In his time as general manager the Buccaneers have compiled a 27-53 record over five seasons.
While Licht has been praised for drafting franchise cornerstones like Kwon Alexander, Ali Marpet and Mike Evans and adding key, veteran free agents like Brent Grimes and Jason Pierre-Paul, he’s also been criticized for drafts that were completely offense-centric – drafting just one defensive player, Kwon Alexander in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, in his first two drafts with the team – while missing on some high-round draft picks like kicker Roberto Aguayo who Licht traded up for in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Many of Licht’s draft picks that haven’t yet panned out have time to turn things around or catch up to football at the NFL level, but with such a focus on the offensive side of the ball early in Licht’s tenure, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Bucs’ high-powered offense has consistently been hindered by a defense that was on a record-breaking pace for yards allowed for much of the 2018 season.
Following his lone winning season in Tampa – going 9-7 in 2016 – the Bucs fell back to 5-11 in 2017. His option was picked up and he remained in Tampa for 2018 and, prior to this season, signed to a one-year extension that would carry through the 2019 season. Despite another 5-11 record in 2018, ownership decided that Licht will remain with the franchise through the end of his contract.
Licht came to the Buccaneers in 2014 after working with the Arizona Cardinals for two years and prior to that he spent three seasons in New England working under Bill Belichick. Licht’s NFL career began in 1995 as a quality control coach for the Miami Dolphins and he has had stops in Carolina and Philadelphia as well.
Licht’s biggest pick, and with success still to be determined, was taking FSU quarterback Jameis Winston No. 1 overall in 2015. Licht and his staff vetted the maligned quarterback for months prior to the draft and with the blessings of the Glazer family took the Bessemer, Ala native over Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota who went a pick later to the Tennessee Titans. Both quarterbacks have had up and down careers through their first four seasons, with Mariota missing time with injury issues and Winston missing the first three games of the 2018 season after being suspended by the NFL for violating their personal conduct policy after a groping allegation from an Uber driver in 2016.
The Buccaneers have picked up the fifth-year option on Winston for 2019($20.9 million) but the contract is not guaranteed, however a report from Adam Schefter claims that the team will likely keep Winston in Tampa for one more season to prove if he deserves an extension.
(All stats below are from prior to Week 17 against Atlanta)
In the four seasons under his rookie contract Jameis Winston has led the Buccaneers to a 21-32 record with a completion percentage of 61.5 with over 14,000 yards and 84 touchdowns. The downside of Winston though has always been in decision-making and consistency in turning the ball over. In his career he’s also thrown 57 interceptions while fumbling the ball 38 times.
The offseason begins now for Licht as the Buccaneers prepare for the 2019 draft, where they will have the fifth overall pick, and start their coaching search to replace former head coach Dirk Koetter.