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The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic each week that involves the Bucs.

This week’s topic: Most Important Free Agent For Bucs To Re-Sign

Scott Reynolds: Believe It Or Not – It’s Succop

Is Ryan Succop the most important Bucs free agent-to-be this offseason? In some regards, yes. While I laid out the argument for Tampa Bay using the franchise tag on slot receiver Chris Godwin in my SR’s Fab 5 column on Friday (it saves the Bucs about $4 million), and making an attempt to re-sign inside linebacker Lavonte David and outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett makes a lot of sense, keeping Succop is of the utmost importance for a franchise that has absolutely sucked – pun intended – at the kicker position for a decade.

Bucs K Ryan Succop

Bucs K Ryan Succop – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

It’s no coincidence that the Bucs won Super Bowl LV in a season in which the team had its best kicker in franchise history, and that’s exactly what Succop was – connecting on 90.3 percent of his field goals (28-of-31) and 91.2 percent of his extra points (52-of-57). And Succop had three kicks blocked in his first season in Tampa Bay, which was no fault of his own. So those percentages could – and should – be higher. Yes, Tom Brady coming to the Bucs played a huge role in the team going to and winning the Super Bowl. But the fact that Succop broke the team’s single-season record for most points scored with 136 was also a huge factor. I’m not sure the Bucs win 11 games in the regular season or all four postseason games with a 75 percent kicker last year.

The 34-year old Succop was a great addition by general manager Jason Licht, who tried all avenues (in vain) since 2014 to solidify the Bucs’ kicking situation. Licht tried signing some high-profile free agents in Nick Folk and Chandler Catanzaro, drafted two kickers in Roberto Aguayo and Matt Gay, traded for a kicker in Kyle Brindza and signed a couple of in-season replacements in Pat Murray and Cairo Santos. None were even close to as good as Succop. Don’t let that guy go. By the way, Succop has never missed in the postseason, going 13-of-13 in eight career playoff games, including four last season in Tampa Bay. That’s the guy I want as my kicker if I’m Licht and head coach Bruce Arians. Succop signed a one-year, $1,050,000 deal last year. He deserves to be re-signed to a three-year, $12 million deal as a thank you for a job well done in my opinion.

Mark Cook: Keeping Godwin Vital To Continued Offensive Success

Everyone here has made some good choices and arguments in terms of who and why they think is most important. But for me it has to be wide receiver Chris Godwin. The Buccaneers averaged over 30 points in their last seven games, which by the way all happened to be win. So disrupting that cog in the wheel would be foolish. If you can put up over 30 points a game, you aren’t going to lose very often as we saw this past season.

And while Godwin didn’t have his best statistical season, he was vital in the success of the offense. It isn’t just receptions that defines why Godwin is important, it is the little things that often goes unnoticed that helps this offense hum. Head coach Bruce Arians mentioned it last week, saying, “When you look at what he does as an outside receiver and a slot receiver, he’s so unique in that regard, and then you put the blocking in there. He’s a huge part of what we do offensively. It’s more than stats. It’s also what the guy brings to the huddle.”

Bucs WR Chris Godwin

Bucs WR Chris Godwin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

And another reason why brining Godwin back makes the most sense is the fact he is just 24 years old. Read that again, 24 years old. Godwin, despite having a 1,300 season already on his resumé, still has room to get better. And the Bucs should find a way to do it long term this offseason, if not Godwin might reset the receiver market through the NFL as a free agent. He is the youngest or the team’s 2021 free agents and out of everyone, still has them most upside. Tampa Bay wants everyone back, but they need Godwin back the most.

Jon Ledyard: Losing Barrett Would Hurt Bucs’ Chances The Most

I don’t think there’s a wrong answer to this question out of the Bucs’ big three free agents, but to me outside linebacker Shaq Barrett is the hardest to replace if he’s gone. There’s nothing on the roster behind him, Jason Pierre-Paul is aging and has a significant injury history, and if the Bucs wanted to replace Barrett in free agency, they’d probably have a hard time doing that for less than what the veteran edge rusher is going to make in free agency.

Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett

Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Tampa Bay just won a Super Bowl in large part because of its pass rush, a unit that featured several good players, but of which Barrett has been the best and most consistent each of the past two years. After your offensive passing game, I would argue a defense’s ability to stop the pass is the next most important thing about your team, and for Todd Bowles’ unit a huge part of that is always going to be pass rush. Yes, he loves to blitz, but we saw this season how often he needed to get home with four, including against Kansas City in the Super Bowl.

Barrett isn’t a top 10 edge defender in the NFL, but he’s probably in the next tier, and he’s as steady as they come. There’s a lot to be said for knowing the character and work ethic of the guy you’re going to war with in another Super Bowl or bust season. If the Bucs lost wide receiver Chris Godwin or linebacker Lavonte David it would sting significantly, but Tampa Bay’s receiver room is talented enough to find a way to stay productive, especially with Tom Brady at quarterback. And Devin White looks ready to break out in year three. With JPP entering the last year of his contract and the Bucs yet to find any promising developmental players at outside linebacker, bringing back Barrett is critical to the team’s 2021 success.

Matt Matera: David Is Overlooked Nationally, Don’t Make The Same Mistake Locally

It’s been often said that Lavonte David is the most underrated and under-appreciated linebacker in football. Now that Tampa Bay has won the Super Bowl, David finally enjoyed the fruits of his labor as the longest tenured Buc, and he played quite well during the postseason to earn the title. While David had another solid year again recording 117 tackles, the most important reason to bring him back is that he means so much more to this team than you can see with just numbers.

Bucs LB Lavonte David

Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: USA Today

The 31-year old David has been the heart and soul of Tampa Bay’s defense for years. He’s a leader who is looked up to by his teammates because he helps everyone get the best out of themselves, whether by words of encouragement or breaking down defensive assignments. He’s not a rah-rah guy like Devin White, but he leads by example and that’s resonated in the locker room. David brings a continuity to this defense that helped them play so well down the stretch and you won’t have that same type of fluidity next season if he’s not around. I understand there are many variables when it comes to re-signing a player, but David’s accountability has to be recognized.

Another important factor that David brings is the impact he’s had on White in two seasons. He’s been a great mentor to the eventual Pro Bowl linebacker to help him get better each year. Does White develop into as talented of a player that he is already if it wasn’t for David? I sure don’t, and neither does Bucs’ general manager Jason Licht. “I don’t know if Devin would be the kind of player he’s evolving into without Lavonte,” Licht said on Wednesday. You can’t just look at what David’s done on the field. It expands much further than that.

Taylor Jenkins: Barrett Is A Must-Have For Tampa Bay

After a miraculous season in which outside linebacker Shaq Barrett racked up a franchise record-setting and league-leading 19.5 sacks on a one-year prove-it deal in 2019, the veteran pass-rusher turned in another solid year for the Bucs’ in 2020 en route to a Super Bowl Championship, even if he wasn’t able to recreate the magic of his first campaign in red and pewter. I think it’s easy to say that the 2020 version of Barrett is a far better representation of what he is as a player than the 2019 version. It’s unlikely to think that Barrett will consistently be the other-worldly edge threat that he was in 2019, but he’s a hard worker and an above average producer at a vital position that’s becoming harder and harder to find a cornerstone.

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: USA Today

In Todd Bowles’ defense pressure is everything and Barrett gives you that with consistency, especially with Vita Vea in the lineup. Barrett’s 77 total quarterback pressures this season ranked second in the NFL, trailing only the defensive player of the year Aaron Donald per Pro Football Focus. That’s in addition to hiss eight sacks and thirteen tackles for loss. But Barrett’s talent and production is just one facet of his signing being among – if not the – Bucs’ top priority when trying to bring back their impending free agents. Losing Barrett would become an especially tough pill for the Bucs to swallow because now the focus would become trying to find his replacement. Tampa Bay has little-to-no depth at edge rusher behind Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul as backups Cam Gill, Pat O’Connor and Anthony Nelson combined for just 17 tackles, two sacks, 12 hurries and six quarterback hits in limited playing time this season, and none of them are an ideal starter. Then they could look to the draft, but incoming rookies are always a gamble and with the 32nd pick the Bucs wouldn’t exactly be getting their pick of the litter. And when it comes to the free agent market, productive edge rushers are a highly-valued – and highly, highly paid – commodity.

So while the Bucs seem to be odds-on favorites to keep Rob Gronkowski and Lavonte David and Ryan Succop and Chris Godwin would be crucial departures if they ultimately walk out the door, the Bucs are in win-now mode and Barrett would prove the hardest to replace for Tampa Bay heading into next season.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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Captain Sly
6 months ago

Really a “kicker”! How about we look at this as if we were picking from the playground. I’m taking the playmaker in crunch time and that’s Shaq Barrett. Nothing against Godwin but I got Evans already and I don’t need someone dropping Passes from my Superstar quarterback in the Big Game. Even more if you twist my arm enough I might take Ryan Succop over Chris Godwin in Clutch Time. Scott rubbing off on me Cheers!

Pete Wood
Reply to  Captain Sly
6 months ago

Yep, really, a kicker. Aside from Winston’s turnovers, it’s difficult for me to think of any one position that has cost us more games than our string of below average kickers over the last ten years. Keep Succop happy. That guy is gold.

Dave
Reply to  Captain Sly
6 months ago

Dude had one bad game, as far as drops are concerned, and that’s now. literally, all everyone thinks about when it comes to Godwin. Yet since 2018, Godwin has 7 drops on 240 targets in the regular season. Evans has 18 drops. So if Evans had a big drop in the SB, would you say “we can’t have someone dropping passes in big games”, we have Godwin, we don’t need Evans anymore? Because something tells me you wouldn’t hold him to the same standard. Godwin is top 10 in the NFL since he entered the league, in drop percentage. Just… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Dave
Dman
6 months ago

How great was it not losing games because of kickers, so agree with resigning Succop. Levante for the right price and Godwin at 24 make the most sense. I’d like to bring back Barrett, but “breaking the bank” doesn’t excite me, especially since he disappeared without Vita Vea. The D line will be tough – older, talent on the down slope, money. There may be more action on figuring this out in trades, FA signings and the draft.

Madman
6 months ago

Shaq and LVD are crucial. I love Godwin but Brady will lure another stud WR here for low money. Suh is also key but I think he’ll stay for less. He’s never been happier.

twspin
6 months ago

Hella takes from all the Pewter Report writers here. I like them all. But the reality is we cannot/will not keep everybody. Players deservedly want to get paid. Nobody blames them. There will be some tough calls. Succop is a keeper for sure. We went thru a lot of woes to find a kicker. Keep him. I got Godwin being franchised for the year. I think David stays. Barret might..get an offer elsewhere he cannot refuse. Money talks. But we need to keep him. Can’t wait to see how this all pans out. I got at least 3 leaving from… Read more »

Tyler21
6 months ago

Easy, lavonte david, then shaq or godwin

SaskBucs
6 months ago

It’s really hard to choose. Hopefully the Bucs can keep their main 6 guys somehow. How much does the individual player impact team success and how easy is it to replace that players production. Succop would rank high. He scores a lot of points and highly impacts team psyche. We know he is not easy to replace. My personal prioritized list right now and it seems to change weekly is… -David (wanting him to be a Buc for life is the main reason and not a good one for winning football games) -Godwin -Succop -Barrett -Suh -Gronk I hate that… Read more »

JayBuc52
6 months ago

Let’s not forget what happened when we let Michael Bennett walk. Our defense was awful for years and he went on to win a SuperBowl and be one of the most productive Defensive ends for years. All of the players mentioned are worthy to re-sign, Barrett is the one we just can’t afford to lose. Like Arians said, “we’ll score enough points on offense”. He knows that the main difference was the defense and being able to pressure opposing quarterbacks and make them feel uncomfortable in the pocket. With Vea , JPP, and hopefully Suh, Barrett can’t be double teamed… Read more »

skyrider
6 months ago

Lavonte David is leader of defense, this will be his last contract and he should be a Buc lifer, goes into ROH. I would definitely keep. I love Godwin but Receivers are a dime a dozen, and you can continue to groom and draft those guys. Barrett would be a nice keeper if he doesn’t want over the top money, problem with Barrett is he did disappear when Veta was gone and re-emerged upon his return.

bucballer
6 months ago

Ideally, you’d like to keep them all! I think Defense takes precedence over Offense. But, u can’t break the bank for one player when ur needs r many. I’m glad I’m not Licht. The choices r hard. But, I think the saving grace for this Bucs team is Brady and the Brady effect. I think there will be no shortage of players, veteran players who haven’t won a ring, who would be willing to accept reasonable salaries for a shot at a ring. Brady can make average players look more than average. U can truly make an argument to keep… Read more »

Mike Pengelly
6 months ago

I agree with Skyrider…defence wins the big ones. Godwin, while I love him and Brady raves about his hands and Arians raves about his blocking, can be replaced more cheaply thru the draft or free agency. Must haves IMO are Gronk, Succup, David, Suh & Barrett. AB, Fournette and Godwin are gone. Keeping Barrett is quite possibly a one season decision but our window is short so let’s let the D and TB bring Lombardi home in 2021. It is REALLY hard to repeat but we can do it. As an aside, don’t like what I’m hearing about Wilson playing… Read more »

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  Mike Pengelly
6 months ago

Wilson isn’t going anywhere, least of all New Orleans. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over that one.

Theydidwhat
6 months ago

All are important pieces to the teams performance, leadership, chemistry and continuity. I think they will all be back for at least a year unless Barrett wants $20 mil/year. The front office is working hard to get these deals done before legal tampering begins. I think Gronk and Suh want to be Bucs. The market will dictate value for others like Fournette and Brown.

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  Theydidwhat
6 months ago

If you don’t think Barrett’s getting $20mil a year, you’re fooling yourself. Recent comps: 2019 Frank Clark – 5/104 with 62 guaranteed 2019 D. Lawrence – 5/105 with 65 guaranteed 2019 K. Mack – 6/141 with 90 guaranteed 2020 M. Garrett – 5/125 with 100 guaranteed 2020 J. Bosa – 5/135 with 102 guaranteed Barrett is certainly comparable to Clark and Lawrence. While Barrett isn’t in the same class as the top 3 free agents tend to get paid as if they are so I would consider $20mil/year with 60 guaranteed to be the floor to begin negotiations. Hopefully I… Read more »

jiggyjoe
6 months ago

Pay Succop. One less problem down the road. He is worth a least one W and maybe more.

Eddie
6 months ago

Among the Bucs Veterans one offered to give up some of his earning to keep the band together; one said he want to ‘break the bank’, another one said ‘I want to get paid to take care of my family’. Such different mindset.

drdneast
6 months ago

Ledyard thinks JPP has a significant injury history and he probably does, but none of those injuries came on the field during a game rather they happened in the off season due to the antics of JPP. If the Bucs could find a way to bubble wrap or put him in cold storage from February to August he would be fine. Both Ledyard and Matera name Barrett and I like him too but not if he thinks 20 million is what he should be paid. It seems Barrett’s game finally kicked in when Vita Vea returned which forced the QB’s… Read more »

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  drdneast
6 months ago

Good point about not standing pat and getting other hungry players. The best way to stay relevant is to objectively look at your team and only pay for future performance, not past. So while it seems that Shaq would be the most important piece to keep, I feel he is likely to get paid as an all-pro edge ($20mil/year) when he is unlikely to produce at that level. Of the big free agents Godwin would look the most replaceable but he is also the most likely to produce at his contract level. David is a tough call because he is… Read more »

drdneast
6 months ago

I don’t know how good the PR writers think AB is, but I think he is still toxic in the NFL and he should be over washing Tom Brady’s truck every Saturday. Just kidding about the truck wash. Still, if it wasn’t for Brady, I think Brown would still be at home watching the NFL on his big screen instead of playing in it. BA had already let it be known that he wasn’t a big fan of having him in the locker room so it had to take some lobbying by Brady to get him in the door. Of… Read more »

fredster
6 months ago

I still say it’s Godwin. Shaq is very good not great or elite imo. He will be over paid somewhere though I’m sure if we let him go. It would be slam dunk Godwin as biggest priority if not for fact we really don’t have anything beyond JPP as pass rusher who isn’t young anymore and just had knee surgery.

Theerealdiehl
6 months ago

Scott, I like the pick of Succop, but gotta disagree with all 3 of the blocks not being his fault. Having briefly been a kicker and holder during my many years of playing, if I kicker’s timing and/or mechanics are off, it makes it easier for him to be blocked. There were a few times this season where Succop’s “wind up” was a bit slow. Otherwise, he was fantastic!

geno711
6 months ago

Not exactly knowing how much each would take – but based upon the anticipate salaries by Spotrac – I would go this order in signings: Barrett David Suh Godwin Succop I respect Godwin a ton but if he is getting 17 to 20 million per year, I would rather sign Barrett at the same price. Comparison of some free agents available at WR: I will give catch percentage 1st and yards per target 2nd. Chris Godwin – 77.4 and 10.0 Will Fuller – 70.7 and 11.7 Rashard Higgins – 71.2 and 11.3 Corey Davis – 70.7 and 10.7 Curtis Samuel… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  geno711
6 months ago

Yeah, very close to it. Outside of Fuller, none of those guys are even in the same tier as Godwin. And even Fuller, as talented as he is, is the most injury prone WR in the league. Godwin is much more consistent and reliable than any of those other guys

Last edited 6 months ago by Dave
seat26
6 months ago

I rate 4 of them as essential. Godwin at the top, David close behind, and Fournette right below. Barrett is 4th and obviously, it will be difficult to keep him. I think Gronk can be overlooked because we have a very strong TE room. The same could be said for Godwin but, no one can do what he can do. David is a sentimental choice for me because he was drafted by Bucs and has been looked over by the Pro-Bowl over and over. Suh should be easy to sign due to his age, although he had an incredible year.… Read more »

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  seat26
6 months ago

I would never rate any RB as essential. Playoff Lenny was great but he’s just a RB. As for the other 3, I would get ready to be disappointed if you are expecting all 3 to come back. Teams change every year, especially when they win big. Shaq was a nobody two years ago, maybe Licht can find another hungry nobody. There is plenty of talent out there, you just gotta find it.

BDOG
6 months ago

LVD is easily toughest to replace to win now! Captain, glue guy, knows playbook, mentor, bla bla…LB has to know playbook in and out, and cover, not White’s greatest strength yet, and would have to hope Minter stays healthy for 19+ weeks? IDK! Couldn’t get another MLB up to speed to know playbook and integrate for SB run in few months only! Could hope to sign JJ or Melvin Ingram to rush passer and be equal to Barrett. Maybe even Miami’s Jaelan Phillips could give a good enough pass rush for SB team run? Can get another kicker, but russian… Read more »

scohad
6 months ago

Godwin is a luxury. Barrett is a necessity. Sucooup is good. I don’t wnat him gone. But I might be able to replace a kicker. Harder for me to replace a pass rusher. My order is Barrett, David, Suh, Godwin. I can draft a reciever or use AB. Not comparing Godwin to AB but without Barret, David and Suh, we are done. No repeat. Simple as that. Superbowl was won in the trenches boys. Suh still plays at a very high level. Must get defense back. If you tell me I lose just one and the rest stay, sorry Chris,… Read more »

scohad
6 months ago

Did I forget to mention we are all in for this next year. Not too many of these left with Brady no matter how he defies time. Its time to kick the can down the road like the Saints did and keep the defense.

scubog
6 months ago

At 3-4 million a year, PK Ryan Succop is not going to “break the bank” and pop the top off the salary cap. In my mind that’s a bargain when he is “money in the bank” and doesn’t “break” my heart by missing that potential game winner. His signing should be a given and not even considered along side the three players whose paydays will will be at least triple what Succup earns. Each of these three other players, who are poised to make their exit, brings something to the table. What’s critical to me to consider is how easily… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  scubog
6 months ago

Scubog, spot on..

PewterHeart
6 months ago

LD54 was born a Buc, so was Godwin..without CG the offense wasnt the same either. Shaq wants franchise breaking money. Suh is vital to Vita’s development..Succop is godsend..lets not complicate this…save money for 2 or 3 years when Devin and Vea need to be resigned.

Horse
6 months ago

“Things never exactly stays the same”; This includes the Bucs and all the other Super Bowl winners. Our schemes will also change simply because the other teams have studied us. This super bowl team was good, but not great; just like all of the others because having some luck at the right time is always the one thing we can’t predict or fix. I say, don’t reach and overpay as it usually doesn’t work out; I said, “usually” not always”. Pay players with fair offers, not because they won a super bowl, We have still a need for some young… Read more »

bucballer
6 months ago

I think the great unknown at this point is which free agents would be willing to take reasonable salaries for the chance to win a SuperBowl Ring? The Brady effect is real. If Brady actually called a potential free agent that the Bucs deemed a possibility to play here, how much would that affect his decision? Thinking of a JJ Watts type player. I think scohad said it best, “ Godwin is a luxury, while Barrett is a necessity.” So true! While we would like to keep them all, there r salary implications for not just this year but in… Read more »

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