Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Each week PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your submitted questions about the Bucs. You can have your question answered by asking on Twitter using the #PRMailbag hashtag. Here are this week’s five questions.
Question: Do you think Jameis Winston’s deep pass percentage will go up with DeSean Jackson’s signing?
Answer: Well it almost has too, right? There isn’t a media member who loves Winston’s overall game more than I do, but it isn’t perfect. And my biggest criticism has been his deep ball. People assume that because he has a pretty good arm, that he automatically would be a great deep ball passer. But even in college it wasn’t his greatest attribute. First of all, the deep ball is really a low percentage pass. So many factors go into it, and then there is a luck factor involved. It is easy to say, “well just practice it.” And believe me, he does. But he can’t go out in the Florida sun over the summer and ask Mike Evans to run 50 go routes to get their timing down. And just like in a game, receivers have more juice at certain times.
If the Bucs are on a drive where they have been primarily throwing the ball, then Dirk Koetter calls a go-route, Evans, or Adam Humphries and even DeSean Jackson only have so much left in the tank at that moment. Trying to determine where to lead a receiver 30 or more yards down the field isn’t easy when the player is fresh, much less when there is six minutes left in the fourth quarter and it is 93 degrees on a September afternoon. That isn’t even taking into account the time it takes for deep routes to develop down field, with a quarterback avoiding pressure.
With that said, there is little more deflating to a crowd of 60,000 fans standing and screaming and they see a receiver break free an the quarterback misses him with an overthrow. You can literally hear the air being let out of the stadium. So, Winston must get better. And I think with Jackson it does, but it won’t happen overnight. Getting that timing down will be crucial. The good news is, I don’t know if Winston can throw a ball far enough that Jackson can’t run under. How many receivers has he had in the NFL that we can say that about?
Question: Why not strike a deal now with Mike Evans while Bucs still have $40 mill in cap space?
Answer: The Bucs would love to, but obviously in the middle of free agency, the market is too unstable as prices are still being established. When the 49ers are throwing $16 million to Garcon, and the other free agent receivers are still negotiating deals, it throws the market out of whack a little. Trust me, both sides have a pretty good idea of what it will take to get it done, but neither side wants to just throw their cards on the table just yet. Evans will most likely end up as the top paid receiver in the NFL soon, and my guess would be sometime this summer, perhaps on the eve of training camp in July.
If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes, well a lot of minutes, and read SR’s latest Fab 5. In it he talks specifically about the Bucs and Evans, and what a new deal will most likely look like.
Question: Who do the Bucs target as a backup QB with Glennon gone and Foles in Philadelphia?
Answer: That is a good question. And it may be no one at all. Although, personally, I would love to see the team bring in a veteran presence – and it isn’t necessarily to win games in case Winston goes down. Fact is, if Winston is lost for the season, in all likelihood, the year is over – Raiders fans would agree. But regardless of Winston’s leadership and work ethic, and all of the other intangibles, having someone who has seen it all makes sense to have in the building. Believe it or not, one of the most highly respected players on this team a few years ago was backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky. And it certainly wasn’t for his athletic prowess, but instead his number of years in the league and his understanding of the game.
Is Winston light years ahead of most third-year quarterbacks? You bet. But could it help to have a veteran in the meeting rooms, locker room and even on the sideline during game? I would say yes, without a doubt. Now, with that said, quarterbacks are competitors and they all think they can play and be effective. So finding the right veteran would be imperative. The last thing you need is a backup dividing a locker room the minute Winston goes through a potential slump mid-season. The Bucs don’t need a Chris Chandler, or Casey Weldon situation arising. How would fans feel about Josh McCown? Personally, I thought he was the perfect guy the year Winston was drafted, but obviously the team felt differently.
Question: What do you think of Jason Licht’s strategy of signing bridge free agents, then drafting the same position?
Answer: I don’t know quite yet, I think the jury is still out, but there is a fine line between going total rebuild mode, and also staying competitive. I think a couple scenarios where it looks like great ideas, wast last season with the drafting of Vernon Hargreaves and Noah Spence, while also signing Brent Grimes and Robert Ayers. Licht is as competitive of a front office executive as I have met, however. He hates to lose. He is distraught after a loss. I have seen it first hand multiple times. That is just his nature. And I think that plays into it as well. I think it will work out fine in the long run, but you do bring up and interesting point, and one worth keeping an eye on.
Question: Could/would Bucs use Charles Sims as trade bait to move up a bit to pick a RB in the draft? Is he even worth much?
Answer: I think you kind of answered it in the second half of your question. While we saw two years ago the value of Sims, we also saw the lack of value last season when he was asked to take on a completely different role. Couple that with his injury history, and I don’t see a lot of trade value. I think the Bucs would be wise to keep Sims this season and see if he and whoever the featured back can recapture the magic of 2015, when he and Doug Martin were the NFL’s best running back duo.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
Mark, thanks for answering those questions.
Now to the questions: 1. Brady also throws wobble passes at times deep, but his WR’s go after and fight for the ball. Evans and jackson will do the same. I’d rather have Winston work or his hand oof faking and the swing pass. 2. I think some of the fans have forgotten that much of the left over salary cap money is going for Evans and a couple other players on the team. 3. Ugh McCown can only show him how to lose at this point; that would be an awful choice. How about Josh Johnson? 4. I like Licht’s thinking and we do need not just a starter, but real back up’s at some positions. 5. Sims has been disappointing and the time is coming soon to move on from him. I see no value in a trade for him.
Horse – I know it seems a popular meme here at PR, both writers and commenters, that we need to give a massive pay raise to Mike Evans this year, but point in fact is, we don’t. He’s still on his base 4-year contract, and no need to sign him to a long term contract yet. We can sign him to a long term contract next year and save $10M or $15M this year that we can certainly use, or bank for next year to help pay Mike and also apply to an extension for Jameis.
Mike cannot go anywhere this year or next. Worst case we can exercise our fifth year option on him as a first rounder.
He’ll get paid, and he’ll remain a Buc at least through a second contract.
We should bring in Steve DeBerg to teach James the fake hand off. He was the master.
Is he sober?
Scott-as an older fart I don’t Facebook or tweet, and would love to know if and how I could EMAIL questions for the mailbag.
I’ll submit my current question here:
I see the current BUC WR roster as even weaker than this time last year. 16-VJAX, Murphy, Evans, Humphries, Sheppard. 17-DJAX, Evans, Humphries, Moreno. Injuries devastated the corps last year, but I find it unlikely that there won’t be injuries in 17 too. How likely are the BUCS to sign another WR FA to add quality depth versus just addressing in the draft?
Ditto on the old fart. Can we send it snail mail?
Having DJax is obviously going to improve Jameis’ long ball completion percentage… that’s what DJax does for a living, among other things (he can also go after the shorter passes and make a lot of YAC), and Jameis threw more long balls than other QB in the league last season. With DJax, if anything, Jameis will throw more long balls.
Backup qb is a need, but not a big need. We need an upgrade over what we have now, but it won’t be worth any draft picks in a trade. We have the money to pay a vet well, if one becomes available. Or maybe we use a Day 3 pick in the draft and work on developing him, now that Jameis has a couple of years of league experience under his belt.
Too many bad feelings with Lovie bringing in McCown to usurp Glennon after what Glennon did as a rookie for McCown to be worth a return visit. That said, we definitely need to upgrade at backup QB as I have zero confidence in Griffin or Renfree to be able to hold the fort down for even a week, never mind an extended period. Does the team have any interest in Ryan Fitzpatrick?
Fitzpatrick could be a great choice for a vet backup.
Any concern that Fitz, who by his hold-out and salary demands last season may have a rather inflated opinion of himself, would be less than totally willing to settle into a role as Jameis’ back-up?
I have to echo Naplesfan on this one, there is no rush to re-sign Mike Evans. If Mike Evans wants to be paid top dollar then what is the rush to add that type of number to our books. Unless he is willing to sign at somewhat of a discount I dont see the incentive to re-sign a player already under contract AND make him the highest paid player at his position, just seems like foolish spending. Any word if the Bucs have kicked the tires on Mychael Kendricks? Eagles reportedly would move him for a late round pick which isnt bad for a guy that would upgrade our SLB position and could slide over to play MLB or WLB in the event of injury.
The benefit of extending Evans before training camp is that you avoid whatever crazy market OBJ is going to set in 2018. Say Mike has another season like 2016 (1,300 yards. 10+ TD’s. 90+ catches) or better, his agent is going to want him to get highest salary. By extending him early, we might save $2-$3 million a season. Somewhere in the $15-$17M range, compared to $19-$21M OBJ probably sets. The cap crunch is going to come in 2 years with Jameis ($20-$22M per) Kwon ($12M per) Marpet ($11M per) The cap will be higher, but so will the salaries. If we can’t extend Mike in the $15-$16M range, then it’s a no go. There are points for both arguments and I trust Greenberg & Licht will handle it correctly.
Your last point is correct and determinative. Licht will figure it out and do the best thing for the long term.
Yeah, it’s just fan projection of what we think is best. Licht & Greenberg’s cap system is really good and they’re smart about it. It’ll be interesting to see how they manage 2-3 mega contracts on the books in 2019.
As a matter of fact some of us old farts are so old that Pewter Report was still a “rag” publication when we first subscribed.
By “rag” I refer to it being a paper publication not the content. While the quality of the articles,especially insider news, has gotten better over the years I was very happy with PR as a fan even back then.
I see PR entering a “golden age” of its life just as I see the Bucs returning to Superbowl contention in the not so distant future.
Ditto, loved my paperback PR back in the day, and the draft editions for the time were awesome. Old farts rule!
I go all the way back to when it was It’s Sports Magazine. Won a pick the Bucs roster contest.
When extending Mike early has come up in past PR pieces, I’ve asked this question to whoever could answer it, and I’ve always heard crickets in reply – what is the purpose of extending a player early if you’re not getting something of a discount in doing so? There is literally no reason for the TEAM to make Mike the highest paid WR in the NFL two full years before he could even hit free agency. In a situation like that, we have ALL of the leverage. You’re not supposed to pay full market rate for a guy when that market is two years away. So much can happen in two years – Mike could get seriously hurt, he could decline for effort reasons, whatever. If you pay him early, then you have to be compensated as a team for taking on the big risk that comes with that move.
If Mike isn’t interested in a deal like that, that’s fine. Then we can pick up his option, and he can take on all of the long term risk by playing this season under his relatively very low paying contract. That’s obviously his prerogative. But as an organization, you can’t let guys have their cake and eat it too. If you’re going to get your big deal early, then it can’t also be for the absolute maximum you could get. It’s one, or the other. If Mike wants to hold out for something like $17M+ per year, that’s fine. But you make him keep earning it, keep staying healthy, etc. We can easily pick up his 5th year option this year, have him play this season, and then we can do this dance next offseason when there’s a bit more urgency, and the same deal he would have happily taken this year will be his best possible outcome next year.
If he’s happy to be sensible, get some BIG long term security, and sign a deal at a slightly lower rate now, then sure, you can justify that as a team. Give him a bit more than Julio’s $14.25M per, maybe with a bit more in guarantees. Julio got $35M guaranteed. Give Mike more than two full seasons guaranteed, i.e. $40M or so. That’s still an objectively EXCELLENT deal for him, albeit at a rate lower than he might get in a couple years, assuming he keeps playing great AND stays healthy. And it makes sense for both sides to do that deal early – him for the locked in security, us for the long term savings on per year averages.
If it’s not something like that, then we have NO reason to give him a crazy monster deal right this moment.
I’m for paying any player what he’s worth as compared to the ever-changing market value. In Mike’s case he has certainly been worth his original contract. Especially when compared to his Draft classmates.
Isn’t it better for team (company) morale when the boss gives you a little bump without being asked? Isn’t it better for team (company) morale if when a new player (employee) is hired at the current market value the long time contributor to a team’s (company’s) success is also rewarded?
These guys are no different than many of us. They too can see the disparity when a mediocre player is earning more than a star. Mike is already a star. He needs to be paid like one. He deserves it.
Can we stop talking about Pierre Garcon’s deal as some albatross? The media inexplicably reported the details of his contract very oddly. It doesn’t matter if he gets $16M cash in the first year of the deal. $12M of that is a very standard signing bonus. His per year average is $9.5M, with $17M out of a possible total of $47.5M guaranteed, which is perfectly reasonable for him. His deal doesn’t disrupt the normal market for WRs at all.
As for our backup QB, I would love to bring McCown in. He’s the consummate veteran professional, great for the locker room, works just as hard as the starter most of the time. I want my backup to be able to fill in over a 4 to 6 game stretch and help the team win half of those games, a feat McCown is very capable of accomplishing. He’s also likely to be prett cheap, which is nice as well.
for those old farts lol, submit the question on the Red Board and just title it, for the Monday Mailbag, or private message me here. Thanks!
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