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Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds answers your questions from the @PewterReport Twitter account each week in the Bucs Monday Mailbag Submit your question to the Bucs Monday Mailbag each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Here are the questions we chose to answer for this week’s edition.
QUESTION: I see rumors that the Bucs and Texans have all the trade details put into place. Just waiting for Deshaun Watson’s off-field issues to be resolved. What is your opinion on that? Is there a deadline until when the Bucs would trade for a QB?
ANSWER: This is a great question because of the timing involved that you suggested. When Deshaun Watson’s case is resolved – and let’s assume it’s concluded without any criminal charges – I expect there will be multiple teams lining up to deal for him. (You can read the details of the allegations against Watson here.) Tampa Bay may have a trade package it thinks is reasonable for Watson, but we don’t know if it has been submitted for Houston to review. And we don’t even know if the Bucs have investigated Watson’s situation enough to where they are are actually interested in trading for him.
Texans QB Deshaun Watson – Photo by: USA Today
The problem the Bucs could face is that they have the 27th overall pick in 2022 NFL Draft. Other QB-needy teams like Carolina (sixth), Denver (nine), Washington (11th), Philadelphia (15th, 16th and 19th), New Orleans (18th) and Pittsburgh (20th) all pick higher than the Bucs in the first round and could put together better trade packages based on better draft picks. And the thinking would be that if Watson joins the Bucs they could very well be selecting 27th – or later – again next year.
The timing is interesting on two fronts. If the Bucs are aggressive enough and agree to a favorable trade package first, that might allow Tampa Bay to beat other teams to the punch. The problem is that no trades can be executed until March 16 at 4:00 p.m. There is a slim chance that Watson’s legal matters will be resolved by then. If the Bucs and Texans agree on trade details this week and no criminal charges are filed against Watson, there is a strong chance another team could swoop in prior to March 16 with a better offer.
The other interesting timing element is that if the criminal investigation against Watson lingers into April, the Bucs – and other teams – need a quarterback. Does Tampa Bay risk losing other possible QB options waiting for Watson’s case to be resolved? There are a lot of complicated layers to a possible Watson trade that the Bucs have to consider.
QUESTION: What package of players/picks are the Bucs willing to give up for Deshaun Watson?
ANSWER: No one knows for sure what type of deal Bucs general manager Jason Licht would put together to trade for Deshaun Watson. We won’t know until a trade is made or details of a trade offer leak out of Tampa Bay or Houston. The price the Texans are wanting – and the price the Dolphins nearly paid last November at the trade deadline – was three first-round picks and two second-round picks. The trade nearly happened, but didn’t because Watson wouldn’t settle with the 22 women that have filed civil lawsuits.
I’m not sure what the Bucs would be willing to give up in terms of a compensation package for Watson. And, more importantly, if it would be enough to secure the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback. Other teams with better draft picks could put together more attractive trade packages.
Because Watson will be 27 this year and has multiple years left on his contract, it would make sense for the Bucs to include Kyle Trask, last year’s second-round pick, in any deal as part of the compensation. Trask would never see the field with Watson in Tampa Bay and he would essentially become a wasted draft pick.
QUESTION: Do you believe these reports about Bruce Arians and Tom Brady? I would like to believe that grown adults could figure this out without such a drastic decision such as retirement.
ANSWER: It’s totally possible for any two people to not always see eye-to-eye and still have a great working relationship. Bruce Arians and Tom Brady are no different. I have yet to meet any two people that work together whose ideas are always in lockstep with each other and never have a disagreement. I’m sure even Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich had some disagreements over play selections, either while game-planning during the week or on Sundays when Brady audibled out of a play. Yet they still worked together incredibly well.
Bucs QB Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Do I believe some of the reports about a supposed rift between Brady and Arians? I’d certainly have to see more evidence to come to that conclusion. What I will say is that there are several national reporters like SI’s Albert Breer, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and SiriusXM NFL Radio host Solomon Wilcots speculate that Brady wasn’t quite happy in his second year in Tampa Bay. I reported that in a recent SR’s Fab 5 column.
Since then, Rich Ohrnberger, a former NFL offensive lineman who played with Brady for three years in New England, has taken it to another level. Ohrnberger tweeted out that Arians meddled in the game plans, which the Bucs head coach strongly refuted on Saturday.
The bottom line is that Brady made the decision to spend more time with his family and outside business interests. He chose that over football at age 44. That is what prompted his retirement from football. Although it is fair to note that Brady left the door open to returning. He used the phrase “never say never,” and didn’t use the terms “retirement” or “retiring” in his social media farewell.
It’s also fair to wonder if Brady couldn’t find enough reasons to want to return to Tampa Bay for a third season. Were there any specific things the Bucs did that he didn’t like, or things Tampa Bay could have done better? If there were I suspect we’ll hear about them over time. Perhaps in the final installment of Brady’s documentary series Man In The Arena on ESPN+ in April.
We’ve also heard a rebuttal from Arians over the reports of a rift. I’d like to hear a denial from Brady, too.
QUESTION: Why is Bruce Arians still the coach? He clearly chased off Tom Brady while he slept in his golf cart. Spare us the “he won a Super Bowl” nonsense. My guess is he’ll be gone after this year.
ANSWER: First of all, Bruce Arians won a Super Bowl. Sorry, it’s not nonsense. It’s a fact.
Arians is one of two Bucs head coaches to win a Super Bowl. Jon Gruden was the first to do so in 2002. With a 31-18 record in three seasons in Tampa Bay, Arians has the best winning percentage (.633) of any Bucs head coach. That’s a far better winning percentage than Tony Dungy (.563) and Gruden (.509) produced in Tampa Bay.
Arians’ 5-1 record (.833) in the postseason is by far the best in team history. Gruden went 3-2 in the postseason in Tampa Bay, while Dungy’s playoff record was 2-4. Over the last two years, Arians has won more postseason games than Gruden and Dungy combined. Arians is a damn good coach who has helped Tampa Bay post the best back-to-back seasons in franchise history with the Bucs going 11-5 in 2020 and 13-4 this past season.
There is also no concrete evidence that he chased off Tom Brady at all. Arians turns 70 this year, so he may decide to retire after this season due to his age. You may not like Arians, but he’ll get to go out on his terms because he and general manager Jason Licht quickly turned the Bucs into winners during his tenure in Tampa Bay. If you don’t like Arians, just skip the game where he’ll be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor.
One of Arians’ strengths is his eye for attracting and developing talented assistant coaches and coordinators. Arians’ eventual successor is likely on the current staff, and that should ensure some positive continuity going forward.
QUESTION: Do you think the Bucs are making a mistake letting Chris Godwin test the open market? There are a few receiver-needy teams with plenty of cap space out there. It’s making me nervous.
ANSWER: I’m not sure Chris Godwin will actually hit the free agent market. No, I don’t think the Bucs will use the franchise tag on Godwin again. Cornerback Carlton Davis III likely gets tagged this year. But these long-term contract extensions typically go down to the wire.
Bucs WR Chris Godwin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
A lot of the time the contract negotiations heat up during the face-to-face meetings between general manager Jason Licht and vice president of business administration Mike Greenberg and the agents for Tampa Bay’s free agents in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine. The Bucs re-signed Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin in the eleventh hour back in 2016.
Last year contract talks between the Bucs and pass rusher Shaquil Barrett, who was Tampa Bay’s franchise player, went right up to free agency before Barrett was re-signed. Like Godwin, Barrett talked about testing free agency too, but it didn’t happen. Why? Because he wanted to stay in Tampa Bay.
We’ve heard Godwin wants to stay with the Bucs, too. When both sides want to get a deal done it typically happens. I would be shocked if Godwin signs elsewhere this year. He’s too valuable in Bruce Arians’ offense for the Bucs to let him walk away.