They saved the best for last, right?

This week, PewterReport.com has come up with three unique and different “Battle Plans” for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offseason plans courtesy of our three main writers. The idea was that we would go through the offseason schedule and each step of the way came up with our own fantasy-style offseason plan of who we would resign, who we would bring in, who we would draft and who would make the final 53-man roster come regular season.

First Scott Reynolds gave the Buccaneers big-time playmakers by adding DeSean Jackson, Christian McCaffrey and Addoree’ Jackson. Next, Mark Cook bolstered the Bucs defense by signing S Tony Jefferson and DE Charles Johnson followed by trading up for RB Dalvin Cook. Batting third is yours truly. 

This plan gave us free reign to do what we want with the roster, draft picks and salary cap. We had to keep moves in the realm of realism, obeying the cap numbers and possible draft pick selections, but other than that, this was like our own Madden season.

So, I decided to go full mad scientist with that idea. I saw this Buccaneers roster as good after a solid, 9-7 year with an up-and-coming quarterback, but decided to fill it with more talent top to bottom than this team has seen since their Super Bowl Era. Remember, this isn’t what I think the Buccaneers will actually do, this is what I would do to assemble the best team I could for the 2017 season and beyond.

Here’s how I’d start.

The Buccaneers enter the 2017 offseason with approximately $61.9 million in available salary cap space, according to OverTheCap.com. With cornerback Alterraun Verner being released, that moved that number up even higher. Verner was due to make $6.5 million in base salary. Cutting him gave the Bucs $68.4 million in available cap room. Next, I’d do even more house cleaning by relieving running back Doug Martin of his contract. That will save the Bucs $7 million in Martin’s base salary. With those two players off the books, the Buccaneers total cap room going into the 2017 offseason would be $75.4 million.

With that money in hand, this is how my battle plan would play out:

BUCS’ UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT RE-SIGNINGS
RB Jacquizz Rodgers – 3 years, $3 million per year
To me, Rodgers has always been an underrated player, and I would finally give him the recognition he deserves. He was the Bucs’ leading rusher this past season, and really saved the offense when you think about it. Without him this offense would’ve been completely one-dimensional. He’s a solid running back who you can count on to give you something week-in and week-out. I’ll pay for that stability, even if it isn’t a flashy one.

Bucs SS Bradley McDougald – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

S Bradley McDougald – 2 year, $3 million per year
McDougald and fellow safety Chris Conte entered the year as the starting safeties, and after re-watching Vernon Hargreaves III’s entire rookie year for a film recap, I could visually recall how much they struggled early in the year. So much so that Keith Tandy is now the one solidified safety. However, I think McDougald really came on and played a confident, aggressive role needed for a dependable strong safety in the second half of the season. If bringing one of he or Conte back, it’s McDougald. 

C Joe Hawley – 3 years, $4 million per year
Good center play doesn’t come around too often in the NFL. I thought Hawley (through the injuries) performed well as the center piece in the offensive line. At just 28 years old, I would rather bring him back and allow Ali Marpet to focus on playing guard at either spot.

WR Russell Shepard – 2 years, $2.5 million per year
Shepard is a must-sign, if you ask me. No one else in that locker room puts their heart on their sleeve quite like Shep does, and that is something that is invaluable. He’s a leader in the locker room and to the younger players, and he’s also a special teams stud. You don’t let guys like that walk.

CB Josh Robinson – 2 years, $2.25 million per year
Robinson – along with rookie Ryan Smith – was a big reason why the Buccaneers’ special teams coverage unit was one of the Top 5 in the NFL. He, like Shepard, showed a lot of passion and pride for the “little” part of the game he was featured in. He’ll be signed to be a backup corner, but he’d remain full-time special teamer. Teams need guys who take pride in that.

NT Akeem Spence – 2 years, $2 million per year
Signing the 25-year-old nose tackle Spence is a no-brainer, to me. He and veteran Clinton McDonald have good chemistry with Gerald McCoy and the rest of the defensive tackles, and it’s hard to find guys who have a high motor for just taking up blocks. I think Spence shows passion in a position that isn’t glamorous and doesn’t get much glory. He’s a young guy who likes to do the dirty work. I don’t think his price tag will be high enough to let a guy like that go.

BUCS UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS NOT RE-SIGNED
WR Vincent Jackson
Jackson was one of the most high-profile free agents this franchise has ever signed, but all good things must come to an end. With Jackson’s decline in production and his recent injury last season, it’s time for these two parties to move on. Tampa was lucky to have not only Jackson’s talent on the field, but his presence in the community during his time here, but business is business.

QB Mike Glennon
Glennon’s market value to whatever the Bucs would sensibly re-sign him at is not going to add up. He’ll go to a team that truly wants him to compete for a starting quarterback job, and that means he could get signed anywhere from $8-12 million dollars a year. He is not worth that money to be a back up in Tampa Bay.

DE William Gholston – Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs DE William Gholston – Photo by: Getty Images

DE William Gholston
Ah, the first big surprise, letting Gholston walk. Gholston is a stout run defender and a big body who can really take up room along the trenches. But he’s never finished any season with more than three sacks, and his ceiling as a pass rusher will always be limited. I’m not too keen about investing a lot of money in those kind of defensive ends. In this scenario, let’s say my offer sheet to him is on the lower end of things and some team gives him a more favorable deal. I’ll let him take it, but only because I have other plans to replace him.

S Chris Conte
Conte got a lot of hate early on in the year, and most of it was because he was downright bad production wise. But, to be fair, that secondary was a mess for the first five weeks. After the bye week, and even after he came back from his chest injury, however, Conte’s play improved as did the entire defense’s. Still, in a year where I have the luxury to spend money on upgrades, his position is one I would choose to do so.

TE Brandon Myers
Myers was a good, big-body blocking tight end for the Buccaneers, but at age 32, his investment would be as a reserve, if anything, as this team moves towards signing more pass catchers like Cameron Brate. They already have a player in his role in a younger Luke Stocker.

LB Daryl Smith
Smith served his purpose during his time in Tampa Bay, but with Devante Bond coming back from injury, and any possible draft pick the team might select, Smith’s time with the Bucs comes to a close at age 35.

OT Gosder Cherilus
There are too many young guys to keep on the offensive line for Cherlius to stick around. He was signed as insurance for either of the tackle spots, but after coming in to start the Dallas game and mightily struggling against the Cowboys’ pass rush, it doesn’t make sense to resign him given the current roster.

WR Cecil Shorts
I feel bad for Shorts, I truly do. He worked his way back from injury on this team to finally get into the starting lineup, and then saw his season end to gruesome knee injury that tore his ACL, MCL and PCL. You can’t sign re-sign a guy who is 28 coming off an injury like that.

QB Ryan Griffin
Griffin is a restricted free agent, not an unrestricted free agent, so the Buccaneers would have the option to match any contract he is offered. But I’ll say that some team offers him and deal elsewhere. I’d let him walk – I’ll tell you why later.

RB Antone Smith
Smith suffered a torn ACL during the 2016 season, and the start of his 2017 season looks murky as well. At age 31, he’s not worth bringing back, especially being the insurance guy they would want him to be.

DT John Hughes
The Bucs have bigger plans in their interior defensive line than re-signing Hughes.

NT Sealver Siliga
With Spence re-signed and Siligia’s price tag worth more for another team, I’d let him walk. 

RESTRICTED FREE AGENT RE-SIGNINGS
Tampa Bay DE Jacquies Smith (tender) – 1 year, $1.75 million (estimated)
Smith was having a very strong preseason after coming off 6.5 and 7-sack seasons, respectively. That was until tearing his ACL after the first game of the regular season. At just 26 years old with that production under his belt, however, it wouldn’t make sense to let a guy like that off their roster. The more pass rushers you have the better.

Chargers OLB Melvin Ingram and Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images

FREE AGENT ADDITIONS
Chargers DE Melvin Ingram – 4 years, $13.5 million per year
With Gholston gone, Melvin Ingram would be my biggest free agency signing. Ingram is coming off back-to-back seasons where he has played and started in all 16 games and recorded 10.5 and eight sacks, respectively. He was Pro Football Focus’ highest graded EDGE player for the 2016 season and is set to hit the open market at a high price.

Now, I know people will say, “Trevor, Ingram played in a 3-4 in San Diego.” I realize that, but at South Carolina, Ingram rushed the passer as a linebacker, defensive end and defensive tackle in a 4-3 system. I trust his talent enough to be disruptive anywhere on the line, especially from the edge opposite Noah Spence. He would be the starter, and that could leave Ayers to play the hybrid DE-DT role we saw Mike Smith love to get creative with early in the year. Ingram’s price tag to stay a Charger would probably be more in the $10-12 million dollar range, but Tampa Bay has the extra money to throw his way to lure him.

Ingram on one side, Spence on the other and McCoy in the middle with Ayers and Smith as luxury pass rushers? Yes please.

Browns WR Josh Gordon – 2 years, $4 million per year
Oh, now we’re having fun. In this scenario, I expect that Gordon will been reinstated by the league office after serving his one-year suspension for violating the drug policy. Gordon would technically still be controlled by the Browns as a restricted free agent, but from everything I’ve heard and read on their side, even if he is reinstated, the Browns are likely to move on – especially with their interest in re-signing Terrelle Pryor.

On the negative side, people like to focus on Gordon only playing 19 out of the Browns’ 64 games while he was on their roster. But in those 19 games, he was the best wide receiver in football.

If Gordon is reinstated, he’s the best wide receiver on the market, no question. He’s still only 26 years old, and because of the high risk, his contract wouldn’t be near what it would cost to sign Alshon Jeffery or DeSean Jackson. He’d even be cheaper than Pierre Garcon. If Gordon is available, sign me up. The risk is certainly worth the potential reward.

Chargers S Jahleel Addae – 3 years $3.75 million per year
Addae was a draft sleeper of mine back in 2013. After going undrafted, he was eventually signed by the San Diego Chargers as the nickel safety, but due to injuries ended he up getting starting time. He’s been a solid contributor as a strong safety since then, and was the No. 7 overall free agent safety in 2016 according to Pro Football Focus.

Not a blockbuster signing, but these kinds of signings are what you do under the radar to make your team better and better every year.

Rams DT Dominique Easley – 2 years, $2.5 million per year
During his time at the University of Florida, Easley was one of the best interior defensive linemen in the entire country. So much so that after tearing his ACL in his final year at Florida, the New England Patriots still saw him talented enough to still taking him in the first round. After playing in New England for two seasons, the Patriots released Easley shortly after he had been plugged into a starting role. Later we found out the reasons were for unreliability and immaturity in the locker room.

As a student at UF during Easley’s time there, I can tell you he’s a weird cat at times. He doesn’t like watching football – he watches cartoons instead – and really is just this big giant kid. What’s inside that kid when the football helmet comes on, however, can be a monster. If you get Easley in a family setting where he feels like he’s playing for his brothers and his own like Will Muschamp made him feel at UF, he is a top talent; no question. At age 24, I’ll pay that price tag for a chance to get that talent, knowing I have enough defensive line depth around him to pick up the slack if it doesn’t work.

Packers CB Micah Hyde – 4 years, $5.5 million per year
This signing might come as a bit of s surprise, but I’ll explain. With Alterraun Verner being released, the Buccaneers have the chance to make some moves at cornerback, even if they like Ryan Smith as a down-the-road starter. They could opt to be big spenders on players like A.J. Bouye or Malcolm Butler as outside corners, making Hargreaves the permanent nickel corner, but Hargreaves was much more successful on the outside, and justifying a Top 15 pick on a corner really warrants playing outside.

So, instead, I have the Bucs signing the best nickel cornerback in free agency, and maybe even in the league. Hyde’s price tag to play just inside might seem high to some, but the game has changed; nickel corner isn’t a diss anymore. Heck, in the first two weeks of the season last year the Falcons lined up Julio Jones in the slot and the Arizona Cardinals did the same with Larry Fitzgerald. No third cornerback on a depth chart is going to be able to face that. You have to get a good one and place him there on purpose. Hyde is one of the best.

Eagles TE Trey Burton – 2 years, $2.25 million per year
Burton has been Mr. Utility for the Eagles both in the offense and on special teams for the last two years. I’d bring him into Tampa to continue to fortify the special teams units, and to have a second tight end who can thin out the middle of the field in the passing game along with Cameron Brate.

This signing would protect the Bucs by upgrading that position while taking the pressure off drafting a tight end early to do so. You never want to pigeonhole yourself going into a draft. You always want to put yourself in the position to take the best guys on the board.

That’s how winnin’ is done.”

All those signings combined at those numbers comes in at $49.5 million in cap out of the $74.5 I had to spend. Factoring in $5-7 million for incoming draftees, and liking to have anywhere from $8-10 million to play with during the season and we’re right on schedule. 

Speaking of the draft, let’s see who my selections would be if I were in charge of the war room.

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Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

49 COMMENTS

  1. I think this plan makes us a more complete team than Cook’s and Reynolds’ plans. I love the idea of taking a shot on Josh Gordon. I think wherever he goes, his contract will be structured in a way that negates most of the risk, making it a low risk/high reward scenario.

    I also like your draft a lot. While it lacks an elite playmaker on offense, there’s only a handful of those every year and they’ll all probably be gone by the time we would pick at 19 anyway.

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  2. I’m not sure that I’d say that I love this plan, but I like it the best of the three presented. I really like the draft trade back and selections. I’m not all that familiar with all the players, but the analysis and logic behind the picks all make sense to me and helps to solidify a decent roster. I honestly like the selection of JuJu and Hunt though.

    I also like the flyer on Josh Gordon. I know some folks here have touted grabbing Mixon, but if I had to take some PR flak, I might as well take it over a guy with proven NFL talent.

    Well done Trev, you have my vote!

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  3. Hi Trevor, pretty wholesale changes to the team, no? Would you worry that it might alter the chemistry with so many new faces? As it stands, the Bucs are a winning team and I’d wonder if they would want to be more conservative with their additions and subtractions? Great indepth work, by the way on the personnel side of things. PR just keeps getting better and better!

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    • Nah, I wouldn’t be too worried about that. They have the right culture in place and good coaches. Plus they have their leaders established at key positions on the team.

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  4. i like everything but the drafting of Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers in the 3rd. Why not another young WR like Taywan Taylor or Josh Reynolds JUST IN CASE the Josh Gordon experiment does not work out. i really like trading back for more picks. I hope someone makes the call to grab the #19 pick

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    • I will say that if Gordon isn’t re-instated, that pick would have been a wide receiver. But I think Smith-Schuster as a starter would work if Gordon didn’t.

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      • do you think that Derek Rivers is a 3rd DE. I don’t think so from looking at his film but that is just my opinion.

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  5. I agree with your 1st round analysis. If those 4 skill players are gone trade back or I am ok with drafting a Dlineman if they grade to that value. I would also love to see Gordon opposite Evans, who wouldn’t, instantly becomes best duo in the league if Josh can stay in the game. I have my doubts about that considering he could have came back last year (one of my fantasy squads banked on it) and instead he went to rehab. How can a guy, after screwing up a couple times already, have millions on the table as a top WR and still hit the pipe or do whatever he was doing? Stay clean for even 5 years, make your money and then smoke all the weed you want. He won’t be ready.

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  6. Of the three Plans, this is my favorite. I love it! Go Bucs!

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  7. Trevor, I like this idea. Trade down get another pick. Maybe even two. This is a deep draft, and if the bucs are patient they could really make changes that will pay off two, three years down the road. The question is, are they that patient ?

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  8. Trevor I smiled from ear to ear watching you bring so many of our Gators home lol. Dominique Easley would be an excellent fit here and give us an explosive DT to pair with or spell GMC. Not a fan of losing Goldston while retaining Spence but I will live. Josh Gordon is definitely an intriguing name that would be cost effective and COULD be a homerun signing IF his head of on straight. I’m in the minority but I think McDougald will be fine as a starter alongside Tandy. Still no OL addressed in this draft and considering everyone has Hawley being re-signed it might end up happening even though we need an upgrade. I still think adding a high end guard, since many are available this FA, makes sense to add competition all across the line with desperately needs to improve. You are the only guy who addressed LB depth which I have also been concerned with after LVD and Kwon, I actually like another Gator Anzalone in the draft as another option. He will be drafted a lot later than his talent shows and would be a nice steal if we were to get him around round 4 or later. Overall this is the best battle plan of the 3.

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    • Azalone is a nice player, but he was always hurt in college. I can’t depend on him to take NFL hits and not continue to be hurt. Also, keeping Spence and letting Gholston walk was due to a difference and preference in positions. I can sign an edge player, nose tackles are hard to find reliability wise.

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  9. A couple of the ideas are interesting, but letting Ryan Griffin go as the only QB outside of Winston with system experience sounds a little dumb… Resigning him in no way prevents you from drafting that QB, by the way.

    There’s a lot of working parts in this one, and I’m not sure it’s realistic. It’s more of a fantasy-plan. I also think Josh Gordon isn’t a guy we (or any team) should count on. If we find a guy that we know will stick around as #2, then Gordon would be a bonus, and you cross your fingers and hope he stays in line. I also don’t like Melvin Ingram as a DE. It’s a projection for a LOT of money. I’d take him as a starting LB who slid to end on passing downs… but it’s a lot of dough.

    Finally, I seriously doubt the Bucs will fork out 50 million in free agency contracts. Just don’t see it.

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    • My plan is definitely more on the fantasy side, but nothing that isn’t realistic enough when you put out the numbers.

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  10. Hey TS,
    Battle plan #3 is more interesting than the veterans are. PR rookie looking to upset Mark and Scott.
    Josh Gordon – YES Never considered him before this.
    Melvin Gordon – YES
    Micha Hyde – YES YES YES
    Dominique Easley – NO he is not an upgrade over Gohlson, who we should re-sign.
    Ditch Chris Conte? Okay we know he screwed up a lot. but he got better as the season went on. I never thought I would say this, re-sign him also.

    Your draft is interesting. We can draft Hunt but, there is always a but. Dougie will be on the team You will give Josh Gordon a shot but can’t forgive Martin?
    Your draft is interesting in other ways also. Draft a QB when we have someone on the team that has team experience? Don’t get that. If you want to draft a QB okay, but keep the guy we got.
    GO BUCS

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    • Gholston and Easley don’t play the same position. Reason I brought in Easley is for interior depth. Gholston plays edge.

      It’s not about forgiving Martin. It’s about him being 28 and him being hurt for more than half of his career. At that point, his upside going forward isn’t more than drafting a younger player and letting them grow, especially since he was sub-part when he did play this season.

      Gordon is different. He’s a Top 5 talent at wide receiver when he’s on the field and he’s on 26 years old. Not about forgiving and not forgiving. Just a business decision.

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      • TS Is it just business? I have not paid any attention to Josh Gordon but he seems troubled to me. If we had a decent guard to replace Mankins Doug and the rest of our RB’s can do the job.
        You can make an argument Doug is a top five talent also. Lets see what he can do running behind Sweezy.
        Yes draft a replacement, Hunt works for me. 28 is not a death knell for an RB.
        GO BUCS

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  11. THIS IS THE OFFICIAL KEEP DOUG PETITION
    All in favor say HELL YEAH
    GO BUCS

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  12. I am OK with signing Josh Gordon if the Browns release him but I wouldn’t give him any guaranteed money. Trevor, what I am more interested in is some of these new FA’s Overall Madden numbers because we all know that’s what really matters.

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  13. Easily the best plan IMO. My main concern – and it is a concern with all the plans – is the lack of attention to arguably the most important position group in football… the offensive line. We have subpar tackles and other than Marpet no one on the line that is inarguably above average. The Bucs need another monster on the offensive line.

    The best thing the Bucs could do is find someone to seriously challenge and supplant D. Smith at LT. He will never be a Pro Bowl level talent on the outside. When you have a 23 year old QB with a chance to be great – you get him some GREAT talent to protect him. Period. To not do so is to resign yourself to never reaching the full potential of your team’s capabilities. The ideal scenario is to find someone that pushed D. Smith to RT or to the interior line, this making several positions along the line better with a single addition.

    Good teams don’t draft a QB every year (there’s only a handful of examples where that has paid off with a trade) – they draft offensive lineman every year.

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    • FilmBuc I agree with you wholeheartedly. Look at the Buc offensive line: a second round pick who is struggling at LT, they don’t have a left guard (Sweezy has been out for a full year with an undisclosed back, and back issues usually don’t go away, and the Bucs expect him to step back in to a new position, left guard as opposed to his natural position right guard and play a full 16 game schedule), 2 centers neither of which should be starting,a solid right guard, and a right tackle who is past his prime and nothing more than a place holder. The backups are 5th through 7th rounders and UDFAs. The Bucs appear to be modeling their offense after the Colts. Draft a quarterback, surround him with play makers but do nothing to build an offensive line. The quarterback gets pummeled and eventually gun shy or injured and they end up a perpetual 9-7 team, if they make the playoffs they are one and done as playoff caliber teams defense eats them alive.

      The Bucs should invest either a first or second round draft pick in the offensive line every year until they build a solid line. This year there are 3 OT and 3 or 4 OG expected to go in the mid to late first and top of second round. The Bucs should trade back as TS does, but one of those picks should be an offensive lineman. Drafting 19th you don’t often get the chance to draft the number 1 or 2 ranked tackle or guard in the draft. They may not be top 10 picks but they are solid first rounders.

      I know it is the lying season, but if they Bucs front office believes they have a solid offensive line, then the Bucs will remain mediocre. A team cannot consistently run the ball or throw deep passes without the big boys up front.

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    • It’s a weak draft and offensive lineman are hard to find especially at tackle.

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  14. I like this battle plan, I like it a lot! Trading back for another 2nd and 3rd round this year would be really good too.

    I would like to see Doug but life is life.

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  15. Are you crazy, Seth Russell as our back up QB? Sorry, I can’t go with that. Put him on the practice squad. Hopefully Ryan Griffin is ready to be our back up. Otherwise I am not sure I like trading down and if I did I would be more inclined to take Kupp. My prediction on the OL is that Sweezy comes back, he is better than Pamphile but not the player we thought we were getting. The running game gets stuffed and the offense becomes one dimensional. Dotson deals with injuries all year and misses 8 games and Donovan Smith makes little to no improvement. How do you feel about your franchise QB having less than stellar protection from the left and matador protection from the right? That alone should make you rethink having a rookie seventh round QB as the back up. With no home-run hitter other than Evans, and no running game the offense takes a major step backwards.

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  16. There’s going to a great nfl player for us at 19. Trading back for a couple extra maybe players I don’t like. Smith Schuster does nothing to excite me. Hunt the more I watch, the more I like. Reminds me of LT a little bit. All in all I’d take any of the battle plans and tweak each one but I like your go get em approach Trevor. I’m just excited for another influx of talent. Just like in madden my favorite part of the season is adding talent to the roster. We’ll be better in 2 months. Go Bucs

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  17. I don’t necessarily agree with the choices, but Trevor you got the core of what this team needs. And trading down is smart. There is lots of talent in this draft. We need to cash in because we have so many holes to fill. I disagree with the criticism about taking a QB. Griffin is not a proven back up, we are definitely going to need to pick up one. If not the draft then in free agency. My disagreement would be with not taking a Corner in a draft that is so deep in quality cornerbacks. I also think we have to take a TE, because beyond Brate we really don’t have anything other than guys who are too old or too brittle.

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  18. It’s obvious that all three of you put in a lot of work and thought to offer up such interesting “battle plans”. Each one had a bit of, as someone once said, “Hope and Change”. Each had valid justification for the respective moves. Both Mark and Trevor could be called “homers” for their lean toward their alma mater. Scott refrained from pimping a K-State prospect since he has not fared so well in the past.

    I must say I thought each one could improve our favorite team and each one had some degree of risk that could reverse the progress that was made in 2016.

    It’s easy for us wannabee GM’s to sit at our computers, with virtually nothing on the line (other than being on-line), and risk the possibility of being mocked by another amateur, after presenting our sure-fire plans of attack. To me it’s like going to the circus, seeing the guy on the tightrope with no net, leaning over to your wife and saying, “that’s not so difficult”. But if challenged to do so, would resort to being one of the clowns.

    My main concern with Trevor’s plan was the giant gambles of going into the season with a late round rookie QB as Jameis’ safety net and the hope that Josh Gordon finally gets his act together. If he does, Trevor gets my vote.

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  19. Trevor, it appears you are the PW compensatory picker … designed to counter Mark Cook’s Nole love with your Gator love!

    Aside from homer biases, I am not opposed to trading down for extra picks in this draft … but from no. 19 I am not sure there’s going to be any buyers for what the Bucs will be selling. These “trade down for picks” strategies usually turn out to be fan fantasies unless the pick to be traded is a top five pick overall.

    Besides, I don’t believe that there will be no quality players left on the board deserving of a no. 19 pick when we come up on the clock. I doubt very much that will be the case. Too much talent at too many positions to presume that all the top shelf talent will be gone.

    I don’t dislike your battle plan – I just don’t think it’s plausible.

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    • darn .. “PR” not “PW”

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  20. I had not realized that Josh Gordon is realistic because nobody had mentioned him. I think he would be a better gamble than Desaun Jackson.

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    • Gordon started only 19 of 64 games with the Browns … that’s less than 30% availability … he’s only produced an average of 688 yards per season (including his one year of suspension … since that was clearly his fault, that season belongs in the denominator.

      DeSean Jackson, however, started in 123 of his possible 144 games, that’s over 85% available, and his average production over his 9 seasons in the league is 980 yards per season, including over 1008 yards per season over the last four seasons, including 1,005 yards this past season.

      It’s impossible to justify Gordon over Jackson by any rational measure, whether availability, production, or attitude.

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      • Impossible? I don’t think you can ever go that far in regards to an opinion. There is a statistical correlation between age of a player and the number of games a player is healthy for. Gordon’s problem has been drug tests/attitude. Which is a personal decision. Age is not. You also have to remember that drug issues can go away with a change of scenery. Chris Carter being the ultimate example. The ceiling for Gordon is much higher than Jackson’s and therefore a bigger payoff if you are right.

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        • It’s all a matter of assessing risk … and the risk of Gordon is vastly higher, incomparably higher, than the very low risk acquisition of Jackson’s services. Gordon has produced at a high level only a single season in his four year NFL career. Heck, Doug Martin did better than that, and the entire PR crew and near half the commenters here want to fire Martin after a low production season! And DM’s best year he outproduced, by nearly 300 all purpose yards, Gordon in his best season.

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  21. Love the vast majority of this scenario. This is the first time I’ve seen Melvin Ingram’s name come up with regards to the Bucs by someone in the media and I had been wondering why. It makes so much sense. He is a freaky athlete who has had back to back great years and is well worth the money IMO. Charger fans will miss him dearly next year.

    My one reservation is the Smith-Schuster pick. I’m surprised that nobody else commented on that but I think where you have him picked is a massive reach. There are no less than a dozen receivers in this draft that I’d rather have and think he’s only even on anyone’s radar because he went to USC and made that one play that one time that you GIF’d. He has no special traits and isn’t a great athlete.

    Budda Baker, Njoku or Ross would be WAY better selections (all of whom will likely be first round picks). You also said Baker wouldn’t make sense considering the signings but then took a safety in the next round anyway, I’d rather have Baker in the second and then get Taywan Taylor or another receiver in the 3rd.

    Great post!

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  22. I think cooks was the more steady of picks and signings. I am a fan of trading back for extra picks though.

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  23. I love the re-signings you did, with WIlliam being the one I would resign differently. I also wouldn’t resign Hawley. I also like the gamble on Gordon, It wouldn’t cost you anything if he messes up as it would be a heavily incentive laden deal. As for DB, I would like us to take a look at Trufant from the Rams. They won’t franchise him again and he’s a taller DB, which we need badly.
    As for the draft, if those guys are all gone, I am all for trading back as you did and if we can get an extra second and third, I’m all for it. As for the picks, I’m not really an avid watcher of most of those guys but I do love Hunt more and more as you guys speak about him. Schuster is an interesting pick as he has the athletic ability , just wasn’t huge production wise.
    I kind of took yours as you said from a fantasy perspective and you had some fun with it. Although I am a fan of the trade back scenario. Greta job as usual Trevor.

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  24. I love the moves back and taking a chance in Gordon. The one place I think you neglected is the O-line. No additions in either free agency or the draft is just criminal. Hawley is a quality but average center. I would like to see a upgrade there either in free agency or the draft (or both). We should make a strong push Mangold (who got cut after this article came) and use on of those extra picks on Pocic or another quality center for the future. We neglected the O-line in the past and cost us, we should learn free m our mistakes.

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  25. I prefer Cook, Campbell, keeping Gholston, Pryor, Humphries, and building an Offensive Line that is strong up the middle. A new LT from free agency, move Smith from LT to LG, Marpet at Center (Hawley his backup), Sweezy at RG and Pamhile at RT (with Dotson as backup at both Tackle Positions)!

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  26. Although I don’t always agree, you are not an idiot. I love the way you think things through and use critical thinking to support your analysis.

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  27. How about a scanerio where we get Gordon and McCafree? Now that would be an offense if we can keep Gordon out of trouble. I think Gholston is fine but the real issue there is showing existing players the Bucs will pay performers. He’s pretty replaceable.

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  28. Giving Gordon 4m a year sounds like a great idea… NOT.

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  29. One thing we have to consider that none of you guys considered, as you guys are building a battle plan there’s someone that actually is game planning and I believe his contract is going to be up soon. As I’m sure Lovie Smith signed a 4 year deal maybe even a 5 year I don’t remember but more importantly this is year 3 going into year 4.

    Do you extend the contract of Jason Licht?

    The thing I like most about your battle plan here Tre is there’s risk taken yes but there’s a security in the risk.

    Your not just throwing your cards in with Gordon alone you got a solid WR#2 in Smith-Schuster plus the compliment.

    Consider: Late Round UNC WR Holliman.

    Kareem Hunt is a solid pick and the depth chart is impressive in that you have 2 types of backs designated. Not only did you replace Martin but you’ve also set up the battle for Sims and Williams going into season instead of addressing it after the fact. In any case with them being a 2nd and what was Williams a 5th? You can still be looking for the complete back to come in the future.

    Sidenote: What do you think of Joseph Yearby? A potential undrafted gem. I remember he and Dalvin Cook being similar coming into their respective programs.

    Trey Burton is underrated and a nice pickup.

    Overall Draft scenario is impressive. FA is exciting. Melvin Ingram funny enough had trouble transitioning to the 3-4 in his early days him returning to 4-3 should make him a steal even athough a high price but in perspective it isn’t Vernon money so it ain’t so bad and one thing I think people are over looking is that Mike Smith has 3-4 elements to his defense I’m sure he wants to install this year. That kind of depth on the line allows for that kind of move, not only the line but also that reeves maybin pick will enable all kinds of formations and subpackages sure to drive coordinators insane.

    Okay so the only things I would feel convicted about if I didn’t mention on this is this:

    Micah Hyde? That’s a move Mike Smith would have to sign off on I don’t think he will. Micah Hyde is okay but I don’t see it. I’d rather see the Bucs take a chance on UG CB Boykins former shut down nickle from Philly if he’s still available last I saw he was cut by Carolina.

    Anddd Russell Shephard needs to be shown more love on the contract I’m thinking 5 years, 11 mill. I know you know in Madden the number per year is important but more importantly by adding more years your saying I want you to retire here and be apart of this organization for life. And him making essentially the same amount as Josh Robinson is an insult.

    Love the battle tactics series.

    I mean pretty sure you got my vote in the poll but I’m going to go review Reynolds again I remember being impressed by that as well. Then I vote.

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  30. I really can’t take anyone’s plan seriously when they advocate someone be cut for nothing in return due in part to a minor drug altercation and then turn around and advocate signing a pothead who could star along side Cheech and Chong in one of their movies in the same story.
    Martin missed games because he was legitimately injured giving up his body for the team while Gordon missed entire seasons because he couldn’t keep his head out of a gas mask filled with the burning green.
    I mean how much lunacy is involved here.

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    • Gordon is a generational talent whereas Doug is not. Gordon call go another 5 years-can Doug?

      Plus I learned a while ago with the Josh Freeman/Mike Williams/ASJ story lines-

      There may be more out there then what’s being said at this time.

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  31. The thing I appreciate the most Trevor is that your plan is well thought out, from start to finish….and includes a year-over-year draft philosophy for the later rounds (i.e., always draft a QB). It’s not my personal late round draft philosophy (which is always take a chance on a guy late that others are passing over for non-talent reasons – e.g., injury, threats of sitting out, may have to switch positions, etc.), but I feel like our GMs have never had a late-round strategy and it has cost us.

    In FA – I love the idea of Ingram…it’s really a shame that we’ve had the best DT in the league for years and yet our overall DL play has been no better than average. Spence and Ingram would be a big step in that direction.

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  32. Hey, the Ravens just released tjeie safety for a pot issue.
    Lets pick him up so at least Gordon will have a supplier he can share a bong with.
    Jshumakee, it takes a lot more than a change in scenery to overcome an addiction.
    Geesh, if life was only as simple as yoir mind.

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  33. This battle plan is better than Mark Cooks. Trading up to get a Rb and giving up 2 high draft picks in this years draft is just crazy. This draft is too deep to give up so much. I love the idea of Gordon.

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  34. As I have been frequently, I am late to the party. I loved all three plans and all of the discussion generated. Much to digest.

    Regarding SASKBUCS, (24th; 3:24 PM) comments on Josh Gordon and subsequent discussion … “Stay clean” … That is what Sapp did until he was through playing. He was surly at times but, fans loved him. He played his guts out!

    We lost ASJ and he apparently did not have any “red flags”, at least that I knew of, when he came out of college. Go figure!

    How Licht and staff can out-guess some of these players I don’t know.

    ___
    Go Bucs!!!!

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  35. Well Melvin’s gone, do you think Richardson would be a good pick up by maybe a trade for a 2nd Rnder?

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