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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: Do the Bucs sign any other big-name free agents? If so, who? Let’s leave Baker Mayfield out of this for now.

ANSWER: It’s possible that the Bucs sign another big-name free agent – or acquire another big-name player. Keep in mind that general manager Jason Licht claimed Carl Nassib right before the start of the season in 2018. Licht also signed Leonard Fournette in September in 2020. It’s hard to imagine which player or players the Bucs will wind up with.

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

But it is worth mentioning Baker Mayfield. Cleveland would love to trade Mayfield, the team’s first-round pick in 2018. Yet after picking up his fifth-year option, Mayfield is set to make $18.858 million in 2022. That contract makes him untradeable. No team that needs a quarterback or would want Mayfield could afford that cap hit. Especially if that team already has a pricey quarterback under contract.

What will likely happen is that the Browns, who traded for Deshaun Watson, will have to release Mayfield. There have been some rumors that Pittsburgh might be interested in signing him to compete for the right to replace Ben Roethlisberger. But Mayfield has played some of his worst games against Pittsburgh. Would the Steelers really want him? What about Tampa Bay?

It’s interesting that Tampa Bay has not re-signed Blaine Gabbert yet. But Gabbert wasn’t signed until May 10 last year, which was after the draft. Would the Bucs be interested in having Mayfield, who turns 27 on April 14, instead of Gabbert? I’m not sure. There has been a report that head coach Bruce Arians was a Mayfield fan. Is that still the case?

How much would Mayfield cost? If the Bucs were to sign him, would it be for one year or a multi-year deal? Would he want to sit a year behind Tom Brady? Are the Bucs interested in doubling up with two young quarterbacks in Mayfield and Kyle Trask for life after Brady? Is Mayfield good or is he overrated? Would Mayfield’s ego be in check while waiting to play in 2023? So many questions and not enough answers right now.

QUESTION: Was wondering what your thoughts are on Perrion Winfrey, and if you think he would pair well with Vita Vea. Or if he is just more of a rotational piece and pass rusher?

ANSWER: I’m not a huge fan of Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey, especially his fit with the Bucs. Winfrey is better rushing the passer than he is stopping the run. Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles puts an emphasis on stopping the run. If the Bucs defense can stop the run on first and second down, their odds of winning third down go way up.

At 6-foot-4, 292 pounds, Winfrey is a little undersized to play defensive tackle in Tampa Bay’s scheme. Do the Bucs want a quicker, twitchier pass-rushing defensive tackle? Yes. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said so at the NFL Scouting Combine. But Winfrey only had 5.5 sacks last year for the Sooners and had half-a-sack the year before. Pro Football Focus gave Winfrey a 59.7 overall grade in 2021. Winfrey had a 79.3 pass rush grade and a 49.6 run defense grade.

While he did have a good showing at the Senior Bowl, getting to the quarterback in the game and also having a good week or practice, NFL scouts are wondering why Winfrey didn’t show up more often at Oklahoma. At best, Winfrey is likely a second-round pick. And part of that is because this year’s defensive tackle class lacks quality and quantity. I just don’t think the Bucs are going to be interested in Winfrey in the second round. There will be better talent available. If Winfrey slips to the bottom of the third, maybe.

QUESTION: You said on Thursday’s podcast that a name the Bucs are not interested in is George Karlaftis. Any known reason why? He was only EDGE mentioned. Doubt it is a no first-round EDGE after Joe Tryon-Shoyinka last year. Think he would make a good inside/outside addition to the pass rush.

ANSWER: I don’t think the Bucs are going to draft an outside linebacker in the first round after drafting Joe Tryon-Shoyinka in the first round last year. Shaquille Barrett still has three years left on his contract. So drafting another edge rusher like Purdue’s George Karlaftis in the first round would be bad value considering he wouldn’t be a full-time starter anytime soon.

Purdue DE George Karlaftis

Purdue DE George Karlaftis – Photo by: USA Today

When looking at Karlaftis, I’ve heard that the media and their mock drafts like Karlaftis much better than NFL scouts. That’s not to say that Karlaftis won’t be a first-round pick. But prior to the NFL Scouting Combine Karlaftis was routinely mocked inside the Top 15. Now it seems like he’s sliding towards the end of the first round, but in reality that’s probably where he should have been to begin with.

Pro Football Focus loves Karlaftis and gave him an 87.2 overall grade. But the production has been spotty. After a breakout year in 2020 with 54 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, Karlaftis notched two sacks in two games in 2021. This past year he had 4.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 12 games. Karlaftis, who is 6-foot-3, 266 pounds, just not the athlete that Tryon-Shoyinka is. And there isn’t any justification for the Bucs drafting a lesser player at a higher draft spot at a position that is not as big of a need.

QUESTION: What players could you see the Bucs targeting in the middle of the first round that they might consider trading up to get?

ANSWER: The first round in this year’s NFL Draft is not great at all. In fact, the same caliber of player that will be drafted at No. 15 won’t be too far off from the caliber of player Tampa Bay drafts at No. 27. In any given year there is really somewhere between 16-24 players that carry true first-round grades. I’m talking truly elite players. In this year’s draft that number appears to be less than 16. So if there is a good year for the Bucs to be picking No. 27, this is that year.

That doesn’t mean that the Bucs won’t trade up. General manager Jason Licht has traded up before in the first round, although he hasn’t made a quantum leap up a dozen picks or so before. I don’t think Tampa Bay has the draft capital this year to entertain a massive jump up from No. 27 to No. 15 or 16. The Bucs don’t have picks in the fifth and sixth rounds this year due to trades. The real value in this year’s draft is the depth of very good, but not great players in rounds 2-4.

But to answer your question, which players do I think the Bucs might entertain a trade up for if the cost was not too prohibitive? Boston College guard Zion Johnson, Georgia’s Devonte Wyatt and Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks are three names that come to mind. Each are unique players.

Johnson is the best guard in the draft – a perfect mix of technician and tenacity. Wyatt is perhaps the only quick-twitch, dynamic defensive tackle that has the athleticism to stuff the run and rush the passer. Burks is a load at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, and has great size, leaping ability and enough speed to pull away in the open field.

QUESTION: If Tom Brady decides to play next year do you think it will be in Tampa or elsewhere?

ANSWER: That’s a great question. To risk sounding boring, I think Tom Brady will have to see how he feels about his body, his situation in Tampa Bay – or elsewhere – and how this season plays out before making a decision on where he’ll play in 2023. If Brady plays at all.

Bucs QB Tom Brady

Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today

I do think Brady might want to keep his options open and not extend his contract in Tampa Bay. That wouldn’t preclude him from re-signing with the Bucs in 2023 if both he and the team want to. Of course the Bucs would want to.

Brady will be 45 this year and he’s been through free agency once before and enjoyed getting to pick his team. If he decides to play a 24th season in the NFL at age 46 he’ll likely want the opportunity to decide where that’s going to be.

There have been rumors about Brady possibly wanting to end his career with the 49ers – his boyhood favorite – or the Dolphins where he may wind up as a minority owner. But we’ll have to see what transpires in 2022 first.

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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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Spitfire
Spitfire
3 months ago

The thought that Brady would want to go learn a new team and Offense at 46 years old just seems silly. Brady’s goal was to go somewhere else and prove he could do what he does without Belichick. He’s done that, I think however long he wants to play it will be here, as long as the Bucs make it easy for him. So if we are smart we make it easy on him and let him do things how he wants to do it and let him light things up and all should be well.

fredster
fredster
Reply to  Spitfire
3 months ago

Agree 100%. Not to say if he thought Bucs lost too many players in 2023 or weren’t talented enough he wouldn’t consider a move, but to me it’s unlikely. Not at 46. Oh and Baker Mayfield sucks. He wasn’t able to thrive on a team with good defense, O line and run game. Where would he thrive then? Nowhere! He will be a back up soon I bet like Winston and Mariota.

Last edited 3 months ago by fredster
Buc stops here
Buc stops here
Reply to  fredster
3 months ago

Except for the fact that both Winston (New Orleans) and Mariota (Atlanta) are probably going to start of those teams in 2022 (not sure about after that however).

Buc stops here
Buc stops here
Reply to  Spitfire
3 months ago

Agree with the caveat they do badly this year he won’t be back, or if they don’t resign players he wants he won’t be back.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
3 months ago

Rumors also said that Brady only retired to force Tampa Bay to trade him to the FortyNiners … and we know how that rumor came to be. Anything’s possible, but it is hard to see the logic in bringing Mayfield here to the Bucs. His shoulder was badly injured last year, which obviously affected his play, and it remains to be seen how and when he recovers from that injury. It appears that the Browns certainly do not give Mayfield the benefit of the doubt. The Bucs will certainly sign a couple more quarterbacks through the offseason and preseason, and… Read more »

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

I never put much into that shoulder injury. I’m sure it was hurting him and a pain in the ass to work around, but it was to his non-throwing shoulder. There are dozens of other reasons not to want Mayfield in Tampa, which I don’t. But that shoulder isn’t one for me, and I’d be surprised if it was a major issue for teams moving forward. If it had been to his throwing arm? Absolutely.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 months ago

Non-throwing shoulder or not, it certainly affected Mayfield’s performance a LOT in 2021. His 2020 QBR was 65.5, and his 2021 QBR was only 35.1 – a humongous drop in quarterback performance. Most of the analysts I read and heard on the radio last season thought that the shoulder was a huge drag on his performance, and much of the Browns commentary last season was focused on questioning why the Browns were still playing him hurt instead of letting him get his shoulder repaired.

The bottom line, as always, remains the bottom line.

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
3 months ago

The Browns releasing Baker outright, and eating every cent of the $18M+ guaranteed to him in 2022, would shock me. Maybe not as much as it would shock me for them to keep him, but I have to think they can get SOMETHING for him in trade from one of the several still QB-needy teams in the league. A release, and having to pay him that 5th year option to go compete to start or even just be a backup elsewhere, would blow my mind. Treating it as likely makes no sense to me, but I guess we’ll see.

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith
3 months ago

The team would benefit by drafting a ILB and SS with TE coverage skills. The ILBs are great run stoppers, but poor at coverage on third downs.

SenileSenior
SenileSenior
3 months ago

It is not that I expect the Bucs to grab Mayfield even if they can get him on the cheap. It would mean to me that they really do see him differently than many fans and/or analysts. Having a couple of potential QBs to evaluate for starters or as long term backups will not hurt the team this year or next during off season workouts. Inevitably sooner than later there will be no TB just as we thought we were seeing just a short time ago this year.

bucballer
bucballer
3 months ago

No thanks to Mayfield! He’s a sober Johnny Manziel.

scubog
scubog
3 months ago

I really liked Baker Mayfield’s moxie coming out of college. Thought he might have a little Brett Favre in him. He’s had his moments, both good and bad. My perspective is the Browns put together a great roster around the youngster and the expectations soared. Unfortunately for the Dawg Pound, their key piece couldn’t take the pressure. Right now Baker is at a crossroads. There’s little doubt he needs to, and likely will, get away from Cleveland. So many of these top college QB’s are simply unable to deal with the demands, the failures and the inevitable criticism that is… Read more »