About the author

Scott Reynolds

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

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43 Comments

  1. 1

    a-bomb

    That is a very conservative game plan for a GM whose job is on the line. We shall see.

    1. 1.1

      JustaBuc

      Perfect. Nothing screws an organization over like splash moves to save a job.

  2. 2
    1. 2.1

      JustaBuc

      I agree. Actually did a double take when I saw it was Scott who penned it. He’s easily the biggest Hot Take writer of the three on PR normally and this piece has a lot of thought and restraint put into it. Well done Scott!

  3. 3

    macabee

    BUCS PRE-FREE AGENCY MOCK DRAFT

    Assumptions:

    *Free agency – Buc picks – 41.4mil
    – CB Trumaine Johnson 13.6mil (Marquee free agent)
    – C Ryan Jensen 8.0mil
    – OG Justin Pugh 7.5mil
    – SS Kenny Vacccaro 6.5mil
    – RB Carlos Hyde 5.8mil

    Bucs 7 round mock (Bucs trade down with Arizona)

    RD1 DE Marcus Davenport 6-5 264 4.58 (pick #15)
    *There’s been a lot of talk about Marcus Davenport being raw and a development project, but at every point he’s been tested he passed with flying colors. His combine performance may move him into the top ten. I’m not going to be too upset if they take him at #7 because I don’t think he gets past the Packers at #14. But in this mock we take that chance and trade down with Arizona and pick up a 2nd.

    RD2 CB Isaiah Oliver/Colorado 6-0 201 4.50
    *Oliver surprised me at the Combine that he did not run faster, but otherwise he is an all-around solid cover corner. The Bucs had a meeting with Oliver at the Combine.

    RD2 RB Rashaad Penny/SDSU 5-11 220 4.46 (from Arizona)
    *Penny is an electric back that can do it all – from inside running to catching passes from the backfield. His ST play is excellent. His pass blocking needs work but will improve in time. This pick makes a lot of sense if RB Charles Sims is not re-signed. Do not be surprised if this pick is used to trade back for RB Derrius Guice/LSU. Guice is the type of “run angry” RB that Koetter loves.

    RD3 DT Nathan Shepherd/Ft Hays State 6-5 315 5.09
    *Shepherd is from a D-III small school that practiced well in the Senior Bowl until a hand injury. He has all the measurables of an NFL 3 tech with pass rush ability, but he has not seen the types of players he will consistently see in the NFL. He is raw and will be considered a project but most pundits think he could be a solid Bucs pick thanks to his NFL-caliber traits.

    RD4 DE/OLB Kemoko Turay/Rutgers 6-5 253 4.65
    *Another raw but explosive edge rusher with the coveted traits of an NFL DE. However, he is said to be very intelligent and a quick learner. His ability to chase and tackle could translate into playing time right away. Turay got noticed at the Senior Bowl practices and had a good combine that helps his draft position.

    RD5 CB/S Dane Cruikshank/Arizona 6-2 209 4.41
    *Dane is another Combine phenom. He is a converted Arizona Safety that came out as a CB. Even though he has CB speed, I still think he is a safety and has the size to play in the box and the speed to play deep. He could be the eventual replacement for Chris Conte.

    RD6 DE Ade Aruna/Tulane 6-5 262 4.60
    *Aruna is my “sleeper” pick in this draft. He is late to big league football and has been under the radar until his explosive Combine performance. This guy can play – go watch his tape.

    RD6 RB Ito Smith/So. Mississippi 5-9 201 4.50
    *Ito Smith is the Tarik Cohen of 2018. He could be the second coming of Darren Sproles. He is not OJ Simpson, but he could be Judge Ito. I can hear Buc fans chanting “here come da judge” lol.

    RD7 WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling/USF 6-5 206 4.37
    *Why is a WR in this mock when the Bucs currently have 8 WRs on the roster? For one that’s 4 too many and Scantling is 6-5 206 that has Mike Evans measurables and RAC ability – something the Bucs are missing. Scantling had a blistering 4.37/40 with a good Combine performance. He might be gone!

    Editorial Comment

    *I recognize that I’m lacking D-Line help in free agency. And there’s a reason – they just aren’t out there folks! Buckner has to work his magic with draftees – tried to get him something to work with.

    *The Bucs aren’t going to get OG Norwell. Pugh is a lousy RT but an excellent left guard. Josh Sitton is an equally good OG and will be cheaper, but he is 32 and Pugh is 28.

    *Bucs need an experienced S next to Justin Evans. Tandy is a good guy but has no upside left. Vacarro is completely healthy now and can play strong or free.
    *No jitterbugs at RB. The Bucs need a power back with good hands. Carlos Hyde can do that just never had a decent O-Line.

    I tried to do a complementary draft – no favorites – just plugging holes with the talent available. Whatever the Bucs offseason plan is, it’s a well-kept secret. I have heard no rumors linking them to any players. Go Bucs!

    1. 3.1

      Horse

      Macabee, Can we hire you as the GM. Your list makes a lot of sense!

    2. 3.2

      Buc 1976

      I would be surprised and glad if Scantling is available with next to last pick in the 7th. As they say you can’t teach speed. IMO that would be a solid draft.

    3. 3.3

      cgmaster27

      Mac as usual, you are playing with my emotions here! I love these moves, like literally all of them. The draft is all guesswork as always, but at 15 getting Davenport could get much better value than him at 7. Either him or Vita, but he probably won’t be available at 15. Great mock there Mac, solid as always.,

      1. 3.3.1

        XpfcWintergreen2

        cgmaster, I too would be happy to get Davenport or Vea at 15.

        Mac, I will digest your take. Much to chew on.

        Scott, Very Good article. You have brought some clarity to free agent issues. Less knowledgeable fans like me depend on PR to do some of the heavy lifting for us.

        _________________
        Go Bucs!!!!

    4. 3.4

      martinii

      Mac,

      As usual your projections make perfect sense and provide enthusiasm and optimism for (speaking for myself) a rather disenchanted Buc fan. While you haven’t addressed D-line in Free agency there simply are no affordable or productive candidates available. So what you did was set our Defense on the bench and focus on ball-control which is brilliant. You have to play with what you have, what you can afford, and what is available. Excellent job, thank you.

      PS Scott shows the Buc’s with $20 million to spend on new Talent while you show $41 million. According to several publications I have read your number is far more realistic. The Buc’s at this point are listed 4th highest Salary Cap in the NFL. That tells me there are not many teams in a position to compete for the top talent. Go Buc’s

  4. 4

    htownbucfan03

    Another year with a losing mentality will end with more losing. I’m starting to not care about this team period cuz it’s obvious the clowns in charge don’t. Ur worrying about signing Mike Evans and kwon so u don’t address the big issues on ur team but expect different results. The signing of chris baker and desean jackson last year were mistakes and not going after talent on the d line was stupid. The approach of we wanna sign our own guys is equally stupid because the organization will expect to win when u have the same guys here lol. So expect 5 to 6 games being losses due to the fact that we can’t get a sack on 3rd down or because our little corners who play 10 yards back will give up a 1st down. Then it will b o we were close we just need pass rushers again but we don’t wanna pay too much. The whole organization is showing that it is mentally weak by this article so I’m skipping the draft and all of it and if I am a terrible fan so be it at least I won’t feel stupid at the end of the year again like last season and the year before that and the year before that. It’s not a bucs life for me cuz I believe in winning unlike this gm, coach, owners, organization.

    1. 4.1

      Buc-n-Philly Fan

      Maybe this was therapeutic for you. Maybe you are actually even correct. But what I do know is that you are NOT a Bucs fan!
      You are entitled to your opinion but that also opens you up for comments or criticisms.
      Your comment regarding not signing our own players shows your lack of knowledge of the game of football and especially of the players on this team. Maybe it’s time for you to go find another team or maybe even another sport altogether.

      Best of luck

  5. 5

    Ja'crispy

    I really like the idea of pursuing Tyrann Mathieu. I wanted the bucs to draft him when he was coming out of LSU. Thanks for the article. Some of us have been frustrated this offseason so it helps to get a little reminder to just stay patient and see how things unfolds.

  6. 6

    eac1029

    Excellent article.

    However, I strongly agree with one point.

    “better-known, more sought-after free agents. He’s tried that approach before with guys like Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins, Alterraun Verner, Josh McCown, Bruce Carter, Chris Baker and T.J. Ward without much success.”

    I honestly didn’t know who any of these guys were when we signed them except TJ and McCown and vaguely familiar with Bruce Carter. I don’t remember many people jumping up and down for these guys either, with the exception of Ward.

    I will say none of these guys are A-list players and none of them are even close to the caliber of player that Talib, Bennett, Quinn, and Peters are.

    1. 6.1

      Jonathan Goodfellow

      I agree. In fact Chris baker WAS the unknown. The “better-known” player was Calais Campbell. who actually did perform

      1. 6.1.1

        eac1029

        Yep, CC will haunt us for a while. That one was a no-brainer but it’s evident at this point Licht rarely signs stars, like Belichick. Djax being one of the few exceptions.

        I remember vividly signing Anthony Collins and Michael Johnson. I hated both picks and was dead on. I’m just a couch GM too. I couldn’t even pronounce Verner’s name but the pro bowl was intriguing. Let’s be real too, Lovie had a lot to do with that haul and man was his player evaluation trash.

        1. 6.1.1.1

          Buc 1976

          I would be surprised and glad if Scantling is available with next to last pick in the 7th. As they say you can’t teach speed. IMO that would be a solid draft.

      2. 6.1.2

        wnb0395

        Just because Campbell performed great last year for the Jags doesn’t mean he would have done the same for us. In Jacksonville he is surrounded by great talent on the Dline. Here it would just be McCoy and him.

  7. 7

    surferdudes

    Can’t disagree with most of what you said. I’m glad we didn’t give up draft capital for the likes of Talib, and Bennett. We couldn’t win when we had those two in their prime, now fans think by bringing them back at the end of their careers we can recapture glory they couldn’t bring before, curious. What I would do that no one at P.R., or most fans wouldn’t do is explore shopping some of our own veterans. Two players I would shop are Brate, and Humphries. We spent a first rounder on a tight end, and also have Auclaire to rely on. We could move D Jax to the slot allowing Godwin to start opposite Evans. Who would you rather have on the field more, Hump, or Godwin? If you can get a second, and third rounder for two UDFA’s you’d be ahead of the game. Those picks could be used on the O, and D lines, adding young talent where needed, at a cheap price for years. If we can give up some players at a position of strength, and add to our weakness, both lines, we’d be closer to playing winning football.

    1. 7.1

      eac1029

      Good points too bro, but the thing about having them in their primes was that we had holes at other positions that we no longer have like LB, QB, WR. The would round it out a bit more now. But I have faith in Licht.

  8. 8

    Jonathan Goodfellow

    Very good article, I say you can also free up another 6.5 mil by cutting gholston. I think we can all agree that he is one-dimensional, and in 2017 was not even that good at his one-dimension of run stuffing.

  9. 9

    bucball1

    This is again one of the dumbest articles I have ever read losing mentality reward a guy for losing what sense does that make pay Evans for what leading the league in drops pay smith for what Winston running for his life pay Winston for what a league leader in turnovers paid Goldston for 0 zero sacks it’s just ridiculous the Cleveland browns of the Nfc if I’m a owner of a team you drafted a quarterback that you can’t market an he isn’t winning you drafting in the top 10 again it’s time the owners take ownership in the mistake they have made let Evans play out this year move on the same for Winston plat out next year no playoffs move on because I’m for sure they will have a new coach an general manager next an stop picking coaches that pick there friend for job Mike Smith should have been fired last year but he coming back next bad teams just do dumb stuff. ..

    1. 9.1

      FLBoy84

      Think even the Cleveland Browns understand punctuation.

    2. 9.2

      Piratic

      Learn how to compose sentences into cogent thoughts, then get back with us.

      Your post reads like it’s from an elementary student who is about to fall back a grade.

  10. 10

    Horse

    Scott, Best Article of the Week!!!! I do disagree with your math because in two years which is 2020, we are going to have serious cap space issues. What happens after Winston gets his big Bucs in 2019? Lots of young players we will need to still sign in 2020 & 2021. Our team strategy should be to trade some players and acquire draft picks. No need to waste millions on older Free Agents in their downward slide. Never thought I’d say this, but I’m for trading McCoy and pick up another 2nd rounder; also Evans and get a 2nd rounder this year and a 1st next year. With that said we have control of the cap space in 2021 & on. Gholston was over paid and either let him go or insist on a cut in pay for 2018. Crazy to pay Grimes more than what he was making in 2017; he won’t get any better offers and I would insist he makes his mine up before the draft. Licht seems to be good at picking sleepers so lets give him plenty of draft picks. As an incentive I would inform both Koetter and Licht to initiate this plan and you will not be fired after this season despite the win-loss record; that’s what I would do as an Owner.

  11. 11

    tnew

    All reports indicate they didn’t pass on Quinn or Bennett. They just didn’t offer enough to encourage the other team to make the deal. Technically, free agency doesn’t start until March 14. The only free agents are guys that were outright released, like Wilkerson. He won’t sign a deal until late with someone and it will most likely be a one year prove it type of contract.

  12. 12

    Hank Scorpio

    Signing a G and C is a must. If we can’t sign a C, we need to draft one because Marpet needs to move back to RG.

    Follow that with a CB and RB signing, and I’d say that’s a pretty successful free agency and gives us some more flexibility for our early draft picks.

  13. 13

    chipbuc

    Scott , I have no problem with your take on what Licht should do this off season. My problem is the Bucs annoying habit of never spending all the money available to spend on free agents. This is why every year the Bucs have good front line players ,but limited depth. Every year Licht will fix a problem spot on the team, one D line man ,one Wide out, but ignoring other parts of the team. Last year we could have used a veteran RB , a veteran CB, a veteran O lineman. Lets wait and see what happens, but Licht better address all the holes, not some.

  14. 14

    Mr. Incredible

    “, remember that Greenberg typically guarantees the first year or two of a contract and that allows an “out” for the Bucs so the team can cut a player and there is no salary cap hit when doing so.” – you can do this if you’re the Patriots but why would any top tier free agent want to consider this crappy franchise knowing that they always put all the risk on the player. No wonder we keep signing Chris Bakers. Top tier talent want some guarantees in their life. If you’re not going to share the risk, then don’t bother with free agency.

  15. 15

    Mr. Incredible

    “And I’ll remind you of what McKay used to say” – Scott, we were a playoff team then, so resigning our proven great players was, well… great. This team SUCKS so resigning these player is, well, Not so great.

  16. 16

    Alldaway 2.0

    Most NFL teams have the game plan of trying to re-sign their own.

    However, what makes the Bucs different this year?

    If they sign free agents in the trenches, a RB and a DB I would be impressed. Licht has a very low bar to hurdel over, so Scott I hope you are correct that the Bucs are able to jump this low bar.

  17. 17

    skipper

    There was no in hindsight with many here on this board with regard to Campbell. It was pretty much common knowledge that Campbell finds his way to the QB, the guy has 71 sacks in his career, Swaggy Baker who is around the same age has but 12 and Gholston is terrible at placing pressure on the QB.

  18. 18

    CrackerBall

    Uh huh… and just who are these “right” players?

    Just about anybody is better than some of the roadkill we line up with

    1. 18.1
  19. 19

    LordCornelius

    Solid analysis. Not sure this takes into account the numbers already on the books for Kwon,Smith & Marpet – which is $5.2 million. I’m calculating $37.3 million as the total cap hit against what’s available to sign those 3, ME (at 16.5 that he signed), and Brate+Hump at these projected amounts

  20. 20

    LordCornelius

    @ Horse. Right now we have about $35 mill+ in what I’d call older dude / expendable dude contracts that won’t likely be on our books in 2-3 years:

    McCoy – $13 mill
    Djax – $11 mill
    Dotson – $4.6 mill
    Conte – $2.8 mill
    Joe Hawley (currently counting against cap?) – $2.65 mill
    Jaquiz Rodgers – $1.6 mill

    That’s not counting Robert Ayers/ Sweezy – who = $13.125 mill currently hitting our cap.

    So even if we keep Sweezy/Ayers on the books in 2018 – per my math we could sign all the guys mentioned here for $37 mill; + $10 mill for rookies and in-season signings ($4 mill seems like a lot though for random in-season signings but whatever).

    That’s $24 mill left over in space. In the next 2 years the cap will go up a total of like $20 million; and those cuts above including Sweezy & Ayers would equate to $48 million in savings – or $68 million in flexibility.

    1. 20.1

      Horse

      Don’t forget Winston yearly contract will average somewhere between 25- 35 million?

  21. 21

    Darin

    Robert Quinn is 27 and in his prime. His 11 million salary is actually below market value for his production. He is a building block. The other guys I agree with on your take. Licht struck out big time on Quinn, plain and simple. We will all be wishing licht pulled the trigger when Quinn tears it up this year and until he really gets old

  22. 22

    EastEndBoy

    The issue with Licht’s perennial approach of signing depth FAs, to replace last year’s depth FA busts, and adding 1 (or maybe 2) upgrades in the draft, is that we largely trot out the same team that wasn’t good enough the year before. The only way this cycle breaks is if he somehow hits the greatest draft in league history, otherwise we don’t really get any better giving the same players to the same coaches. I get that he’s missed badly when trying to acquire vets before (FA or trades), but maybe that’s his bad luck and not all veterans? I would have taken Robert Quinn for a 4th and 5th…those draftees are not going to be much anyway.

  23. 23

    matador

    It’s sobering to go through the cap consequences of Evans and Winston and a few others and how it will limit our FA flexibility this year and next. That’s when the compounding damage to the roster from Licht’s many mistakes really shows. We just don’t have enough quality affordable players from his drafts to stitch together a strong overall team with the depth required these days between the upcoming draft and FA.

    I’m a Bucs fan through and through but it’s getting hard to pretend we’re going anywhere under the current regime. We’ll have a new GM and most likely a new coach this time next year but what we need most (although JL absolutely must go) is new ownership.

  24. 24

    liquidmuse3

    Yeah, I’m sorry…did you just compare Quinn, Bennett, and Talib to the no-name free agents Licht usually signs? There’s a reason why Licht is five years in and has zero playoff appearances.

    Also, I love how you conveniently forget how much Simeon Rice and the rest of that initial Gruden FA class helped the team. They had a chance to get Simeon 2 and blew it. This team is entering its prime, it was time to add a big piece or two to lift it over the top (& McCoy knows it). Plus, the changing of attitude that McCoy brought up, basically begging for veteran leadership that has won before. These kids haven’t, and it shows.

  25. 25

    Phil

    Y’all we just need to face it… Tampa doesn’t want to win. They acting like we are already a playoff team by not signing anything. I love my team but I really hate our gmail. Same garbage offensive and defensive line….

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