Sikkema’s Stat of the Week

Last week the Buccaneers decided that they were going to move on from starting right guard J.R. Sweezy.

Sweezy was a part of the 2016 free agent class that Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was hoping could change the tides in Tampa Bay. Though the team finished just outside of the playoffs with a 9-7 record, that hope and hype turned out to be fool’s gold as the follow season ended in a 5-11 result.

Sweezy’s release has been the first big-name free agent cut short in Tampa Bay since Licht came on the scene in 2014, so that got me to thinking of a review of how Licht has done over the years with his free agent budget.

This is what I came up with.

YEARNAMEPOS.CONTRACTGP/GSPEAK
2014Michael
Johnson
DE5-years,
$43.75M
14/13No
2014Alterraun
Verner
CB4-years,
$25,75M
46/23No
2014Brandon
Myers
TE2-years,
$4.25M
57/35Yes
2014Clinton
McDonald
DT4-years,
$12M
45/31Yes
2014Josh
McCown
QB2-years,
$10M
11/11No
2014Anthony
Collins
LT5-years,
$30M
10/10No
2014Evan
Smith
OG4-years,
$14.25M
50/28Yes

The 2014 free agent class was Licht’s first as a Buccaneers, and it is often also the most scrutinized. Most of the players he signed, including quarterback Josh McCown, defensive end Michael Johnson and left tackle Anthony Collins, were following the marching orders of former head coach Lovie Smith, who hired Licht.

Licht found some nice role player pieces that year, as players like Clinton McDonald and Evan Smith have been key parts of the team since coming aboard. McDonald would have started every game he played had it not been for the signing of Chris Baker (we’ll get to that) last year, and Smith has been a utility player who has seen more playing time in Tampa than he did for Green Bay, so both of those players were playing most of their peak years during their biggest contracts (which is good).

But, unfortunately, Licht’s biggest whiffs that year also cost him the most money. Collins and Johnson both played just one season in Tampa Bay. You can make a strong argument that Collins’ performance and outlook with scattered starting history in Cincinnati never even warranted such a contract. Collins’ injuries and inconsistent play didn’t even amount to any trade value after the season and Collins was ultimately released and hasn’t played football since.

As for Johnson, whew, what a bad deal that was. Johnson had an 11-sack season in 2012 and a six-sack season before that. He has just three and a half sacks in his contract year before signing with the Bucs and Licht gave him money that said that three and a half sack year was an outlier – it wasn’t. Instead, Johnson’s career in Tampa was an outlier and he was gone before the next season.

Alterraun Verner is the best out of the bunch in the No’s, but even struggles to justify the value. After his first season Verner didn’t even start in half the games he appeared in, and for over $6 million per year that’s not what you want. Verner also recorded just four takeaways in his three seasons with the Bucs compared to the 11 he had in the five previous season in Tennessee. Licht paid for Verner’s prime and didn’t see it.

Overall, Licht’s 2014 free agency class: Bad. Licht and Smith got some nice role players, and they helped them down the line, but you can’t miss that hard on that much money. The only real good deal that came out of 2014 was extending Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy’s contract so he would avoid free agency in 2015.

YEARNAMEPOS.CONTRACTGP/GSPEAK
2015Bruce
Carter
LB4-years,
$17M
14/3No
2015Gosder
Cherlius
OT2-years,
$7M
28/16No
2015Joe
Hawley
C2-years,
$3.38M
34/31Yes
2015Henry
Melton
DT1-year,
$3.75M
16/1No
2015Chris
Conte
S1-year,
$1.5M
44/38Yes

Licht’s 2015 free agent class isn’t as black-and-white, good-or-bad as the one before it. Most of the free agency period was spent cleaning up the previous year’s signing mess, which, yes, is his fault, but I’m not going to fault him twice for it.

The year’s big signing was linebacker Bruce Carter. He signed the team’s highest outsider deal, as the big deal of the offseason was signing No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston and extending All-Pro linebacker Lavonte David. Carter’s contract wasn’t terrible, but what made it look even worse was fourth-round pick Kwon Alexander balling out and gaining the starting spot in the preseason. When Carter was released a year later, it was in the best way (because they had someone better) but still doesn’t look great on the books, especially since the deal he got after he was cut was for one year and not even a $1 million.

Gosder Cherlius was clearly on the decline of his career, and though Tampa got him for a full year as a starter in that first season, that second season of his deal was really rough. A loss, but not too drastic of one, like Carter’s. Henry Melton was on the last year of his career is a fill-in player so though he wasn’t a peak get, he was fine as a signing.

Joe Hawley and Chris Conte were the two best signings from that 2015 season. Conte’s came during free agency and Hawley’s came at the beginning of the season. Hawley ended up playing the most consistent football of his career during his time in Tampa, and for that, Licht gets a positive boost. And as much as fans want to criticize Conte, he’s been his best in Tampa Bay with playing time and production. He was a minor signing who ended up getting another deal, which is another positive.

Overall, Licht’s 2015 free agency class: Still bad, but not as bad. The money guys didn’t end up working out, but their replacement have been really good in Alexander and extending the contract of Demar Dotson. The team still wasn’t good, though, so it’s tough to say it wasn’t sub-par overall.

YEARNAMEPOS.CONTRACTGP/GSPEAK
2016J.R.
Sweezy
OG5-years,
$32.5M
14(30)/14No
2016Brent
Grimes
CB2-years,
$13.5M
29/29Yes
2016Rober
Ayers
DE3-years,
$3.38M
24/20No, but yes

On the surface, at least percentage-wise this free agent class looked better, but when you dig deeper it still wasn’t anything better than par, if that.

For starters, this is the year the Bucs re-signed running back Doug Martin to a five-year, $35.75 million dollar deal which flopped about as bad as you can with injuries, a suspension and, when on the field, poor play. Licht had his hands tied on that one since Martin was coming off a 1,400-yard rushing year. He was forced to re-sign the Pro Bowl rusher or not give new head coach Dirk Koetter a primary weapon on offense. Licht had his reservations about signing Martin, which is why it came down to the wire, but it still doesn’t look great.

Sweezy, the reason why this is the topic of the Cover 3 this week, signed a massive deal with the Buccaneers in 2016. Sweezy had been a physical, nasty part of a Seahawks line that went to back-to-back Super Bowls, and the desire to get that kind of player in their trenches was an obvious want. But, Sweezy underwent back surgery after he signed with the Buccaneers due to an offseason injury and missed the entire 2016 season because of it. That’s bad luck, and something that is hard to fault Licht for. When he returned in 2017, Sweezy wasn’t the same player. He started 14 games for the Bucs this past season, but appeared to be a shell of his old Seattle self. Now, he’s no longer a Buccaneers, and that contract looks like a total bust.

Grimes, on the other hand, has been Licht’s best signing during his tenure as Bucs general manager. Grimes is a complete alien. I have no idea how he continues to play at such a high level at his age at a position that demands so much athleticism but he does. Grimes has been the best players in the Bucs secondary since he arrived and still is. His contract and extension this past offseason were warranted.

Ayers’ evaluation is a bit tricky. On the surface, you could say that the aging Ayers certainly wasn’t playing his peak football. But, he had a career-high in sacks the year before the Bucs signed him, which never helps the new team in negotiations, and recorded 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a safety on the edge in 2016 before being subjected to playing on the worst defensive line in football in 2017. So, was he playing his best ball during the entirety of the deal? No. However I would argue the signing was good; it was the coaches on those around him that let him down.

Overall, Licht’s 2016 free agency class: Not his worst, but big misses with big money yet again.

YEARNAMEPOS.CONTRACTGP/GSPEAK
2017DeSean
Jackson
WR3-years,
$33.5M
14/13No-ish
2017Chris
Baker
DT3-years,
$15.75M
15/14No
2017J.J.
Wilcox
S2-years,
$5.5M
0/0No
2017T.J.
Ward
S1-year,
$4M
12/5No
2017Nick
Folk
K1-year,
$1.75M
4/4No

It didn’t start well and as of this article judging up to 2017 it didn’t end well, either.

Let’s start with DeSean Jackson. Jackson was coming off back-to-back-to-back 1,000-yard season in which he played in more than 10 games (so three out of the previous four years before signing with Tampa Bay). His touchdowns had cooled down since his days in Philadelphia, but Jackson was bringing an element to the Buccaneers offense (and to Jameis Winston) like they could not get anywhere else. Unfortunately, that potential turned out to be anything but. The offense couldn’t figure out how to get Jackson the ball in space and Winston couldn’t figure out how to get Jackson the ball down the field. Has he been worth his deal? No. But, I would argue that is much more on factors outside of his control, to this point.

The other four signings were not worth it no matter how you slice it. Chris Baker may have started 14 games, but was one of the worst defensive tackle in the NFL last year, so much so that the team has already move on from him. And it didn’t help that Baker was lazy and a bit of a cancer within the locker room. J.J. Wilcox signed the biggest deal of his career for Tampa Bay, but didn’t even make it out of training camp, as he was traded to the Steelers.

The reason he was traded was because a supposed upgrade in Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward became available from the Broncos. But a combination of injuries and ignorance in the coaching staff left Ward with the least-productive year he’s had in his career.

And what more do I need to say about kicker Nick Folk? He lost the Patriots game for the Buccaneers and kicked less than 55 percent of his field goal before being released just four games into the season.

Bucs GM Jason Licht - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Overall, Licht’s 2017 free agency class: Likely, the second-worst free agency class of his tenure, but a few of the players’ poor performances can be placed on the shoulders of a misguided coaching staff.

So, I guess it’s clear to see that Licht’s bread and butter is certainly the draft and not free agency. There are factors that go into each signing that make them good or bad, and often these players are in their late 20’s or early 30’s, so you have to temper some expectations, but the Bucs have been bad because the players haven’t been good and the coaches haven’t been much better. That’s still on Licht’s shoulders any way you slice it.

Plenty of general manager swing big and miss, but Licht needs to start hitting his stride in the free agency market. His philosophy is certainly more towards building in the draft and signing your own (good) players more than going out to get other team’s cast-offs, and though role players will need to be added every year, sometimes you need to make a big splash.

Fortunately, Licht seems to have a knack for finding those role players – perhaps players like defensive linemen Beau Allen, Vinny Curry and Mitch Unrein this year – but big-money free agents still haunt his resume. For the Bucs’ sake, let’s hope that trading for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and making Ryan Jensen one of the highest-paid centers in the league doesn’t end up on the bad side of Licht’s ledger after this season.

The good news for Licht and the Bucs is that some of the players he has acquired through the draft and undrafted free agency, including wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end Cameron Brate, have played well enough in Tampa Bay over the years that they just received big-money contract extensions. Several more of Licht’s draft picks, Alexander and offensive linemen Ali Marpet and Donovan Smith, are due to have contract extensions later this summer. Hitting on draft picks is the key to avoiding free agency flops because then a team isn’t forced to turn to free agency to fill holes in the roster created by missing on draft picks.

But one of Tampa Bay’s big-money whiffs that is no longer on the team is Sweezy, and his absence now leaves a hole at the starting right guard spot. We break down a player who is likely to step into that starting role on the next page.

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59 COMMENTS

  1. Lights free agents have been pretty much a bust since hes gotten here. The ones the really hurt are guys like sweezy and Carl Nick’s who were apparently so hurt they never even really played. Hes be a much better draft guy than a free agent finder for sure. Hes been pretty adept at finding late round talent and unsigned talent as well so those are things he has going for him. It’s a make or break year for everyone.

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    • I agree that both of those acquisitions killed the Bucs but Mark Dominik gets the credit (or lack of it) for the Carl Nicks selection.

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  2. 1) Desean Jackson’s lack of TDs and yardage aren’t related to coaching. And that wasn’t a swing-and-a-miss by Licht. It’s all on poor QB play.

    2) I’m going with EDS for starting RG. He’ll be play side on most Gap runs so he won’t be tasked with pulling. He’s a pretty solid ZBS blocker whether play side or back side and he’s solid at PoA in Man runs and getting 2nd level. His main issue is his random catastrophic penalties or bad plays. He very DSmith like in that way.

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    • Holy cow….too many acronyms for me!

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      • +1

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        • TD, QB, RG = I’m pretty sure folks know what those mean!

          EDS = Evan Dietrich-Smith

          ZBS = Zone Blocking Scheme

          PoA = Point of Attack

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  3. Is the reason for their poor record with FA’s Jason Licht or the team’s Pro Scouting Dept? His first draft in 2014 was horrible except for Mike Evans, then he brought in his own College Scouts and the drafts have improved. Maybe he needs to revamp his Pro Scouting Dept. Provided he gets another contract.

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  4. The trouble with evaluating free agency is that there are two other components to the evaluation that have to be considered: the cap impact and the market. For example, signing Michael Johnson was not great, but if he was the only DE available in the Bucs price range during that year where they had a need it is a reasonable gamble. The Bucs do a good job of structuring contracts to minimize the cap hits, so they can afford to gamble on some of these guys because the long term impacts are minimal. One thing is clear: Lichts history with kickers is abysmal.

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  5. Most Experts had Evan Engram going as first tight end picked
    in 2017 draft
    Bucs Gm Jason Licht when asked if Bucs would draft Evan
    .Engram Quote Engram has been rising up on our draft board but
    if OJ Howard is still on board we see him as a absolute steel.
    Evan Engram 64 Receptions 722 Yards
    OJ Howard 26 Receptions 432 Yards “Steel????”

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    • Obvious troll is obvious. Back to the cave!

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    • Uh what? Most experts didn’t think that. How about no experts thought that?

      Engram is pretty much exclusively a move TE/slot hybrid player. He isn’t a factor in the running game and flat out cannot block DE 1v1.

      Howard was both very proficient in the running game (in several different ways as well, including Trapping, Leading, Reaching on Outside Zone and blocking Point of Attack) and is probably the best 1 v 1 pass blocker on the edge we have (he blocked Myles Garrett 1v1 repeatedly when they played A&M and utterly stoned him).

      OJ’s receiving numbers will improve a fair bit as time progresses. Engram will never be the capable blocker that OJ is.

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      • On top of which Engram was a starter. and Howard had a very good TE in front of him.

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        • Also factor in the Giants lost their #1 target OBJ. Had he been healthy all season, Engram would have seen a lot less targets.

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    • And that comment is absolutely insane. Let’s see, the Giants used Engram heavily, the Bucs had Brate(who is also a top 10 TE) plus Evans, Jackson, and Humphries. So because Engram had more rec and yards, that automatically means he was the better pick? Lol do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? Yeah Engram got more rec and yards, but Howard was WAY more efficient and explosive when he did get the ball thrown his way. Engram had 64 rec, but it took 115 targets for him to get those 64 rec(0.55%). Howard only needed 39 targets to catch 26 passes(0.67%) Not to mention, half of Engrams catches were dump offs by Manning(11.3 YPR) every time Howard got the ball, he was a big play waiting to happen(16.6 YPR) I’ll take Howard’s 6 TD’s on 39 targets, 16.6 YPR, and 0.67 catch percentage all day over Engrams routine dump offs. If you’re really gonna sit here and try and convince people that Engram is better than Howard, because he had more yards and catches, you really are more clueless than you already come off as

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  6. Some free agents have been bad signings and some simply havnt been put in position to succeed by the coaching staffs. Plus we never know if any of the coaches were pounding the table for a free agent Licht didnt wana sign. I dont see Licht as a problem at all. You’ve gota take some chances in free agency.
    As far as the starting RG I say its Cappa. He has the look of a young man who will not be denied. Benenoch is OK but I dont see him as a starter in this league.

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  7. Very good article Trevor.
    I think Cappa will either start or be there within a couple games. I didn’t see what you saw in Webster and I think Benenoch will be the backup for Right Rackle and Right Guard.
    I think Licht has done okay. I think Koetter has to be a better Head Coach by letting his Offensive Coordinator call the plays. I understand the concerns of injuries during preseason, but it seems our players aren’t ready for regular season play and thus they get injured early in the season. Just my thoughts.

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  8. Ayers contract should read 3 yeards 21 million, not 3 years 3.38 million.

    I’m not sure what inside information you have Trevor, but while Lovie was in control of the final 53 (meaning on cut down day), and I’m sure he had an influence on the signings Licht’s first year, to say that Licht was taking Lovie’s “marching orders” must mean you know something the rest of us don’t about who controlled personnel instead of the GM who was hired that year to do that job. Please let me know if you have actual word that Lovie was in control of the signings that year, because that would be news to me.

    Regarding Desean Jackson, one thing that is missed is that his 11 mil/year contract negated a would-be 3rd round compensatory pick this year from the Glennon signing. So in addition to 11 million in cap space for a player who blocked Chris Godwin from playing more last year you also have the cost of a significant compensatory pick.

    The above list is a great example of how fans fixate on the NFL Draft and appear to rate GM’s purely on what happens in 3 days in April and not the other 362 days a year. You wonder why so many fans are confused by how Licht would have a 22-42 record over 4 years when looking purely at a few draft picks.

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  9. Let me get this straight, pre draft we had Sweezy, although injured, Smith, and Benenoch who could play R.G.. So we draft Cappa to throw into the mix at R.G. yet at R.T. all we have is Dotson, injured, and Wester. Think maybe we should’ve drafted a true R.T., it seems to have been more of a need then guard. Trev, is Cappa seen as a possible R.T.?

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  10. Reading this article and some of the comments it’s like the players Licht signed in FA went 5-11 last year while the players he drafted went 11-5. They were all on the same team and they all went 5-11. The FA signings stunk (don’t forget Licht could have signed Casey Hayward in FA instead of Brent Grimes, much younger and better) and the draft picks are also bad as a whole relative to how much other teams improved their teams from the same talent pool.

    You cannot separate the GM, coaching and players until they go to another team. How can you say Licht is doing an okay or good job when this is his only stint at a GM, he has a losing record, the team is not improving record-wise and we aren’t close to the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl? None of the players Licht has drafted have left the Bucs and found success elsewhere. So how we say the players are talented relative to the rest of the players in the league? How can the coaches take majority of the blame when they can only coach the players they have? What if the players are just no good (player’s and GM’s fault)?

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    • Good point Pink, a lot of fans look at the Bucs GM and player acquisitions in a vacuum. Naturally they are shocked to see this 22-42 GM ranked 30th out of 32 GM’s because they look at a few players that they recall doing well or having promise at the exclusion of everything and everyone else.

      So Bucs fans, tell me this: Would you rather have Jason Licht or Titans GM and Licht protege Jon Robinson running this franchise today?

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      • Licht easy. Not even close.

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        • Why?

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          • What exactly has Jon Robinson done to light the Titans on fire? They’re constantly a team that people feel should be in the playoffs but they look mediocre at best even when everything is clicking.

            I’m not going to go into everything about the Titans because, tbf, the GM doesn’t have control over every aspect of the team. But you get the feeling that the Titans as a roster have already hit the ceiling of what it can do. They barely squeaked by in the weak AFC South division minus the Jags last year (we’ll see if they can stay strong) and if it wasn’t for an epic collapse by the Chiefs in true Andy Reid fashion people wouldn’t be nearly as high on them. Their performance vs the Pats is a better indicator of where they are vs their pretty fluky win vs the Chiefs.

            Where’s the potential in their roster? Hoping that Corey Davis has the lights turn on? Sure, they have some nice finds in Byard, Henry etc etc. Maybe some others like Jonnu Smith can be adequate. Adoree Jackson has been alright. But the team’s best football isn’t ahead of them. They probably already overperformed compared to their ability last year. It’s not like Mariota is going to suddenly explode, he doesn’t play that way. Even if you treat his last year as an outlier, where did the Titans go when Mariota was firing 100%? And what, is Rashaan Evans going to turn his entire defense around? Think Landry can get 15 sacks?

            Just talking about pure “how is this team built now and in the near future”, the potential on the Bucs roster is just miles better. Jon Robinson realizes his team doesn’t have a lot to build with so he traded up a bunch this last draft to try and plug as many holes and try and compete now while he still has a weak af division and conference in general.

            Winston (when he comes back) will likely improve based on his usual yearly NFL trajectory. OJ showed a lot of promise, Godwin both Evans Kwon David etc etc etc. This team has all-star potential in several spots whereas the Titans have…. idk do you consider Byard in that upper tier? Delanie Walker is getting up there in years. Their team’s strength looks like it’s in the tackles and are decently deep at RB. But nothing else on them screams “oh, I better watch out for that”.

            It’s really dumb to say Licht should be run out of town using Jon Robinson as an example.

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          • JustaBuc in response to your post, Jon Robinson took a team that was worse than the Bucs in 2016 (Bucs 6-10 and Titans 3-13) and turned them into a team that is now better than the Bucs (5-11 and Titans 9-7). You named a lot of players, but your justification for them being better is based solely on how you feel about them. Looking at comprehensive numbers of the players of both teams over the past two years since Robinson took over, team records and the opinions of unbiased 3rd parties (Vegas Super Bowl odds, national media power rankings), the Titans are the better team. All of that combined makes Robinson the better GM.

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          • Another unbiased metric is the NFL top 100. Not one Buc was voted in whereas 4 Titans were voted in. If you think the Bucs lousy record influenced the voting, Denver had Von Miller, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris. The Giants had Odell Beckham and Landon Collins.

            Also making the playoffs and especially winning a playoff game on the road in Arrowhead is really all that matters in terms of which GM created the better team. Winning and losing is all that matters. “You play to WIN the game”!

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          • Pink, first off we know that the top 100 isn’t accurate. No way Casey DT is better than McCoy. 2nd Of those 4 players ranked in the top 100, how many did Robinson draft or sign. 1 That’s right, Robinson drafted Byard. All the rest were drafted or signed prior to his arrival.

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          • Team record doesn’t equal roster strength. You think the Titans are 9-7 if they were in the NFC South instead of a Luck-less Colts and a Watson-less Texans twice a year? Again, we’ll see if the Jags can stay competitive. You think they get past their first playoff game if they played in the NFC?

            Team record is not what the GM does. The GM simply puts the roster in a position to win as many games as possible and then it’s up to the coaches, the schedule, injuries etc etc.

            In an average situation (average conference, SoS, injuries w/e), and the Titans fire at 100%, I don’t see them any better than 9-7 in an average situation. They hit their ceiling right now. If the Bucs fire at 100% they’re double digits, possibly 11-5 if they were put in an average situation.

            What the team COULD do talks a lot more about GMs then what the team actually performs. Too many other things go into the rest of it.

            The Titans have SOME pieces and as wnb just said those guys weren’t even really to Robinson’s credit. He has Byard and that’s basically it. I don’t think he’s a bad GM or anything, it’s too early to tell.

            It’s just really ridiculous to think Robinson is better than Licht. Like, at all. The Bucs roster is just set up better than the Titans roster imo.

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          • JustaBuc if you don’t think record is the highest indicator of team strength then it is senseless for us to respond to each other’s posts. If you don’t think team record is the best indicator of how good a job the GM is doing then it is senseless for us to respond to each other’s posts. I feel the complete opposite and it is the core of my posts about Licht.

            I’ll go further to say it’s not a feeling. If team strength (which is not quantifiable the way you measure team strength…you just name names and claim them to be good or bad players with no good justification) is a greater indicator than team record, there wouldn’t be a scoreboard. The NFL would be like boxing. They would have a few judges up in a suite, they would factor in everything like who is more talented, who landed more big plays, who got more yards and probably minimize things like turnovers and which team was actually able to complete the last pass or run in the end zone. Football is not boxing and more popular than boxing for a reason. Saying which team has more “team strength” is to subjective. Everyone’s job is to beat the next team they play. Everyone’s. From the owners to the players because they all have a hand in the outcome of the game.

            Even if it was the coaches and not Licht responsible for wins, Licht chose this head coach! That head coach then chose all the other coaches, which Licht knew when he chose the head coach. The losing record is Licht’s fault no matter how you slice it. Also, you keep referring to last year only for Robinson. Robinson took a 3-13 team to 9-7 two years in a row so strength of schedule had nothing to do with it. The Titans beat us before, they would have beat us last year, and if Winston is still QB’ing our team in 2019 the Robinson led Titans are going to beat us then too because I know they will still have Mariota, Henry, Davis, Byard, Conklin, Butler, Lewis and Jackson because of Robinson.

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  11. I think it’s difficult to give a good assessment of Licht when the owners waited until this year to provide him with a wide open purse. The team spent a moderate amount of money, compared to other teams, up until this year in FA. If anything other than W-L record gets Licht fired or a new contract, it’s going to be the FA quality of play from this year, plus his draft picks over the past 4 years.

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  12. A good coach adapts to what players he has on the team. You don’t think other GM’s also overspend for free agents and make draft pick mistakes who make it to the playoffs? All I’m saying is Head Coach should have some blame too, and of course injuries have a big part of all of this mix too.

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    • I agree the head coach should have some of the blame. My point is the GM, coaches and players all should get equal blame because none of the three have proven anything away from each other.

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      • Agree with you.

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      • Pinkstob, so you’re really gonna sit here and tell me that the “unbiased” nfl top 100 was a very unbiased accurate list of the top 100 players in the league? Really? So you’re honestly gonna sit here and tell me, and everyone else that Gerald McCoy is NOT a top 100 player in this league? You’re gonna tell me McCoy is at BEST, the 8th best DT in the league, behind such DT’s as Mike Daniels, Linval Joseph, Suh, and Jurrell Casey? You truly believe the NFL top 100 got that right? Are you also gonna sit here and tell me that Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, and Mike Evans are NOT top 100 players in this league? That’s what you’re telling me? At worst Evans is a top 7 WR. At the absolute worst. All 4 of those players are absolutely positively top 100 players in this league, with ZERO hesitation. Anyone that says otherwise, needs to start watching a different sport

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        • I’m not sure you understand what “unbiased” means. Either that or you don’t know that the NFL top 100 is not created by one player or a few players, but over 1000 players currently in the NFL who are not around each other when they pick their top 20 players. Bias is impossible so in my opinion there is no better way to evaluate the best players in the league. No one knows better than your peers how good or bad you are at your job, especially when they physically go against each other mano a mano. No one complained about the top 100 being biased when there were Bucs on the list. Don’t complain about the list now that no Bucs are on it because players were sick of putting them on there based solely on name recognition.

          Week after week, other teams went against our players and left unimpressed. No, McCoy was not better than those other DT’s last year. He was hurt as usual and ineffective on the field when it counted most and other players noticed. Adrian Peterson ran wild against only one defense last year and that was ours. Where were Lavante and Kwon? On the field getting beat, that’s where and other players noticed.

          I’ll admit Evans did surprise me, but when I reviewed the other players ahead of him I could see why he didn’t make the list. He barely broke 1000 yards and he only scored a few TD’s. The guys ahead of him outperformed him.

          I want all our players to be on this list but the other players in the league have to sympathy or allegiance to them like we do. If the Bucs players want to be on this list then %^&dammit they better go out this year and earn it.

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          • So you truly believe McCoy sucked last year, and is at best the 8th best DT in the league, and not as good as Mike Daniels, Linval Joseph, and Jurrell Casey. Lol yeah, I got nothing more to say to you then. That’s absolutely mind numbing that you truly believe that. Funny thing is, many experts, analysts, and grading systems agreed that last year was McCoy’s best season as a pro. The fact that you think he wasn’t good, tells me you have absolutely no idea how to evaluate a DT in the NFL. Because anyone that watched McCoy play last year saw how incredibly disruptive he was each and every game. So it’s his fault, he had the worst DLine around him, maybe in NFL history. He was double and triple teamed on each and every play, and yet he was still a force and in the backfield every play. But thank you. Because I legit laughed out loud when you said Mike Daniels, Linval Joseph, Jurrell Casey, and Suh were better than GM last year. I needed that laugh. Suh was a joke. Like a legit joke. Teams would run right at him that’s how little teams thought of him. Oh but because he gets sacks, that means he was great right? You realize that an all world DT can be an all world DT without sacks right? That’s NOT what makes them all world DT’s. I got nothing anymore lol

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          • Somehow this turned into a debate about the top 100, which I’m sure the posters who believe a GM is good based on the amount of players they can name would love to have.

            As pink did a wonderful job pointing out “you are what your record says you are.” To attempt to parse actual wins and losses with subjective feelings about individual players is a fool’s errand.

            I have a feeling the only people who would want Jason Licht over Jon Robinson are confined to Bucs message boards, and I suspect that if any other teams fans would want Jason Licht to be their GM all they have to do is wait a year and they’ll have the opportunity for their team to sign him outright.

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  13. Been beating these two drums for a while. The Bucs need an upgrade in the Pro Personnel area. Period.

    The Bucs need a go-between for Licht and the Glazers. Period. Until this gets fixed, the Bucs can only hope that the luck-based law of averages approach finally breaks their way to make the correct decisions in becoming a winning franchise.

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  14. I would grade Jason at a D minus in free agency
    I would give him at a C minus for drafting.
    I would grade his overall roster building skills at a C minus to D level
    I could explain everything but I’m lazy
    If i bought the team, if he wanted to stay on as a scout I would allow that but, I’d fire him and the entire scouting and coaching staff

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    • Totally agree with you

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  15. I know this cover 3 was about caleb.. but do you see some of the play calling?? Its really a joke

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  16. Lichts consistent failure in free agency is one of the main reasons why i felt and still do feel that the best possible course of action moving forward, is to hire a proven champion building front office dude to be our VP of Football operations above Licht.

    When it comes to scouting college players and identifying talented undrafted free agents, I really do feel like Lichts ability in that regard is well, well above the average GM. But I don’t trust his over-all vision of building a winner. It seems he’s always a year too late when addressing major weaknesses. I/e leaving the receiver position pretty much barren after Evans and Jackson in the 2016 offseason. Failing to properly address the pass rush and running game in the 2017 offseason/ draft, and in my opinion failing to address the right side of the O-line and Safety position adequately in this offseason.

    Taking all that into consideration, and absolutely awful bungles like the Aquayo trade, going after Chris Baker instead of Calais Campell, taking Charles Sims over Devonta Freeman, and then weighing that against all the positive moves he’s made in the draft, that’s why I still want to retain him as GM. I just feel as though he should have someone above him who knows what it takes to craft a championship caliber team to keep Licht in check.

    Just my opinion though. Rant over.

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  17. I think Cappa should get a look at both RG and RT. If Benenoch beats him out at RG, let Cappa compete for backup to Dot. I didn’t like Benenoch at RT, and if he wins the RG spot he should stay there instead of continuing musical chairs. Cappa played LT in college, I don’t see why we wouldn’t consider him for RT.

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    • Good points.

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  18. Great points Honey Bear and enjoyed this article, Trevor. Benenoch will be a good starting RG with EDS as his backup. WarFLOP should have addressed Benenoch’s hand placement at RT but he strikes me as totally inept, and especially since he has had Cappa training to be a backup Center when Koetter wanted Cappa to be trained at RT. I know Dotson will play fine at RT when healthy but as he ages he will likely have more injuries. Cappa shone at RT at the Senior Bowl against top competition but because of WarFLOP he likely won’t be NFL ready to step in if Dotson goes down. We need a Buckner quality OL Coach instead of a Brown’s reject OLC—WarFLOP.

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  19. Benenoch seems like a more natural guard after reading and watching your breakdown. I’m sure he will get looks at RT too but not sure he can improve in those areas he needs to. Ideally Cappa would be RT back up since Dot is aging. This o line still worries me. Not much depth and lot questions as to lability to gel together quickly. Ryan should be an upgrade at center if he stays healthy.

    On Licht I understand you can’t fix every hole in a year but he’s left some glaring ones while drafting stupid Aguauo etc. the draft and Un drafted free agents is all that keeps him around another year IMHO.

    Agree with ya Schwifty9 on Licht. He deserves more time but he does seem always year late addresssing glaring issues. Not sure if somebody else above him would work though or even be feasible money wise to Glazers? I’m not an expert on front office NFL.

    I think Either Koetter gives him bad advice on who will perform etc. or it’s Just Licht, not sure but how they thought that D line last year would work out? I understand injuries happen but even before injuries you look at the names and not a proven DE in the whole lot. Baker was a lazy fat ass. Not sure what they saw in him. I saw him in pre season and said that’s a lazy jackass and he won’t do crap. Caught bunch shit for that comment in pre season. After few games was obvious to everyone this guy was horribly lazy.

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  20. Trevor, great work as always. I don’t get on the comments section enough and give you kudos. You really put in the effort to deliver a quality product and, as a business analyst and die-hard lifetime Buc fan, I really enjoy your work.

    If you have a need for content, I would suggest expanding on the Licht piece by benchmarking. If you have time to develop that, it would be easier to exonerate or excoriate Meathead if we juxtaposed his year over year Free Agent signings with other players available in that position. Has time proven that he selected the best FA DE or CB that year? Did we miss on a true gem, or was the whole lot mediocre? If it’s more or the latter I think we can say that Licht did the best he could trying to fill a need with the current crop available on a given year.

    I think his drafting is second only to McKay. The better he drafts, the less need in subsequent years to go shopping in Free Agency. Yes Licht has had some serious misses in the draft (and I am not wading in the Winston conversation here – let’s isolate that for now), but who he has hit on and where he has found talent has covered a lot of errors.

    I see a good GM needing 3 attributes: FA signing, Drafting, and Cap management. Let’s benchmark to get a better determination on his FA acumen, his drafting is above average to decent, and we will soon find out how good he is at cap management with the Alexander/Winston/Marpet/Smith contracts on the horizon.

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  21. This guy is bottom 5 GM …..
    2014 suppose to be best draft Licht used 7th pick for Evans
    problem Odell Beckham was next wide reciver at 12
    opps

    2015
    Jamies Winston 1st pick as we all know turning out to be bust
    opps

    2016
    Vernon Hargreaves 1 career interception pot smoking 2nd string player on most teams however Licht missed Best Defense player in draft , Defense rookie of year and pro bowl Keanu Neal who was still on board with
    no off field issues

    2017
    OJ Howard the juice and has less than half receptions and yards as Evan Engram who was still on board and preferred by all the scouts except Licht wanted the Juice
    oops

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    • did u just suggest Odell > Evans? lol

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      • 44Games 313Catches 4,424Yards 14.1Ave 94.1 38TD

        Fastest start in history of NFL ISN’t that funny I must be stupid

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        • You said you were leaving and not commenting anymore. You are a 49er’s fan remember?

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        • So the truth finally comes out…Mike.Seven and BUC-ASS-BOB are in fact the same person

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    • Buc Ass Bob is starting to enter Mike Seven territory. You know, complete moron, absolutely no football knowledge whatsoever type fan. You really are a hopeless, moronic, tool. Anyone that thinks the Bucs made a mistake by taking an all around stud like Howard, over a can’t block, one trick pony like Engram loses all credibility as a football fan. So according to you, all the Bucs had to do to make that pick a hit in your eyes, was throw a bunch of 7 yard dump off passes to Howard. Hmmm 11.3 YPR or 16.6. A 0.67 catch percentage or a 0.55. 6 TD’s on 39 targets or 6 TD’s on 115 targets lol. God awful run blocker or a stud run blocker. Yeah tough choice pal. God I hate dumb fans that know nothing. It’s people like you that ruin football from a fan perspective. Because your lack of football intelligence is borderline laughable

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  22. Happy Fourth to Scott, Mark, Trevor & Crew! Keep up the great work…
    e

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    • +1

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  23. Nick Foles to the Buccaneers? They are rumors Bucs talking to Eagles about Foles

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    • Who is saying that? Just Buc fans?

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      • http://www.phillyvoice.com

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  24. I think we need to for sure Leave Caleb at RG regardless of what happens at RT. We need to shore up the inside of the line as pressure up the middle is the fastest way to disrupt a run or pass play.

    Honestly free agency is crap shoot regardless of what gm it is, what team it is, or what player it is the team and gm are going after. Free agency is 50-50 at best period, anything more than that is abnormal. SO no i do not really hold the free agency signings at a real negative against Licht. What he has been able to do in the draft we havent had in Tampa since the Rich McKay days and without those picks this team would seriously lack talent every where.

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    • If 50-50 is your bar then all you have to do is look at the Trevor’s breakdown and see that Licht has never had a year with 50-50 success in free agency or greater. 0-4 years with as many hits as misses, which is kind of a like a Jason Licht run team’s record (it actually is a running average of 1-2).

      Again, Bucs fans focus on a few draft successes at the exclusion of everything else to include: actual team success, Pro Bowls, All Pros etc is impressive.

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