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.
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?
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.