Redskins WR DeSean Jackson - Photo by: Getty Images
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.
FAB 1. WITH A NEED FOR SPEED, BUCS SHOULD PURSUE JACKSON
In a previous edition of SR’s Fab 5, I questioned whether or not this year’s crop of wide receivers in free agency would be of benefit to the Buccaneers. At the time I questioned whether it would because this year’s group of pass-catchers lacks star power outside of Washington’s DeSean Jackson, and the big question mark with him is his age as he’ll turn 31 this year. At some point he’s going to lose his blazing speed, and when he does, he doesn’t offer much else at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds.
But after seeing how Atlanta signed veteran Mohamed Sanu in free agency and claimed Taylor Gabriel off waivers from Cleveland, and how both receivers helped the Falcons make it to Super Bowl LI, I’m no longer convinced that just having one veteran receiver – albeit a Pro Bowler in Mike Evans – is enough in Tampa Bay for the upcoming season.
Atlanta’s Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones had his best statistical season in 2015 before Sanu and Taylor arrived with 136 catches for 1,871 yards and eight touchdowns, but the Falcons finished with an 8-8 record. When Jones was complemented with more capable receivers like Sanu and Gabriel this past season, Jones’ numbers dipped significantly to 83 catches for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns, but the Falcons won the NFC South with an 11-5 record and made it to the Super Bowl. Atlanta’s offense scored the most points in the league because it had more weapons – not just one big gun in Jones.
Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu – Photo by: Getty Images
Sanu contributed a career-high 59 catches for 653 yards and four touchdowns in his first season with the Falcons, while Gabriel posted 35 receptions for 579 yards and a career-high six scores. Gabriel also added 51 yards and another touchdown on four carries. Both gave Matt Ryan more options to throw to, made the Falcons offense more dynamic and tougher to defend, and helped the Pro Bowl quarterback win the league MVP award as Atlanta scored the most points in the NFL this past season.
The Bucs simply can’t rely on a rookie receiver (or two) to develop alongside Adam Humphries and possibly Russell Shepard (if he’s re-signed) in case Evans suffers an injury that sidelines him for most or all of the upcoming season. The Bucs need a proven, veteran replacement for Vincent Jackson, but that player doesn’t necessarily have to be a 6-foot-5 target, although that’s what Dirk Koetter would prefer.
“I, by nature, prefer big receivers, so that’s just my preference,” Koetter told me at the Reese’s 2017 Senior Bowl. “That’s totally a Dirk Koetter [preference] and not anybody else.”
Jackson certainly doesn’t fit that mold. I’ve stated that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could use another big target with a large catch radius to help him as he becomes a more accurate passer, but general manager Jason Licht brought up another good point in our conversation at the Senior Bowl.
“It helps to have a guy with a big catch radius, but so does a guy that can get separation with speed,” Licht said. “You can throw it a little off the mark with that guy because he’s so wide open, so you have to factor that in, too.”
There are several receivers in this year’s draft with speed to burn, including Washington’s John Ross, Western Kentucky’s Taywan Taylor and West Virginia’s Shelton Gibson. But there is also a veteran receiver that can help the Bucs take the top off a defense and make teams pay for double-teaming Evans, and that’s Jackson.
Koetter lamented over the Bucs’ decline in explosive plays last year, and the lack of speed, especially at receiver, is a culprit. Despite turning 30 last year, Jackson has maintained his 4.35 speed.
Redskins WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Getty Images
“When I said the need for speed, I would say offensively we need to make more explosive plays,” Koetter said. “We had a sizeable drop off in that area this year and there are various reasons for it, so you’re always looking for guys that can get the ball in their hand and turn a short gain into a long gain without much help.”
Jackson is that type of player, and that should interest Tampa Bay. As Washington’s No. 2 receiver alongside Pierre Garcon, Jackson had 19 catches of 20 yards or more, including five from 40 yards or beyond. One of those catches was an 80-yard touchdown. The Bucs haven’t had a catch travel 80 yards since Tiquan Underwood’s 85-yard touchdown at Detroit during the 2013 season.
In his first season with the Redskins in 2014, Jackson had 16 catches of 20 yards or more, including a career-high 13 from 40 yards or more with an 81-yard touchdown. In his last year in Philadelphia in 2013, Jackson had an astonishing 25 catches of 20 yards or more with eight of them from 40 yards or more.
Simply put, Jackson is a big play waiting to happen, which makes him an ideal fit for a head coach that loves explosive plays and needs them in his offense.
Here’s a look at Jackson’s prolific career in which he’s caught 498 passes for 8,819 yards and 46 touchdowns with a strong and steady 17.7 yards per catch average. Jackson’s 17.9 yards per catch average in 2016 led the league.
Jackson’s Stats In Washington
2016 – 56 catches for 1,005 yards (17.9 avg.) with 4 TDs and a long of 80 yards
2015 – 30 catches for 528 yards (17.6 avg.) with 4 TDs and a long of 77 yards
2014 – 56 catches for 1,169 yards (20.9 avg.) with 6 TDs and a long of 81 yards
Jackson’s Stats In Philadelphia
2013 – 82 catches for 1,332 yards (16.2 avg.) with 9 TDs and a long of 61 yards
2012 – 45 catches for 700 yards (15.6 avg.) with 2 TDs and a long of 77 yards
2011 – 58 catches for 961 yards (16.6 avg.) with 4 TDs and a long of 62 yards
2010 – 47 catches for 1,056 yards (22.5 avg.) with 6 TDs and a long of 91 yards
2009 – 62 catches for 1,156 yards (18.6 avg.) with 9 TDs and a long of 71 yards
2008 – 62 catches for 912 yards (14.7 avg.) with 2 TDs and a long of 60 yards
To put Jackson’s big-play ability in perspective, Evans had 15 catches of 20 yards or more last year, but only one reception of 40 yards or more. In 2015, Evans had a career-high 21 catches of 20 yards or more and two receptions of 20 yards or more.
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Andy Grosh/PR
The tandem of Evans and Jackson would not only double the amount of dangerous weapons for Winston in the passing game, but it would force more teams to play Cover 2 and keep both safeties back to respect Jackson’s deep speed and Evans’ run-after-catch ability. Getting a safety out of the box would also aid Tampa Bay’s offensive line by helping the running game, and perhaps reduce opponents’ ability to blitz Winston.
I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the free agent receiver the Bucs pursue this offseason is Jackson. In fact, they should.
Every year since becoming Tampa Bay’s general manager, Licht, has made some big splashes in free agency. Some in 2014 were at the insistence of the man who hired him, head coach Lovie Smith, and some were of his own volition over the past two seasons.
Licht’s Major Free Agent Acquisitions
2014 – DE Michael Johnson – 5 years, $43.75 million
2014 – LT Anthony Collins – 5 years, $30 million
2014 – CB Alterraun Verner – 4 years, $25.75 million
2014 – DT Clinton McDonald – 4 years, $12 million
2014 – QB Josh McCown – 2 years, $10 million
2014 – TE Brandon Myers – 2 years, $4.25 million
2015 – LB Bruce Carter – 4 years, $17 million
2015 – DT Henry Melton – 1 year, $3.75 million
2015 – FS Chris Conte – 1 year, $1.5 million
2016 – G J.R. Sweezy – 5 years, $32.5 million
2016 – DE Robert Ayers – 3 years, $19.5 million
2016 – CB Brent Grimes – 2 years, $13.5 million
2016 – P Bryan Anger – 1 year, $1.75 million
Jackson, who has spent the last three seasons in Washington after playing for Philadelphia from 2008-13, is an unrestricted free agent that has been rumored to be heading back to the Eagles, who selected him in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
“Next year, being a free agent, you never know what might happen in this business,” Jackson told the Washington Post. “Who knows how things might work out? Hopefully, I’ll still be in Washington. But you never know how things work out.”
Jackson left Philly following a great 2013 season after his relationship with former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly deteriorated. With Doug Pederson, who was an offensive quality control coach (2009-10) and a quarterbacks coach (2011-12) in Philadelphia, now at the helm and calling the plays for the Eagles, Jackson has some incentive to finish his NFL career where it started. Several Eagles, including defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and defensive end Brandon Graham, will be putting the full-court press on Jackson to leave an NFC East rival and return to Philly in March.
Redskins WR DeSean Jackson and Eagles DT Fletcher Cox – Photo by: Getty Images
“I’ve talked to him,” Graham told ESPN in December. “I talked to him when Doug (Pederson) got hired. We have fun during the season. He’s like, ‘B.G. you know I’ll be back, man.’ But now that it’s official, as far as the season about to be over, I think you’ll be hearing a lot of noise about DeSean. … I’m saying official as far as the end of season, now we’re going to really see.
“It’s an exciting feeling to get an Eagle back. I’m excited because he should have never left. Everybody knows that DeSean, yes, things were happening while he was here, but he’s a good guy. I used to be with him all the time.”
Free agency can be a funny thing once options open up for players who are looking for two things – money and a place to win a championship.
Carving out room for Jackson on the Eagles’ roster may prove to be difficult given their $9,845,683 in available cap space, but Philadelphia has been rumored to have several players on the trading block and perhaps the chopping block in order to create cap room and re-make the team in Pederson’s image. Jackson would love to retire as an Eagle, but he also wants to have one big, final contract, too. It’s hard to imagine him getting market value in Philly given the Eagles’ cap constraints.
And are the Eagles with second-year quarterback Carson Wentz any closer to the Super Bowl than Washington – or Tampa Bay? No.
The Redskins are flush with $59,775,921 in cap space, but will Washington be able to re-sign quarterback Kirk Cousins? And what changes will new offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh make to the ‘Skins offense since being promoted to replace Sean McVay?
Jackson recently told Larry Michael of CSN that he would like to remain in Washington.
“I want to be here,” Jackson said. “My family, my house, I have everything here. I don’t want to be in a transaction, moving.”
But with Redskins president Bruce Allen, general manager Scot McCloughan and head coach Jay Gruden on the hot seat after missing the playoffs in 2016, Jackson may want to re-think his position as there could be significant changes in Washington coming in 2018 if the ‘Skins miss the postseason for a second straight year.
Licht was with the Eagles personnel department from 2003-07, but left following the 2008 draft for a job in Arizona. Licht was part of the Eagles staff that scouted and drafted Jackson. Along with Winston – and the young quarterback’s dynamic personality – Licht may have some sway in getting Jackson interested in coming to Tampa Bay where the Bucs have $64,944,718 worth of salary cap room to use to land him.
Finishing with a 9-7 record and narrowly missing the playoffs, the Bucs will be a trendy playoff pick in 2017 – and a possible Super Bowl dark horse team. That helps Tampa Bay’s sales pitch to free agents.
The allure of playing with Winston and alongside a Pro Bowl wide receiver that will draw double-teams and free up Jackson to see single coverage may convince him to change his mind. The opportunity to play for a charismatic, offensive-minded head coach in Dirk Koetter can’t hurt the Bucs’ chances, either.
But are the Bucs open to signing a speed merchant who will be 31 years old this year? It should be noted that former Tampa Bay receiver Joey Galloway was 33 years old when he landed with the Bucs via trade and went on to have three straight 1,000-yard seasons, averaging 16 yards per catch and scoring 28 touchdowns in red and pewter from age 34-36.
When it comes to upgrading the talent at Tampa Bay’s wide receiver position, Licht told me all the cards are on the table without mentioning any names.
“I’ll just say that there’s going to be options in both free agency and the draft,” Licht said. “We’re looking at all the options and I would say that I am happy with the options that are going to be there. We have a chance to upgrade that position and that is one position that Dirk has said we need to find some playmakers at. Playmakers come in all different sizes and shapes and ages so we’ll be exploring all options.”
One of those options is Jackson. We’ll see if the Bucs make a play for a guy that is a proven big-time playmaker.
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@example.com
Dang, Scott…I didn’t think you’d be able to convince me about Desean Jackson…but here we are. Well thought out and well place argument. The thing that put the icing on the cake was bringing up the fact that Galloway was 33 when he signed here. I completely forgot about that.
And Galloway was a flat out “burner”, I remember John Gruden in some audio clips actually telling Joey to run faster because Joey could always turn it up a notch in one stride, he was just a speed demon.
BUcs also had a lot of weapons around Galloway like Mccardell, Johnson, Dilger, Alstott, and Pittman. Plus the defense was amazing. Pass on Jackson.
FYI, the Bucs never had WRs Johnson or McCardell when they had Galloway. The best WR they had was Clayton during the Galloway era. Alstott was at the end of his career and on the decline. I never really considered Pitman or Dilger to be weapons. They were average at best.
Love me some Fab 5! Thanks Scott.
#1 Oh boy, I have been crying into the wind on PR about bringing in a FA WR for a long time, and Scott you have been the bah humbug on the topic. Wow, I do have the force in me since my jedi mind trick worked! lol
You hit my WR talking points nail on the head. No rookie is going to be ready to be a solid #2 WR fresh out of the draft, and we need weapons to take the pressure off of Evans & Winston. If Evan is out due to injury who then? Jackson would certainly work or a number of 2017 projected FA. I’m still a proponent of drafting 2 WR’s in the first 5 rounds regardless if we sign a FA.
#2 I agree with you but my gut tells me Jameis is going to more like Brett Farve than Tom Brady. He has too much gun slinger in him, whereas Brady is so tactical & cerebral. If he turns out like Brett Farve that’s not such a bad thing is it?
#3 I think the Falcons will be in the playoff mix next year. They are too good talent wise with a good mix of vets & young players. I think more than the super bowl lose the loss of their coordinators will hurt them more than anything else.
#4 I love Koetter as our HC. He is the right man at the right time for this team. He holds his players accountable without being hateful, which makes him respected.
In Licht we Trust…Go BUCS & may the force be with you, aways! lol
Mudman – you and I are on the same page on item no. 2 … the two players are just different kinds of players. But at the same time, maybe a better model for Jameis, if there is to be just one, might be Aaron Rodgers, who can gunsling it with anybody when it suits him, and like Jameis also hates to give up on any play, yet his propensity to toss picks that make you go, “why the hell did he throw THAT ball?” is nothing like Favre.
In the 2016 season, Rodgers threw 40 TDs against only 7 picks.
Thank you, MudManVA. I think the Bucs will still draft a WR or two – even if they sign DeSean Jackson. Can’t have too many weapons. I agree that at this stage Jameis Winston is more like Brett Favre. I think he can become a Tom Brady-like QB in time in that both are very passionate players and great leaders. Different playing styles, for sure, but Winston needs some of Brady’s calm in the eye of the storm.
– I think we will pick up a free agent no. 2 WR, and Jackson is a good candidate with his speed that’s been missing forever on the Bucs
– It’s rather unfair to expect Jameis Winston to try to model himself after Tom Brady in order to be successful and help us win a SB, for a variety of reasons … such as, (1) Winston and Brady have very dissimilar play styles … (2) hey, GOAT is a nice standard to aspire to for any player, but that’s not the standard for all successful QBs, given the many dozens of which enjoyed highly successful careers without ever being GOAT … (3) and while Brady is a known factor, we really don’t know what Winston’s actual, theoretical “upside” is at this point early in his career. Brady didn’t even begin to approach his peak performance until his 8th season in the league, despite the great success of his team during that timeframe, and indeed, many now believe Brady’s peak performance was this past season, at age 39. Who would have predicted that of Brady at the end of his second season in the league, besides nobody?
I guess rather than holding Jameis to the Brady standard, I’d rather see him focus on making some specific improvements in the short term (this season) .. beyond the inevitable matter of gaining more NFL experience and becoming more mature as a player. That would include (1) increasing his accuracy of ball placement, particularly on middle to long range throws … and (2) estraining his “gunslinger” mentality where his emotions and will to make a play sometimes overcome the need for him to manage the offense efficiently. If Jameis can make significant progress in those two areas next year, it can help us gain another win or two, which might be enough to put us into the playoffs, or better.
typo in last para item no. (2) … “restraining” rather than “estraining”
Naples, hope you are well brother…..could not agree with you anymore regarding expectations with Winston in comparison to Brady, I said this on another tread but what were everyone’s expectations this past year? 6/7 maybe 8 wins? Then we won 9 and a lot of fans, including myself though, Damn! we could have won 11 (Rams, Raiders, hell even one more bang play at Dallas), not to mention the loss at Arizona earlier in the year. We need to fill our holes with playmakers and draft best available based on our need, I like Mike Williams out of Clemson but he will probably be gone, as a die hard Garnet and Gold fan, I love Dalvin Cook but unless we make a bold move, he most likely will be gone as well. I actually thought Brate had a great year so all the O.J Howard articles I’m not real sold on because as some have said, we need speed opposite Evans. My last point is, if our expectations were as such this year and we went 9-7, barely missing the playoffs, what do you think they will be this year with our schedule including the SB runner up twice, the SB champions at home, games with the Vikings, Bills, Dolphins, Lions, Giants and Packers, along with our usual NFC South grind with NOLA and Carolina? We have to get players that can produce, NOW don’t you agree?
Thanks, Michael … frankly, it’s always tough to make it to the playoffs in this league of parity in which most of the teams do a lot of churning and up and down from year to year. As much as we all want and will certainly expect to get better in 2017, it’s by no means a high probability outcome, between injuries and roster changes. Even if Jameis manages to fix his two principal flaws as a player as described above, and even if we have a great off-season in both FA and the draft, nothing guarantees that we won’t be extremely challenged by all three of our NFC South division rivals and the other very tough non-division teams we have to play this season, or that we won’t get bit hard again by the injury bug.
I’m optimistic, and I expect most of us Bucs fans are optimistic. Cautiously optimistic … and ready to maybe just maybe we’ll greatly overperform expectations this year, as the Falcons did last season.
I’m not holding Jameis Winston to Tom Brady’s standards. I’m suggesting he try to study and emulate how Brady keeps his emotions in check during critical times in games. I think that could be beneficial.
You pretty much Nailed it on that one Naples. I also look at the offenses, as New England runs a ton of slants and zone beaters. That’s not really a Bucs offense, and Jameis is pushing seem routes and outs a lot. Great points and if he works on those things , with some added talent, he will be everything we need. Will he ever throw single digit interceptions in a season? probably not.
That’s a fair point, cgmaster27. I don’t have any analytics handy, but I would suspect Jameis Winston throws more deep passes than Tom Brady does, which could account for some of Brady’s higher completion percentage.
PR decided to look into my Joey Galloway/Desean Jackson comparisons earlier this offseason and see the validity. The Bucs should cut Doug and Verner taking our cap space closer to 75M. Sign Desean Jackson for about 9M, I’d look into Zeitler the guard from Cincinnati who is not expected to be resigned and has graded out as a top 10 G every year he’s been in the league. Earlier this offseason I was in on Ron Leary and I still am but I think they will command similar dollars and Zietler is the more complete player and doesn’t come with injury concerns like Leary that should cost another roughly 8-9M a year. The last splash signing I would target is Dontari Poe, who will be cheaper than Short but could have as much impact playing next to McCoy for about 7M a year. That leaves us 50M to resign W.Golston, Shepard, Robinson, Quiz, McDougald and Conte which should cost us more than 25M collectively in this years cap space. Add first round pick OJ Howard or Njoku plus a 2nd round selection of Mixon and the Bucs would be ready to win the South. We are a very young team offensively but we need to take advantage of the aging playmakers we have on defense like McCoy and Grimes. Adding Zietler with a “healthy” Sweezey should give us the flexibility to move Marpet to C and let Pamphile challenge Dotson and Sweezey for their jobs. Ideally we start Smith, Zietler, Marpet, Sweezey and Dotson. We would have Pamphile crosstrained at all 3 spots and Benenoch developing behind the scenes at swing tackle. This is not the year we should sit back and let the big names sign and then skim what’s left, we need to be precise and calculated but get the impact players we need to get over the hump. Go Bucs and playoff season is only a checkbook away
‘Aint going to lie STL, I’m a big fan of your plan here. Although I wouldn’t bring Conte back at all and draft a safety in rounds 3 or 4, it’s a deep position. I would definitely cut Doug and Verner, but also Daryl smith as well.
Yea the Conte situation depends on how much money it costs. I see Licht saying a player like Hawley is on the offseason to do list but the team would benefit more having 3 safeties capable of starting over a C who is more bark than production. Not against taking a safety late though and only re-signing Conte to a 1 year deal. I dont think anybody is going to break the bank for him or guarantee him a starting job, so returning could be cost effective and beneficial for both parties.
I don’t see Jason Licht shelling out big money for another guard after doing that last year for J.R. Sweezy, who is now healthy and ready to contribute. The Bucs like Ali Marpet and Kevin Pamphile and see both of those guys as starters – one of them at guard and perhaps the other at center.
I am not a fan of Desean Jackson and feel like there a better options to add speed to the Bucs, here is my 7 round mock draft for the Bucs.
Round 1: John Ross, WR Washington
I think John Ross would be a great add to the Bucs offense and would give us the much needed speed we are all craving for. John Ross is 22 while Jackson is 30 and is most likely slowing down. John Ross can take the top off the defense and would surely free up Mike Evans from constant double teams.
Round 2: Tre’Davious White, CB LSU
I honestly believe by the time the draft rolls around White could be a first round pick but for now the Bucs would be lucky to have him fall to our pick in the second round. A great cover corner from DBU would fit perfectly playing in the slot as a rookie and eventually taking over for Brent Grimes. Concerned that he is undersized at 5’11 just like VH3 but his talent more than makes up for it. Also was a good punt returner in college so could compete for the returner job. Had a good game against Amari Cooper in college unlike VH3.
Round 3: Ethan Pocic, C LSU
Bucs go back to LSU to grab the versatile Pocic. He has played all 5 positions along the OL for LSU and could be the long term answer at C. Strength needs work but is a very athletic, smart C and would be great snapping the ball to Jameis for the next 10 years. Could be a swing man rookie year.
Round 4: Joe Mixon, RB Oklahoma
I am not comfortable with this pick due to his past but is a round 1 talent and would be a steal in round 4 if his off field issues are past him. Mixon could compete with Jacquizz and Charles his rookie year and eventually take over as the Bucs lead back. The reason I make this pick is because I believe the Bucs culture could keep his head right. Jameis had a similarly bad scandal at FSU but has been a total pro since joining the Bucs and could help Mixon.
Round 5: Conor McDermott, OT UCLA
For the second year in a row the Bucs go to UCLA to grab an OL and I believe McDermott could solidify the Bucs OL for years to come. With the picks of Pocic and McDermott the Bucs would have much needed depth for the OL and youth at every position. McDermott is already 24 years old but isn’t as polished as a 24 year old should be. He is great value in the 5th round and could be used as a back up for the RT spot and eventually compete for the starters job.
Round 6: Xavier Woods, S Louisiana Tech
The Bucs need safety help and Xavier Woods would be a great add to the Bucs S depth chart who could compete for playing time as a rookie. A great tackler Woods could add great value on special teams along with S. Bucs don’t have any long term options at S and should probably draft one earlier than the 6th round but I think Woods would be a great add in the 6th round.
Round 7: Weston Steelhammer, S Air Force
More S help is added in the 7th round with Steelhammer. Steelhammer is great value pick in the 7th round but would probably be used most likely as a special team player and back up his rookie year. Woods and Steelhammer would add youth and upside to the Bucs S depth chart and hopefully one if not both could develop into starting caliber S. Tandy would start at one S spot while Woods and Steelhammer would compete for playing time with another veteran S, Conte McDougald or another signed S.
Matthew – I too like John Ross as a burner in the draft, and it’s kind of a tossup in my mind between Ross and Howard at TE. Yet, that doesn’t mean that picking up Jackson as a free agent wouldn’t have value, even with Ross taken in the draft. Ross’s speed is offset somewhat with his route-running which is not superior. Having a gray-hair like Jackson in the receiver room finishing out his career with the Bucs could help groom Ross to more quickly develop his route-running skills.
If Howard is available or even close enough for the Bucs to trade up and get him, I think that should be their first choice. The only reason I say that is because Jameis likes to throw to his TE’s. If Howard is not available then get the best available WR (probably Ross) and then get a TE at a later pick. But get him a good TE because that is who he likes to throw to.
I would love Howard but I just think he will be too out of reach for the Bucs to get him
That is a valid point we do have plenty of cap to work with I just hope if we do sign Jackson it is a short term deal
Yep, Matthew … with Jackson at 31 and on his third contract, I would expect Jason Licht to offer a contract with only the first two seasons guaranteed … and then see how he holds up as he hits his mid-30s.
I like Ross also but think we could get similar talent in 3rd round with Dede Westbrook WR Oklahoma. This kid is a burner also. This season he had 80 catches for 1524 Yds,17 TDs, and avg 19.1 ypc. Most Mock drafts have falling to us in the 3rd round.
That is an option too but Ross is the better player and Dede has some off the field stuff and I wouldn’t want to draft Dede and Mixon, plus I really like Pocic we need a long term option at C to pair with Jameis.
Just saw that Ross is having shoulder surgery and might not be at the combine. That would be two knee surgeries and a shoulder surgery. I was never big on Ross after the Alabama game, but know we can add multiple surgeries to it.
Not a bad mock at all, Matthew. I love John Ross, but I think the Bucs will double up at WR this year rather than grab two safeties. Ross will face some scrutiny over his medical report with his knee at the Combine. Will Joe Mixon fall to the fourth? If he does, he’s a steal. He has first-round talent.
Bucs need to just pass on Desean Jackson. He’s a health risk every year. And when he is hurt, teams won’t be forced to play cover 2 vs the offense. Crowder was a much more difficult matchup for teams vs Washington last year. Jackson is on the decline in a big way.
DeSean Jackson did miss six games in 2015, but only one last year and averaged 17.9 yards per catch in 2016, which led the NFL. I don’t know how you can suggest he is necessarily on the decline in a big way – and I say that respectfully.
Of course we want to see Jameis model his game after Brady. What team doesn’t? Although of all the young QBs in this league I think Jameis has the best chance of being the next Brady.
In regards to DeSean, I want to see Licht follow the other model of the Patriots. Which is to target quality players that have a couple years left in their career that desperately want to win a Super Bowl. Then offer them a bit below market value. One of the reasons that the Patriots are able to do that because so many people believe that as long as they have Tom Brady then they have a legit chance. I do feel that Jameis is capable of providing that same mentality.
I’m wondering if DeSean’s locker room presence would be a distraction? I don’t think that would be a good move. Jameis will continue to work and will become a top 5 QB in due time. I would think that the Falcons would have a Super Bowl hangover, but I also expect Carolina to get back up into the mix. This is the NFC South, not the AFC Least, where Brady has had the amazing luck of competing against zero franchise QBs in his division for whole career. Yes, he’s very good, but the old * will be stuck to his name in the record books, just like Lance Armstrong & Barry Bonds.
That’s a fair point about how DeSean Jackson would fit into the Bucs’ locker room. And would he show up for all of the offseason work in Tampa with Jameis Winston? Questions that need to be answered.
Scott – Jackson’s attitude is something to examine by Jason if we get a chance to interview him and have him meet up with Jameis and Mike and the other players. Jackson did report in for the voluntary workouts last season, despite his having a baby son on the opposite coast. His rocky team relationship was with the Eagles, which has been a pretty unstable environment for years now, but he seems to have fit in well with the Redskins. He’s matured, as most players do. And the chance to work with Jameis, Mike, and Coach Koetter could be pretty attractive, though he is telling people now his preference is to stay in Washington, yet knows that contracts and salary caps may not work out.
The problem for us is, the Redskins have quite a bit of cap space now … just under $60M. They can easily afford to pay him as an experienced, productive no. 2 WR. Not sure we’ll get the chance to sign him.
Desaun Jackson is in intriguing signing for the Bucs , should they choose o go after him. He does have the speed and the big play ability we lack. I am not sure what kind of locker room presence he would bring and our team, chemistry is really good right now and we need to continue to nurture that as well. I think he’d be a great compliment to Mike on the other side, but again , with everything else, what’s the contract? Maybe a 4 year deal ? It’s crazy, I never realized how old Joey was when we signed him. Damn he could still burn though.
We do need some speed though as the Bucs were number 1 in the NFL in air yards to catch , but dead last in the NFL in YAC.
Jameis will one day become that guy that can keep his emotions in check as he’s so young. For anyone who doesn’t think Brady is emotional and vocal, watch the NFL films mic’d up segments during the Superbowl. Good stuff. Brady is just older and wiser and has been in the game so much longer, to compare their emotions on the field is tough. Although Brady is the first to get in a Refs face or another players. He’s just Tom Brady , so he doesn’t get flagged for it.
We also have to realize the reason Tom Brady was so surgical was the pressure allowed. In the first half Brady was pressured on 60% of his throws. The entire second half, I believe it was around 16 % of his drop backs. When a QB has a clean pocket, anything can happen. As for the high throws, he’s amped, but I think more consistent work on his mechanics will help clear that up as well.
As for some of the narrow defeats, it’s hard to come back in Dallas when your RT is being shoved to the crowd the minute you snap the ball. He’ll get better as we get some talent around him, which will increase his accuracy and productivity.
I fully believe that Atlanta will struggle next year. The fans were hating on Shannahan for the calls, and I would agree. But he was the architect of a very good offense this season. I think losing him will be the biggest off season loss for the Falcons. Them firing their defensive coordinators was just an unwarranted knee jerk reaction. They were on the field the entire second half, they were gassed. The pass on 3rd and 1 was inexcusable. That blew the game right there. Another example when the coordinator wants to make the QB the hero instead of handing the ball off. I’m looking at you Seattle.
Haha ,when reading the penalties section and reading the Lovie Smith quote, I read it in his calm monotone voice and it made me want to put my head through a wall. The picture of a clueless Lovie looking skyward is icing on the cake. We were a much more disciplined team and the stats show that. Not bringing in refs for practice makes ZERO sense. Repetition of anything is a good thing and knowing what would be called by a ref might be different that what a coach sees. It just makes too much sense to go against having them there.
As for DJ, would love to see the Bucs sign him. Guarantee his contract for 2 years like was done with Ayres and Grimes which gives you two years to groom his replacement.
Love what you wrote about Winston copyjing Brady’s killer style, especially since I wrote the same thing in one of the comment sections on Monday.
In additiin I would like too see Winston check diown to his RB’s as often as Brady does.
NFL network showed a great cliip of how their RB found huge open zones in the Falcons defense underneath the LB’s as they dropped back to help cover the Patriots receivers.
Hope Winston looks to do7 that more this year since his passes to his RB’s drropped off dramaatically from 2015 to the 2016 season.
Thank you, drdneast!
This is the year when Jameis Winston should make pronounced strides in his game. As the game announcers say “the game has slowed down for him”. He has all the skills to be great. Hopefully this year he calms down and relaxes into his role as franchise QB – on the road to becoming Brady-like. If you want to be like the greats, then maybe you should do what the greats do.
An ancient proverb says “he who takes himself as counsel, is a fool”. At some point in his development, I wish Winston would seek the counsel and admonition of Dr. Tom House, former major league baseball pitcher, turned passing guru to the best QBs in the NFL.
Brady, Brees, Roethlisberger, and other top-rated NFL QBs have been advised and trained by House. Being a former baseball pitcher himself, I think Winston could relate to House’s experience and would be of immense help with his stride, mechanics, and accuracy. Tom Brady and Drew Brees swear by the positive effect House has had on their game. House and Brees are neighbors in Del Mar, California and Brees continues to this day having an annual offseason visit with House!
Winston would be wise to at least have a sit down with House at some time in the future. The NFL greats can’t all be wrong!
Interesting stuff, macabee. Thanks for sharing!
I think we would have been pretty good if our Jackson wouldn’t have gotten hurt, don’t see why he has to go. Pick up Desaun in FA then get OJ in the first. We would look really good, I think
Jackson would be a good pick up. Maybe a three year contract. That would allow us to wait until 2nd or 3rd round or later to pick up a receiver. We have so many needs and there simply is not enough rounds to address all of the needs. Taking a TE first would make sense if we get Jackson. We could even go for a running back early in that scenario. It would change the board for Bucs. Safety or Corner might be an option early also.
Love the Fab 5 Scott, been reading it for a few years. Great site and thank you for getting me through another work day. I am sure you were being a little cheeky when you suggested Winston learn from Brady. It would be nice if Winston and Brady could sit down over a nice coconut-oil popcorn with Himalayan pink salt but Brady will not even consider that. Why would he try to help out a QB outside of the Patriots organization? Just because he is old in football terms does not make him any type of elder statesman of the NFL. He wants to play several more years and probably wants at least one more SB victory. Winston is an enemy and intellect and maturity are the leverage points of the seasoned veteran. Winston is bright and has kept out of trouble since arriving in the NFL. He will get it figured out on his own.
Thank you, thewbacca. As for Tom Brady willingly helping Jameis Winston … it might not happen, but if I’m Winston I’m showing Brady that I’m the eager beaver and want to learn from the best. It never hurts to ask.
SR- GREAT Fab-5. I love the idea of signing Jackson. I would sign him and draft two WR’s. Your comments on Winston are, IMO, spot on. He has a TON of potential, but is not there yet. I TOTALLY agree on Falcons. They will struggle next year. I have never been a big Ryan fan. Well done Scott. Thank you.
Thank you, Bucnut2!
I’ve never been a big fan of seeking semi-elite players like WR DeSean Jackson, who are on the downside of their careers, in hopes of squeezing a little bit more out of them. I just need to determine if a player like him is more motivated by getting one last bank deposit or still willing to dedicate himself to help his new team win a championship when in the past he has refrained from making off-season sacrifices. Of course a player like Jackson would be a major upgrade opposite ME13 over the likes of Russell Shepard, Cecil Shorts and the rest of the candidates on our roster………but it’s a short term fix. The question for me is, how he would assimilate into the team. Of course the discussion could be moot. Regardless if Jackson comes here, we for sure need to find a quality veteran or have one of the developmental guys surprise.
The Falcons sure have imploded in a mere one week. Talk about going from the penthouse to the outhouse. If Kyle Shanahan didn’t already have his exit strategy with his HC gig wrapped up, he might have been taking a lot of abuse in the ATL. No doubt his departure made him the big culprit for his questionable play selection. Hysterical that the Falcons solution was to hire a guy straight out of AA and jettison the defensive staff as associate scapegoats.
I must admit I was highly amused by Arthur Blank-Check being a bit premature in doing his victory dance which perhaps influenced his team to think the game was over. What’s that saying, “It’s never over until it’s over” . Brought back memories of that Indy game in 2003. Bucs never recovered and neither will the Falcons.
Scubog, you wrote: “I’ve never been a big fan of seeking semi-elite players like WR DeSean Jackson, who are on the downside of their careers, in hopes of squeezing a little bit more out of them.”
It’s true that sometimes it doesn’t work out … but on the Bucs we’ve had some success that way.
Keyshawn Johnson was the same age (30) as Jackson when he was our leading receiver on our 2002-2003 Super Bowl team. Our leading rusher that season was also a FA signing, Michael Pittman, at 29 (very old for a running back).
Then we went a couple of years with losing seasons, then in 2005 we went 11-5 and went to the playoffs with an even older Joey Galloway (age 34) who again was our leading receiver that year.
After another losing season, we came back in 2007 and went to the playoffs with an old quarterback, Jeff Garcia, and a two-year older Galloway was again our leading receiver. That was the last time the Bucs went to the playoffs.
So based upon the Bucs own experience, those old guys on a final hurray contract can be great contributors to our last three playoff teams. No guarantees, of course. But I’m a fan of anyone who can help our team win.
At my age I’m all for old guys making money and, like you, I’m all for anyone who can help our team win. I’d just prefer to focus on developing our own and not be that team failing to draft well and using hired mercenaries every off-season, get a big headline and do little because they more often fail to live up to expectations.
No doubt our Superbowl team had a lot of short-term contributors that were brought in by Jon Gruden to supplement what some believe was”Dungy’s ” team ( I say it was Sam Wyche’s) You can cherry pick the players who had some success here, but there are plenty of others who should have been ashamed to pick up their check.
The Bucs laid out two 1st round Draft picks for Keyshawn Johnson. He wasn’t a free agent. How about these recent names on whom money was wasted. Josh McCown, Carl Nicks, Michael Clayton, Mike Jenkins, Dashon Goldson, Anthony Collins, Michael Johnson, Alterraun Verner, Eric Wright.
The discussion was about DeSean Jackson and would signing him (assuming he will be available) be a benefit. Of course with our collection of WR’s it would be a benefit if he’s even a fraction of the player he has been. My concern was more about him fitting in with the team.
I guess I look at players who have bounced around from team to team like I would prospective employees who have had an abundance of former employers or prospective mates who have had many dubious relationships in their past. Better do some extreme vetting.
Yes, I thought it was quite premature to see Arthur Blank on the Falcons sidelines so early in the fourth quarter. He might have jinxed his own team.
Enjoyed SR5 Scott and several comments above. This is the time in the offseason when everything (to quote an old adage) is “Clear as mud.” DJax is a very talented player who says he wants to stay in Washington. He has the speed but would he be a good fit in our locker room. John Ross has good speed and wasn’t Derel Walker the top WR in the CFL. So much to digest, if only we could see a year into the future. As far as counseling Jameis he seems to be self-correcting with experience but if there is a counseling guru who worked with Brady, Brees, Roethlisberger it sure couldn’t hurt try to correct his anxious tendencies. Article and comments full of thought provoking issues.
Thank you, martinii!
Macbee, great points in regard to Winston seeking counsel with the greats.
As I am sure you know, Winston did just that last year when he talked to Russell Wiilson who I personally fell is a Top 10 QB.
For him to look to Brady And Brees for further guidance would be outstanding.
Saw a great clip of Brees once doing a drill to help improve his base while moving through his progressions and it was a great thing to watch.
Scott, great Fab 5. I would like to see Jackson sign and be that deep threat we need, as long as we draft well around that. Plus, since my buddy is a Skins fan, that would be a great coup as well. I think that Winston should drink in as much knowledge as possible and learn from the greats. He has the right attitude and the leadership skills so he will likely do that. The Falcons will take a step back this year and I’m not so sure that Cam learned to be humble enough last year to bounce the Panthers back. So, to me, the division is open so let’s go for it. I like Koetter’s way and the difference on the team, cutting down penalties, believing in the system and the QB has changed the franchise. With more depth overall at all positions, we’ll be able to weather the injuries that inevitably happen during the season. I want to see a huge improvement in the kicking game, so any and all competition is welcome imo and if Roberto turns them all away, great! The Rams game really hurt. Btw, Walsh to SEA is a bad idea, I think unfortunately he will never recover his form. Looking forward to FA, let’s spend a little more this year, and spend wisely, including our own FA’s.
Thanks, CDNBUCSFAN! I appreciate it. Roberto Aguayo will certainly get a challenge in training camp. He’s got a 50-50 chance of making the team – at best – from what I gather.
When a player says he “wants to stay in Washington” I’d pass. Not great character guy either. I suppose if short term deal can be worked out he would fill a need until a permanent draft solution is made.
I would stay away from DeSean Jackson, he gets injured too much and doesn’t always show up in games. Then I would question his lockeroom etiquette. I think getting him would be a move of desperation. Ted Ginn Jr. is a better comparison to Joey Galloway speed wise, but Ted doesn’t have the best hands. Again, he is another player who doesn’t always show up in games. I think we are much better off finding our speedy WR2 in the draft, and get someone who will mature with our QB and WR1. For those who don’t think a freshly drafted rookie can attribute much in their first season, you must be suffering from short term memory loss as we have recently witnessed many rookie WR’s make a name for themselves right out of the gate. Mike Evans being one of them.
The Bucs don’t need DeSean Jackson to be WR1. That’s Mike Evans’ role. They need him to be WR2 to keep defenses honest with his speed and make big plays when Evans is doubled. I think he can do that. He has rare speed and is still plenty dangerous.
Ted Ginn?, can’t catch a cold, huge choker when it counts, good 4 0r 5 receiver and decent returner,but never a 2, Corey Davis or bust.
Frankly I do not agree about any player emulating another at this stage. Winston needs to refine his style, not change it. As far as slow starts go that can be corrected with proper play calling. Script some early “get loose” timing short passes.
Once again, I agree with everything written here. Jackson would be an excellent pickup and provide us some speed for Jameis to target. Big Mike was the number 1 most targeted receiver last year because we didn’t have much else. Brate provided the most threat but putting a burner on the field will really open things up for us. I believe that was our intent when we signed Huff, but unfortunately he didn’t pan out very well. The only thing I can see keeping us from signing Jackson would be his cap hit, but with VJax most likely off the roster there should be more than enough cap space for him. Jackson’s signing will also cross off one need for us to fill, opening up the draft.
Jameis will be a Super Bowl quarterback in time. When he’s on he’s ON, and I know his work ethic will allow him to hone his skills and mechanics to become a more accurate passer. His fire is something that can’t be taught and the biggest reason he has made such an impact on this team in his short time here.
Watching the Falcons epic choke job was definitely great to see! I get the feeling a letdown that big will carry over into camp and at the very least, the early part of next season. The division should be wide open again next year and available for the taking.
Koetter’s influence has made a very positive impact so far and will only continue. Penalties are down and wins are up, no coincidence there.
been season ticket holder since 97′ never missed a game for 10 years live in new york now, I’ve seen jaquez Queen, sheidel anthony, Hurt emanuel, michael clayton, keenen McCardel,joey galloway, joe jerivicious, but hands down ,before Mike Evans got here Vincent Jackson was best receiver I’ve ever seen in a Bucs uniform, not even close, atlanta was laughed at when they traded up for julio jones, Corey Davis is a jackson clone, but faster, Koetter’s offense will always be about the pass, always was, you pair Corey Davis with Evans, we are unstoppable for 10 years, bring martin back with rogers find a replacement for mankins, and we are Superbowl bound for years to come.
Use free agency to boost D, I question Deshauns heart, plus he was an eagle. lol. Dontae poe,D line complete. draft speed, i know coreys not a super burner, but he’s a BEAST, just like evans, I’ve seen us with smaller receivers for 20 plus years, I wanna see the big boys,Evans is insane, vincent jackson was insane, even jenkins if he had any heart ,was insane, add Davis I don’t see how we can be stopped scott. P.S. use to be old paper pewter report subscriber for years, thanks.
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