After the Bucs ended a five-year streak of last-place finishes in the NFC South with a 9-7 record and a second place finish in the division in Dirk Koetter’s first season as head coach in Tampa Bay, the team was right back in the cellar in 2017. Expectations were high coming into the 2017 campaign on the heels of being featured on Hard Knocks and the 5-11 record the team produced was incredibly disappointing.

Now that has dished out its awards for the 2017 Buccaneers MVPs, Rookie of the Year and Assistant Coach of the Year, it’s time to hand out some more player awards. Before we move on from the dismal 2017 campaign and look ahead to 2018, reviews the individual efforts from the Buccaneers’ performances in its 2017 Pewter Player Awards.

This year’s 2017 Pewter Player Awards are presented by Bespoke and Co., the official custom clothier of Bespoke and Co. is located at 3305 W. Bay To Bay Blvd. in Tampa. David Kahn and his team of professional clothiers offer everything from custom-fit suits, shirts, slacks and shoes for the business professional to custom-fit jeans. Several Tampa Bay players use Bespoke and Co. for their game-day attire. To schedule measurements and a custom fitting with Bespoke and Co., call Kahn at (813) 857-7876 or visit their website

RB Peyton Barber

It was easy to pick Barber as the Most Improved Offensive Player in Tampa Bay this year because of the regression all over the place on offense from quarterback Jameis Winston to wide receiver Mike Evans to tight end Cameron Brate and all along the offensive line. Barber, an undrafted free agent in 2016, rushed for 223 yards and a touchdown as a rookie, in addition to catching five passes for 28 yards. This season he proved to be the best back on the Bucs’ roster and led Tampa Bay in rushing with a career-high 423 yards and three touchdowns on 108 carries (3.9 avg.). Barber also posted the Bucs’ lone 100-yard rushing effort of the year, which came at Green Bay in an overtime loss.
2016 TE Cam Brate
2015 RB Doug Martin
2014 TE Luke Stocker
2013 RT Demar Dotson
2012 WR Mike Williams
2011 WR Dezmon Briscoe
2010 WR Micheal Spurlock
2009 WR Maurice Stovall
2008 TE Jerramy Stevens
2007 RB Earnest Graham
2006 No Buccaneer was deemed worthy
2005 QB Chris Simms
2004 RB Michael Pittman
2003 WR Charles Lee
2002 RB Michael Pittman
2001 LT Kenyatta Walker
2000 OT Jerry Wunsch
1999 WR Jacquez Green
1998 WR Reidel Anthony
1997 QB Trent Dilfer
1996* TE Dave Moore

LB Lavonte David

Not only is David the 2017 Buccaneers MVP, he’s also the Most Improved Defensive Player this year. Part of the reason is because David upped his tackle total from 87 in 2016 to 101 last year despite missing three games. David also forced a career-high five fumbles and recovered five fumbles. But, the outside reason why David gets this award is because nobody else improved on Tampa Bay’s defense, which is damning, but true. The Bucs defense really regressed in 2017.
2016 S Keith Tandy
2015 DE Will Gholston
2014 LB Danny Lansanah
2013 DT Gerald McCoy
2012 DT Gerald McCoy
2011 DE Michael Bennett
2010 CB E.J. Biggers
2009 LB Geno Hayes
2008 SS Sabby Piscitelli
2007 SS Jermaine Phillips
2006 CB Phillip Buchanon
2005 FS Will Allen
2004 DE Dewayne White
2003 LB Ryan Nece
2002 CB Brian Kelly
2001 DE Simeon Rice
2000 LB Jamie Duncan
1999 DE Marcus Jones
1998 CB Ronde Barber
1997 DE Chidi Ahanotu
1996* DT Warren Sapp

RB Doug Martin

Bucs RB Doug Martin - Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Bucs RB Doug Martin –
Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Unfortunately for the Bucs, Martin gets this distinction for the second year in a row. After signing a five-year, $35.75-million contract in the 2016 offseason, Martin has been a huge disappointment with back-to-back years of less than 500 yards rushing. In fact, outside of his Pro Bowl season in 2014 when he was the second-leading rusher in the NFL, Martin has had four sub-500-yard seasons in the last five years. With Martin scheduled to make $6.75 million next year, his time is likely up in Tampa Bay as the lack of a consistent ground game has plagued the Bucs for years.
2016 RB Doug Martin
2015 TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
2014 LT Anthony Collins
2013 QB Josh Freeman
2012 RB LeGarrette Blount
2011 QB Josh Freeman
2010 WR Sammie Stroughter
2009 WR Michael Clayton
2008 WR Dexter Jackson
2007 QB Bruce Gradkowski
2006 RB Cadillac Williams
2005* WR Michael Clayton

CB Vernon Hargreaves III

Hargreaves had plenty of competition for this distinction from the likes of defensive ends Robert Ayers, Jr., Will Gholston and defensive tackle Chris Baker among others. But, Hargreaves was the most targeted cornerback in the NFL during his rookie season and gave up more yards than any cornerback in the league in 2016. Hargreaves needed a confidence boost in 2017 and seemed to get that in training camp and the preseason, but it was short-lived. Hargreaves lost his starting job and was moved inside to nickel cornerback where his play slightly improved until an injured hamstring cost him the last seven games of the season. The bottom line is that Hargreaves was the 11th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and he has just one interception in his first 25 games in the league, which is very disappointing.
2016 CB Alterraun Verner
2015 CB Johnthan Banks
2014 CB Alterraun Verner
2013 DE Da’Quan Bowers
2012 CB Aqib Talib
2011 SS Sean Jones
2010 DE Kyle Moore
2009 DT Chris Hovan
2008 DT Jovan Haye
2007 DE Greg Spires
2006* FS Will Allen

WR DeSean Jackson

Jackson came to the Bucs with dreams of him catching deep passes for touchdowns from quarterback Jameis Winston. But Winston and Jackson never developed the deep ball chemistry that allowed them to connect on those long TD passes. That’s not Jackson’s fault. The 31-year old speedster did his job by getting open. But the fact that Jackson had just 50 catches for 668 yards and three touchdowns was a little underwhelming, especially for a player that made $12.5 million last year. Yet he was the Bucs’ Best Free Agent Acquisition, and both he and the team are looking for a better 2018 season.
2016 CB Brent Grimes
2015 C Joe Hawley
2014 DT Clinton McDonald
2013 CB Darrelle Revis
2012 WR Vincent Jackson
2011 P Michael Koenen
2010 SS Sean Jones
2009 K Connor Barth
2008 C Jeff Faine
2007 FB B.J. Askew
2006* DT Jovan Haye

LB Kendell Beckwith

Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

While tight end O.J. Howard won’s Rookie of the Year, Beckwith, a fellow rookie, is the Newcomer of the Year after a solid season with 73 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Beckwith played so well at both middle linebacker and strongside linebacker that defensive coordinator Mike Smith went to a 3-4 front and a 3-3-5 scheme to keep the rookie from LSU on the field. That’s how impressive he was.
2016 Robert Ayers, Jr.
2015 MLB Kwon Alexander
2014 DE Jacquies Smith
2013 CB Darrelle Revis
2012 RB Doug Martin
2011 MLB Mason Foster
2010 RB LeGarrette Blount
2009 TE Kellen Winslow
2008 DE Jimmy Wilkerson
2007 LG Arron Sears
2006 RT Jeremy Trueblood
2005 DT Chris Hovan
2004 QB Brian Griese
2003* RB Thomas Jones

DT Clinton McDonald

McDonald was supposed to be relegated to the bench with the arrival of Baker via free agency, but that didn’t happen. McDonald out-worked Baker in training camp and the preseason and had 29 tackles and five sacks, whereas Baker had 33 tackles and half a sack and was less effective as a pass rusher. McDonald was also named the Bucs’ Man of the Year award winner for his community service endeavors and is well respected among his teammates.
2016 RB Jacquizz Rodgers
2015 RB Charles Sims
2014 CB Johnthan Banks
2013 DT Akeem Spence
2012 DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim
2011 WR Preston Parker
2010 C Jeremy Zuttah
2009 CB Aqib Talib
2008 LB Derrick Brooks
2007 LT Donald Penn
2006 LB Shelton Quarles
2005 K Matt Bryant
2004 LB Ian Gold
2003 C John Wade
2002 LB Shelton Quarles
2001 FB Jameel Cook
2000 LS Morris Unutoa
1999 DT Brad Culpepper
1998 DT Brad Culpepper
1997 C Tony Mayberry
1996* P Tommy Barnhardt

DT Gerald McCoy

Despite the negativity that surrounded the Bucs’ dismal 2017 campaign, McCoy stayed positive throughout the season and showed good leadership in the locker room and on the field. When he suffered a torn biceps in Tampa Bay’s 24-21 loss to Detroit, McCoy vowed to get back on the field with just three games remaining. After missing the Bucs’ Monday Night Football game against Atlanta, McCoy returned the next week and sacked Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, pointing to his torn biceps muscle as he headed to the bench after his big play on third down.
2016 Jameis Winston
2015 QB Jameis Winston
2014 LB Danny Lansanah
2013 RG Davin Joseph
2012 DE Michael Bennett
2011 DT Brian Price
2010 LB Adam Hayward
2009 RB Cadillac Williams
2008 K Matt Bryant
2007 DT Jovan Haye
2006 QB Tim Rattay
2005* FB Mike Alstott

DT Chris Baker

Bucs DT Chris Baker - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs DT Chris Baker – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Baker was signed to three-year, $15.75 million contract in order to beef up the defensive tackle position in Tampa Bay. With less than 40 tackles and just half a sack, Baker underwhelmed, disappointed and didn’t come close to earning the $6 million he made in 2017. Baker came to Tampa Bay with a reputation for being lazy and not liking practice, and unfortunately for the Buccaneers he lived up to that reputation. With only his 2017 salary guaranteed, Tampa Bay could cut Baker this offseason and not have any cap penalty.
2016 K Roberto Aguayo
2015 DE George Johnson
2014 DE Michael Johnson
2013 LT Donald Penn
2012 CB Eric Wright
2011 LB Geno Hayes
2010 RT Jeremy Trueblood
2009 RB Derrick Ward
2008 QB Jeff Garcia
2007 DE Patrick Chukwurah
2006 WR Michael Clayton
2005 DT Anthony McFarland
2004 K Martin Gramatica
2003 DT Warren Sapp
2002 QB Rob Johnson
2001 DT Warren Sapp
2000 DE Chidi Ahanotu
1999 WR Reidel Anthony
1998* QB Trent Dilfer

WR Adam Humphries

Day after day, win or lose, Humphries makes himself readily available to the media for the open locker room sessions during the week and also on game days. Always in the mood to talk, Humphries will offer his opinions on any subject and is extremely media-friendly. The third-year wide receiver is a go-to guy for quotes for and other media outlets, and to that we are grateful for Humphries for his time in always accommodating our requests.
2016 WR Mike Evans
2015 C Joe Hawley
2014 OT Demar Dotson
2013 DT Gerald McCoy
2012 DT Roy Miller
2011 RG Davin Joseph
2010 DT Gerald McCoy
2009 DE Jimmy Wilkerson
2008 DE Stylez G. White
2007 QB Luke McCown
2006 DT Chris Hovan
2005 CB Ronde Barber
2004 SS Dwight Smith
2003 OT Kenyatta Walker
2002 LT Lomas Brown
2001 WR Keyshawn Johnson
2000 RB Warrick Dunn
1999 SS John Lynch
1998* SS John Lynch

*Indicates the first year that the award was given by (formerly known as Buccaneer Magazine and in the 1990s)

Jameis Winston’s 39-yard TD pass to Chris Godwin vs. New Orleans

Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

The Bucs’ best play of the year came on the final offensive play of the year as Winston threw caution to the wind and heaved a deep pass to Godwin, who was streaking down the right sidelines in single coverage. With Tampa Bay trailing New Orleans, 24-23 with nine seconds left, the safe call would have been to throw a short pass to tight end Cameron Brate near the sidelines to set up a potential game-winning field goal. But Winston liked the match-up and threw a perfect pass to Godwin, who had a step on the Saints defender. He caught the ball at the New Orleans’ 2-yard line and was tackled in the end zone for a dramatic, come-from-behind victory to end Tampa Bay’s disappointing 2017 season on a high note. Had Godwin been tackled in bounds the game would have been over, as the Bucs didn’t have a timeout left. It was a gutsy throw by Winston and the rookie receiver rewarded his quarterback with an amazing play, which happened to be Godwin’s first NFL touchdown.


As the Bucs stand right now with the same coaching staff, same systems and without the benefit of new personnel via free agency and the NFL Draft just yet, it’s hard to see Tampa Bay posting a winning record in 2018. While some fans may hope for a “bounce back year” for the Buccaneers this season, the belief here is that Tampa Bay had a good deal of fortune in posting nine wins the previous season. The reality is that the Bucs overachieved in 2016 with a 9-7 record and underachieved in 2017 when the team mustered only a 5-11 mark.

The Bucs need to add more talent at running back, cornerback and on the offensive and defensive lines. Playing in the rugged NFC South where Tampa Bay was the only non-playoff team won’t help the Bucs next year, nor will playing strong NFC East teams like Philadelphia and Dallas, and AFC North powers like Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

The Bucs will be a better team next year, but how much depends on the right moves in free agency and the draft, as well as overall improvement on both sides of the ball. And Winston’s possible suspension from the NFL over an alleged groping incident could prove to be a disastrous start to 2018. We at are done (over)hyping this team year after year, predicting breakthrough seasons that never materialize. We’ll finally believe the Bucs will field a playoff team – after they actually make the postseason, which won’t be next year.

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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 Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for 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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Pete Wood
Pete Wood
4 years ago

Perhaps this would have been a good year not to give an award for best free agent acquisition.
I think you are low-balling the Bucs with the 6-10 prediction. And, after all the hype last year, I can’t blame you.

Reply to  Pete Wood
4 years ago

Can we just admit that Jason Licht deserves a big fat F when it comes to Free Agency in his career? Most Disappointing Player Offense: 2014 LT Anthony Collins (9 mil), 2015 RB Doug Martin (7.8 mil) 2016 RB Doug Martin (5.8 mil) Most Disappointing Player Defense: 2014 Alterraun Verner (8.25 mil), 2016 Alterraun Verner (6.75 mil) Most Overrated Player: 2014 DE Michael Johnson(16 mil), 2015 DE George Johnson (3 mil), 2017 Chris Baker (5.25 mil) The above include the amount of money paid out to those players for each year of service. If you’re wondering why Michael Johnson has… Read more »

4 years ago

Definitely debatable with some of the choices. As to the 6-10 2018, I see us going to the playoffs if we spend the top two draft picks on defensive ends.

Pete Wood
Pete Wood
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

I agree, if we get a stop gap RB in FA.

Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

DE’s often do not have a storied history of production as rookies. Rarely are you going to get a player who approaches 10 sacks as a first year player. Khalil Mack had 4 sacks as a rookie, Chandler Jones 6, Calais Cambell 0, Everson Griffin 0, Bruce Smith (all-time sack leader) had 6.5, Kevin Greene (3rd all-time) 0, Chris Doleman (5th) .5 sack, Michael Strahan (6th) had 1, Jason Taylor (7th) 5 sacks. You have a much better shot getting immediate production from a free agent or trade like Calais Campbell, Simeon Rice, Chandler Jones. Julius Peppers. But given the… Read more »

4 years ago

Agreed with most of the other comments here already. Just as a 12-4 kind of prediction was way overhype this year, a 6-10 prediction is way underhype for next year.

I don’t even care about Option A and Option B or any of that, as long as they just do the basics 10-6 is probable. Book it.

Otherwise, this list is pretty good!

Reply to  JustaBuc
4 years ago

If they just do the basics 10-6 is probable? You realize there are other teams in the NFL right? This is like when everyone was assured that the 3-player Mark Dominik triumvirate of Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Doug Martin would be the cornerstone of a winning franchise for years to come. Newsflash, there are 22 players on the field at any one time. There are also 31 other teams in the NFL. Just because you like a player here or there or some rookie played well doesn’t mean that future HOFers that play the Bucs or top 10 offenses/defenses… Read more »

Reply to  Devasher
4 years ago

McCoy and David ARE kind of important still you know and it’s not like we don’t have other major contributors on the team besides those two. Watch the games we had this year, especially in the middle of our losing slides. We’re competing with teams that made it into the playoffs this year despite massive holes in the roster due to either injuries or a lack of talent at particular spots. We went from -20 vs Saints to +7 with injuries and ultimately nothing to play for. Saints played their 1s. We went from -14 vs Panthers and Falcons to… Read more »

Reply to  JustaBuc
4 years ago

So if the Bucs who scored 20.9 PPG putting them at 19th in the NFL in total scoring merely add 4 little points every game, which would literally vault them to a top 10 offense (9th) in line with Pittsburgh’s 25.4, then they win a lot more games? Why, I think you cracked the code Justabuc! The Bucs just need to be a significantly better football team, top 10 in scoring offense and they’ll be a good team. You’ve convinced me! If only we could all take ourselves from being slightly below average at something to the top third, we… Read more »

Reply to  Devasher
4 years ago

I apologize by being vague, but I was talking about point differential rather than just ppg. The difference is that the former includes defensive performance. For example, 1 TD turning into a FG on defense would be a -4 to the opposing team in point differential.

I can totally see why you thought that and while it would be super nice to be a top 10 defense, I’m thinking more of a moderate increase in offense, defense and special teams that either increase our points or decrease the opposing team’s points.

4 years ago

6-10 maybe, because of the killer division, but if Smitty can turn the D around, the Bucs should be pushing for a wild card spot.

4 years ago

The Bucs need an identity, wait, a better identity.

Right now, their identity is that of a team that can be dangerous. Dangerous on offense. Dangerous on defense. Dangerous to good teams, dangerous to bad teams, and just as often, dangerous to themselves.

Unpredicatably dangerous.