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: If Jets DE Leonard Williams is available would Jason Licht be interesting in dealing for him?

Answer: I think from a talent standpoint, of course the Bucs would be interested. The problem is his $14.2 million salary in 2019 because the former first-round pick is on his fifth-year option. Another problem is the fact he is in the last year of his contract and there is no guarantee he re-signs without doing a long-term deal in advance. So most likely to get Williams away from New York you would be looking at, I am guessing a third-round pick in 2020 at the very least, then you possibly have rented a player for one season, while giving up a premium draft pick.

It is doubtful Williams, who was drafted by Todd Bowles in New York, would agree to a long-term contract with the trade, instead most likely wanting to test the free agent market in 2020. With the Bucs’ current salary cap situation it would take some significant shuffling of money to even clear enough space to sign him, even if you are willing to gamble on renting him for one season. Of course anything is possible, however adding a player due $14.2 million this offseason seems highly unlikely.

Question: It would be hard for me to talk football professionally if I’m Jason Licht. How can you repeat 5-11 seasons and be in salary cap hell? Are the Bucs trending in the wrong direction? How will the O-line become more competitive as a run blocking unit?

Answer: I get what you are saying, and if I am a fan of this team, I would be just as frustrated. For whatever the reasons are, Licht’s personnel plan just hasn’t panned out – so far. And perhaps it won’t if the Bruce Arians experiment fails in Tampa.

Bucs GM Jason Licht
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But the pieces seem to be in place (mainly the new coaching staff and a couple of offseason additions) to turn things around. It seems like it’s now or never. While an 8-8 record would be step in the right direction, I think this team is capable of more given the talent, especially on offense. I suppose we will see how much of the previous two 5-11 seasons were on the coaching staff as opposed to a perceived lack of talent.

Your question about the offensive line will certainly be answered if it is a lack of talent or if it were a poorly coached unit. The Bucs have spent huge money on Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen and now Donovan Smith, and have a sizable investment in Demar Dotson. If this core group struggles again under Harold Goodwin and Joe Gilbert, then it is clear the talent evaluation from the front office was wrong.

Question: When is the deadline to sign rookies? I believe there is a cutoff so they can participate in the mandatory camps? Also, I loved Bobo Wilson at FSU. Do you see him getting significantly more playing time this year?

Answer: There is no hard deadline or cutoff. Remember, before the rookie salary cap was put into place it was common for first-round draft picks to miss the first few days of training camp holding out back in the day. Keep in mind that the Bucs are tight against the salary cap and would likely have to make a roster move or do a restructure to free up some salary cap space to sign first-round pick Devin White.

Participating in the mandatory mini-camp will be up to the unsigned player and the agent, but there are some insurance provisions in place to guard against injury. There is no reason to think the unsigned draft picks, if there are any in the next few weeks, wouldn’t participate in June. The mandatory mini-camp, like the other offseason workouts, are non-contact and there isn’t any more risk for injury. Obviously, training camp is another story, but the days of holdouts are virtually a thing of the past with the rookie scale implemented back during the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Bobo Wilson is someone I will really watch once training camp gets underway. This is essentially a make-or-break year for him. The opportunity is there is for him to make the roster and be a contributor, but it is a crowded field. The team currently has 12 receivers on their roster, and only room for five or six on the final 53. With no clear-cut kick returner as of now, Wilson can increase his odds of making the team if he excels during training camp and the preseason returning punts and kickoffs. But his growth as a receiver will need to continue, as keeping a roster spot for someone who only returns kicks is also a thing of the past on most teams.

Question: With Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson no longer on team, which two receivers fill those voids – likely Breshad Perriman, Justin Watson or Bobo Wilson, or rookies Scotty Miller or DaMarkus Lodge?

Bucs WR Breshad Perriman
Bucs WR Breshad Perriman – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Answer: I don’t think there is any question that Breshad Perriman is the No. 3 guy. He has shined in the offseason and the team has privately told us they are as excited about him as any free agent they signed in the offseason. Perriman may not be as blazing fast as DeSean Jackson, although some might argue, but what he does bring is a bigger receiver that will go and fight for the football at 6-foot-2. The 5-foot-10 Jackson had a limited catch radius, partly due to his size and partly due to his lack of effort to fight for contested balls, but that isn’t the case with Perriman.

At 6-foot-2, Watson is also a big target and has an opportunity to step up and turn some heads. As does Wilson. Once you get past Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Perriman, everyone is on an even playing field coming in with a new staff and a new playbook. For now, my guess is Scotty Miller and Lodge will have a tougher time making the roster, but one could emerge as the final receiver. And if not make the 53-man, one or both of those rookie receivers could be practice squad candidates.

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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]

20 COMMENTS

  1. I think Licht survives if Bucs are 8-8. But seriously, with losing our two best Linebackers and now our best Defensive lineman, and no OL in the pipeline to step in if Smith or Dotson fall or if Cappa is a dud, I think if the Bucs win 6 or 7 games it will be a miracle.

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  2. Well Vegas has them at 6.5 wins and they don’t bet on miracles. So saying 6 or 7 would be a miracle doesn’t make sense but everyone has their opinion. Lol.

    I personally think 8-10 wins depending on injuries etc. they still need more talent on O line, RB, and D line overall. That said this is best coaching staff and roster this team has had in a while to me. They were 5-11 last year and lot games lost by TD or less so 9 or 10 isn’t a crazy win total.

    As always we shall see…..

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  3. Lavonte David is actually our best linebacker, and Beckwith is a blow, but he didnt play last year anyways. Plus Alexander never player a full season, so it will be nothing new with him not being out there. Devin White will be fine

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  4. “Coaches Coach” and “Players Play”
    The big question is do we have players that can play, because we’ve worn out the excuse of Koetter and Mike Smith’s schemes and game plan. Licht has handed out some questionable contracts over the years, Gholston, Jensen, D Smith, Dotson and even Marpet (No Pro Bowls). These are a few of the players on the team who’s contract # don’t reflect their performance on the field. Last season we had the 2nd highest payroll on defense in the entire league with one of the worst defenses in the history of the league trotting out there every Sunday. If Licht was trying to buy a championship he must have went shopping at the flea market to get this level of return on investment. Without a doubt 8 wins is the minimum this season for his retention in my opinion.

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  5. Agree, Licht survives if the Bucs are 8-8. I am not sure that Breshad Perriman is the answer, however. He has a severe case of drop-itis when the regular season starts, and misses plenty he should be catching. In fact, ESPN did an article three years after he arrived in the league as the most inefficient receiver catching the ball. If he works out for Tampa it will be a miracle. Here is the article.

    http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/255591/breshad-perriman-goes-from-first-rounder-to-nfls-most-inefficient-target

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  6. Vegas has them 6- which means if they win more than 6 you win if they lose more than 6 games which is what Vegas says they will do you lose bet,because odds show Vegas this team does not win 6 games. VEGAS ONLY HAS 1 TEAM FINISHING BEHIND BUCS and that is the house Arians built and left retired/Fired AZ.

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  7. Last year’s worst defense will be back this year minus it’s 3 best starters being replaced by a rookie and two backups from other teams. The offense is missing two very good receivers Cgmasterbater and Fredster do not think DeSean and Hump will be missed. Without Desean deep threat Evans will be blanketed with an extra D back and Humphries won’t be there to bail them out on third-and-long when they have to have a catch. All of this because Jason licht future on a Jameis who won 6 games in last 2 years.

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  8. Bucs Stops Here, thank you captain obvious, we all know Perriman history in Baltimore, he has been solid catching balls here so far and if he starts dropping again we have a stable of receivers that can replace him.

    Bob you’re a broken record, the only one that gives a shit what you say is you, and I’m not even sure that’s true.

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  9. Why is Pewter Report and some fans giving Light a pass ? Light has been in charge of a bottom feeding team since he took over . He is in charge of a loser team which has NO money … How can this make any kind of sense??? He has to be joke around the nfl

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  10. I think until the Bucs do anything that shows they are a good team I don’t expect anything. So far they are below average to poor. Why would I think differently. The defense has been garbage and the offense has been average. Winston is not the answer unless he gets his mind right. Until he can play at the level as other NFC South OBs; we will not make the playoffs. I do have some tiny bit of hope in BA. If he cannot get this team to play good football I would scrap the whole bunch except Mike Evans who is the best WO in football.

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  11. Scotty Miller> Bobo Wilson

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  12. “the other offseason workouts, are non-contact and there isn’t any more risk for injury”, yeah, tell that to the Redskins’.

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  13. I can’t wait for this long off-season to end. There isn’t much more to say. Most of us are just repeating what we’ve said before. Truth is nobody knows whether this team will be better or worse. There is such a thing as addition by subtraction. I’ve gotten a kick out of how as soon as he was gone Alexander became some kind of heroic player. When he was here, we would watch him miss tackles every week and rarely make a game-saving play. He violated rules, missed games, and was a very average middle linebacker, enthusiastic but average. Neither he nor Humphrey is worth what they are being paid as Free Agents. That’s a fact and most of us would have been screaming if the Buccaneers has offered them this kind of contract. Hump had a great attitude and played above his talent level, but how many times was he caught from behind short of the goal line and who can forget the one most memorable play of his career in Tampa, the fumble against Buffalo when all we had to do was run out the clock. I try to live my life hopefully. I want to believe this team will be better this year. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is a better, more experienced, more professional coaching staff. Yes, we have some serious weaknesses, but so do Atlanta and Carolina and New Orleans has been extraordinary lucky avoiding injuries the past two years. We split with New Orleans and split with Carolina last year, and we were in position to win both of the games against Atlanta. That’s a fact. Carolina has some serious weaknesses and Atlanta failed to address a defense that was not much better than ours. A number of posters think it’s a pipe-dream to think we can win more than five games, but how far were we really from winning 8 or 9 games last year. We lost to Pittsburgh 27-30 but had the back with 3 minutes left and a chance to go ahead (3 and out); We lost to Cincinnati 34-37; Atlanta 32-34 (last second kick beat us); and the NY Giants 35-38 after coming back from three touchdowns down when Winston came in. These were what I call “attitude” losses. We had a good chance to win late in each game, but I don’t believe we thought we could. The team didn’t believe in itself and that’s a coaching issue. We won our first game on the road–at New Orleans no less–and lost our next seven. That’s attitude. That’s coaching. Were you watching Dirk on the sidelines in the last three or four minutes of those games? Did he believe? Were you watching him everytime it was first goal and he quit pressing, choosing to run and settle for a fieldgoal, which often was missed. He didn’t believe. No risk-its and no biscuits. You won’t see that from Bruce.

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  14. To the people who want to blame the successive failures of Licht’s rosters on coaches (whom he specifically hired in the case of Koetter and Smith) then you’re in for a rude awakening.

    This is the moment when you should be careful what you wish for because Bruce Arians is a two time NFL coach of the year and if there isn’t marked improvement then even the most hardened Licht apologist (Scott) will have to look at what they’ve believed for the past 5 years and consider that maybe, just maybe it’s the Jimmies and the Joe’s not the X’s and O’s.

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  15. One other good reason for anticipating improvement: Nick Rapone. First time we’ve really had a teacher coaching our defensive backs. He is a difference maker.

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  16. @buddah: Nicely said. There’s a fine line between winning and losing in this league. As you wisely noted, many times I thought it was our team’s mental state that proved to be the difference. I find it encouraging that the first thing BA is addressing is confidence and attitude. Maybe eventually we’ll see the swagger that disappeared in 2003.

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  17. The fault belongs to the owners there constants are losing & change to insure more losing & collect their share of T.V. revenue. Our team is owned by Man U.

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  18. Spitfire, all I was saying he is has looked great in OTAs before, and even in the preseason. But in the past he cracks in the real games that count. We can only hope he plays better in Tampa but I would not count on it. That depth you are talking about is going to be needed if he fails again like he has essentially every year in the regular season. The preseason performance may not mean very much with him (probably mental issues).

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  19. “…the pieces seem to be in place (mainly the new coaching staff and a couple of offseason additions) to turn things around.”

    More of same. What ever happened to objectivity, instead of everyone just selling whatever they have to sell? Beyond tiresome. Thank goodness for the comment posters.

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  20. We seem to be putting A LOT of faith in coaching…I’d rather have the best horse (among the best horses) in the race than the best trainer (among the best trainers), but I get your point that the trainer is not irrelevant. At this stage we’re 0-0, so like every year I will be as optimistic out of the gate as I can.

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