 receiving yards, nine touchdowns and his first Pro Bowl selection could put him in line for a large pay day. This would potentially put the Bucs in company with the Cardinals, Bengals and Browns as the only teams in the league with multiple receivers on their rosters making over $10 million per year.
If the Bucs are able to get a deal worked out with Godwin this offseason, it would likely come over later in the summer or during training camp if you look back at when Tampa Bay has reached agreements on some of their more high-profile re-signings in the past. A deal may also take place mid-season, if they’re not able to reach an agreement before the start of the season.
In 2015, linebacker Lavonte David signed a five-year contract extension on Aug. 9.
In 2016, offensive tackle Demar Dotson signed a three-year extension on Aug. 15.
In 2018, offensive guard Ali Marpet signed a five-year extension on Oct. 9.
Question: What if the Bucs could somehow make a trade for Kareem Hunt? I know Cleveland put a second-round tender on him, but he just seems like the perfect running back/receiving back for this Tom Brady offense. Thoughts?
Answer: Let’s start with what Kareem Hunt brings to the table. If added to the Bucs’ roster he would immediately become the most dangerous threat in their backfield, both as a runner and a pass-catcher.
In 2017, as a rookie in Kansas City, Hunt was one of the most productive backs in the league as he posted a league-leading 1,327 yards on 272 carries for 4.9 yards per carry and eight rushing touchdowns. He also added 53 receptions – on 64 targets – for 455 yards and three additional touchdowns. In 2018, he posted 4.6 yards per carry, totaling 824 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns and seven receiving touchdowns in just 11 games played.
Tampa Bay has had just one running back since 2011 eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in a single season, when Doug Martin reached that milestone in both 2012 and 2015.
However, the cost of acquiring Hunt would quite simply outweigh the Bucs’ benefit, both on the field and off of it.
As mentioned, Hunt signed a restricted tender with the Browns this offseason that would require Tampa Bay to send a second-round pick to Cleveland to acquire the fourth-year back before paying him $3.259 million on a one-year deal. This would not only require the Bucs to relinquish significant draft capital for a one-year investment, but would also severely cut into the roughly $4.873 million that Tampa Bay has remaining in salary cap space, per OverTheCap.
To top it all off, Hunt recently served an eight-game suspension following a video that showed him involved in a violent confrontation with a woman at a Cleveland hotel in 2018. Hunt was also recently pulled over for speeding and police found small amounts of marijuana in his car, but he was not charged. Those may be key factors that steer the Bucs’ brass from making a push for the talented back.
Question: When do the Bucs’ OTAs start?
Answer: OTAs, known as organized team activities, were originally scheduled to begin on April 6 for teams with newly-hired head coaches and April 20 for all remaining teams, however COVID-19 put an abrupt halt to many normal offseason programs.
With many local and state governments beginning to implement a multi-phased re-opening process, the NFL is now allowing headquarters to have less than 50 percent capacity, or 75 people in total, to be at the team facilities as long as they adhere to local guidelines. With that said, coaches are not permitted at team facilities and players are only permitted if they are actively participating in rehab procedures or undergoing medical treatment.
In a recent report from Yahoo Sports, sources claimed that “mini-camps including players could be scheduled as early as June 15 or as late as June 27, depending on COVID-19 data and whether a handful of franchises get a ‘go ahead’ signal from state governments to resume full operations.” So the timeline for a return currently appears to be mid-to-late June, barring any significant setbacks.
Question: Do you think the Bucs will run with the RBs they have or will they bring in a veteran backup for some leadership?
Answer: While the Bucs may not have hit a home run during the draft, landing a top-rated runner like Georgia’s D’Andre Swift, Wisconson’s Jonathan Taylor, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins or LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire, I believe Tampa Bay’s staff will head into training camp with comfortability and a lot of competition across the running back position.
I think that the Bucs still have confidence in Ronald Jones II as a lead back and added Vanderbilt’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn to likely compete with Dare Ogunbowale for third down and pass-catching duties, perhaps taking on a larger role if he proves effective. They also added the speedy Raymond Calais out of Louisiana to compete with T.J. Logan as the team’s athletic gadget player on offense and possible return man.
With that said, Bruce Arians will tell you consistently, and with confidence, that the bottom of the team’s roster is in constant flux and they’re always looking for an upgrade. Should Tampa Bay add a veteran in camp to compete for a roster spot or bring along their young stable of running backs, much like Arians and general manager Jason Licht did by bringing in Andre Ellington for a few months last year, it’s very unlikely that the player they bring in will be high-profile or come with a high price tag.