About the author

Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

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34 Comments

  1. 1

    stlbucsfan

    Overall I like the direction of this battle plan, but I have a few tweaks. I would not re-sign Hawley for 4M, Spence for 2M, Conte at 3M or bring in Gresham for 6M. I would rather see us sign Zeitler the guard for 9M over 3-4 years and Fairley for around 6-7M a season. Take away 4 middling players and add 2 impact players. We will have the opportunity to add Howard or Njoku in the draft which are both capable blockers and much more dynamic athletes in the passing game. Zietler gives us a starting caliber guard to pair with either Seezey or Pamphile which will push Marpet to C, strengthening the overall line and eliminated the need to bring back Hawley whose production needs to be upgraded. If the Bucs can land Eddie Jackson in the 2nd round then that eliminates the need to bring back Conte, since Bradley and Tandy will start and Jackson can develop this season and learn the season as the 3rd safety. I like Adoree Jackson in the 2nd round BUT I think the Bucs have declared Ryan Jackson a CB and until we see what we have I dont think we NEED to add another one as Brent’s successor might already be on the roster. 1st round picks of Howard/Njoku then a 2nd round pick of Mixon should give us the running and TE presence I removed from your battle plan. According to Trevor the Bucs almost selected Rankins last year so that suggests they know we need something better next to McCoy and that needs to be addressed this offseason. Let our mediocre talent walk and pay for impact should be the theme of this summer.

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  2. 2

    Naplesfan

    I like most of Scott’s proposed battle plan, with two exceptions:

    1) Not on board cutting Martin yet … and no reason to because the Bucs don’t need to make a decision until after Week 3 of the regular season … and the Bucs have already let it be known that’s their intention. Wait and see if “good” Martin shows up this year or “bad” Martin reappears.

    2) Definitely no go on McCaffery or any running back in the first round, much prefer OJ Howard or Davis to boost our receiving game, or perhaps a defensive lineman in the first.

    As for free agents, the Jackson-to-Bucs move is getting a lot of buzz this week … that would be a great short term boost to the running game, and a great mentor for whomever we draft at WR this year.

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    1. 2.1

      Naplesfan

      correction… meant to say (brain fart!) that the Jackson to Bucs move would be a great boost to the receiving game … need another cup of coffee!

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    2. 2.2

      jshumaker

      1. I don’t think Martin has any leverage. I think the Bucs can cut him and then offer him the lowest contract possible with no worry of another team matching that offer

      2. Agreed. No on McCaffery and if Howard or Davis drop to the early teens then the Bucs need to trade up to get one of those guys. Especially considering that Washington and Philly need help in the passing game. Therefore the Bucs need to jump ahead of them

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      1. 2.2.1

        Naplesfan

        I didn’t write that Martin has any leverage … he doesn’t. It’s only a matter of whether his health and performance are good come Week 3 of the regular season, after practicing and playing throughout the pre-season, or not.

        It’s virtually guaranteed that the Bucs will void Martin’s existing contract with it’s guaranteed salary this year. The only question is whether the Bucs eventually decide to keep him on an incentives-based contract, or cut him.

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  3. 3

    AlexanderNascimento

    Fantastic ideia! Congratulatuions! Can’t wait to see them all!

    Speaking of guessing and predicting, can you guys remember us your predictions for the 2016 season on the, in Koetter words, only numbers that really matters, Ws?

    Thanks all the way from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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  4. 4

    Brandonges

    I think this would be a pretty good off-season by the Bucs. I agree with all the moves in free agency and think there is a good chance the Bucs do something similar. My only real complaint with this scenario is McCaffery in the first round. I don’t think guy is an NFL feature back and will be overdrafted. Aside from that, good depth was added. If this is the real off-season, I would give it a “B”. Looking forward to Mark and Trevor’s scenarios.

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  5. 5

    macabee

    My PR mock draft is unchanged. I will update after the combine and one week following the start of free agency on March 9th. But I will offer my targets for free agency now. In the past, I’ve always gone for the top free agents and Jason Licht never does that. This time I tried to second guess him and pick what I think are value picks.

    BUCS FREE AGENCY

    These are the players that I would like to see the Bucs target in free agency. According to OverTheCap (OTC), the Bucs have 65mil in cap space and possibly more depending on how they handle The Doug Martin and Verner contracts as well as several other aging players that are not UFAs.

    DE/DT Calais Campbell/Cardinals – 10.5 million

    Calais Campbell is one of the top free agents on the market this year. On the heels of another strong season, with 8 sacks, 53 total tackles and 6 pass breakups, Campbell is in line to cash in as a free agent this offseason. Pro Football Focus has ranked Campbell as the fifth-best 2017 free agent right now, citing scheme versatility as a big advantage. Campbell is listed at 6-foot-8 and 300 pounds and he’ll turn 31 in September. This may affect Campbell’s market to some degree, but he has shown no signs of a looming decline. Just for comparison. Julius Peppers, 6-7, 287 is 37 years old and still going strong for the Packers. In the last 5 years, Peppers has 43.5 sacks, avg. 8/yr, and had 7.5 sacks last year. Put this guy beside DT Gerald McCoy and strike fear in opposing offenses.

    WR Pierre Garcon/Redskins – 9 million

    The 30-year-old WR spent the past five seasons with the Washington Redskins, but will hit free agency with plenty of suitors come March 9. Still a savvy route runner with plenty left in the tank, Garcon is coming off a 79-catch, 1,041-yard season with three touchdowns. The reason I prefer Garcon over DeSean Jackson is his consistency and durability. It is worth noting that Garcon appeared in all 16 regular season games for the Redskins in four of his five seasons in Washington and averaged over 900 yards per season. Taking this guy in FA and WR Josh Reynolds in the mid rounds of the draft qualify as weapons for Winston.

    FS Tony Jefferson/Cardinals – 7 million

    The Cardinals have been trying to negotiate a new deal with Jefferson’s representatives, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, but it appears as though Jefferson is bent on seeing what he can get on the open market. Jason Licht was a Cardinals vice president and director of player personnel when Arizona signed Jefferson as an undrafted free-agent following the 2013 draft. Jefferson has really come into his own as a strong safety the last couple years, recording 174 tackles, four sacks, 10 pass breakups and five forced fumbles over that span. Jefferson in FA and SS Obi Melifonwu in the draft is serious improvement to our secondary.

    WR Marquise Goodwin/Bills – 4.5 million

    While Adam Humphries is a dependable slot receiver, Jameis Winston needs a weapon that has the speed to stretch the field opposite Mike Evans. This man can fly, simply put. At the 2013 NFL Combine, he flew down the strip for the 40yd dash in 4.27 seconds. He would open up the short to intermediate game for Evans and Brate. The box could not be crowded any longer, opening up lanes in the running attack. He underperformed in Buffalo by playing in a system that was not tailored to his skill set. That will not happen with Koetter, Winston, and their penchant for the long ball. Why pay 10mil for DeSean Jackson or spend a draft pick on oft injured WR John Ross when the equally speedy value pick is available?

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    1. 5.1

      jme0151

      I like your free agent signings. All seem to add strength in areas we need help. Campbell would be a great pick up.

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    2. 5.2

      Scott Reynolds

      That’s a good one and I like the addition of Calais Campbell. He’s a better pass rusher than Will Gholston for sure, but I liked Gholston’s upside being just 25 as Campbell is 30. Gholston will come cheaper as a result, too.

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  6. 6

    SaskBucs

    Verner gone is a given, I would also let Hawley, Conte, and Spence walk. I would sign DJax, and another impact player on either line. If Davis or Howard aren’t available at 19, I am not opposed to trading down for picks, but would look strongly at a DL/DE like Taco Charlton. Then in the 2nd… S Baker/Melifonwu, 3rd.. C Pocic/Elflein or RB Mixon, 4th …WR Reynolds, RB Hunt/Foreman, 5th-7th…. BPA filling depth holes, Gibson, Jones, a CB all seem like fine options in the back half of draft. Depending on how the draft goes, I like the options we will have.

    I don’t know enough about the players but the ones I listed are guys I have heard about and play the positions I have been targeting in mocks. WR/TE, DE/DL, C/OL, S, RB… addressing those in first 5 rounds any order BPA , unless a Highly rated CB falls in our laps is what I hope for.

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  7. 7

    SaskBucs

    Haha and now I kinda like what Macabee is selling ! Would change my draft strategy a bit as FA is expected to do but Campbell on that line with McCoy would be NASTY!

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  8. 8

    chetthevette

    Hello Scott. Love the new twist, battle plan, great concept. The only problem with battle plans are that after the initial push most battle plans stall and generals scramble to figure it out.
    I love bantering about the BUCS, but my fist love is civil war history. Like the generals that fought that war head coaches have to adapt or get crushed by their enemy.
    Think about it like this, the Union was getting their asses kicked until Grant and Sherman were given the chance to get involved. The 2 most ruthless S.O.B.’s ever to lead an American army. So who is the most ruthless head coach in the NFL?
    If you guessed Belicheat you’d be correct.
    So here is my take on you plan.
    All your resining’s make sense but you are not getting McDougal or Sheppard for that cheap, but resign them is a must. And all the rest of your resigning’s look good.
    Your first pick in the draft will be a disaster, McCCafry is not that high on my list. The kid will be in traction in a year after NFL linebackers and safeties start hammering him.
    Now I like the Adoree Jackson pick, but he will be there in the 3rd round.
    In my perfect storm in the draft my first 3 are:
    O.J. Howard – you sold me on him last week.
    Juju Shuster- I know that aint close to spelled right.
    Adoree Jackson- really warming up to him.

    After the third round I have no idea, it’s all a crap shoot after that anyway.

    I will say this, I think Doug Martin is on the team next year. Doug is a real conundrum, injuries and bad choices. I still like this guy, really good people in the NFL are rare, and Doug seems to be a good person that the other team mates like to have around. Some people rise to the occasion after beating a substance abuse problem. All the successful businesses and institutions that stick with someone who deals with that particular problem are usually pleased with the outcome. It’s a hard to stick with someone like this. We will see.
    Good luck Doug.
    Now I like the rest of your plan. Signing Deshaun Jackson will be big for us. Never considered singing the TE from Arizona, makes sense also.
    But somewhere there has to be an upgrade on the line, offense or defense, it does not matter. Get nthat done and you’ll have plan we can build on.
    GO BUCS

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    1. 8.1

      Scott Reynolds

      If Adoree` Jackson runs less than 4.4 at the NFL Scouting Combine, which I believe is possible, he’ll be a second-rounder.

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  9. 9

    e

    Scott, I like where you are going to Christian McCaffery. I think he’d be the wise choice with the first round selection. He fills a lot of holes, and has that Marshall Faulk sort of feel, to me… Character, production, leader, smart, etc… I’m on board. I’m not sure about Gresham, maybe drafting Jake Butt? I also see the Bucs drafting another LB to compete for Smith’s spot. I also think that C Ethan Pocic would be a nine pick up in the earlier rounds.

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  10. 10

    JoshMcCrownUs

    Wait we have an extra 4th round pick? What did I miss?

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    1. 10.1

      Scott Reynolds

      No, the Bucs have seven picks in real life. However, in my scenario, I traded down in the first round to pick Christian McCaffrey and picked up a fourth-rounder and a seventh-rounder for doing so.

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  11. 11

    seat26

    I like the idea of trading down and getting more picks. This is a strong draft and deep. We need players to develop for the future.

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  12. 12

    martinii

    Great read Scott, It must be difficult to project so much this early in the offseason. I agree with a lot of your choices, although I am a Calias Campbell groupie for now. I have been reading a lot about Christian McCaffery and after watching your video of him he seems to have all the tools. I’ll admit that I am not a great fan of trading up in the draft, but I would love to trade down for more picks. It’s been awhile since we picked mid !st round so it will be interesting to see if Licht would attempt a trade. I like the draft pick Jackson out of UCLA and Reynolds out of Texas AM to match up with Evans. I am a bit leary of Eddie Jackson only due to broken leg. I would take Tanoh Kappangha (sp) over Hendrickson. I have found over the years the Big name Big school players that everyone raves about are not the best picks in the Draft. All you have to do is go to Marpet and Brate. Thanks for the analysis will look forward to see the results.

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    1. 12.1

      Scott Reynolds

      Thank you, martinii!

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  13. 13

    drdneast

    Quite an interesting read an I have to say I enjoyed reading your ideas very much.
    Unfortunately you awfully cavalier in regards to the future of an ex No. 1 draft pick of the Bucs, Doug Martin.
    In one deft move you say you would cut Martin because he has had legitimate injuries and a minor drug problem.
    Fortunately it appears Bucs management doesn’t feel the same way you do.
    Of course you are going to replace him with Christian McCafferty, an unproven commodity in the NFL who is slighter in build and weight than Martin.
    How do you think he is going to withstand the battering of running in between the tackles in the NFL. He might decide to be the next Reggie Bush, a player built along the same lines and a great RB in college who decided running inside was to unhealthy for him and never met the expectations he was expected to rise to in the NFL because of it.
    Martin has proven, when healthy, he isn’t afraid to run between the tackles. In fact, the play he injured his hamstring on last year was caused by trying to cut to severely back into the inside of the tackle instead of running to the outside.
    I was pleased you kept the Bucs safeties on the squad. Like myself, you noticed they played much better in the second half of the season where they came up with an overwhelming majority of their interceptions.
    I’m a little perplexed however that you think a 4th round draft pick is going to develop into a pass rusher who can take Robert Ayres’ place in a couple of years. That, would truly be the steal of the draft if it works out.

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    1. 13.1

      Scott Reynolds

      Thank you, drdneast! I appreciate your feedback.

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  14. 14

    drdneast

    Why would anyone want to keep Evan Smith over Joe Hawley. Hawley beat Smith out of his job when he got here and Smith hasn’t been able to get it back since and Smith is being paid a couple more million than Hawley to sit on the bench.
    Is Smith’s agent allowed to post out here?

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    1. 14.1

      Scott Reynolds

      The Bucs like Evan Smith a lot, too. Probably even more than I do. They view Joe Hawley as Center 1A and Smith as C1B.

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      1. 14.1.1

        Julian Jordan

        Wasn’t there communication issues between Jameis and Smith?

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  15. 15

    GoldsonAges

    Overall, the plan is really good Scott. Love Adoree Jackson, but I’m assuming that would need to be your 1st round pick. Just as well, because you are wasting the 1st on a small RB anyway. After VH3 last year and now McCaffrey this year, we are officially the Tampa Bay Midget Drafting Buccaneers!! As much as I disliked the Kareem Hunt talk, I would prefer him in the 3rd over McCaffrey in the 1st. I don’t think McCaffrey is a bad player. He is one of my favorites, he just is not worth a 1st round pick IMO.

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    1. 15.1

      Scott Reynolds

      Well, if the Bucs could trade back and get him in the late 20s and pick up a few extra players I think drafting Christian McCaffrey there is worth it.

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  16. 16

    drdneast

    It’s good to see more people are on board with keeping Martin.
    jshumaker, you are kidding yourself if you don’t think Martin has any leverage.
    First off, if the Bucs waive him, which I believe they will have to do, any team could pick up his existing contract which will pay out about $5.7 million after his three game suspension. That isn’t overwhelming money.
    Even if they don’t, that would give Martin the choice to play for any team in the NFL who is looking for a well rested RB who is very well capable of putting together a 1.000 yard season with the remaining 13 games.
    Last year, the Chiefs, Packers, Broncos, Seahawks, Raiders and yes even the Patriots would have loved to have had a player with a skill set like Martins.
    No leverage you say. He has his pride like all of us and if he is going to play for peanuts it won’t be for the Bucs.
    Macabee, I like your FA choices with a couple of exceptions.
    I agree Calais Campbell is an excellent DE but I believe he plays in a 3-4. Not sure how he would work out in a 4-3.
    I also like both of your FA WR’s but I believe the Bucs can only afford to take one and even then, they will have a lot of money tied up in WR’s when Evans renews his contract.
    In retrospect we should have taken the Bill Belichek approach to Jackson last year and cut him loose.
    Like Grant and Sherman, Belicheck has no real emotions for his players other than to use them up and then let them go when he sees no further value in them.
    Grant and Sherman knew they could win a war of attrition against the South and used their men as replaceable resources. That didn’t take great military genius, just a callous disregard for human life. Still glad they won, though..

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  17. 17

    scubog

    Well Scott, I liked you “Battle Plan”. To those who think the dynamic Christain McCaffrey is too small, I offer you some guy named Warrick Dunn who was even smaller and not as fast. I doubt McCaffrey makes it past the Patriots who always seem to end up with players of his most obvious rare trait for a skill position player.

    I do think the Bucs will hold onto Doug Martin at least through Training Camp to see if he is worthy of making the 53 at any price. A repeat in Pre-Season of his showing in 2016 just isn’t going to earn him a spot. We darn sure better like the Boy Scouts and “be prepared” with someone at RB who wasn’t pulled off the street. I always like Jacquizz but……….think Bobby Rainey who quickly went from penthouse to outhouse.

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    1. 17.1

      Scott Reynolds

      Good point, scubog. And Christian McCaffrey is a few inches taller than Warrick Dunn and probably 5-10 pounds heavier, too.

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  18. 18

    mtbruning

    I would like to see an upgrade at center. It’s nice to had sweezy back if he is going to be contributing. However, ignoring the O-line got us into no end of trouble in the past. We should at least kick the tires on Mangold now that he is cut,

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  19. 19

    kram0789

    I think yours is the best of the three, but I am not sold on McCaffrey and I am disappointed that the OL issues were not addressed. My prediction for the OL is that Dotson deals with injuries and misses 8 games; Donovan Smith improves marginally and is still a liability in pass protection; weakness at center leads to pressure up the middle. So with poor pass protection from Smith, a swinging gate at RT and pressure up the middle, it is not going to make a big difference which skill players are starting.

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    1. 19.1

      Scott Reynolds

      Thank you, kram0789. The one thing you pretty much noticed between my plan, Mark Cook’s and Trevor Sikkema’s plan is that none of us had wholesale changes along the O-line for the Bucs. None of this think they are coming except for maybe a switch at center because Joe Hawley is a free agent, and free agency is a two-way street.

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  20. 20

    Julian Jordan

    Got to give it to you Reynolds and it was close between you and Tampa Tre. Main reason is this, continuity. Didn’t shake up it too much. Don’t want to hit that Eagles Dream Team scenario where it all comes crumbling down.

    The main needs for this offseason are running back (I like TampaTre’s game plan better) as I prefer Hunt to McCaffrey. Yet I like the Vito pick over Joe Williams. Haha.

    Don’t write me off just yet.

    I’m surprised though out of all 3 of you. None of you like Alshon Jeffrey. I don’t get why so many people sleep on him its been like that since before he even came out of South Carolina even though he had tape against the best corners (ex.Janoris Jenkins) and winning.

    I think we’re have a chance for greatness here. Alshon and Mike would be the best combination possible for the bucs with some young speed in the slot to stretch the field. More so KD Cannon and less John Ross.

    **I know Buccaneer players everywhere are glad you aren’t signing the checks. I think Schiano gave an undrafted free agent CB $2 mill one year. 2 years 2 million isn’t going to keep anybody have fielding offers from other teams.

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