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 Tua Tagovailoa falls to No. 14 and all four top tackles are gone – are you taking him to be Tom Brady’s heir apparent?
Answer: I wouldn’t be able to get the pick called in fast enough. I have been somewhat against Tampa Bay taking a quarterback any earlier than Day 3 – if at all – as the Bucs are in a win-now mode and any quarterback whose name isn’t Tom Brady isn’t helping Tampa Bay get to a Super Bowl in the next two years. Why look three years down the road?
But Tagovailoa isn’t Jacob Eason, or Jake Fromm or even Jalen Hurts. He is a special quarterback who can be a superstar in this league. In nine games prior to his hip injury in 2019, he completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 2,840 yards and 33 touchdowns with only three picks. And the season before he put up 3,966 passing yards and 43 touchdowns with six interceptions.
Yes, I know he is coming off a serious hip injury, but that would work in the Bucs favor as he wouldn’t be thrown into the fire in 2020 and would be able to fully heal and strengthen his body all this while sitting behind and learning from the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
With that said, I don’t see Tagovailoa falling to No. 14, but if he did, he would be worth whatever gamble that might be involved by taking him. If the Bucs hit, then they have won a big jackpot and likely secured your franchise’s need for a quarterback for the next 10 years after Brady departs with someone who has the potential to be a superstar.
Question: Is Shaq Barrett content with playing on the franchise tag or are they trying to work out a long term deal before the season? Haven’t heard much about this or maybe I missed it.
Answer: Ideally Shaquil Barrett and his agent Drew Rosenhaus would love to work out a long-term deal but he will be making four times the money he made last season as the franchise tag is worth $15.828 million. I am pretty sure he already feels like he has won the lottery. In fact, the money Barrett is making in 2020 alone is more than he’s made in his entire NFL career.
But like all players, long-term security financially is important and Barrett has mentioned that in previous interviews this offseason. But if you’ve seen his interviews, Barrett appears fine with playing on the tag this year if it comes to that, but his team and the Bucs are trying to work out a long-term deal done – perhaps before the season starts.
The Buccaneers may prefer to have him play 2020 on the tag however, as they could want to see if he can duplicate last year and prove he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder. And when I say duplicate, I don’t necessarily mean registering 19.5 sacks again. That will be nearly impossible to do two years in a row.
But the Bucs would be pleased to see him in the 12-15 sack range in 2020. And if he does that, they would gladly lock him up with a multi-year deal if they don’t accomplish that goal prior to the start of the season.
Question: Who (should) is going to be at the play-calling now that the Bucs have Tom Brady?
Answer: Nothing changes in terms of who is calling the plays. Bryon Leftwich will still be handling things in that capacity, and when all was said and done last year, he ended up being pretty good at his job. There were bumps along the road, but no play-caller is perfect. Yet is hard to argue with someone who called the plays for an offense that was third in the league in total offense, first in the league in passing yards, and fifth in scoring. Not bad for a guy who was essentially a rookie at his job last year.
I believe Tom Brady will have more input on the game plan and probably more freedom on the field to change things up and make adjustments than Jameis Winston had. I suspect the trust level will be different and why shouldn’t it be when the Bucs will have someone under center who has played 20 years and won six Super Bowls? But on the headset it will be Leftwich with a healthy dose of Bruce Arians adding his two cents from time to time.
Question: If you could self isolate with three Bucs players, past or present who would you chose and why?
Answer: The first choice would be The Godfather of Bucs football – the late Lee Roy Selmon. As a fan of Bucs history and someone who got to see Selmon play in person, I would love to sit back and listen to his stories of the old days. From the 0-26 start, to the NFC Championship game loss to the Rams in 1979, to his tales of John McKay and what life was like in the NFL in the 70’s and early 80’s. It was a different era with a different breed of players, and hearing the inside stories of those times from Tampa Bay’s first Hall of Famer would be a dream come true.
My second choice would be my all-time favorite Bucs player, Warren Sapp. If you have ever had the pleasure of listening to Sapp uninhibited and just going off on any topic, you are mesmerized. The guy is a natural story teller, keeps you on the edge of your seat and you have no idea what is coming next. When people use the term keeping it real, Sapp is the poster child for keeping it real. Scott Reynolds and I spent an hour in a British pub with Sapp in England last October and it was unreal. We also caught up with him in Hyde Park in London on a Friday afternoon and listened to Sapp for another 30 minutes of him just being Sapp. Classic stuff.
If you need a taste of what I mean, just take a listen to our Pewter Nation Podcast we did with him last year during training camp where he took former Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to task.
And my third quarantine mate would be former tight end Alan Cross. And for the record – no, he is not my son, as Robert Ayers and other players used to say despite our similar appearance. But there hasn’t been a more down-to-earth unassuming NFL player that has walked the halls of the AdventHealth Training Center than Cross.
Cross is a salt-of-the-earth country boy from Memphis with an “aw shucks” attitude and a brilliant sense of humor. He might have played the part as the team’s resident country bumpkin, but Cross was one a smart dude who worked his tail off and one of the best stories to come out of Tampa Bay in a long time.
You can check out Cross’ humor – and our physical resemblance – in this previous episode of PewterReport.com’s What’s Cooking? While he wasn’t the most popular and well-known Buccaneer with the fans, he was extremely well-liked in the locker room and one of the funniest guys on the team.