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The Pewter Report Bucs Monday Mailbag is where Mark Cook answers your questions from our @PewterReport Twitter account. You can submit your question to the Mailbag each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Here are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the Pewter Report’s Bucs Monday Mailbag.
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Question: I just ordered a pewter Bucs jersey. I really want a creamsicle one. Have you heard anything about the NFL abolishing the one helmet rule? And what is your favorite Bucs moment while wearing the creamsicle jersey?
Answer: There has been nothing official at this point regarding any changes regarding the one helmet rule. Nor has there been anything official from the team on trying to do a throwback game this year. We do know it is something the organization would like to return to, as the Glazer family does have an appreciation for the past Buccaneers’ teams and what they meant to the organization overall. The Bucs had throwback games in the orange and white in every season from 2009-12.
Fans have been clamoring for a return to a throwback game, but it isn’t just the fans who would love to see a return appearance from Bucco Bruce. The current Bruce – Bruce Arians – was a guest on the Dan Patrick Show a year ago and hinted we could see a return of the winking pirate.
“Once the helmet rule changes next year (2021), we might have some Creamsicles and some throwbacks, which I think, are the best uniforms in the league,” Arians said.
The problem with that statement is, as far as we can determine, the rule has yet to be changed.
Last March, Mike Florio of PFT.com spoke to the league regarding Arians’ comments, and NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy responded via email, “There will be no change for the 2020 season. There are ongoing discussions for a potential change for the 2021 season, but no decisions have been made.”
Besides the nostalgia for the creamsicles, another benefit for the Buccaneers and the NFL that could persuade a rule change is revenue. The Buccaneers already sell a few select items in creamsicle in their team store, but with an official game featuring the orange and white, it would spur a boom in jersey and merchandise sales. And not just for the Buccaneers. A number of teams have been affected by the helmet rule including the Eagles, Bills, Patriots and a few other teams as well.
As far as my favorite memory of the Bucs playing in the creamsicles it is hard to pick just one, but it’s difficult to not include the team’s first playoff appearance and victory in 1979 over the Eagles, 24-17, at Tampa Stadium. My next favorite memory would have to be my very first Bucs game I attended in 1981 with my Dad to celebrate my 11th birthday that year. Here is an article I wrote about my growing up as a fan and my first in-person game.
We will contact the league office this week and see if a possible rule change is even on the table.
Question: With Joe Heag signing with Pittsburg and Josh Wells likely not getting re-signed, who do you see the Bucs targeting in free agency/draft to add depth for the O-line?
Answer: In terms of specific players that could be targeting in the draft, we don’t have anything we can report. But we do expect the team to draft at least one offensive linemen, and possibly more, next month. With no glaring weaknesses on the roster, and for the first time that I can remember that the team won’t be counting on their first couple of players to be impact rookie starters, this year would be as good as any to invest in linemen for developmental purposes.
The Bucs would like to lock Donovan Smith into a new deal sooner rather than later, and with Tristan Wirfs firmly entrenched as one of the best right tackles in the NFL already, the Bucs appear set on the outside. And don’t rule out the Bucs re-signing Josh Wells, either. Ali Marpet is entrenched at left guard, but both Alex Cappa and Aaron Stinnie are in contract years and Tampa Bay may want a cheaper alternative at right guard in 2022, so drafting one this year makes sense.
Center Ryan Jensen had his best season as a Buccaneer in 2021 and still has another year on his contract. While he could get an extension, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start looking to the future and finding a player who may develop into his eventually successor, as Jensen is 30. The team must also look for some depth at center and A.Q. Shipley had to retire due to an injury. Veteran Earl Watford doesn’t appear to be in the mix in 2021, either.
Question: If the Bucs really want to have Leonard Fournette back … do they consider moving on from Ronald Jones II so he becomes that bell cow or main guy he wanted to be over the season?
Answer: No, they aren’t going to dump Ronald Jones II in order to keep Leonard Fournette, and I don’t think that would be the right carrot to dangle in front of Fournette anyway to get him to re-sign. Right now there are a number of players on the free agent market who have priced themselves a little higher than teams do, and that could be the case with Fournette.
And here is probably a fairly unpopular opinion with a lot of Bucs fans – I still think Jones is a better overall running back despite Fournette’s solid play down the stretch through the playoffs and Super Bowl. But paying either one of them crazy money doesn’t make a ton of sense with a deep running back class in this year’s draft and also still a number of running backs available in free agency.
Jones will be entering a contract year in 2021 and that could mean that the Bucs will be drafting his successor this year as it’s not wise to pay running backs big-money contracts. Just look around the league at some of the deals Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley and Doug Martin have received over the last couple of years. The production hasn’t come close to the pay day in those instances. It’s smart business to draft running backs – not pay them – in the modern day NFL.
Question: What’s the latest news on Antonio Brown?
Answer: It has been relatively quiet on the Antonio Brown front, but a video on Instagram surfaced this weekend of he and Leonard Fournette working out together, and in a question from a fan who asked about his future Brown replied, “Me and playoff Lenny gonna work this out.” I am not sure if that is any indication of any close return to the Buccaneers for either or both however.
There have also been some reports Brown is being courted elsewhere – possibly Seattle – but so far Brown remains un-signed. While Tom Brady likely wants Brown to return, Brown’s track record is still something the Buccaneers and the other 31 NFL teams must mull over before determining the risk-reward. The Buccaneers are in no rush to sign Brown and were smart to allow him to test the free agent waters as teams aren’t li