The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a disappointing 5-11 season in 2017, and that has put head coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht firmly on the hot seat. The Bucs thought they were primed for a playoff run last year following a 9-7 campaign in 2016, but it turns out that the team has more holes on the roster than they thought a year ago.

PewterReport.com writers Scott Reynolds, Mark Cook and Trevor Sikkema have devised their own Bucs’ 2018 Offseason Battle Plans that feature free agent signings, trades, roster moves and draft picks designed to help get the Bucs back on track and gunning for the. I’ve got the first Bucs’ Battle Plan, so let me know what you think of it in the comments section below.

Remember, these Bucs Battle Plans are how the PewterReport.com staff members would reshape the team this offseason – not necessarily what we think Tampa Bay will do in free agency and the draft, although there could be some overlap with certain players the team may be targeting.

The Bucs start the 2018 offseason with approximately $69.7 million in available salary cap space, according to OverTheCap.com. Salary cap information and contract data from both OverTheCap.com and Spotrac.com were used in the Bucs Battle Plan series.

Bucs RG JR Sweezy - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs RG JR Sweezy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The first move I would make would be to release defensive end Robert Ayers, Jr. I love Ayers’ attitude and work ethic. My concerns mirror the team’s concerns, which are his age and his health. Ayers will be 33 in September and had his lowest amount of sacks (two) in five years. Ayers hasn’t played in all 16 games since 2011, and has played in just 12 games in each of the last four seasons. Cutting Ayers frees up $5 million in base salary and another $1 million in roster bonus money.

I would also part ways with guard J.R. Sweezy. I love his nasty demeanor, but he just doesn’t seem like the player the Bucs thought they were getting when they signed him two years ago. Sweezy didn’t fully recover from his back surgery last year, and now his leg injury from the end of the season remains an issue this offseason.

Sweezy stands to make $5.25 million in base salary this year, but has $1.875 million in signing bonus proration that would accelerate. Cutting Sweezy will save the Bucs an additional $3.375 million. That gives Tampa Bay just over $79 million in cap room.

Here are the offseason roster moves I would make:

Bucs’ Unrestricted Free Agent Re-signings

Tampa Bay CB Brent Grimes – 1 year, $6.5 million 

The Bucs need Grimes badly as the talent and production at the cornerback position is in question heading into 2018. Grimes, who turns 35 in July, was tied for the team lead with three interceptions and the Bucs need him back for one more year as the team’s younger cornerbacks – Vernon Hargreaves III and Ryan Smith – continue to develop. The Bucs signed Ronde Barber to a series of one-year deals at the end of his career. Signing Grimes to a one-year deal certainly isn’t a slight.

Tampa Bay DT Clinton McDonald – 2 years, $2 million per year
McDonald is 31 and is coming off one of his better years, recording five sacks, which were second on the team, and beating out Chris Baker for playing time. McDonald is a class act and represents the Bucs well on and off the field as the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year. He provides great veteran leadership and still has some gas left in the tank.

Tampa Bay FS Keith Tandy – 1 year, 1.1 million per year
I like Tandy, who battled some injuries last year and wasn’t able to get on the field like he did in 2016 when he had four interceptions, including three game-winners in the fourth quarter. Tandy is a great guy for team chemistry, special teams and has the ability to play either safety spot.

Bucs DE Will Clarke – Photo by: Getty Images

Tampa Bay DE Will Clarke – 2 years, $1 million per year
The Bucs need numbers at the defensive end position and Clarke is worth re-signing after he recorded three sacks, 15 tackles and a fumble recovery in a reserve capacity last year. Tampa Bay should sign him to a two-year deal and see how he develops under new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner, however, a roster spot is not guaranteed.

Tampa Bay K Patrick Murray – 2 years, $1 million per year
Licht has struggled to find a reliable kicker during his tenure in Tampa Bay, and Murray has been the best option thus far. Murray nailed 82.6 percent of his field goals (12-of-19) and was 21-of-22 on extra points. Murray doesn’t have the strongest leg and struggled with kickoffs, but deserves to be re-signed and battle a competitor in training camp for the Bucs kicking duties in 2018.

These free agent signings leave the Buccaneers with approximately $67.4 million in salary cap space.

Bucs’ Unrestricted Free Agents Not Re-signed

Tampa Bay RB Charles Sims

It’s time for the Bucs to move on from this one-dimensional pass-catching, third-down back as Tampa Bay needs to continue to overhaul its backfield following the release of Doug Martin. Sims is not part of the team’s future plans.

Tampa Bay G-T Kevin Pamphile
I like Pamphile and wouldn’t mind having him back, but I’m really concerned with how he played in a contract year at left guard where he had to split time with Evan Smith. Believe it or not, Pamphile may cash in elsewhere during free agency due to his versatility and will get paid more than the Bucs are willing to offer.

Tampa Bay C-G Evan Smith

Smith, 31, was a valuable reserve at guard and center, but didn’t perform well at guard rotating with Kevin Pamphile last year or at center in the Green Bay game. He’s on the downside of his career and the Bucs need to get younger and better along the interior of the offensive line.

Tampa Bay SS T.J. Ward

Ward, who was signed in September, never fit in with the Bucs like the team envisioned, and grew unhappy with splitting playing time with Chris Conte. Tampa Bay won’t bring back the oft-injured 31-year old Ward, who was arrested on a marijuana charge in January.

Tampa Bay CB Robert McClain

McClain had three interceptions in his first year with the Bucs, which was tied for the team lead. He was capable of playing both nickel and outside cornerback roles, but Tampa Bay must move on and find more capable defensive backs. I wouldn’t mind re-signing him, but just for training camp competition.

Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Tampa Bay QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

I’m all for bringing Fitzpatrick back as Jameis Winston’s backup – if Tampa Bay can’t land Mike Glennon in free agency after he is released from Chicago. Glennon has his detractors in the Tampa Bay fan base, but he knows the offense, has a stronger arm and is well liked by the Bucs.

Tampa Bay DT Sealver Siliga 

The 330-pound Siliga got even less playing time last year after signing a one-year deal than he did in 2016. The Bucs have a glaring need at defensive tackle and want to see if Stevie Tu’ikolovatu can be a player. I might sign Siliga for one more year to provide competition in camp

Tampa Bay C Joe Hawley

The 29-year old Hawley has lost 40 pounds this offseason and said that he plans on touring the country in a van and documenting his travels on-line. Sounds like a great retirement for a great guy and I wish him well.

Tampa Bay LS Garrison Sanborn
The Bucs have already signed another long snapper in 25-year old Drew Ferris and may not need the 32-year old Sanborn anymore.

Tampa Bay DE Justin Trattou

Trattou had a cup of coffee in Tampa Bay, but never saw the field. The Bucs need to upgrade and add more talent to the defensive end position.

Tampa Bay G Adam Gettis

I don’t know enough about Gettis to form much of an opinion, but at age 29, he has yet to emerge as a starting-caliber guard. The Bucs need to find better, younger talent.

Bucs’ Restricted Free Agent Re-signings

Bucs TE Cameron Brate - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Bucs TE Cameron Brate – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

Tampa Bay TE Cameron Brate – 4 years, $7.5 million per year
Instead of offering Brate a one-year tender due to his restricted free agent status, I would follow the plan the Bucs are going to implement, which would be to sign him to a long-term extension, as Dirk Koetter likes to operate with a two-tight end set. As last year proved, Brate and O.J. Howard can co-exist in Koetter’s offense as each caught a team-high six touchdown passes. A four-year, $30 million deal for Brate would be more than Colby Fleener signed for in New Orleans.

Tampa Bay WR Adam Humphries – 3 years, $2 million per year
Along with Brate, I would re-sign Humphries to a multi-year contract extension. Humphries is a solid slot receiver and chain-mover for Winston, and at $2 million per year he’s affordable. Humphries would deserve more money per year if he found the end zone more often, as slot receiver Cole Beasley does in Dallas. Humphries has just four touchdowns in three seasons in Tampa Bay.

Bucs’ Restricted Free Agents Not Getting Tender Offers

Tampa Bay CB Jude Adjei-Barimah
I like Adjei-Barimah, but he’s struggled with injuries and I would wait until he’s 100 percent healthy and back to his old form before I sign him to a one-year deal to possibly compete for a roster spot in training camp.

Tampa Bay OLB Adarius Glanton
The Bucs really like Glanton and he’s making progress in recovering from the broken leg that he suffered at the end of the year. When he’s healthy, he gets re-signed, hopefully in time for training camp.

Tampa Bay DE Ryan Russell
I haven’t seen enough from Russell to make me think he could be anything more than a two-sack guy in the NFL. Russell had tons of opportunities to rush the passer last year, but managed just two sacks. The Bucs can do better in free agency and the draft.

Bucs’ 2018 Free Agent Additions

Panthers LG Andrew Norwell – Photo by: Getty Images

Carolina LG Andrew Norwell – 5 years, $11 million per year

Norwell may be the most sought-after free agent lineman and it will cost the Bucs to add him, but Tampa Bay must upgrade the interior of its offensive line. Norwell, who was snubbed by the Pro Bowl but was a first-team All Pro, is a natural left guard and his aggressive playing style will work well with the Bucs offensive linemen. Pro Football Focus had him as the third-rated guard in the league in 2017. Norwell figures to be the free agent guard that the team hoped Sweezy could have been.

Baltimore C Ryan Jensen – 4 years, $7.5 million per year

According to Spotrac, Jensen’s calculated market value is five years, $44.6 million, averaging $8.9 million. I think that’s a little high, as he’s not in the class of centers like Alex Mack, Travis Frederick, Brandon Linder and Justin Britt that all average more than $9 million per year. Jensen was a key blocker for Ravens running back Alex Collins and allowed 0.7 QB hurries and 0.13 sacks per game in 2016-17, which compares favorably to Linder, Britt and Mack. The addition of Jensen means Ali Marpet can move back to his natural right guard position where he was more dominant.

Chicago QB Mike Glennon – 3 years, $4 million
Bucs fans might swallow hard when they see that salary for a backup quarterback, but Tampa Bay offered Glennon more per year in 2017 before he accepted the starting quarterback job in Chicago where he struggled last season. Glennon already knows the offense and has a stronger arm than Fitzpatrick that can push the ball farther downfield in Koetter’s offense.

Minnesota RB Jerick McKinnon – 4 years, $3.5 million
The Bucs need to revamp their running game and add a proven veteran to the mix in addition to a draft pick or two. The 25-year old McKinnon is a great pass-catching back, coming off a season in which he caught 51 passes for 421 yards (8.3 avg.) and two touchdowns and rushing for 570 yards and three touchdowns on 150 carries (3.8 avg.). He’s a better runner than Sims was and a perfect replacement as a third-down back.

New Orleans DE Alex Okafor – 1 year, $3 million
Okafor was having a career year with the Saints after signing a one-year, $2 million contract. He recorded 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 10 games and earned an 84.7 grade from Pro Football Focus, which ranked him as the 22nd best defensive end in the league last year. Okafor tore his Achilles tendon two weeks after recording a season-high six tackles and half a sack against the Bucs in a 30-10 win at New Orleans, but he’s expected to be ready by training camp. Okafor, 27, was Arizona’s fourth-round pick in 2013, and was drafted when Licht was part of the Cardinals front office and coached by Buckner for four seasons, including 2014 when he had a career-high eight sacks.

*New York Giants CB Ross Cockrell – 2 years, $2 million
I originally had Chicago cornerback Kyle Fuller going to the Bucs in free agency, but the Bears applied the transaction tag to him on Tuesday, which will likely keep him in the Windy City. So I’ve decided to switch gears and go with underrated cornerback Ross Cockrell from the New York Giants. Cockrell had three interceptions last year and has five in his four-year career. The 26-year old Cockrell has good size at 6-foot, 190 pounds and Pro Football Focus had an 81.6 rating and was ranked as the No. 39 cornerback in the league. (*Editorial change)

With these signings, the Buccaneers will have spent an estimated $26.9 million worth of salary cap space in free agency. There is plenty of room left to sign wide receiver Mike Evans to a contract extension worth an average of $15 million per year. That represents approximately $1.75 million in new money in 2018. Evans’ new contract leaves Tampa Bay with $23.15 million in salary cap room. The Bucs will need about $6 million in salary cap room for their rookies this year, which will leave $19.15 million left to sign players as needed during the season.

I’m going to extend the contracts of middle linebacker Kwon Alexander and guard Ali Marpet this offseason, too. Alexander is set to make $1.907 million and I’ll give him a five-year contract that averages $9 million per season. That represents about $7.1 million in new money. Marpet is scheduled to earn $874,581 and he’ll receive a five-year deal that averages $8 million per year. That represents approximately $7.12 million in new money.

Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Those extensions will leave the Bucs with about $3.7 million in salary cap space, although it can be more if the 2018 base salaries are slightly lower than the contract averages for Alexander and Marpet. I’ll wait until 2019 to address contract extensions for quarterback Jameis Winston and left tackle Donovan Smith. I want to see one more year out of Smith to help decide what his value is, so having him play in a contract year might be a good thing. As for Winston, I’ll fifth-year option him for 2019 to help buy some time to further evaluate his progress.

I’ll also sign an undrafted free agent kicker after the draft to compete with Patrick Murray, and add an undrafted free agent quarterback to contend with Ryan Griffin, who makes $1.1 million, which is high for a third-string quarterback.

Now let’s take a look at some of my personal selections for Tampa Bay in the 2018 NFL Draft. This is not a mock draft of players that I necessarily believe the Buccaneers will choose. That’s what PewterReport.com’s 2018 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft articles are for, and we will have our third edition next Monday.

Click on the next page below to check out which draft picks I make for Tampa Bay.

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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]

50 COMMENTS

  1. Scott

    I really like your free agent decisions for the Bucs.
    It would be hard to not get excited with that group.
    You’re draft doesn’t excite me as much though.
    If the Bucs did what you predict in free agency and make a trade with Arizona. I would rather the draft look like this:
    1) Derwin James S Florida State
    2) Darius Guice RB LSU
    2) Arden Key DE LSU
    3) BJ Hill DT NC State
    4) Zachary Crabtree OT Oklahoma State
    5) Scott Quessenberry C UCLA
    6) Michael Joseph CB Dubuque
    6) Avonte Maddox CB Pitt
    7) Skai Moore OLB South Carolina

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    • No way with key. He had a horrible combine and and to many questions as to his character. And I love James but I can’t justify a first round pick on safety this year with so many other positions of need. Vea if still available or Harold Landry. They both just destroyed the combine and fill much bigger needs.

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    • Daniel Jeremiah and Todd McShay both have the Bucs drafting Derwin James at the #7 pick in the draft.
      Walter football has the Bucs drafting Darius Guice with their 2nd round selection and the Cardinals selecting DE Arden Key with their 2nd round selection.

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  2. I like your draft for the most part, however a 2nd RB is a luxury when our only addition to our Secondary at that point was Kyle Fuller.

    Id be fine keeping Barber and Penny as our future 1-2. With McKinnon carrying us over 2018. and then using that pick at DT, OL, or DB.

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    • Actually thats technically a 3rd RB addition if you count Mckinnon

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  3. Resign Murray? A kicker that went 12/19 and has no leg strength or accuracy over 45 yards. He was last in the league in kickoff out of the end zone. I stated on this board that the Bucs should go with the loser of the Bengals kicking contest which turns out to be Elliot. He was plucked off the practice squad by the Eagles. How did this work out? And then they missed out on Cairos Santos and let the Bears pick him up. This GM cannot evaluate kickers? From the fiasco draft selection of Aguago, to Folk, and trading with the Lions for some 50% career kicker from ND a few years back. Pathetic.

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    • Sign him but provide good competition.

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  4. Everything you wrote pre-draft I’m 100% in agreement. I would only have 1 add, trade to bring back Bennett.

    The draft…eh. Agree on Griffin in the 4th, but that is where our alignment ends. Don’t mind at all trading back whether is with Arizona or Buffalo. Here is the thing Scott, you & PR have Koetter & Licht on the hot seat. Do these picks help the team in 2018, I say no. Davenport will be a project, and that will take time (something you say this regime doesn’t have a lot of). RB in round 2, yes, but I would rather have Sony than Penny.

    There is good chance that Vea is still there at 15, but I would rather go Payne, Mike Hughes, or even Bryan at 15. VT Settle with 2nd 2 pick or 3rd (maybe). Lastly, I would take a kicker (yes I said it) in the 7th…Eddy Pineiro from UF.

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    • This was exactly the same thing i said. Eddie would be a great pick in the later rounds. I also like darwin James and Sony Michel for our 1st & 2nd round. If we can trade back into the 2nd and grab Jaire Alexander we would have an amazing draft already.

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      • I really really like Jaire Alexander- super underrated..

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  5. This is really really close to what I have been looking at as far as strategy, particularly within the team and in FA.

    Bring back Pamphile. Also, would hold on to Sweezy, since I feel they’ll keep Marpet at center.

    In Free Agency I’m pretty much right where you are, except substitute Carlos Hyde for Jensen, and looks like we’ll have to bid big for Trumaine Johnson, as Fuller just got Transition tagged for $13M. Also, substitute Michael Bennett for Okafor.

    So, free agency would look like this:
    DE – Bennett
    CB – Johnson
    QB – Glennon
    G – Norwell
    RB – Hyde
    RB – Mckinnon

    Draft (no trade down):
    1 – DT – Payne
    2 – S – Reid
    3 – DE – Holmes
    4 – CB – Meeks
    5 – OT – Christian
    6 – G – Quessenberry
    6 – RB – Wilkins
    7 – WR – Berrios

    53 Man Roster:

    QB – Winston/GLENNON/Griffin
    RB – HYDE/MCKINNON/Barber/WILKINS
    WR – Evans/Jackson/Godwin/Humphries/Berrios/Martino
    TE – Howard/Brate/Auclair
    G – NORWELL/Sweezy/Pamphile/Young
    C – Marpet/QUESSENBERRY
    T – Smith/Dotson/Wester/Benenoch/CHRISTIAN

    DE – BENNETT/Spence/Gholston/Clarke/HOLMES
    DT – McCoy/PAYNE/McDonald/Stevie-T
    LB – David/Alexander/Beckwith/Bond
    S – REID/Evans/Conte/Tandy/Robinson
    CB – JOHNSON/Grimes/MEEKS/Hargreaves/Elliott

    ST – Murray/Anger/Ferris

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  6. You people act as though we can pick up any free agent we want. This will never happen because Tampa is no longer the hot destination it was last year and we will have to overpay guys to come and play here when they know that the head coach and GM are on the hot seat. Not to mention the fact that the QB may be getting a 6 game suspension.

    Fuller, Jensen, and Norwell are all big time free agents and none of them would choose Tampa over SF right now if the money was equal. Realistically, we will be lucky to get one big name free agent this season.

    The draft was pretty good. As much as I love Shaquem ( Trevor told me awhile back he wouldn’t get drafted lol) I don’t think Tampa would be the best place for him. He would be much better off in a 3-4. Also, I don’t think the Ballage pick is necessary if we already have Barber Mckinnon and Penny.

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    • Yeeeaaahhhhh, I still have no idea where a team is going to select Shaquem, but I hope it’s decently high. He deserves to be a Top 100 pick at the least.

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    • Don’t go turning into one of those psychic posters there Cody, claiming to know how players, coaches, GM’s, etc are thinking without any evidence to support it. 😉 lol Very possible any or all of those FA’s you mentioned would much rather play for TB than others, whether it be due to Winston, Kwon, GMC, climate, taxes, family, etc. It’s impossible to know for sure until they tell us, which they will next week. Like Griffin as well, though believe he’d fit fine here in Tampa. And agree on the redundancy of the Ballage pick, which could be better used to address other needs. We’ll have plenty of options with UDFA’s and RB’s that get released prior to the season to find depth. And definitely not down with the Glennon reunion, that money could be put to better use elsewhere as well. Nice guy with a strong arm, knows the offense, etc., but he hasn’t proven he can win in the NFL. Would much rather give Fitz another small 1-yr deal and continue Griffin’s development if the team still sees a future in him. No major issues with the plan besides that, though it’s hard to see the team paying top-of-the-line (pun intended) money to Norwell, Jensen and Marpet and turning around next year and possibly paying Smith top-10 LT money as well. That’s a lot of dough in an OL, which may lead to the Bucs going for Pugh, Fulton, Kline or Sitton on a shorter/smaller deal instead of Norwell. Would much rather see the money saved from not signing Norwell and Glennon put towards a Safety to start opposite Evans.

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      • You’re right. My bad. I’m better than that. I’d still be surprised if we went out and brought in three big names though to be honest.

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        • Guess it depends on what you consider big names? If you’re thinking the top available FA at their position, then you may be right. Would love it if we were able to grab Jensen, one out of (G-Pugh, Fulton, Kline or Sitton), (DE-Okafor, Murphy or Ealy), (RB-Lewis, Crowell, McKinnon or Hill), (DT-Poe, Jordan or Easley), (CB-Melvin, Johnson, Carrie, Cockrell or Gaines) and (S-Burnett, Reid, Gilchrist, Branch or Brooks). Not all of these would be long term deals, may even have a couple 1-yrs in there, but would definitely upgrade the depth when supplemented with the draft.

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  7. Scott I always like your advice that why I LOVE reading pewter report, right after the senior bowl I said the Bucs should take the same two running backs that you pick in this mock draft, I’M GOING TO TRUST YOUR JUDGEMENT on the rest of your predictions. With good coaching the Bucs can win with the roster you pick…….

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    • Lol no god forbid Scott ever gets the keys to One Buc Place. I’m already hearing word on the street that G Norwell is heading to NYG for example. Obviously this piece is way optimistic so let’s not grill too hard.

      Agreed with earlier sentiments about RBs though. Michel/Chubb/Guice are all higher on my list than Penny atm so if you’re really going RB at the top of the 2nd, would rather it be one of those guys,

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  8. Alex okafor the guy who tore his Achilles??? Sorry I rather trade for Bennett or go for an Aaron lynch and Julius peppers while drafting two younger options like davenport in round 1 and the kid out of tulane aruna in round 4 or 5. While he is a project he has physical tools and buckner and a pro like peppers could help him grow.At corner sign ej gains from buffalo who fits our system and draft parry nickerson also from tulane. But i like the thought process scott has and i was late to the sheppard party but im here now lol

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  9. Grimes might be our best cover corner, but did you notice how teams ran to his side last year? That’s because he’s horrible at run support, at 35 with his small frame he’s no longer willing to stick his nose in there against the run like Ronde would do. I know we need pass rushing D ends, but unless it’s Chubb I;m not risking the 7th over all pick on a small school project. We’re just as thin at D tackle, and if Da Ron Payne is sitting there I’m running up with the card. We know he’s been coached, we know who’s he’s faced in college, and we saw him dominate during the college playoffs. I love Brate, and Humphries, but we invested a first round pick on a T.E. last year so I see Brate as a player we could get a good draft pick for, same with Hump. Move D Jax to the slot, with Evans, and Godwin on the outside. Speaking of Evans, this draft isn’t loaded at receiver so I’d at least entertain trade offers for him. Not sure I want to make Evans the highest paid receiver in football which is what he’s going to want to be. Of course the deal would have to include first rounders, and other picks.

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  10. Oh yeah Glennon. Might have a better arm then Fitz, but he’d rather check it down then use it. What he has in arm strength, he lacks in any kind of mobility. Fitz proved last year he can win some games if need be, mainly on the fact he could scramble a bit. Glennon got his shot with the Bears, and failed, he’d only do the same for us if pressed into action. We’ve been beaten by many back up Q.B.’s over the years, Mike didn’t even put up a fight against our sorry D last year. Roll with the two Ryans over him.

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    • No Fitz! The Fitzpatrick Curse is real and he put both Jameis Winston and Ryan Griffin down for the count. It’s getting stronger!

      Get that bad juju out of here!

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  11. Two major flaws: no way Grimes re-signs for only $6.5 million, and no way Norwell is coming to Bucs. Grimes has all the negotiating power, and he will no doubt want at least $8 million guaranteed. Norwell is not coming here. Not happening. I don’t think we will be able to get Fuller either. To get any free agents to come to our dumpster fire, we will need to overpay.

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    • 2/3 is probably already true. Fuller is getting tagged and Norwell from what I’m hearing is heading to the GMen. Can only hope Grimes can come back for another year 🙁

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  12. I like this offseason, I really like what you did in Free Agency and the Draft. I would say we need to address the safety position so probably bring in Vaccaro. I would also like to see a Dontari Poe signing. Maybe give Sweezy one more year, so we do not have to sign Norwell. I love drafting Penny, I do not think he is talked about enough, he will be a gamer. In the draft I would recommend picking up Kam Kelly instead of the ASU RB. If we do not get Chubb in the first somehow I think you did the next best thing by trading down and getting Davenport while picking up some extra key picks. I would vote to retain McClain instead of Grimes but I would be fine with either one. I would be very happy with this offseason if this is how it went down. We need a bruiser in the backfield though if we draft Penny, so maybe sign Blount, Hyde, or Crowell

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  13. FYI, this may have some effect on the Bucs battle plan.

    This just in from Ian Rapoport – “A fascinating move by the Bears to transition tag CB Kyle Fuller at $12.97M. This gives them past the July 15 franchise tag deadline to do a long-team deal, which they want to do”.

    This from Tony Pauline Draft Analyst “The word around the Combine is that Andrew Norwell to the New York Giants is a “done deal.”

    Here is what I’m reading on DE Alex Okafor’s injury recovery. Okafor tore his Achilles on Nov 10th in the Redskins game. Not everybody recovers the same, but the optimistic view is that he could be ready by training camp. But the most likely view that he could be 100% without the threat of re-injury is October.

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  14. I don’t like it.

    Too many big guys with potential to take a shot on Davenport in the first round like Josh Sweat (3rd-4th round projection) and Lorenzo Carter (2nd-3rd) I’d almost prefer Key if were going to drop and take a shot in the dark.

    Off-season like that will probably get Licht fired.

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    • Key no, but Landry yes. Key is getting all kinds of red flags right now.

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    • Sweat is gonna go in the second round after his combine performance. And I hope we take him. I agree Davenport is to much of a gamble for licht to pick. Especially that high. Harold Landry would make more sense at 15 but I don’t see him getting past the Packers at 14.

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      • What are you thought on Guice at 7 or 15?..

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  15. No way James at 7!

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    • We are not drafting James at 7. Not a chance. If we do target him it’s only after a trade back. We will take Nelson at 7.

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  16. Totally shocked as to why anybody would want Glennon to return to the Bucs. Pay Fitz and keep him. Did anybody watch Glennon play against us the 1st part of this past season? I rest my case. All this talk about our Poor Offense? Please! Bucs had better fix their sorry a.. Defense and do it quickly. Someway..somehow. The competition in our Division will be even greater this upcoming season. its very sad we got away from what won us our 1st superbowl. And its showing badly now. Please DC Mike Smith..come down off your perch in the sky (pressbox) and lead your troops. They need you.

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  17. I like the draft very much.

    Free agency however I think the Bucs go in an entirely different direction from what we are anticipating as we watch from the outside of OBP.

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    • No way are we gonna take Davenport that high. He’s gonna slip after his combine. He will be the 4th de selected. To many questions and he tested out as average atheleticly. Chubb is still a possibility at 7. If he’s gone then we take Nelson and target Josh Sweat after trading back into the end of the 2nd.

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  18. Good job Scott, You obviously put a lot of thought into your projections. Unfortunately I disagree with you on some issues. (Kyle Fuller signed Franchise Tag today) I like the Norwell and Jenson Free agents. This in and of itself would be a huge boost to the O-Line. I think Grimes will settle. There is a huge amount of competition coming out of the draft at DB, so I don”t think at his age he is willing to turn our offer down. He may retire, but if he plays it will be as a Buc. After the combine and listening to Mike Mayock I felt more comfortable with Davenport and Fitzpatrick. You didn’t mention Dontari Poe and I didn’t see what your plan for Sweezy was. There are at least 6 rookie running backs the Bucs’ can draft (2nd, 3rd RD) but I like Hyde out of SF in FA. I really don’t have a preference between Fitz or Glennon, but as I have posted several times my sleeper in the 7th round is JT Barrett out of OSU. He is a multipurpose player who has won a National Championship and has a 4 year resume that reads Like a Who’s Who of College QB’s. If anyone knows of something this kid has done wrong please let me know. I could go on all night but I find it too easy to get wrapped up in the hypothetical. One thin for sure it will all start moving in a week or so and our speculations will turn into reality, Just hope they result in W’s.

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  19. Scott, your battle plan is obviously exciting the fan base, thanks for your work. I could nit pic a couple things, however I would be stoked for that roster you created. If it went down like that, thinking the Bucs have a shot to have a turn around season.

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  20. So so about it.

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  21. Not sure how it’s possible to read the list of Bucs’ free agents as anything other than an indictment of Licht. What a bunch of mediocrity we have on our roster four years into his regime. Beyond embarrassing.

    Someone please explain to me why this guy with this abysmal record has the right to spend our picks and the Glazer Toddlers’ cash yet again. The sooner he is gone the sooner we can make the turn. The roster/facts are undeniable.

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    • Wth are you talking about? He’s done a great job in the draft for us. Only pick you can say he messed up was aguayo. No major misses other than that. And he has more than made up for it with the undrafted players he has found us. FA could be better but every team has hit or miss FA signings.

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      • Wow. I am stunned.

        We have no quality DL except an old guy he inherited. That’s a result of basically ignoring the position in the draft four four years, beyond Spence who is really a 3-4 LB and can’t hold up on the line, and cycling through a bunch of retreads who haven’t panned out.

        We have two quality OL, an old guy he inherited while only one of his OL draft picks is worth keeping on the roster and whiffing in FA

        We have one RB who is worth keeping but only because we don’t have a quality starter, having skipped drafting a RB to bet on Martin.

        We have the best WR group in the franchise’s history…ignoring myriad other needs thereby weakening us as a team

        We have the best TE group in the franchise’s history – after blowing a #2 on ASJ – so that’s three picks to get two starters, which will soon be down to one when we have to let Brate go because we’ve created an unsupportable logjam…and again ignoring myriad other needs weakening us as a team

        We have a QB who has heart and fire yada yada yada but has poor judgement and has been an absolute turnover machine with an INT or fumble for every TD, and struggles with accuracy especially the deep ball

        I’ll stop there. Yeah, I see your point. He really knows how to build a team. Only missed pick was Aguayo. Duh.

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  22. No way is Davenport getting drafted that early. Landry is going to be the second de selected and after the combine Josh Sweat may also come off the board before him as well. He is just yo much of a project and without elite atheletic ability Licht can’t afford to take that risk. We will get Nelson in the first I like Guise in the second then I would trade back into the second for Sweat. Only difference in FA I see instead of norwell I would go after Johnson. Even if Grimes resigns.

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  23. Outside of the Davenport pick, this is pretty solid. I would go with Landry instead if I’m drafting an edge rusher.

    I’m not sure how Norwell to NYG is a done deal. We have no state taxes and a stable QB situation. NYG has neither of those. The big question is will Licht go for it. His cumulative free agency moves have been nothing short of disasterous up until now.

    Trev and Cookie better step their game up if they intend to beat this battle plan.

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  24. I like the picks. I could only hope for another DE in there somewhere.

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  25. Nice overview … although I am not sure about Davenport at #15. I especially like the RB group of Penny/McKinnon/Barber and Ballage although I’m a fan of Sony Michel. Adding Danny Johnson and Dane Cruikshank in the 6th round are great picks.

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  26. I really like this battle plan. Im not sold on davenport in the first, but i geuss if were picking up a 2nd i might be okay with it. Love the idea of taking Griffin in the 4th. At first i was thinking we have good linebackers whats the point, but adding a good LB for depth makes sense and hes a great one. I didnt know anything about Ballage until watching his tape and wow im impressed. That dude was just running through people. I like the idea of a bigger back. Danny johnson is just a baller love his tape. Cruikshank impressed me at the combine and he would be a steal in the 6th round.

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  27. Solid plan! Well thought out and written. The secondary makes me nervous as hell. Not a lot at corner or safety. I like all the attention on the trenches on offense. Defensive line is worrisome though. Banking a lot on a guy who is coming off ACL surgery.

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  28. Scott, the Glazers would be much better off hiring you as the new GM and firing Licht. I am sure Licht will ignore your suggestions and will not come out as well as you would. I came up with a totally different plan than yours which I feel also would work but is more thinking outside the box. As you know I am opposed to bringing Loser Glennon back. Fitz is much superior to him and proved it this year. Below are my suggestions: You might have noticed in the Combines that Taven Bryant’s stats were almost identical with J.J. Watt’s when he went through his combine, which means if our new DL Coach got Bryant he stands a good chance of training Bryant to play DE as good as Chubb. Since our DC stubbornly wants to stick with a 4-3 Defense, on our first pick if we don’t have Chubb fall to us at 7, Licht should use that pick to take Taven Bryant. Then with the second pick take DT Settle. That way we could pair Settle and Stevie T. as two huge run stuffers inside, similar to the big DTs our DC had as the DC at Jax years ago; then convert McCoy to a DE on the left side (w/o double teams) to over power their RT and either sack the QB or knock down his passes, while our huge DTs push the middle of the line back in their QB’s face and give him no chance to step up. Then J.J. Watt clone Bryant crashes past the LT and sacks their QB from the back side or Chubb if picked does the same thing. Convert Spence to a weak side LB to come in on third downs and also sack the QB or rush both Spence and LB Beckwith from the strong side on a blitz on third down. Sign also our defensive free agents along with an elite CB Free Agent and an experienced hard hitting and tackling Safety who covers well also in Free Agency. That creates an outstanding defense!
    Now for our OL. With the poor showing LT Orlando Brown had at the Combine he will be falling far down the draft, so pick him as a great value in the third round. After all, Dotson might not make it through the season and Orlando Brown would be a good replacement. Also if in his fourth year our turnstyle LT Smith is still either getting beat or grabbing and getting penalties that stop drives again. Then finally Koetter stops his myth telling what a great LT Smith is and worries the next sacker will beat Smith and injure Jameis again and decides to move Smith to LG where he will be a star and
    tries Brown at LT where he is a much better pass blocker than Smith and puts Pamphile at RT where he will thrive having been a basketball player in college just like Dotson and has been misplaced at Guard for several years. In Free Agency it is imperative that Licht sign Jensen as a Free Agent to start at Center and move Marpet back to RG. Start Evan Smith at LG until out LT is moved there later in the season. Sweezy was a bust because his back surgery ruined his flexibility to get low pad level and he must be cut. Use the money from that cut to sign Isaha Crowell RB from the Browns in Free Agency to spell Peyton Barber to get the tough yards between tackles. Then in the fourth round take Guard Skylar Phillips if he clears medical OK at the combine or Guard Sean Welch if Phillips is not cleared. And we also have Benenoch who is a fine backup Guard too. These changes will protect Jameis much be,tter and open more holes for the running game. If the Defense puts too manny players on the line to stop the run just put in Howard and Auclair at the same time and either help both Tackles double team their DEs and then throw deep or let both TEs chip the DE’s and take off on pass patterns and catch and run over LBs and CBs. In the 5th round take place Kicker Pinero who only missed one field goal all year, was never blocked, and also hit an 87 yard field goal in practice that was videoed. In the sixth round get the best Special Team player with good speed and tackling irregardless of position or take Center Brian Allen who PFF says was the best Center in the Big Ten, and in the seventh round take Ralph Webb RB who had good durability and production at Vanderbilt in the SEC as a good change of pace back. He is 200 pounds and runs a 4.5 40.

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  29. Yours was definitely the best of the 3 battle plans. The only thing to change would be addressing the safety position, and I would really like to see us sign Poe. But other than that SOLID offseason plan.

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  30. I think you nailed it, Scott! Switch out Glennon for the beard and hopefully you’re right on. That O-line would have a chance to be the leagues best!!

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