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Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds answers your questions from the @PewterReport Twitter account each week in the Bucs Monday Mailbag  Submit your question to the Bucs Monday Mailbag each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Here are the questions we chose to answer for this week’s edition.

QUESTION: So now that Tom Brady is back, I assume Rob Gronkowski will be back as well. Who is the third wide receiver for Brady. Has to be a veteran like JuJu Smith-Schuster, right?

ANSWER: The Bucs do hope that Rob Gronkowski comes back for another season now that Tom Brady has decided to play for a 23rd year. You can bet that Brady has already put a phone call in to his favorite tight end to gauge his interest in playing a 12th season. With only two tight ends under contract – Cameron Brate and Codey McElroy – Tampa Bay could use another one. Especially one as talented as Gronk. Gronkowski, who will turn 33 in May, caught 55 passes for 802 yards (14.6 avg.) and six touchdowns in 2021. Chances are that Gronkowski would have had a 1,000-yard season had he not missed five games due to injury. Gronkowski had four 1,000-yard seasons earlier in his career at New England.

Bucs CB Brent Grimes - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Bucs CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

He posted 45 receptions for 623 yards (13.8 avg.) and seven touchdowns in his first season in Tampa Bay after coming out of retirement in 2020. Then Gronkowski caught the Bucs’ first two touchdowns in Super Bowl LV. So last year was an improvement statistically, despite missing five games in 2021. Gronkowski didn’t miss any games in 2020 after sitting out the 2019 campaign during a retirement that lasted one year.

As for a potential veteran No. 3 receiver, Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster is an option to replace Antonio Brown. He signed a one-year deal worth $8 million last year with the Steelers, but an early season-ending shoulder injury caused him to miss most of last year. Smith-Schuster could sign another one-year deal worth between $6-8 million.

Another cheaper option could be Kansas City’s Byron Pringle. He’s a Tampa native, who could sign a two-year deal worth between $3-5 million per season with the Bucs or another team. The Bucs will almost certainly select a wide receiver early in the 2022 NFL Draft. Ohio State’s Chris Olave and North Dakota State’s Christian Watson are names to keep in mind.

QUESTION: Do you see Tom Brady signing a extension so the Bucs could push some of the money into the future and sign more guys that are free agents ?

ANSWER: That is something the team is considering, but hasn’t pulled the trigger on yet. Tampa Bay will see how much salary cap room they can clear with other restructures and asking tight end Cam Brate for a pay cut first before kicking the can down the road again with Brady. That’s a short answer, but that’s all we’ve got right now. It is a possibility.

QUESTION: Do the Bucs keep Kyle Trask as QB2?

ANSWER: With Tom Brady’s return to Tampa Bay, the Bucs now have two quarterbacks under contract for 2022. Kyle Trask, who is entering his second season with the team, is the other one. Trask spent his rookie season as the Bucs’ fourth-string quarterback behind Brady, Blaine Gabbert and veteran Ryan Griffin, who was on the practice squad.

There is a chance Griffin doesn’t come back, but the Bucs are hopeful that Gabbert re-signs for veteran depth. With four years in Bruce Arians’ offense, Gabbert knows the system better than any quarterback. Trask will be back, but not necessarily as QB2.

Trask will have to earn the backup quarterback job by beating out Gabbert. That’s not a given despite his second-round draft status and talent. Gabbert is clearly more experienced. But if Trask was worth a second-day draft pick, he should be able to really challenge Gabbert for the role to backup Brady in training camp.

QUESTION: After Chris Godwin, who are the top three free agent re-signings that Bucs management is focusing on?

ANSWER: There is a chance that the Bucs can come to terms with a player or two early on that is not necessarily a top priority. But it would be another player that comes to the table quickly with perhaps an easy, one-year deal like Aaron Stinnie did. Maybe it’s linebacker Kevin Minter, defensive end Will Gholston or backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Bucs WR Chris Godwin

Bucs WR Chris Godwin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

As far as Tampa Bay’s top priorities after Chris Godwin, the team already re-signed center Ryan Jensen after Tom Brady’s return. That was a big one given the fact that Pro Bowl left guard Ali Marpet suddenly retired this offseason. After Jensen, it’s likely cornerback Carlton Davis III, followed by safety Jordan Whitehead. That’s my best guess.

Keeping those two may be a real challenge for the Bucs. Davis likely gets $15 million per year or more. I’m not sure what the Bucs’ value is for him, but it may not be much more. It certainly wasn’t $17 million per year, because that was roughly the amount of the franchise tag for the cornerback position. And the Bucs never considered using it on Davis – even if they didn’t have to use it on Godwin.

Keep in mind that the Bucs have a value set for each player and if a player’s market value exceeds that – even if it’s Davis or Whitehead – the team will move on rather than overpay. It’s never a good idea to overpay for a player – even if it creates another hole in the starting lineup. Expect the Bucs to lose Alex Cappa as a result. He’ll fetch $10 million or more in free agency – likely from a team like Cincinnati.

QUESTION: Any word on re-signing Will Gholston?

ANSWER: The Bucs are definitely interested in re-signing Will Gholston. He’s a perfect five-technique defensive end for Todd Bowles defense. Gholston has been a great Buccaneer since joining the team in 2013. He’s a homegrown player that has done a lot of the dirty work on defense in helping Tampa Bay win Super Bowl LV.

At age 30, Gholston had his best season as a pass rusher with 4.5 sacks. He’s definitely worth bringing back, and I know he wants to stay in Tampa Bay. He’s finally found his fit in Todd Bowles’ defense after playing in different schemes under Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter.

Gholston is one of my favorite players. He’s a great interview and I love his workman-like attitude on the field. Gholston will never be a Pro Bowler, but he’s a semi-star in Tampa Bay. The guess here is that he returns on a one or two-year deal worth around $5 million per season.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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Naplesfan
Naplesfan
3 months ago

Wow, the stupid questions keep coming in, and Scott Reynolds keeps answering the stupid questions. This week, again, “Will the Bucs keep Kyle Trask”? ranks right up there with the stupidest questions of the off-season. Aside from the fact that the coaches and GM love Kyle Trask and believe he is a perfect fit for Coach Arians’ offensive scheme (big bodied, pocket passer with a strong arm, great touch, very intelligent, and extremely hard working guy), he is also cheap as a late second round draft pick whom the staff believes is superior to any of the quarterbacks in this… Read more »

Captain Sly
Captain Sly
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

I’m sure you need reasons to Bitch but the Question was “will the Bucs keep Kyle Trask as QB2”? Legit question

twspin
twspin
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

Hmmmnnn, obviously your reading comprehension is deficient. You never understood the question huih?

obuc
obuc
3 months ago

This is concerning Jordan whitehead but first some background.  I dont think Brady comes back without a center he trusts. We know Jensen is back now but I think the scene played out like this: Brady calls the bucs says he wants to come back but needs Jensen. The sides got together and confirmed if he comes back, Jensen will sign. but I believe their strategy has obviously changed now. I think they are all in financially, like the Rams were, to win now.  I also think Whitehead wants to stay but without a QB the bucs are saying they… Read more »

BucHarbour
BucHarbour
Reply to  obuc
3 months ago

To cover your key points, I think the Bucs should re-sign Davis, then draft Kaiir Elam. Would give them 3 shutdown corners. Then pick-up Pringle in FA and Draft Christian Watson in the draft giving them 2 options to close the third WR hole. That would give the Bucs a combination of a deadly passing game, and the ability to shutdown opposing passing games. Winning football right there.

Joseph
Joseph
3 months ago

I hope they don’t sign Gabbert and would like to see more of what Trask has to offer to see if he is the future or not. I also think whitehead is back now don’t think Davis is coming back. I feel like now they draft a wr high to replace that wr3 spot and maybe make a move for jc Jackson which would be awesome but expensive should be a very eventful free agency. Tom freaking Brady lfg go bucs!!!!

BucHarbour
BucHarbour
Reply to  Joseph
3 months ago

Whether or not Gabbert comes back, Trask needs to get a most of the starting reps in preseason. Need to get him used to playing top talent with our top guys and get better prepared for the possibility of taking over. I think the Bucs took it too slow with him last season, and it could have caught up with them this year had Brady not reversed course and come back.

Eddie
Eddie
Reply to  BucHarbour
3 months ago

Maybe he was just not ready. The Bucs QB coaches are not stupid

Eddie
Eddie
Reply to  Joseph
3 months ago

JC Jackson is a system guy. Will not do well outside of the New England defensive coaching scheme. Has been watching him for years. No thanks for JC Jackson

tnew
tnew
3 months ago

I think the WR will take care of itself…possibly in the draft. I’m more concerned with CB, DT, OLB, and G. Having Brady back turns the Bucs into a destination. I was in the rebuild camp with him leaving, but now I’m solidly in the spend to win mode.

Eddie
Eddie
Reply to  tnew
3 months ago

Am with you totally

drdneast
drdneast
3 months ago

Thanks for the throwback. I was at that game and left thinking we had finally found our QB of the future. Unfortunately our future turned into a cross between Michael Jackson and Foster Brooks. I feel the same way about Gholston. For a few years people marked Gholson as an underachiever but the truth was he was simply in the wrong defense to maximize his skill set. Finally, a lot will be made of signing the big name FA’s but I am more interested in some of the unheralded ones. One of Jason Licht’s biggest coups was the signing of… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
3 months ago

Of course I was at that game too DrD and I too was encouraged by Freeman’s performance. I’m certainly going to judge the last Rams game by one defensive play in which Suh was so close to sacking Stafford he could smell his breath.

Rusty Rhino
Rusty Rhino
3 months ago

Can’t Wait for the Throwback uniforms!!

Dude
Dude
3 months ago

I would like to see the Bucs draft North Dakota State’s Christian Watson. This guy is going to be good!