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.

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

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?

Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons
Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons – Photo by: Getty Images

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.

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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]

18 COMMENTS

  1. RE McCoy, if he’s released, his next team isn’t going to pay him anywhere near $13mil a year. $7-8 per year would be my guess. Why wouldn’t he just re-structure for that amount (whatever that amount should be) with the Bucs?

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    • Scoot mentioned this. McCoy wants to go to a team that is a playoff contender and is close to a Super Bowl. Gmac only has a couple years left on his Football career and knows the Bucs aren’t even close to being competitive!

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  2. To say the Bucs aren’t close to being competitive is fair and you have no idea if they will or won’t right out of the gate. That being said yes I agree there are many teams that are closer and more likely to be in the hunt. Although to say Bucs aren’t close to being competitive isn’t fair IMO. You always have a shot with an offense they have now. Add in better covers etc. will see I guess. On paper it looks like they have lots holes still but that doesn’t always mean much. Same thing applies to teams that look stellar on paper sometimes and end up sucking.

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    • Depends on what you mean by competitive – almost all the so-called experts have them at best 6-7 wins which won’t sniff the playoffs – even an 8-8, or 9-7 which is unrealistic probably won’t make it or would most likely mean a wild-card game exit. The manner in which Tampa ejects their older players (although to be fair, New England is tops in that department – however they have advantage of multiple rings). Also the way Tampa feels the need to trash/ignore players at the end of their careers i.e., Sapp, Lynch, Brooks, etc. just to name a few instead of just stating openly we feel it is time to move on and this is a business. Back to McCoy, the coach publicly says he isn’t near the player he was 4 years ago, brings up salary vs. age issue (but not so with Dotson or JPP); Licht basically confirming he was told by Bucco Bruce to stay away from OTAs (understand can’t take a chance on a freak injury, just admit it); and a whole career without a playoff game and more fan blame than anyone other than Winston for not being a savior or gasp helping someone up. Gerald signed for big bucks before the rookie salary cap and got the coveted second contract with large bonus. I don’t even see why he would think about coming back – unless of course for that SB opportunity – the ultimate irony would see him cut, sign with a stud team for vet minimum and see the fan and media uproar about lack of loyalty!

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  3. Most teams are in a hurry up offense and I don’t see how we can make most of these defensive player changes with a scheme change? Please fans, make the thumbs up or down as Yes or No. I’m trying to educate myself here.
    Go Bucs!

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  4. Re: question 2. I also wondered who would be in the game during nickel if we selected White. I would love getting White, but I really believe we need another OLB a lot more to play opposite S Barrett. I don’t think JPP would be a very good OLB A and CLE proved that Nassib can’t do it either. I’m hoping for a crazy first 4 picks so we can get an OLB with pick #5

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  5. Being that the bidding for McCoy won’t get anywhere near the $13M he’s scheduled to make if he’s released and becomes a FA, hard to see a team willing to trade and take that contract on when they could simply wait for his release and just outbid everyone. Even if they had to pay $9-10M (which is doubtful), they’d still save significant cap $$. If a team does trade for him, chances are it’s a team that believes they wouldn’t be his preferred destination if he was a FA and could choose his new home. Guess we’ll see in a few short days.

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  6. Don’t care where McCoy goes, even if its a team with an easy path to the playoffs, like New England.

    He was simply never good enough to lead the Bucs defense to victory and make others around him better. Turns out, he was just a guy. He’s been the most expensive part of a losing culture and indifferent mindset.

    Vinny Curry was slated to make $7m in Tampa, but after he was cut he signed with Philly for $2m. I expect McCoy’s market value to be similar and about 30% of what the Bucs are paying him(about $4m).

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  7. I was wondering the same thing about drafting a player like Devin White or Devin Bush in the first round. When will they be on the field?

    In base, I thought Mike and Mo were Barrett and David while OLB were JPP and Nassib.
    In nickle, I thought there were 4 down linemen and two linebackers, one of which is “moneybacker” Bucannon.

    This team needs defensive lineman and outside linebackers early and often. Jason Licht and his scouts have been good at identifying and drafting linebackers later in the draft.

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  8. Been, you think JPP is in the same conversation with McCoy and Salary vs Age? Salary vs Age isn’t the issue. It’s Salary vs production. For some Age affects that but JPP was worth every penny last year and didn’t show signs of slowing down. So they are not in the same conversation… Yet…

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  9. I agree with 1bucfanjeff with McCoy getting about 7-8 million contact. 4 million is too low ball. He still has a name reputation+ he had a pretty good last year. I think resigning him at lower amount is a silly gamble. Look at Brent Crimes aka toast. Pride is invisible factor.

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  10. They down graded at both safeties, Big down grade at LB with Kwon gone,Big down grade with RECEIVERS
    jackson, and Hump. Down grade at QB , downgraded punter, about to lose there best player in McCoy,
    Clown OC leftwich ran worst O in league last year at Az downgrade, downgraded at DC with Bowles who was ran out of NY with one of the worst Defence in league. Over the hill HC No running back …………. And QB with average rating 90
    Not one single free agent signed to upgrade team.
    Not to mention this team was last place even with 2 extra Magic wins by Fitz who is now gone .
    Yes I think MCcoy knows this team is in the hunt for last place.

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  11. Wow, BOB, I’m midly impressed. I may not entirely agree with your assessment, but you had a poignant thought and had valid arguments to back your narrative. Keep it comin’…. Well, that is if you can stay away from the incessant, hate-filled ramble. I’m certain we can all agree in that.

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  12. great question, i think Bowles makes it clear that he is bringing an aggressive defense philosophy to force the offense to react to the defense and NOT acting like Smith who was a read and react defense, which believes in bending but not breaking! The current Bucs D doesn’t Bend it Breaks! Soooo, hence we are looking for more athletic, quicker hybrid DE/LB/S types, for a 3-4 type of D, like Josh Allen- freak outside LB skills, D White with ridiculous speed and physicality, M Sweat a DE with outrageous speed for his size, even Oliver with stunning quickness for D lineman. Bottom line CANT make current bad talent, great talent! YOU ARE RIGHT, scheme only changes philosophy of D, ie. are you attacking or reacting?! At least an ATTACKING style of defense will let us dictate something to current NFL offense’s! We aint stopping anybody in current style of D. New style does give Bucs fans a little hope?! My prediction for top 5 desirable players for Bucs at #5 is: 1. J Allen, 2. Q Williams, 3. Ed Oliver, 4. M Sweat, 5.a. D. White. or 5.b. N Bosa, if drops but not likely? 2nd round Bucs will draft Safety, ie. Savage, Thornhill, Adderley, or Abram.

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  13. There are reportedly teams considering giving up a 1st round draft pick for SEA DT Frank Clark, who is franchised at $17 million this year. There are many teams interested.

    It’s been made crystal clear the Bucs are open to trading McCoy. Why isn’t McCoy getting any trade interest?

    There have been no rumors about compensation offered or sought in a trade. Some team could give up a 5th round pick and have him tomorrow, couldn’t they? He has 6 probowls. He’s only 31. His contract is only $13 million. He helped JPP become a better player last year. He is really humble and a good person. He’s had no trouble with the law in his entire career and no failed drug tests.

    So I will ask again, why isn’t McCoy getting any trade interest?

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  14. We can always count on Bob to be that unidentified speck swimming in our bowl of Life cereal. He’s that little brother Mikey who hates everything. In case Bob hadn’t noticed, our Defense was at the bottom five of the league in virtually every category. Only way to go is up from that point. Scheme, then injuries and a makeshift lineup in the back-end are what caused the Defense to end up bottom feeders. I suspect a slight rise toward mediocrity might be enough to support an Offense that still has a lot of talented receivers. Running game might actually improve if the team actually ran the ball once in a while. If the well respected Bruce Arians thinks Byron can be a quality OC, then who are we to doubt him based solely on the quarterbackless Cardinals’ showing? Throw in a reliable PK and viola, better record.

    While we are hoping the “future is so bright I have to wear shades” good ol’ Bob says, “the future is so bleak I have to wear blinders”. I don’t think anyone has ever posted on this site more miserable than Bob. He should go to Disney, which is called, “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Nah, Bob would say it’s too hot, too expensive, too many people talking funny, rides make him feel like puking and that, It’s a Small World song stays in your head for days. That’s why Scubog doesn’t go there.

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  15. Hey Pewter Report people! Your poll for who the Bucs should take at 5 isn’t working. It won’t let me choose Q. Williams and I am guessing no one else can either as he is the best player and he is at 0%..

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  16. I dunno man, I really like McCoy and wish we could keep him, but I have to assume if they haven’t restructured his deal by now it’s not going to happen. No more magic in Tampa for GMac. Just have to find the right team to pick him up. Either way you’re gaining $13M. Would just be nice to get $13M and a draft pick.

    I think Devon White would be an amazing addition to our team. It would seem that in a 3-4 defense, LB is the most prominent position, and he could be a perennial pro bowler. Most mock drafts have only the Broncos, Packers and Bengals interested in a LB early, so if we wanted to trade down to gain draft capital, and still manage to draft D White, we would need to keep it under pick 10 or risk losing him.

    I’ve said before I feel we should pass on drafting a RB this year. Improve the OL and the run game will follow. There is no Saquon Barkley this year. Let it go.

    And please please please do not draft players that cannot play because they are injured. Players don’t always come back 100% from a torn ACL. Let someone with a winning record risk the biscuit. We need production now.

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