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: Most likely the Bucs have already attempted to restructure Gerald McCoy’s contract. Considering his age, production and huge contract why would anyone make a trade for him knowing the Bucs almost have to cut him? Do you see him playing next year and for who?
Answer: I would tend to agree that the Bucs have attempted to restructure, and obviously without success. No one with the Buccaneers has come out and confirmed that, but we have asked. We’ve been told that all talks with McCoy’s representatives are strictly confidential, which is why there have been no leaks. But at least attempting to restructure McCoy’s deal would make sense. As we have seen there, just aren’t teams lining up to give a premium draft pick for a 31-year player with a $13 million cap hit.
As far as why a team would potentially make the trade, the draft could be the key in moving McCoy. This draft is deep at the tackle position, but it isn’t endless. If a team doesn’t get the player it wants, and they are in the fourth or fifth rounds and the three-technique spot is a weakness on your team, maybe a team that is ahead of the Bucs in the draft is willing to swap fifth rounders and only lose a handful of spots to land McCoy.
Your point of teams knowing he will be cut is valid, but if a team covets McCoy, and has to compete with 30 other teams to sign him as a free agent it could make that team seek out a trade. Yes, the $13 million would be a tough pill to swallow, but if a team feels it is really close to reaching the pinnacle, and McCoy could help push it towards that goal, then a team might be willing to do it.
McCoy will play somewhere next season. Whether it be via an unlikely trade, or he is released and signed as an unrestricted free agent – or stays in Tampa Bay for his 10th season – the six-time Pro Bowler wants to play. But just as importantly he wants to play with a winning team with a legitimate chance to make the playoffs and a play in a Super Bowl. And I think at this point money would not be a problem and he would trade his high salary for that chance. I have no inside knowledge, but logically looking at it, the Patriots, Saints and Rams could be three landing spots for McCoy.
Question: If Tampa Bay is in nickel defense 70 percent of the time, and if the Bucs go with LSU’s Devin White, what is the projected LB alignment in nickel defense? Neither David nor White would come off the field, right?
Answer: I think you are correct. If Tampa Bay were to select LSU inside linebacker Devin White, you might see him come off some in nickel initially during his rookie and a player like Deone Bucannon slip into the linebacker spot, as he is more experienced in this scheme. But of course, a lot depends on how fast White could pick things up.
When we were in Arizona for the NFL Owners Meeting and we spoke to general manager Jason Licht, he mentioned the Bucs playing some dime defense as well, and that would feature just one linebacker, which would be David due to his experience and range. However, that role could also be played by Bucannon as the single linebacker in dime due to his experience in coverage as a former safety. Ultimately, if the Bucs take White then they think he is a three-down linebacker just like Kwon Alexander was. There is no way a team takes a linebacker at No. 5 thinking he isn’t going to stay on the field for the majority of snaps.
Question: How likely are the Bucs to take a running back early in the draft? I wonder if Alabama’s Josh Jacobs is there at end of Round 1 if they would trade up to land him.
Answer: I don’t know if the Bucs draft a running back this year. Right or wrong, the Bucs seem to really like their stable of running backs. The affection for Peyton Barber isn’t just talk. This offensive staff loved Barber’s tape over the last couple years and think he is a great fit for what they want to do offensively.
Tampa Bay still has high hopes for last year’s second-round pick, Ronald Jones II, as well, despite an awful rookie season. It would really shock me to see them take a running back before the fourth or fifth round.
If the Bucs did draft a running back, he would also need to be a potential kick return player as well. Arians has stated how he wants to upgrade the special teams unit to be more aggressive and not play it so safe, and that position is completely wide open. As Scott Reynolds has pointed out numerous times, someone like Memphis’ Tony Pollard might make sense, as he was extremely success in college as a returner with an NCAA record seven touchdowns in his career, and just a general overall play-maker.
Question: If Jason Licht selects Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons (ACL tear) with our second-rounder, could that hurt Licht’s chances of staying on as GM? It would be a great pick in my opinion if he’s even still available, but what I guess I mean is, does Licht need a second-rounder to immediately produce in order to save his job?
Answer: If you listened to this week’s Pewter Nation Podcast, we discussed that scenario in depth, and we all agreed it would be very difficult for Jason Licht to select a player like Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, who tore his ACL while working out in February, in the second round that most likely won’t see the field in all of 2019. The only scenario is if the Bucs trade down in the first round and get an extra second-rounder, and use that on Simmons while still getting another impact guy in the second round.
But honestly, I don’t see Simmons even being there in the second round. He is a Top 10 talent – maybe Top 5 without the injury – and there most likely will be a team late in the first round who will gamble, while also having the luxury of not having to have him play this season, and will select him before the Bucs have a chance. His buzz is growing and rumors are the Eagles and Colts could select him late in the first round.