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 playoffs.

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.

Scott Reynolds’ Battle Plan was up first, and I know a lot of you really liked it, but now it’s my turn.

Bucs’ Roster Cuts

Tampa Bay DE Robert Ayers – saves $6 million
If you look at the numbers, Robert Ayers was the Buccaneers’ best defensive end in 2017. So, why would I be dumping the teams best pass rusher at the area they struggled with the most? Well, because Ayers shouldn’t have been the best pass rusher. Ayers will be 33 years old when the 2018 season starts, and he’s schedule to be one of the top paid players on the team. For the production he showed with some limiting injuries, and his rising age, I’m moving on.

Tampa Bay OG J.R. Sweezy – saves $5.25 million
Sweezy would no longer be a part of the Buccaneers, as well, for many of the same reason Ayers will be gone. Sweezy will be 29 for the 2018 season, which isn’t bad, but his 2017 production was. The Bucs waited an entire year after signing Sweezy to even see him play due extensive back surgery, and he never got back to form in 2018, as was evident by his PFF grade as one of the worst offensive guards in the NFL.

With those roster cuts, that brings the available salary cap number to a total of $82.45 million. That’s the number we’ll take into the free agency period.

Bucs’ Unrestricted Free Agent Re-signings

Tampa Bay DT Clinton McDonald  2 years, $2 million per year
Even at age 31, Clinton McDonald is still getting it done. He was second on the Bucs in sacks last year with five, despite not even being able to play in all of the games, and despite being behind free agent signing Chris Baker on the depth chart. McDonald was better than Baker all along, and if he were the one starting, he might have even led the team in sacks. He’s a dirty work player and a big effort guy. You need that as a nose tackle.

Tampa Bay FS Keith Tandy – 1 year, 1.5 million per year
Okay, Tandy not getting any playing time last year confused the hell out of me. Without Tandy, this Bucs team wouldn’t have gone 9-7 the year before. it was Tandy’s late-game heroics that won them at least two, probably three games down the stretch in 2017.

But, instead of the team letting Tandy build off that, the signing of T.J. Ward, the emergence of Justin Evans, and Tandy going through a back injury made for a poorly-timed 2017. I’d absolutely bring Tandy back on a smaller deal. I know what he can do, and at that point this team would still need strong safety help. My only concern is if a team would pay more for him, which could happen.

Bucs’ Unrestricted Free Agents Not Re-signed

Bucs CB Brent Grimes - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Bucs CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

Tampa Bay CB Brent Grimes
Yes, you read that right. I would not bring back Grimes, but, understand that it’s not because of anything Grimes didn’t do, he was clearly the team’s best cornerback in 2017 (sadly). This is more of a long-term plan kind of move. Grimes will be 35 years old when the 2018 season starts. He still has incredible athletic ability for his age, but how much longer will he play, especially if he’s already heavily weighing retirement now? Knowing that he’ll be signing a series of expensive one-year deals from here on out, for however long that may be, I would make a tough choice and move on to sign a cornerback who I can play on having for more than just a year, and whose older injuries could creep up at any second.

Tampa Bay RB Charles Sims

People love to beat up on Sims, but you have to remember, he was just a third-round pick. He has a decent rookie year, then a fantastic sophomore season where he recorded 4.9 yards-per-carry, was then hurt, and in 2017 has to run in a committee that was four-RBs deep behind a bad offensive line. Not totally defending the guy because here I am not bringing him back, but it just didn’t work out. That’s all.

Tampa Bay G-T Kevin Pamphile
Boy, this one was not suppose to turn out like this. Back in the preseason of the 2017 season, we were all thinking that this was Pamphile’s year to start at an offensive line spot, in a contract year, show out and cash in. He’s going to cash in somewhere, but it won’t be in Tampa Bay. With all the benefit of the doubt in the world, Pamphile couldn’t even grab the starting left guard spot, and instead rotated with Evan Smith the entire season. I wouldn’t bring him back for the money I think he’s going to get offered on the open market.

Tampa Bay C-G Evan Smith

One would think that if Smith push Pamphile for a starting spot that he would then be considered to keep the job. Not exactly. Smith’s game against the Packers was one of the worst from an offensive guard I saw this season, and he showed a lot of inconsistencies throughout the year while rotating at that guard spot, as well as when he came in at center when Ali Marpet went down. At 32 years old, I’m moving on form him as well. That’s four offensive linemen who all got some starting action in 2017 now off the roster.

Tampa Bay SS T.J. Ward

This one was a disappointment that it didn’t work out, but there are always multiple moving parts to make an acquisition work. I was one of the first to say that the Buccaneers should go after Ward when he became available — I even remember where I was when I wrote the article that he had signed. I thought that with Ward on the team, the Bucs defense would get more structured with definitive roles and have a real box safety to let Evans play single high. But, thanks to the late start for him being signed late in training camp, some injuries and the team’s inability to rush the passer, Ward never fit.

Tampa Bay CB Robert McClain

McClain was a good signing for the Buccaneers last year if nothing else but because there were so many injuries on the team that he had more starts than not. McClain was fine as a the nickel cornerback, but he’s going to be 30 years old, and the team has some youth on the roster at cornerback that deserve their shot to see if they’re worth it.

Tampa Bay K Patrick Murray
As surprising as this may be to some fans, just like the Brent grimes move was, I am moving on from Murray. Murray went 19-for-23 on field goals last season, which was fine, but it’s well documented that he just doesn’t have the strongest leg, struggling on long field goals and on kickoffs. There are too many capable kickers to settle for one — even if Murray is the best Tampa Bay has had in a while.

Tampa Bay QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick did a nice job as the Buccaneers back up in 2017 and bringing him back is a possibility, especially with Winston’s investigation looming, but I’m going to opt to move on and get younger, if I can. The whole “Winston needs a veteran presence with him in the lock room” means less and less the older Winston gets. I could see Fitzpatrick being brought back, but not even for what he made in 2017.

Tampa Bay DT Sealver Siliga
Siliga didn’t get much playing time at all for the Bucs in 2017 and with no-longer-rookie Stevie Tu’ikolovatu hopefully healthy in his second season, there won’t be much need for Siliga.

Tampa Bay DE Will Clarke
Clarke was a late Jay Hayes addition to the defensive end group in 2017 and actually got a good amount of playing time with Noah Spence going down and the rets of the edge group being about as ineffective as you can be. However, Clarke didn’t do much in his showing with 2.5 sacks in 15 games played.

Tampa Bay LS Garrison Sanborn
The Bucs signed 25-year old long snapper Drew Ferris, so they likely won’t keep the 32-year-old Sanborn unless his connection with the kickers is stellar.

Tampa Bay DE Justin Trattou

Trattou was an in-season addition to the roster who the team just needed to fill spots once the injuries started mounting up. he likely won’t be back — he isn’t on my battle plan.

Tampa Bay G Adam Gettis
Gettis is one of those player who will just be in and out of the Bucs roster. I’ll look for undrafted talent rather than sign him.

Bucs’ Restricted Free Agent Tenders/Offers

Tampa Bay TE Cameron Brate – 2nd round tender – 1 year, $3 million
Contrary to what Reynolds did in his battle plan, I would not be signing Brate to a long-term team. Instead, I would be putting a second-round tender on the restricted free agent tight end, which would be signing him to a $3 million dollar deal for one year before he become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. The tight end market does not skyrocket up like it does for other positions, so waiting a season to sign Brate wouldn’t cost them that much. Brate is a big part of this team, for now, but I want to see how Howard develops. If Howard does and it’s clearly starting caliber, I know this team like two tight ends, but there are better way to spend your money in football than with a TE2 making $8 million per year. Sort of a savage move to a consistent player, but I have to do it. If anther team signs Brate and the Bucs get a second-round pick off the tender, so be it. I’ll take Dallas Goedert or Mike Gesicki. Brate isn’t much of a blocker anyways.

Tampa Bay WR Adam Humphries – 2 years, $2 million per year
I thought about tendering Humphries, as well, but even if you tender him to a low-level tender, you’re still basically paying him $2 million that season, so you might as well just sign him yourself.

Bucs’ Restricted Free Agents Not Getting Tender Offers

Tampa Bay CB Jude Adjei-Barimah
Adjei-Barimah was likely going to compete for the starting nickel cornerback spot before getting hurt in training camp. He’s a god nickel player, but that might be where Hargreaves ends up. When you know this team has Javien Elliott as well, who I like, that tells me not to tender Adjei-Barimah.

Tampa Bay OLB Adarius Glanton
Glanton won’t be getting a tender, but could possibly be back as a Buccaneer. He was a high-motor special teams player and fill-in linebacker for them before breaking his leg late in the season. I don’t expect another team to pick him up while he’s still recovering, so no tender needed here, but he could be back.

Tampa Bay DE Ryan Russell
Russell was forced into a starting role in 2017 due to the lack of pass rush production and all the injuries along the defensive line. He recorded two sacks in 2017, but it should have been more considering the playing time. He won’t be tendered and could be picked up elsewhere.

Bucs’ Trade Additions

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett – 4th round pick – $7 million per year
This is where the fun begins. With much of the roster turned over and roughly $74 million in cap space with the aforementioned roster cuts and re-signings, I start to go on the offensive this offseason. My first move in all this would be to trade for Bennett, one of the Seahawks’ top pass rushers. Bennett is being shopped for a few reasons. For one, he’s 33 years old. Second, his contract is really bad for the Seahawks, as it hits the cap for $7 million in 2018 and only goes up for the remaining two years of the deal as he gets older. Plus, there’s even more of a penalty on his out next year.

Side Note: Be thankful your team has Mike Greenberg as their cap manager, Bucs fans. When making this battle plan, I looked over a lot of contract from other team and you wouldn’t believe how bad they are. The Bucs do not have that problem. If a player is bad, it’s structured for the team to bail.

DE Michael Bennett –
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Seahawks also appear to be trading Bennett because they want things to shift in terms of leadership and voices in their locker room, as is evident by them trying to trade Richard Sherman, too. That goes in the “character” category and that means the price is way down — teams get desperate to bail on players they don’t like in that regard. If I’m trading for Bennett, I’m doing so only under the assumption he’s restructuring that deal to where he’s making $7 million per year at a flat rate for the next three years. He’ll likely do that because, if he doesn’t, he’s going to get cut and make less. Bennett was seventh among all 4-3 defensive ends in 2017 in terms of pressure, and in terms of total pressures (635 players), Bennett ranked 16th in the NFL. He’s still producing at a high level, and if I can get him for this price (I can), I’m doing it.

Bucs’ 2018 Free Agent Additions

Bears OG Josh Sitton – 3 years, $8 million per year
One of the first free agent accusations I would make this offseason in signing Sitton. The Bears declined Sitton’s $8 million dollar option this offseason, and that price should be enough to get him to Tampa Bay. According to PFF, Sitton was the fifth best offensive guard in football last year. He’ll be 32 years old, but he’s a four-time Pro Bowler, and a guy whose mentality is still to play the game at the highest level. He’s an instant and much needed upgrade.

Broncos CB Aqib Talib – 3 years, $10 million per year

In my offseason plan, Bennett isn’t the only player making their triumphal return to Tampa Bay. In my world, I’m getting Talib back in red and pewter for what will like be the remainder of his career. The Broncos are looking to trade Talib, but at $12 million per year, he won’t have any suitors. Instead, they’ll cut him and I’ll be the first to pounce. Talib is the best cornerback the Bucs have had since their Super Bowl days, and he’d likely be still the best corner in his return. Talib finally gives Tampa Bay a cornerback who can actually play man-to-man.

Patriots CB Malcolm Butler – 4 years, $13 million per year

If you ask me, what happened in the Super Bowl is that Bill Belichick tried to get cute with his strategy of not playing Butler to drive down his price tag and it backfired on him. Butler’s time in New England is now done, regardless of the price. Butler just turned 28 years old, so his price tag will be a bit higher than the 32-year-old Talib. This is what I was talking about when is aid more of a long-term plan with cornerbacks instead of signing Brent Grimes.

Patriots RB Dion Lewis – 4 years, $4 million per year

Butler won’t be the only Patriots player coming to Tampa Bay in my battle plan. I have no idea why the Patriots didn’t play Lewis for a big portion of the season; I just didn’t get it. When he was healthy, there was no doubt that Lewis was the best running back on the team. I think he’s a feature back in today’s NFL — a guy you can start on first down and don’t have to take off the field on third down. Tampa Bay needs a player like that to cut down on such a deep rotation they had last year.

OLB Jeremiah Attaochu – Photo: Getty Images

Chargers OLB Jeremiah Attaochu – 2 years, $2 million per year
Attaochu would be one of the smaller additions to the group, but one that could have a big impact. In his four years with the chargers, Attaochu has recorded 10 sacks, including six in one season, a season where he only started 12 games. But, injuries have only allowed him to play 12 games over the last two years. He was a former second-round pick and I think could be a steal with new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner.

Jets DL Kony Ealy – 1 year, $2 million per year
Ealy, the former Super Bowl standout in Carolina, has had a very uneven career since that Super Bowl season with the Panthers. He was traded to the Patriots, then cut, the signed by the Jets. He didn’t have much production in New York, which makes me think he won’t be too coveted. If I can get him for $2 million on a one-year deal to add to this pass rush, I’m doing it.

Bucs’ Long-Term Signings

Bucs WR Mike Evans – 5 years, $17 million per year
Bucs star wide receiver Mike Evans is about one healthy season away from owning every single wide receivers record in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history, and he hasn’t even signed his second contract yet. He’s scheduled to make $13.2 this season, so locking him up to make $17 million per year on a long term deal only make a cap difference of $3.8 million. Under no circumstance do i want Evans to be able to see the deals this next group of free agent wide receivers are going to get in 2019. If that happens, the Bucs will likely be paying $20+ million a year for Evans.

With all of those signings, plus the Evans extension, I’ll go into the 2018 NFL Draft with $24.2 million in cap space. That leaves some room to possibly sign Ali Marpet or Kwon Alexander to new deals later in the summer, as they will be free agents in 2019, and also leaves some plan-ahead cap for when Winston’s contract is up two years from now.

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

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68 COMMENTS

  1. Talib and Butler, Jesus Christ man.

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    • Idk if this is a good Jesus or bad Jesus.

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      • Jesus is ALWAYS bad.

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  2. Trevor…A++ (nailed it). A BUCS fan 2018 wishes come true. A very realistic battle plan that addresses everything.

    Could you add a DB here or there, yes, but this is damn good. Why are you the smartest one at PR? (must be the Gator pedigree) Hey Licht hire this bitch!! My fan crush is Sony M. (even as a gator) That sucker is special, watching a lot of SEC football he waaaay passes the eye test. Might be hard to pass in round 2. Not too much mileage since he shared reps with Chubb. If he was the primary I believe he would have posted ridiculous college stats.

    May I also add as a side note, keep replying to the reader comments!!! That is what makes you a special addition to PR. Scott rarely does it and Mark he goes dark after his Monday morning mailbag.

    That being said, I have a question for you & PR. What is up with all the media rumblings about the BUCS trading McCoy to Oakland for a 2nd round pick. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

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    • I always try to with at least my Cover 3’s! I’ll keep it more in mind, though. I enjoy the conversations/ideas you all have.

      McCoy isn’t getting traded to Oakland.

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  3. so wait let me get this straight you have us drafting a LB round 3 when we have little need at the position drafting a guy who probably maxes out at a special teamer for us & then have us drafting a troubled wr before ever addressing the need at safety in free agency or the draft ?? that’s terrible man, i guess you’re ok with conte and tandy starting again next to evans . that worked out perfectly last year. ( not going to fault you for the florida bias id do the same with FSU players ) and finally with a possible jameis suspension looming why in the world would you go into the season with JT Barrett as you’re primary back up qb …. you’d be lucky to match last seasons win totals

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    • “Draft good players, don’t force a pick for needs.”

      “Why didn’t you address the ______ position?!”

      And yes, Tandy was really good in 2016. Safety play would be the lowest priority with that pass rush and that cornerback group. He’d be fine.

      If Winston gets suspended the season doesn’t matter anyways. I’m not paying Glennon $6-$8 million.

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      • I understand the reluctance to pay Glennon – hopefully every Buc fan has at least that long of a memory – but JT Barrett…yuk!!!! Surely there’s somebody better than that.

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  4. Diggin’ it, Trevor!!! Payne & Price; love it. Hope they can make the Buffalo trade.

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  5. I like most of this, however here are my suggestions:

    Resign Fitz or a better backup if possible – Potential Jameis suspension or potential injuries in a last chance year for Licht and Koetter

    Shaquem griffin would be a great addition… not in rd three where you are looking for potential starters. Take a DB or RB (rd 5 is too late for a RB, hello McNichols). If you must have Griffin, package a trade up in rd 4. (5th rd + 2019 late picks)

    WR is a luxury pick. Godwin is a rising star and him and Evans should be our 1-2 after Desean leaves – taking a WR in rds 3-5 in 2019 would be a good idea to complement – not this year tho.

    Use those late rounders on CB or S. (might be okay with the K pick.)

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    • Actually agree with the idea of bringing in a WR to groom a year before Jackson’s deal is up. We’ve got to be more than two deep at WR to protect from injuries/suspensions, etc. While an Evans/Godwin combo is strong, having another up-and-coming WR in the fold can only benefit long-term.

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      • True, with Hump as a solid #3 tho I just feel like this is a luxury when we dont even have a starting S opposite Evans.

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        • Additionally, finding a 4th string WR on the cheap in either FA or undrafted FA, seems possible. Not to mention we still have Bobo wilson who has some talent.

          Between Evans, Godwin, and Jackson, we have 3 players cabable of filling spots 1-2. Being afraid of two WR injuries just isnt worth the pick.

          Not to mention Jameis still has Brate and Howard as weapons

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          • Understand where you’re coming from, was more looking toward the future re: the above. Most rookie WR’s take a year or two (or more) to develop, and Hump is more of a secondary WR than starter. Believe Callaway can be a player as long as he keep’s his head on straight (and a bargain in the 6th). Agree re: the safety depth, have listed a few FA options in other threads that would help solidify the depth there. Definitely a need though.

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    • Most players picked round six or seven don’t even make the team anyways, so I just tried to pick guys who may have fallen due to position or had concerns to take a chance on, but you could easily switch one out for a late round safety.

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  6. This isn’t a bad offseason. I just don’t see the likelyhood that they sign those many guys. You also do not address the safety position. Highly doubt they would sign Talib and Butler.

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  7. Trade and sign a bunch of has beens and then draft three guys from your college team.
    This seams like the plan of a drunk fan screaming at the team to go for it on 4th and 10 from their own 5 yard line in the 1st quarter.

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    • Lmao

      So beyond you not wanting to trade or sign the higher ceiling players in free agency that might come with a risk, since that’s usually the case in all free agency periods, and besides you picking on the final three picks in my mock from positions that rarely even make the team… You know what, never mind. I’ll just laugh.

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      • LOL

        I’m sure if I wrote up my plan everyone would shoot holes in it.
        BTW
        Here is my counter to your almost UF draft:

        1) Derwin James S
        2) Josh Sweat DE
        3) Derrick Nnadi DT
        4) Tarvarus McFadden CB
        5) Auden Tate WR
        6) Ryan Izzo TE
        6) Mathew Thomas LB
        7) Trey Marshall S

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        • Might not hate it tbh

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  8. Solid plan Trevor, especially like how you upgraded the DL. Like Barrett’s skill set, but have trouble seeing Licht and Co. being that bold to rely on a rookie QB as a #2. Not as high on bringing Tandy back as you, would prefer a couple other FA S’s I’ve listed previously. Like the Griffin and Callaway picks, think they both could add a lot to the team over the next few years. And as I type this Bennet has been traded to the Eagles with a 7th for a 5th and a player.. @#$!

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  9. Is it possible that Licht and Co believe so strongly that Buckner can produce chicken salad out of chicken @#$! that they don’t feel like they need to add proven DE talent to improve the DL???? Hopefully there’s a bigger picture that’s yet to reveal itself.

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  10. Love the drafting of Payne, Hubbard, and Price. Addresses our most glaring needs with impact players.
    Went full retard with UF players at the end there eh? Cant wait to see Marks version tomorrow with 4 FSU guys at the end just to one up you!

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    • Lol

      They gave me a lot of crap when they went over this for the three Florida guys, but it makes sense! I didn’t even do it for the Florida thing. Callaway would clearly be the most talented risk that late, Pineiro is clearly the best kicker in the draft with a big leg, and to give them some sort of safety add i picked a player who would have been an earlier round pick had he not gotten hurt. I’d have done that logic if they were on any other team, too.

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      • Callaway would be a steal in the 6th, and could at least provide a solid return option while he learns to play WR in the NFL. Down with the Pineiro pick as well, especially that late.

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      • I admittedly know little about Callaway. I have no argument with Pineiro. Think he’ll make it past the second round though? 😉

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  11. Gimme all that.

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  12. None of this will happen because it makes too much sense. Michael Bennett traded for a 5th, are you kidding me?!?! Jason wake up, the DL talent is being moved while you sit around doing nothing. I hope the Glazers re-assess and fire Licht like we dd Jay Hayes. It’s never too late for a competent GM to fix this. Quinn now Bennett, but the priority is upgrading the pass rush, sure thing Meathead.

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    • Don’t think Licht is sitting on his hands, but as someone tweeted “Could’ve given a 4th and 5th for Quinn and Bennett and fixed our edge with top 3 picks still in place”. Kinda hurts thinking of it like that lol

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    • You can call in what you want but teams with better pass rushes are acquiring players for middle round picks but we are sitting here screaming for pass rush help but no results. I’ve watched this story unfold enough summers to know he doesn’t have some magic rabbit up his sleeve he’s sleep at the wheel. Talking about adding to the pass rush but not taking the chances needed to actually do it. that losers mentality has trickled down through the team, he must go.

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    • FYI,

      Dianna Russini

      @diannaESPN
      There were a bunch of teams in the running for Michael Bennett. New England, Cleveland, Tampa, and Falcons to just name a few.

      2:37 PM – Mar 7, 2018

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  13. This would be awesome. Butler and Talib! that would be a very nice upgrade. Then going strong on the Dline with Payne, Hubbard, and Shepard. Price, Griffin ,and Kelly are all good players too. Should be much improved after an offseason like this. You went a little overboard with the homer picks at the end thou, Trevor but i understand. I would re-sign Fitz or sign another backup elsewhere. cant rely on an undrafted QB to hold down the fort if anything happens to Jamies.

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  14. Rather use the 4th rounder drafting a D end from anywhere then giving the pick for Bennett. Deep draft for corners no to Talib. Griffin will do more then max out as a S.T.er. UCF needed a sack to seal a game, here comes Griffin around the tackle at 4.38 down goes the Q.B. end of game. UCF would not have been undefeated without him. You want this guy on your team.

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  15. Not bad Trevor. While I like your free agency action , i’m not super hot on your draft. The Payne pick is just not me. I’m not sure why everyone is so high on this guy. When you have a TOTAL of 5 sacks in three years with that talent playing around you, that’s terrible production. I don’t want run stuffers, I want sack guys. I love the trade down, but I’d prefer maybe Arizona? Hard to tell who would be there at 21 but he’s just not high on my list. Drop back to maybe 15 and draft Vea if he’s there or Derwin James. You did a killer job on the d line but our running back room looks just as useless as last years. Dion Lewis is a Charles simms clone. Who’s to say we’d even know how to use him with putting him in obvious third down situations like dirk loved to telegraph with Simms? Then you’re left with the Tennessee RB, who’s had very little production, with much better RB’s taken before him. i think I’d take Penny with my third round pick. I see a lot of people on the LB train with that Griffin kid, but what in the world do we need another LB? It is like one of only three positions on this team we actually don’t need. Unless we are running a 3-4 which at this point I’d be 100% shocked to see out of Mike Smith.
    The closer we get to draft, and watching players like Quinn go elsewhere, I’m starting to wonder if Licht and the guys have a clue what their plan is.

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    • I can see your concerns and your changes. I definitely went all-in on the front seven and the offensive line changes. I would expect the pieces around them to elevate because of that. I’m higher on Lewis than you are. I don’t think he’s a Sims clone. I think with that offensive line he would do just fine.

      And as for the coaching, well, if the coaching doesn’t improve then none of this matters anyways.

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    • Lewis is definitely NOT a Sims clone. Lewis had almost as many yards rushing last year than Sims has had his entire career, and holds a 4.8 yds/carry.

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      • Simms average 4.9 in 2015 and 4.5 last year though so pretty comparable actually. I like Lewis don’t get me wrong, but he’s not a lead back, in my opinion, and he’ll probably get paid like one. And then you have to worry if Koetter would use him just like simms, which is very predictable.

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        • 4.8 is Lewis’ career average, while Sims’ is almost a yard less at 3.9. Gotta compare apples to apples. Agree it was asinine however the way Koetter used Sims, who should’ve just change his jersey to say “Pass Play”, as that’s typically the play call whenever he was in the game. Lewis (and a few other FA’s) just has a better overall game imo, and have the versatility that Sims doesn’t offer.

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  16. Bennett just went to the Eagles in a package deal. Like the Quin deal, Bucs are a day late & a 1$ short. Love the first draft picks! Not a fan after Griffin. NO WAY I would ever bank on a rookie kicker ever again.

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  17. I like the idea of trading back with the Bills, but I would take Will Fernandez with the second pick. Maybe go RB 3 or round. Hoping we can make a deal with the Seahawks for a trade to get Sherman

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  18. Wow, I think if you swap out your pre draft strategy with Scott’s, minus moving on from Grimes(I like that bold move for the cap), and picking up Bennett and Talib. But I do like the picks after the trade down, but if you signed Norwell and Jensen like Scott suggests then I would take one of the RBs instead of Price, with the second 2nd rd pick. Everything else looks great, LOVE your attention to our defense in the draft though.

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  19. The problem with this plan (no fault of yours Trevor) – heck realistically maybe with any plan this offseason – is that the team looks little to no better.

    Where is the pass rush coming from? None of those rookies is Bradley Chubb (are any of them better than Noah Spence realistically), and Talib is not the shutdown-Talib of old anymore. So we’re looking at getting torched again in 2018. We have the same DC (I don’t buy this talk about we’ve totally upgraded our system…old dogs don’t learn new tricks), GMC getting triple teamed again, the same safety issues, etc.

    Okay, we can’t fix everything, but how are we going to score points to keep up then…our biggest weakness in the passing game was D Smith at LT – and we still have D Smith at LT with the rest of the same gaggle…why is this lineup going to do so much better?..or put another way, why do we not expect DEs to turnstyle D Smith and continue hitting Winston at a record pace again?

    So will we control the ball then?…I understand you like Lewis but he’s not exactly the next coming of Gurley and he’s running behind a slightly improved OL if the Ohio State rookie pans out (and I don’t know why we should expect that), otherwise it’s just as mediocre a line as we had.

    To top it off, we have the same very poor special teams lineup we seemingly have every year because we seem to consider that drafting an actual kick returner would be problematic.

    I would expect this lineup to be another 5-7 win team.

    I would much rather we clearly got better at one aspect of the game – clearly improve the running game (Nelson sounds nice, coupled with an actual RB), or the passing game (upgrade LT…it shouldn’t be that hard to upgarde from one of the league worst LTs three years running), or the pass rush (oh shucks we missed out in FA again…)…that would be my wish list. Then at least we have something to hang our hats on…IMO.

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  20. How do we end up with Buffalo’s 1st at 21 and their 2nd rounder? We ought to be able to get both of their first rounders (21 & 22) for ours at #7.

    I love loading up on D-Line at the top, but I think they need to spend a pick on a RB in round 2.

    Outside of that, it seems this draft went a little SEC crazy.

    The free agency pick ups didn’t excite me too much. I guess it’s nice to snag a few starting CBs… But Kony Ealy hasn’t done much to inspire confidence. Getting dumped by the Patriots, who apparently needed the D-Line help, doesn’t inspire much confidence. I still think it would be worthwhile to sign Grimes.

    Also, at the end, the correct spelling is “agreement”, not “aggrement.”

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  21. Umm Gators fan much? 😉

    Like the first 3 picks, hate Shaquem before a good young RB in a class this deep. Would take Griffin in Round 4 no worries.

    Not taking a UF WR, especially one with character issues.

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  22. Not a fan of the defensive backfield, or the draft. My main gripes are the status quo at Safety and Payne as our 1st round pick. Payne is a big man with no power. All he has is a swim move and if that fails, he is done. I would highly dispute that he has a great anchor as well. You would be hard pressed to find any clips of him bull rushing a guard into the QB, or anchoring against a double team and 2-gapping with any effectiveness.

    Reynolds 1
    Trevor 0

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  23. Really hope they get Nathan Shepherd. Now that Bennett is off the table I dont see enough of a pass rush there to justify spending so much on corners. Obviously you didnt know about bennett when you wrote this though. No corners can cover as long as the bucs dline makes them. Butler got roasted plenty last year before the pats finally got a rush going. No idea how licht was in talks about quinn and bennett n came away with neither. Terrible mistake. He is the king of trading away 3rd and 4th round picks to move up and reach for a player, yet great proven pass rushers werent worth that to him??? Mind boggling. Im a huge Calloway fan. If he makes it past the 4th round Id be shocked. He is a 1st rounder all day without the serious issues. So yeah considering they missed bennett Id go at least 3 straight dline picks. Licht backed himself into a corner. Hard to believe in the guy after that. Those guys dont become available often.

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  24. I have no problem with signing both Talib and butler. Two guys that actually know how to play man to man! Yeah, we could use another safety, but if we can make that trade with the Bills and get Payne, Hubbard, and Price! Our line will be highly upgraded and that safety position will not be as weak because we will actually be able to rush the passer.

    A great plan though. Much much MUCH better than Reynolds IMO. Sorry about the JT rant i know its a late round pick but just hearing his name/seeing him play bring back SO many nightmares!!!!

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    • I think J.T. Barrett is pretty limited, but I think he’s a guy worth keeping as a backup. Maybe he won’t be a No. 2, and maybe I’d have to fork over some cash for a veteran backup, but maybe not. Let the Madden fantasy draft kid in me live, haha.

      And thanks!

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    • Only problem is, the Bucs NEVER run man to man! So why do you want man to man DB’s? From what I can tell, that is half of our problem. We keep drafting DB’s who are better at man to man, but just OK at zone, and we keep running zone coverages!!! I think we would be much better off even with our current group if we would just at least mix in more man to man or press coverage.

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  25. Dump Talib and his hip, use that 4th that was for Bennet the 7th and add a mid rounder next year for Sherman. Also turn around and spend for Vin Curry. Besides that I loved it Trev. And also I kinda feel like J.T. may get drafted but I like the dice roll and cap flexibility.

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    • Not bad considering it needs some changes after the Bennett news!

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  26. So so about it. Why is PR willing to over pay for Free Agents and Evans 17.5 million? Talk about inflation! This is team sport; how do you justify such a difference with Evans & Alexander? I prefer to build the team in the draft; I like Patriots attitude and get something for them and move on.

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    • Unfortunately the Bucs don’t exactly have the luxury of operating the way the Patriots do, at this point.

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      • Well, you have to start sometime?

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  27. The cap is ever growing Horse. Sing him now and have a huge value in four years while the next Jarvis Landry is getting 20

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  28. I like it nice going bro. I only have a question about how your draft plan kind of matches your free agent plan of going d line heavy which we need no argue there somebody getting cut like maybe Bennett but I wouldn’t trade a pick for him. lucky he’s in Philly right. I think you skip Hubbard take DB there and your rockin and rolling Trev hope that trade goes thru with bills.

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  29. Obviously i love how you write amd extremely happy you put Malcolm butler in this in spite of what colleagues thought. With that said the only thing i would want differently is (keeping the bills trade) payne and hernandez in the first. Second hughes (use talibs money on Pugh for RT) and harrison (brilliamt, knew the playbook better than saban). Third penny. 4th lprenzp carter. 5th im not sure why but i love the grambling rb.
    But hell love your thinking.

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    • Lorenzo*
      Man i swear I’m not a drunk lol.

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    • I like Hernandez a lot. Anytime you show me an old-school guard with a neck roll, I’m in.

      I like Harrison, but I heard he didn’t have great Combine interviews, actually… Was surprised by that.

      Regardless, thanks! And thanks for your version, too. I enjoy reading those little changes.

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      • Not surprising. Apart from minkah, allen, and laklin, i can’t remember an Alabama defensive player that was good interviewing. Some of the guys that come back amd speak during A-Day you’re left wondering how in they hell did they not take at least one COMM class.

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  30. Get me Mark’s plan! I’ve gotta see what he says now.

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  31. Well, now that Bennett is off the market, maybe we go after Vinny Curry?
    I like everything else really, except for one tweak to the draft. I’d go RB in the 2nd especially if Michel or Guice is still there. I just don’t see RB as a position we can sit on till the 5th round. The QB room makes me nervous but like you said, if Jameis goes down the season is shot anyway.

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  32. It almost scares me after missing on Quinn and Bennet that Licht is about to trade alot to get Chub

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  33. I’m a fan of what you did here. Don’t know enough about the individual players you drafted but love that it was all trenches early!

    The Griffin pick is a tough one, obviously everyone wants a different positional hole filled in round 3 but you just can’t measure the intangible things he could bring to the team.

    With that 4th rounder back, I would draft a CB or S… possibly a RB and draft the DB in round 5 depending on your board at that point.

    I am definitely on board with the Lewis signing, him, Barber and a 4th or 5th round guy can get the job done behind a revamped line. Maybe Curry gets signed instead of Bennett but yeah… my scoreboard reads the opposite of Goldson’s.

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  34. Griffin’s a great story but you don’t spend a 3rd round pick on a 4th LB when you run a 4-3 base defense. He’s not even a part time starter in this scenario. I don’t see him as a 3/4 OLB rusher at all either… same with David or Kwon. They aren’t guys with a bunch of pass rushing moves. They typically get their sacks coming free on a blitz with speed like a CB or S would. Doesn’t mean they can rush the passer consistently out of a 3-4.

    I can live with all of this other than that pick and JT Barret as the #2 QB. That just seems somewhat reckless. No teams typically go with some rando undrafted guy as the #2. Keep Fitz and sign Barret or someone as a 3rd QB. Barret isn’t a great pocket passer that would excel in a Koetter offense so I don’t even see why we’d want him.

    So basically I love all of this; and substitute Fitz for Barret; and either a RB, CB, S, DT, DE, OT, OG for Griffin. Basically anything other than a 4th LB.

    I feel like every team is going to be mocking Griffin to themselves / wanting him because of how great a story it is; but unless you plan to play him at S he deserves to go to a team where he can actually make an impact.

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    • Bucs run 4-3 base but ran 3-4 variations quite a bit, and will more with Noah Spence back. Also, remember, linebackers get hurt; it’s a super physical position and it’s a core one to Smith’s philosophy. Even if he’s not a “full-time” starter, Griffin would be an ace on special teams, the first player to rotate in and if an injury happened, there wouldn’t be a drop off. He’s a good football player, and I’d draft him 3rd or 4th round no matter what team I was.

      If you’d rather go RB in the 3rd, though, i can see that. Not saying that wouldn’t be a good choice, too, depending on who’s there.

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  35. I like where your going with your battle plan but seems like you contradict yourself with some of your moves letting some go because they’re up in there in age but then signing fellas that are up there in age.

    That’s my favorite draft scenario so far because it makes sense. But of course it’s also not very realistic.

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    • Well, I am getting rid of players who are up in age that were pretty bad last year for players who are up in age who might not be bad.

      In an ideal world, we’d all love for this team to draft correctly and not have to worry about high-priced free agents/trades as much, but here we are.

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