Bucs WR Vincent Jackson by: Cliff Welch/PR
There has been plenty of turnover on the Buccaneers’ team over the last four years – 97 percent of the entire roster since Jason Licht’s arrival, to be exact. But, where a lot of turnover like that can sometimes be seen as inconsistencies, most would say they were changes that had to be made in order to get this team to where it wanted to go.
The Bucs have started to even out how much they gain and lose from year-to-year with their players, setting up more of a core to build around now, but that didn’t mean this past offseason went without saying goodbye to some big-name Bucs players who contributed quite a bit over the last three or four years.
The three most notable absences from last year’s team are wide receiver Vincent Jackson, cornerback Alterraun Verner and tight end Brandon Myers. Each of these three players have yet to be signed, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t potential fits and even leads for each of these players.
Jackson signed with the Buccaneers back in 2012 from the, then, San Diego Chargers. In his first three years in Tampa Bay, he recorded three 1,000-yard seasons. He was well worth his five-year, 55.5 million dollar contract until the last two seasons where injuries limited his time on the field – but also made the way for Mike Evans to become the team’s No. 1.
Jackson is now 34 years old. Back in March, Jackson said that he has no plans to retire, and nothing has come out, as of late, that would change that. He’s still one of the top free agents available at wide receiver along with Stevie Johnson and Anquan Boldin. Though there aren’t any confirmed workouts from him yet, teams that could use his services would include the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Jets and even his old team, the, now, Los Angeles Chargers, if their first round pick, Mike Williams, is going to miss time with his back injury.
As for the Bucs, Jackson returning could be a possibility (nothing should ever be completely off the table), but, as of right now, the team is moving forward with a younger group of players. If Jackson remains unsigned and injuries mount up for that unit, it could happen, but it’s not likely, at this time.
Verner signed a four-year, 25 million dollar deal with the Buccaneers in 2014 following his only Pro Bowl season in 2013 with the Tennessee Titans. Verner was a three-year starter for the Bucs during his time in Tampa Bay, but faded to more of a situational player with the emergence of rookie cornerback, Vernon Hargreaves, in 2016. That led to Verner’s release in February of this past offseason.
Verner is now 28 years old. He hasn’t made it to a Pro Bowl since 2013, and his production has diminished since that time. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any interest for his services. It’s been conformed that Verner had a workout with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and according to Verner himself, he’s worked out with a few other teams, too. A couple more teams that could use Verner as a depth player or situational veteran starter would be the New York Giants and the Arizona Cardinals.
Myers played for the Buccaneers from 2014 to 2016. During that time he appeared in 41 games where he caught 41 total passes. Myers is much more of an old-school tight end than he is a dynamic one, and for that, the interest levels on him will likely be low enough to keep him as a free agent until some injuries happen in camp. At 31 years old, Myers is a true vet at the tight end position, and though he’s not overly athletic, he has a well-rounded game – low ceiling, high floor.
Myers doesn’t have any confirmed workouts public, but a few teams that Myers may fit on as a good depth player are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
The best to all three of the players .
Any chance Jackson becoming an assistant coach?
I can see him being a network guy. Smooth talker and very articulate. Coaching is hard work. Long hours.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports free agent CB Alterraun Verner has a workout scheduled for next week.
Anderson did not say which team he’ll be working out for. Verner visited the Jaguars in May but nothing came of it.
Source: Josina Anderson on Twitter Jul 23 – 12:30 PM
It’ll be really sad to see VJax in another uniform. His performance has diminished, but his value in the locker room and the community is still worth keeping him in a backup role with the cap space we still have.
Verner was surely not worth the cap hit with his last contract. I wouldn’t mind a more team friendly deal for him as well.
As the article states, Myers is more of the outdated old-school TE and doesn’t have much value compared to what we have on the roster.
Counting down the days till August 8th!
I wish I could agree with you on VJ, but I can’t. We need the best 53 to be on this team. Things like community involvement and locker room leadership are nice, but they’re bonus items. They’re the kinds of things you love to see from your good players, but they aren’t enough in and of themselves to keep him here. Come Sunday, it doesn’t help the team that a guy works with veterans, or the homeless, or whatever other good things he might do.
Josh McCown was a fantastic worker and a tremendous leader, and he was committed to helping out in huge ways in the community. He was also a terrible football player, and none of those non football things helped the team do anything other than embarrass itself come Sunday.
I’m not saying that stuff isn’t awesome, but at the end of the day, we have to employ the best football players we can find. If at the age of 34 VJ isn’t interested in truly battling to try to win a roster spot as a backup wide receiver on this team at a price that reflects that situation, then there’s really no reason to bring him in, in my opinion.
Go ask Bill Belichick what sentimentality was worth when he traded Logan Mankins, or when he traded Richard Seymour, or when he declined the option on Vince Wilfork. I love VJ, and I appreciate everything he did for this team, and even more so for this community. And I hope he will continue to contribute in those ways. But that’s probably all it should be at this point.
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