FAB 3. Bucs’ Huge Free Agent Class In 2020

The good news is that after one year of having a relatively tight salary cap situation, Tampa Bay will have $62,722,323 in cap space in 2020. There’s a chance that number could reach $73 million if there is a projected salary cap increase of $10 million or more next offseason. There has been an increase in at least $10 million in cap room for each team for the last six seasons, so that seems plausible.

Bucs director of football administration Mike Greenberg and GM Jason Licht
Bucs director of football administration Mike Greenberg and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But the bad news is that the Bucs are projected to have 23 unrestricted free agents in 2020, and that’s a far cry from the number of prized free agent players that general manager Jason Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg had to deal with this past offseason when it really boiled down to left tackle Donovan Smith, middle linebacker Kwon Alexander and wide receiver Adam Humphries.

Keep in mind that the $62.7 million worth of cap space – really over $73 million – can get gobbled up quickly with contract extensions for some of Tampa Bay’s pending free agents either during the season or before free agency begins next March. Of course not all of the 23 players that are currently slated to become free agents next year will wind up making the team this year to begin with. Guys like linebackers Devante Bond and Corey Nelson and running back Andre Ellington are long shots to make the 2019 Buccaneers.

Here is a list of the current 23 unrestricted free agents for the 2020 offseason in Tampa Bay, and let’s take a look at how this big group could affect things at One Buccaneer Place beyond the 2019 season.

Bucs’ Free Agents – Offense

QB Jameis Winston
WR Breshad Perriman
RB Peyton Barber
RT Demar Dotson
G Earl Watford
OL Evan Smith
OL Caleb Benenoch
QB Blaine Gabbert
RB Andre Ellington

Bucs’ Free Agents – Defense

DT Ndamukong Suh
DT Beau Allen
OLB Shaq Barrett
OLB Carl Nassib
OLB Noah Spence
ILB Kevin Minter
ILB Deone Bucannon
S Kentrell Brice
DE Rakeem Nunez-Roches
ILB Corey Nelson
CB Ryan Smith
CB DeVante Harris
OLB Devante Bond

Bucs’ Free Agents – Special Teams

K Cairo Santos

Bucs RT Demar Dotson - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

A quick glance at this list shows that the Bucs will have at least four starters on offense – Winston, Perriman, Barber and Dotson – and at least three starters on defense – Suh, Nassib, and either Barrett or Spence – slated to hit free agency next year. But when you count the number of expected key contributors, including the likes of Allen, Minter, Bucannon and Brice on defense, and possibly Watford on offense, that number goes up dramatically.

Roughly half of Tampa Bay’s offensive and defensive starters are operating in contract years this season, including the team’s starting quarterback in Winston. The success or failure of a lot of these 2019 free-agents-to-be will not only chart their potential paths to riches, but also the fortunes of the Bucs franchise itself.

To say that Tampa Bay’s 2019 campaign will be a pivotal one would be an understatement. And perhaps the worst-case scenario wouldn’t necessarily be another double-digit losing season, but maybe a 7-9 or 8-8 finish that would create a lot of guessing and speculation about what to do next for Licht, Greenberg, head coach Bruce Arians and the Glazers in terms of personnel moves.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

What if Winston matches his career year in 2016 when he set team records with 4,090 yards with a franchise-high 28 touchdowns and a career-high 18 interceptions in helping the Bucs get to 7-9 or 8-8, but misses the postseason once again? Does Tampa Bay franchise Winston for a year, extend his contract and pay him $30 million per year, or simply move on and get a compensatory third-round draft pick?

Speaking of compensatory draft picks, the Bucs could be in for a slew of them in 2021 if some of their pending free agents have a great season and price themselves out of Tampa Bay. What if Nassib has 10 sacks and Barrett has eight, and the Bucs re-sign Nassib and let Barrett walk in free agency where he signs a fairly lucrative contract elsewhere that could help the team net a fourth- or fifth-round compensatory pick in 2021?

Three of the four top outside linebackers on the Bucs – not including the injured Jason Pierre-Paul – are in contract years, which sets up a lot of uncertainty regarding the position past 2019. And it’s worth noting that Pierre-Paul’s salary cap number decreases from $14.9 million to $12.5 million in 2020, which is the final year of his contract.

Will he recover from his neck injury and continue to be worth the money? Will his neck injury prematurely end his career? Or will the Bucs decide that $12.5 million is too much to spend on a 31-year old pass rusher next year?

Bucs OLBs Carl Nassib & Jason Pierre-Paul - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs OLBs Carl Nassib & Jason Pierre-Paul – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

What if Suh has a Pro Bowl year in 2019, and the Bucs decide to draft another defensive tackle to pair with Vita Vea rather than pay a 33-year old veteran over $10 million in 2020?

What if Barber rushes for 1,100 yards and RoJo shows real promise and rushes for 700 yards in a bounce-back year enough to let Barber walk? Barber signing elsewhere for a decent contract would also help the Bucs’ compensatory draft pick status in 2021.

Will Vernon Hargreaves III’s production in 2019 allow him to stick around to make $9,594,000 in his fifth-year option next year, or will Tampa Bay decide to cut him after this season? There wouldn’t be a dead cap charge if the Bucs released Hargreaves prior to 2020, but in doing so there wouldn’t be any chance to get a compensatory draft pick from his departure either because he isn’t slated to be a free agent 2020 because his fifth-year option was picked up by the team.

Is backup tight end Cameron Brate worth keeping around at $6 million in 2020? Will center Ryan Jensen be worth $10 million next year?

Bucs GM Jason Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs GM Jason Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Licht and Greenberg are charged with the responsibility of charting the long-term course of the Buccaneers past the current season from a salary cap perspective, taking into account the projected players that will be available in the 2020 NFL Draft and potential free agents. But forecasting what will transpire the following season has never been more difficult for the Bucs’ brass than it will be past the 2019 campaign.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

48 COMMENTS

  1. I fully agree with the best and worse cases with one exception – OJ Howard. When Howard got hurt last year there was a slight fall-off when they went to Cameron Brate. People seem to forget this undrafted player in five years has caught 159 passes for 1845 yards, 11.6 yards a catch, for 23 touchdowns. Even more impressive, most of those stats come from his last three years of play where he started 17 of the 22 games he started in his career (particularly three years ago when he started 10 games). Even backing OJ Howard up he has good stats.

    Best news – if the worst case scenario comes true and nothing goes right, and Licht is fired a lot of the team is up for debate as many of the expensive players are becoming free agencies. They can clean house with a new GM and start over if nothing works. Pray and hope it does not come to that but if Licht does go, so can a lot of the team if the new GM wants that (in other words, a lot of flexibility to change after this season if nothing goes right).

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  2. It’s amazing what 30 days does when you are away from this area and there is no news about the Bucs; you get some clarity as to where the Bucs stand as of right now. Some will agree and some will disagree.

    We are who we are? Talent wise not much better if any; coaching wise we are better.
    I just can’t buy into how players who have under performed for years are now going to do good because of the coaching change. If I’m Arians I’m going to keep rookies /free agents over under performing Veterans every time. I do know that Licht hasn’t done enough during his time frame.

    No question this team could go 9-7 if we actually have a defensive rush; that’s still my big concern for me. I have zero confidence in Spence and Gholston contributing to the DL. I would let both go, like last year. If Hargreaves continues to underachieve and continues with his inquiry issues thru preseason; I’d cut him loose and move on.

    I’m still excited about this team because of the coaching change and this will make a difference; just don’t think there’s enough talent here because of Lichts poor decision making skills. Just my opinion.

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  3. Sorry Scott I skipped the worst case scenario,don’t need those negative thoughts this time of year. Lol. I’m as excited as I’ve been for awhile going in to this season. We have so much talent on offense and with a new and better scheme this offense could be top 5. Then there’s the defense, I was worried about the secondary and the dline but as we get closer to real football those worries are fading. Suh, Vea, and Gholston make for a pretty stout dline. They should allow David and White to run wild. With that much power up front and the speed from the outside our front 7 should be hard to run against. Our secondary is young but they are fast and seem to be playing well so far but preseason will be a better test. An aggressive defense will fun to watch. The soft defense Mike S. ran was a joke. Our defense made average QBs look like HOFs. That won’t happen with Bowles, bringing blitz’s from all angles and playing press man won’t let QBs get comfortable and pick us apart. Nobody is giving us a chance this year and I love it. If we can avoid major injuries to key players then I think we are playing for the playoffs in December. Finally!!!

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    • I skipped Fab2 also. After all, right now we’re in 1st place.

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  4. Great Article. I believe BA will add somewhere between 3 to 4 wins based on his skills alone as a Coach. However, the losses we have suffered in free agency and offseason injuries are going to hurt. To lose as many starters as we have, in my opinion, will cost us 2 to 3 wins. I think realistically we can expect to win between 6 and 7 games. I was not a big fan of this latest draft. Because for me, it seemed that the management was making a statement and the statement was, last year’s defensive backs didn’t pan out. I love Devin White, but I think taking a middle linebacker with the 5th pick was a waste. I think in a draft that was so heavy in defensive lineman that may be generational players we should have gotten one early. And with the loss of JPP, now more than ever. And to not draft an offensive lineman with 8 picks is just a head-scratcher.

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    • Just an FYI
      New England Offensive Line 2018:
      Tackles 7th and 5th round
      Guards 3rd and 4th round
      Center undrafted

      Personally, I would not agree with you on the offensive line. Need to develop the offensive line more than draft them this year. Drafted Cappa in the 3rd round this year and he is supposed to be the starter. According to this PR article he is looking fine.

      P.S. Pittsburgh with 3 undrafted offensive lineman starting last year.

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      • Edit. Cappa drafted 3rd round last year.

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    • I would argue that we didn’t lose much in free agency. Our biggest loss was Kwon, but we gained arguably a better and more talented player in White with our “wasted” 5th pick. While he lacks the experience of Kwon, White has far better coverage skills and similar sideline to sideline ability. Training alongside LVD, White will gain experience and catch up to Kwon quickly. Not to mention the fact that Kwon is making $13.5 million now and there is no way we should have or could have offered that.

      Then there was GMC, a great player and a great person. But was he truly worth his $13 million price tag for 6 sacks? Bowles scheme calls for more of a run stopper than a pass rusher at the DT position. We definitely got that in Suh, who will also bring that fire and nastiness that was clearly missing from GMC. Vea has had the opportunity to learn from 2 of the top 3 DTs in the league these past 2 years and we will surely see a big improvement from him as well. Add in Gholston, who’s biggest knock was not getting to the passer and being more of a run stopper, which actually plays right into the new scheme. We will be fine on the Dline this year. Whatever we lost in pass rush from the Dline will be made up by the much improved linebacking group.

      On offense, we lost our speed threat in MeJax but is that really a loss? What he had in speed, he couldn’t come close to matching in effort. We picked up Perriman who is a bigger guy with similar speed. He seems to have more drive to succeed than MeJax did when he was here which bodes well for us. We also picked up Scotty Miller who is another speed threat. Hump was a sure handed outlet receiver who will surely be missed. But I don’t think anyone would argue that Hump is better than Godwin. Godwin is a bigger target with a huge catch radius which seems to mesh well with Jameis.

      So I don’t think we really lost much, if anything in free agency. We cleared some necessary cap space and got replacements that fit our new scheme better.

      As for the draft, the mission was clearly the need for speed and we definitely gained that. Our DBs all fit the new scheme very well which many people are discounting. The scheme, rather than new players, should have the biggest effect on us defensively. I do agree that I wanted to see some Olinemen picked up but there was no way to fill every hole we had in one draft so I’m hoping the better coaching will show through.

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  5. It will be somewhere in the middle of best case and worst case. The kicking game will continue to be bad. Drafting another kicker was a dumb move. These college kickers don’t kick 33 yard extra points. Its too much pressure for them to handle and coming here with our recent failed history, as soon as this guy misses 1 time the fans will be all over him and it will get in his head and go downhill from there. You need to find people who have kicked some in the NFL then sign them. Especially here. You can’t erase whats been going on here with the kicking game. The other stuff is up in the air. We’ll see how things turn out.

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  6. So Spence is penciled in as starter across from Nassib? I thought for sure that Barrett would be in the lead, with Spence coming in to sub for them.. That being said, I look forward to watching them all this season!

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  7. A defense is called “Aggressive” when the scheme works and all other times it’s called “gambling”.
    There’s a lot of Ifs and Hopes in your fab 1 and at this point Scott all anybody can do is hope that the coaching pans out or that the players step up, and the kicking issue corrects itself. There’s no turning back now we’ve got nearly all of our eggs in the DB basket and at some a high draft pick will be benched for another high draft pick which to me somebody needs to be held accountable for. We are thin at RB, LT, RG, RT, DE and QB. I will give you credit that “if the stars align” we can make a playoff run. Shoot this might be the year for us we just witnessed a great NBA Dynasty end last night. Maybe Drew Brees pulls a groin or Matty Ice get caught selling heroine or Alvin Kamara retires and pursues his new passion archeology in Egypt since we are hoping. It could happen.

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  8. Free agents in 2020. Let New England be the model. New England is not afraid to let Free Agents walk and values compensatory picks. Aside from Winston and possibly Nassib. The others can be gone without too much gnashing of teeth. Keeping the team young and hungry by stockpiling draft picks. It is all about coaching and the development of depth. Teams fall in love with their reserves and often overpay to retain them. The depth made the roster for a reason. It is not a crime to let them step up to bigger role. Older players are more susceptible to injury and obviously cost more. Be stingy with extensions. Hopefully save them for Pro Bowl potential players. The players who haven’t flashed Pro Bowl potential most likely never will. Let them walk and draft young and hungry replacements. LET NEW ENGLAND BE THE MODEL.

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  9. Pewter Report did a good job of laying out best and worst case scenarios I understand the Pewter Report in order to continue to have access to the team must have a positive spin on just about everything. The same with the other media the problem is sheep read all the positive spin spin it around in their heads and post about it.
    However I as the sole and only realist watch a team cut 9 of the highest price starters hire a coach in five years whose only won one playoff game but they talked like he has multiple Super Bowl championships.
    And I’m the only one going hey wait a minute and everybody construes it as negative I more than anybody want to see the Bucs in the playoffs.
    Problem is this management and ownership has another agenda that does not include winning and fools the sheep with words. It seems like I’m all by myself fighting for the Buc.

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  10. “23 free agents” sounds scary but when you can the list there only a couple look headed for big contracts and probably a third of them will miss the bucs’ 53 man roster THIS year. many others will either come back for similar money. Even with strong 2019 seasons, many of these defensive players were available at the bucs price because they’re coming off a down year or two, and the league won’t scramble to pay them like they did Humphries or Kwon. Some guys such as Suh were always meant to be one and done while the team turns its roster over, and perriman will either play his way out of the league or into more money than the bucs care to offer.

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  11. I posted this opinion earlier, but seems appropriate to say it again before training camp. First let me make an all-encompassing statement by saying that I like what the Bucs have done and I like where they are going.

    I like the new coaching staff, I like the new defensive scheme, I like the secondary improvements and I love the offensive skills positions. We have the makings of a competitive football team. But we are not there yet and we will not get there (playoffs and beyond) until we have the offensive line that allows us to be the offensive tour de force that we are poised to be. Couple this with the issues going on with JPP, a practically new secondary, a demanding schedule, and a seemingly unfair travel itinerary.

    Perhaps Arians finds that “missing piece” that he often refers to. Perhaps JPP has a quicker than expected recovery. Perhaps one of the young guns (OG Zach Bailey) step up and surprises us on the O-Line. Maybe this is the year when ROJO finds that first gear that we’ve been waiting for. All I’m saying is a lot of things have to fall in place and it will take both luck and a small miracle for the Bucs to go from worst to first.

    Jameis Winston’s regression or progression will depend primarily on the QB whisperer himself, Bruce Arians. The obvious analogy here is Rome wasn’t built in a day! I acknowledge that ancient wisdom. I am not saying they can’t make the playoffs this year. I hope they do. I am saying that it is not my expectation and I’m not going to set my hair on fire and call for regime change if they don’t.

    I do not project win/loss games. I simply see some of the apparent deficiencies that could prevent a winning season. I am not even going to mention the kicking game which the Bucs acknowledge needed to improve by drafting a kicker in the 5th round. Therefore, I expect the Bucs to make substantial improvements this year, but will not maximize their potential to consistently win games until the O-Line and D-Line issues are addressed and resolved. Please allow me to come back 1 week before the regular season starts to adjust my perspective. Go Bucs!

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  12. I’d say you have two ends of a spectrum there:

    1) “challenge for a wild card spot in the NFC in 2019″…that sounds like 9-ish wins.
    2) at the other end is disaster….call that 2 or 3 wins.

    Given the aspects you have examined – BA, Winston, RoJo, the Defense, etc. – to arrive at that spectrum, I’d say reality is we’ll get some from your first scenario (maybe Winston clicks), some from your second (maybe RG is still a black hole), and some in between (maybe the running game improves…a little).

    Therefore, sounds like you’re predicting a 5 or 6 win season…in between the two ends of your spectrum….probably about right I guess.

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  13. Well said Macabee. I have been calling this year a soft rebuild, because you can’t keep ignoring the trenches and expect to win. Yes anythings possible but I began tempering my expectations once I saw the direction this offseason.

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  14. Great analysis as usual Scott. Good to hear how well Gholston is doing this year—our front three will be a load and our LBs are ready and the backfield has real fast talent now as well as length so I expect great things on Defense. On Offense if BA can develop Cappa to play an excellent RG I think we will be OK using the Power Blocking Offense BA will use to ignite our running game and we will start winning games consistently again. As far as bad scenario with too many injuries any NFL team will drop. I think BA’s Strength Program will minimize our injuries and we will be far better than last year.

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  15. I beg to differ with a few of your observations here.
    First and most importantly, it is not how Winston goes so goes the Bucs. It is more how the defense plays so goes the Bucs.
    Winston has provided enough firepower and leadership over the years to give the Buca a winning record.
    Look at his second year when the Bucs finished 9-7. The Bucs defense managed to get its act together for the final 8 games of the season that year for the team to post a winning record.
    After that the defense went south, so did the team.
    Second of all, I don’t think Peyton Barber needs the lure of extra money to motivate him to run for 1000 yards, just better blocking.

    The hiring of Arians should help and it is apparent the Glazers will decide if the reason this team has malingered is either because of the coaching or the telent chosen by Licht.
    I sincerely hope it is the former.
    Also, if BA doesn’t see JPP coming back before November, it wouldnt surprise me in the least to see him dumped and another DE take his place.

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  16. Macabee, well said.

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  17. If our team can get to 8-8 or 9-7 we will be on our way. No playoffs this year but something to build on for our next super bowl run. We will have achieved respectability and a sense of self worth. A winning culture will have been established.

    I think Bruce Arians came out of retirement because he saw a golden opportunity here. Here is where the only chance he will ever have to win a super bowl outright as a head coach exists. Here is the only chance he will have to go out on top.

    Realistically I don’t see a worst to first ride. I see a frustrated and angry New Orleans team standing in the way. They know it is now or never for them to get a second super bowl ring with Drew Brees. Time is running out for them.

    I will wait until after training camp ends to make any predictions based on my expectations derived by that time.
    _______________
    Go Bucs!!!

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  18. Gholston is already at 306 pounds.

    Did Gholston say “Vita, man” or did he refer to Vea as “Vita-man”?

    “Cappa has gotten better every day.”

    “Nassib and Spence have had a good offseason and appear to enter training camp as starting outside linebackers from left and right, respectively.”

    All of this is music to my ears. Thanks, Scott.
    ___________
    Go Bucs!!!

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  19. We make the play off if Winston is worth keeping this year. If he plays like he has up to this point maybe 6 wins.

    Show me some thumbs down love from all the Winston fanboys this year it’s all on him.

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    • I fail to see how it is “all on Winston” when the guy is setting records while the defense gives up 29 points a game…but that’s just my opinion

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  20. “When the marquee guy plays like that it rubs off on everyone else.”

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  21. Ass, what would the Glaziers hidden agenda be? You like to bad mouth them and the team but don’t offer any actual answers. You think the Glaziers have hired and fired coaches they are still paying for while hiring another and spend to the Cap because what? They don’t wanna win? You are the Bearded schizophrenic wearing a hoodie making “Packages” in the woods. Get over yourself…

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  22. I’m having trouble accepting the following statement: “But imagine if Peyton Barber is motivated by a contract year to rush for 1,000 yards…”
    Are you saying he didn’t play his hardest last year? Why would you even suggest that? “Pay me more money and I’ll rush for 1000 yards!” I call BS. The article makes it seem like every player that is a free agent next year will play even harder this year to ensure they get a lucrative contract. If that’s the case then only play the guys with one year left because they’re the only ones giving it all they got. Whatever.

    If this defense can allow just one less touchdown per game, or the offense scores one more, 6 losses last year would be converted to 6 wins. That’s 11-5 record. This team has the talent. It always has. But historically TB does not get the lucky bounce. It’s up to Arians and his staff to remove the luck factor and just flat out play good, solid, steady ball and win the turnover battle. Other teams need to be worried about playing the Bucs, not hoping to play the Bucs. This years schedule is going to be tough, no doubt. But if they plan it right and play it smart, and learn how to deal with the jet lag, they should kick butt this season. Even if only half of the Best Case Scenario happens, I still see this team being over .500.

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  23. “If rookie defensive backs Murphy-Bunting, Dean and Edwards can carve out roles early and either push Carlton Davis, Vernon Hargreaves III and M.J. Stewart towards greatness or push them to the bench it will be a big step for the Bucs secondary, which has lacked playmakers over the last couple of years under Mike Smith. ”

    If it was bad coaching and not the talent, then shouldn’t the prior drafted trio of Hargreaves (11), Stewart (53), & Davis (63) be better as group than Murphy-Bunting (39), Dean (94), & Edwards (99)? Based on draft position (because it’s all being blamed on coaching) its Hargeaves CB, Murphy-Bunting CB, Stewart S, & Davis to fill out the CB, S, & Nickle. Deone Buchanan is the other S when not playing LB. Based on it was coaching not talent, baring Injuries Dean & Edwards should only be backups.

    Scott if you had said it was coaching not talent except for Stewart, then I might be able to accept your statement…LOL

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  24. PR needs to stop with the Compensatory Picks talk! The Bucs will never see a decent Compensatory Pick until they stop signing players during Free Agency that cancel out the players we lose! I’m still waiting for that 3rd Round Comp Pick the Bucs were gonna get for Glennon that PR spouted off about that whole year.

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  25. Other than my two rants above, I enjoyed the article..LOL

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  26. Scott, good stuff here as we head into a quiet period before training camp. Gonna be interesting.

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  27. Macabee for GM @ one Buc. Well put Sir.

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  28. Gholston has become a millionaire how many times over for playing mediocre his entire career.
    It also must be hard to fault McCoy for not being disruptive enough when Gholston has only generated one sack over the last two years. One sack?
    As far as the superlatives being thrown around by the players about their teammates, that is all well and good but I will wait until the preseason starts until I bite down on any of this.

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  29. Buc-Up, you answered your own question. In the quotes he said that the rookies will push the Vets to greatness, or be benched. Everyone agrees it has been the coaching more than the talent but no one is guaranteeing that all the Vets were pro bowl sleepers. The whole point is now that the coaching should be better, we will find out what kind of talent we truly have and are truly lacking. And Bunting, Dean and Edwards are 2nd and 3rd rounders which should not take anything away from their ability to play better than a 1st and 2nd. Even if you are trying to compare draft status, a 1st rounder one year may be a 4th rounder in another and Vice Versa. So anyone on this team right now has the chance to be a starter, no matter the Draft Status because when it comes down to it it’s all about the Hunger and the Talent and whoever is more Hungry is probably gonna come out on top, and the better coaching will help us find who is more talented and hungry…

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  30. In my opinion the Bucs have a more talented team this year with the athletic draft picks we got and the Suh signing. Teams had to account for McCoy but I think teams have a little fear of a boy named Suh! With LB White in the Defensive Rookie of Year conversation and the top 3 DBs we drafted, this feels like a more talented team. I still believe that the good teams have solid play at QB. It’s the most important position on team. So yes… this team will only be as good as the play of Jameis. I think he may surprise some and have a really good year… I’m just saying. Go Bucs!

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  31. Trying to get comp draft picks a is a losers mentality.

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  32. ‘“Guys are just making plays all over the field in this defense – the whole time this spring,” Gholston said. “Up front we’re staying in our gap and penetrating.”‘
    What?!! Dude, they are in their underwear!!!

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  33. I agree MizzouBucs24. We see the worst case scenario for real every year. Let’s skip that!

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  34. It’s interesting to read what the best and worst case scenarios are to SR (and us fans who have chimed in), but I think there is a glaring omission in the quest to approximate the Bucs destiny for 2019: The opponents.

    It may seem obvious to fans here because we love football, but the won/loss record comes from the games one at a time, not the statistics. Winning by one point 42-41 or 14-13 is still winning. Most often statistics are driven by game situations with a domino effect.

    For example: The Bucs had a top 3 offense but a bottom 5 record. The Bucs passed a lot because they were behind a lot. The more you pass, the higher the chance for interceptions, sacks, and sack fumbles. The more turnovers you have the less possessions you have. The less possessions, the more important each possession is because of the clock. The more important the clock, the faster the Bucs had to score. The fastest way to score is by passing. It becomes a circular logic that self fufills.

    It’s been said that winning a football game is about FUNDAMENTALS – blocking and tackling. That’s how Dungy won. There are other fundamentals like field position, converting kicks, winning the turnover battle, converting 3rd downs, clock management, time of possession, and playcalling. We won’t know how the Bucs will do in those categories until the season starts. We do have a 25,000 foot view of a really important aspect of the upcoming season: ARIANS OVERALL STRATEGY is on full display based based on player acquisitions and losses. STOP THE RUN and be PREPARED TO COUNTER when the opponent is forced to pass like the Bucs were last year.

    To STOP THE RUN, the Bucs traded out McCoy for Suh and drafted White. Vea was a powerful run stopper last season. Gholston and Allen were retained because their cap number matched their run stuffing strength this year. Nacho was brought back for depth and was also good against the run last year. Lavonte David is a sure tackler who’s still fast. Minter knows the system. This will be the best run stuffing group the Bucs have fielded in 15 years.

    To PREPARE TO COUNTER when opponents are forced to pass, the Bucs bolstered their secondary with fast talented ball hawks. The Bucs may also get more out of 2nd year pros MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis. The Bucs also exercised the 5th year option on 4th year player VHIII. The OLB room took a hit when JPP got hurt because he was the best Bucs defender at rushing the QB from the DL. From a 2 point stance, Spence and Barrett may surprise and fill in well. Nassib and Nelson on the strong side will also be serviceable, especially if they continue to get their hands up and tip/bat down passes.

    My overall impression is very positive. Arians and Licht have made a bunch of moves by addressing key factors and getting back to fundamentals(Tackling in practice! No music!). This team is being built to win now against THIS YEARS opponents, not next years opponents.

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  35. The bottom line is that we now have the talent. Now, we have the coaching. Injuries and depth well dictate how far we go.

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  36. Scott should have consulted Bob for input on the Worst Case Scenario. He then could have added a Fab 6 called Doomsday Scenario. I always chuckle when the folks, who look to put a negative spin on everything, call themselves “realists”. Yet those of us that see “the future is so bright we have to wear shades” are called Kool Aid drinkers, sheep and other such derogatory names like……….fans. I’ll never apologize for being hopeful of the season ahead.

    I do think the main thing that I thought needed an adjustment, ATTITUDE” and needed a boost, CONFIDENCE” are the two things Bruce Arians observed and addressed.

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  37. Yeah agree Scubog just saying everyone sucks and nothing will work (Bob) makes him a realist? Makes him a troll douche bag loser to me. Lol. I will not acknowledge him anymore just feeds his stupidity. He’s one sad ass person all has to do is troll and cry like a bitch 24/7.

    Anyways, enough on Suck-Ass-Boob. He’s not worth conversing worth!

    Yes a lot of different things can happen. Nobody has crystal ball. What I do know. I know we have a real proven head coach for first time since Gruden left. Bunch of failed head coach experiments, failed 1st rd Qb etc last decade.

    We have a QB that has increased his completion rate and rating every yea despite having a poor O line, run game, and leagues worst defense. The Last 6-7 games last year turnovers were much better. Not a stretch to say he will play much better with much better coaching, better run game, a defense that doesn’t blow. That is being a realist!

    This is a huge year and if they suck it will be blown up and lot more bad years.

    I think this team is very capable of 9 or 10 wins if they stay healthy and few players just play pretty good.

    I really don’t see Winston regressing in this situation. I do not see the defense in bottom with this coaching and extra speed and players added in secondary. How improved they will be hard to say. I don’t think average is long shot like 17th…

    Anyways will be fun to see all changes and new attitude this team has.

    I for one am excited and happy to be a Bucs fan and ready for season to start.

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  38. We will have great schemes for the first month of the season, hopefully that will translate into wins. The momentum from the first quarter of the season will have to carry us for the horrible 7 week stretch and that will define our season.

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  39. Sure I want Winston to become our franchise QB. But he still has a lot of work to do. Lets pray Arians is the lasting and final motivator. Of all the scenarios listed here, I’m really hoping our defense rebounds considerably under Bowles. Its one of this yrs biggest keys if we are to win 8 to 10 games. Accomplish
    this and we do..make the playoffs. One things for certain, Our Defense has nowhere to go but UP.

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  40. The truly stunning thing about the list of next year’s free agents on offense and defense is that there’s only one player who has shown enough on the playing field for more than one season that you’d definitely want them back.

    That’s right, one. And it’s Barber who on some teams would be a RB2.

    Sure there are players you’d hope to want back. Obviously Winston most importantly but the cold hard fact is that if he had we’d have already extended him. Hopefully Nassib proves that last year wasn’t a fluke with defenses not having to worry about JPP. And Perriman becomes more reliable. And Watson can be serviceable. And Spence actually contributes for the first time since he ‘fell to us’ in the draft.

    But not one of those players has put enough on tape to have proven it – yet. Hope springs eternal, and that’s all we’ve had to live on under Licht.

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  41. White is there to replace Alexander. I get it. But if we had taken Josh Allen we get an outside linebacker and a Defensive End in the same pick. We could have gone middle linebacker in the 2nd round and Corner and safety in 3rd. The current lineup assumes that Spence can play outside linebacker. It also assumes that White will have lots of sacks. And I think it is way too early to say that White is better than Alexander.

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  42. Macabee I thought you were on to something until you talked about are offensive line. You think coaching can fix everything but offensive line. Jensen was the highest graded center before he came to the bucs in his last year with the ravens. Coaching affects the offensive line also. Where dirk ran his offensive no matter if you for it or not. Are real new coaching staff is going to run the offense to best fit the players. You can’t say that winston and skill offensive players and the defensive will be better with new coaching while saying the offensive line will be the same old same old. It’s amazing what accountability will do to a person. Every person here if there employers would let them be average at work while still paying them the same amount they would be average. But if your employer told you you will be held accountable and shown the door of you don’t produce. You won’t be average anymore you would make the extra phone calls lay the extra row of bricks or play with a little more fire. You guys seem to forget that these players have been coached hard there whole life that’s why they made it. And then when your cashing big life changing paychecks every week and your coach is ok with you taking plays off you will not go through the excruciating tolls of playing the game 100% you will take it a little easier it’s human nature. But when there are consequences for taking plays off or not finishing a block these prideful athletes will not want to be called out and play there tail off. There’s a reason why the playoff team turnover is dominated by first year coaches. It’s like when you has that easy a English teacher who goes out on maternity leave then you get some hard nose who critiques every comma period and adjective you change your whole ways and try a lot harder to get the a you would have had from the lenient everyone gets an a teacher. And if you can’t tell from my post I had the easy a English teacher all through high school and college. I was English class blessed

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  43. The Bucs fans (or “homers”) have fully convinced themselves that player quality is not the reason we’ve been losing most of our games since the Baby Glazers fired our last winning/playoffs coach at the end of the 2008 season (a winning season, by the way). And that Bruce Arians is the second coming of Football Jesus and he is precisely what has been lacking the last 10 seasons, and therefore better coaching is the answer to all Buc fans’ dreams.

    The Las Vegas oddsmakers certainly do not agree with that assessment – they’ve settled on the Bucs being a 100-1 longshot to win a Super Bowl, and a 10-1 longshot to win the NFC South, meaning yet another season ending in the divisional cellar. And a 6.5 win season, same as they predicted last year at this time.

    The argument made bv those who label themselves “real Bucs fans” against the “realists” is that the realists are just bad Bucs fans – actually guys like Fredster use far worse names than that, while other “real Bucs fans” like Scubog simply puff up their little chests in pride that they are indeed “real Bucs fans” – and that if only their fellow “real Bucs fans” would just Truly Believe, then the Unicorns will pop out all over in 2019 and the Bucs will be a Champion yet again. Or at worst, then wait til next year.

    All is solved. Just one more draft class away, if that.

    Well, as a Bucs skeptic, not a “realist” nor a “real Bucs fan”, I’ve seen this movie every year for the last decade and it always ends the same – no playoffs, high single or double digit Ls, and Licht getting yet another get out of jail card by the Baby Glazers, the local media (who have to suck up to Light in order to “maintain access”), and of course those good old Charlie Browns of the NFL, always expecting Lucy to really really really hold the football this time, who call themselves the “real Bucs fans”.

    As a full blown skeptic I accept the judgment of the Las Vegas oddsmakers, who by the way correctly predicted another dreary Bucs season last year, forecasting 6.5 wins, while the Bucs, despite all the hoopla by the usual suspects (owners, local “access-granted” “journalists”, and “real Bucs fans, and even amid predictions that Winston was about to hit his peak with many commenters here at PR that Winston would win MVP in 201), the sorry ole Bucs even underperformed the low expectations of the Vegas oddsmakers and finished up with their second straight 5 win season.

    Until the current Bucs regime is changed out, led by the sorry Baby Glazers, who fell an ocean away from under the ole apple tree of Malcolm Glazer, and especially Jason Licht, it is simply not logical to predict anything but more of the same. The Vegas oddsmakers and I could be proven quite wrong … I would be happy to see that be the case. But what ails the Bucs in my opinion has not been bad coaching, but bad management.

    If indeed the Bucs have yet another typical Bucs season this year, then the fingers should not point at Bruce Arians, but at the executive suite at team headquarters.

    Lastly, I’ll close by saying that REAL “real Bucs fans” just want the Bucs to get better, and if that means totally cleaning house, including the Baby Glazers and their sorry GM, so be it. A REAL real Bucs fan wants the franchise to do well, and does not cheer for particular players or coaches or GMs, all of which are fully interchangeable with their counterparts throughout the league. A quality ownership would more often than not obtain just the right mix of talent in all positions to deliver winning, playoff seasons most of the time.

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