FAB 3. Evans, JPP Snubbed For The Stupid Pro Bowl

I’ll say it. Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul were snubbed for the Pro Bowl.

Both have had stellar individual seasons – and keep in mind that the season isn’t even over yet, which is one of my biggest beefs with the Pro Bowl popularity contest. What if Evans explodes for 300 yards and four touchdowns over the last two weeks of the season, and Pierre-Paul goes on a tear and finishes with four sacks over the final two games?

Bucs WR Mike Evans
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Is a 1,600-yard wide receiver with nine touchdowns not Pro Bowl-caliber? Is a 15.5-sack season not a Pro Bowl-worthy performance by a defensive end?

The Big Takeaway
Why are the Pro Bowl votes turned in and tabulated with two games left in the season? Why not wait until the end of the year? The Pro Bowl doesn’t happen until a full month after the season ends anyways.

That’s not quite as dumb as Major League Baseball, the NHL and the NBA, which have their All-Star Games in the middle of the season. So how a player plays in the second half of the season doesn’t count in those leagues?

Naming Pro Bowlers in Week 14 is like determining who wins or loses in the NFL by who has the lead at the 2:00 warning in a game rather than at the end of the game.

The Stats That Count
Okay, enough bashing the Pro Bowl voting methods. Let’s get to the actual snubs.

Evans has 74 catches for 1,328 yards and his career-high 17.9-yard average is the best among the Top 10 wide receivers in the league. What hurts him is that only Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill (78) has less than 80 catches in the Top 10, while Pro Bowl receivers like Atlanta’s Julio Jones (100), Green Bay’s Devante Adams (100) and New Orleans’ Michael Thomas (109) all hit the century mark.

Jones’ 1,511 yards leads the league, and despite his six touchdowns, that – along with his reputation – is enough to get him in the Pro Bowl. Adams has 12 touchdowns, which is tied for second most in the league, along with his 1,321 yards, while Thomas has eight scores and 1,267 yards. What hurts Evans is that he only has five touchdowns this season. But what if he winds up with four more over the next two games and pulls ahead of Thomas and Jones? That’s my beef in this statistically-driven popularity contest.

Bucs WR Mike Evans - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Getty Images

As the first Pro Bowl alternate, Evans could still get in, but it might have to be with the Saints making the Super Bowl, which would cause Thomas to miss the Pro Bowl game.

“I kind of knew like Week 8,” Evans said. “Kind of midway through the season, it’s hard to change that. You’ve got to do something spectacular to get in the conversation. All of the guys that made it are deserving. There were probably a couple of snubs out there.”

Now let’s look at the defensive ends that Pierre-Paul is contending with as the third Pro Bowl alternate. I have no issue with Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter, who is second in the league with 14.5 sacks and one fumble recovery, and New Orleans’ Cameron Jordan, who has 12 sacks and three forced fumbles, going to Orlando.

But Dallas’ DeMarcus Lawrence, who has just 8.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and an interception making the Pro Bowl over Pierre-Paul, who has 11.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery? That doesn’t seem right. Playing on America’s Team on a Cowboys squad that appears to be playoff-bound does have its advantages.

The real crime is that Pierre-Paul is the third alternate in the NFC. He should be the second alternate at the very least, because you could make the case that both Seattle’s Frank Clark and Arizona’s Chandler Jones, who each have 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery, are also more deserving of a Pro Bowl spot than Lawrence.

If Jordan and the Saints made this year’s Super Bowl it would free up a spot as Jordan wouldn’t be a participant in this year’s all-star game. That, combined with another player who might withdraw due to injury from one of the other defensive end spots, would have put Pierre-Paul in a position to land in his third career Pro Bowl. But as this year’s third Pro Bowl alternate on the NFC list, it’s the longest of long shots that Pierre-Paul makes it to Orlando in his first season in Tampa Bay, and that’s unfortunate.

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul
Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The FABulous Ending
While the actual Pro Bowl game itself is a joke, the distinction of making the Pro Bowl is important for players and teams. It is a critical factor in eventually determining who makes the Pro Bowl Hall of Fame and players can hit incentive bonuses for making the Pro Bowl. Why the voting doesn’t wait for two more weeks is beyond me, and it might have helped Evans and Pierre-Paul’s cause this year if both Bucs finish the season strong.

Remember when it was announced late in the fourth quarter that Tampa Bay free safety Dexter Jackson was the Super Bowl XXXVII MVP with two interceptions – right before Dwight Smith recorded his second pick-six, which was a Super Bowl record, in the final moments of the Bucs’ win?

Shouldn’t the Super Bowl MVP voting waited until the end of the game? What if Derrick Brooks had his second pick-six in the closing minutes against Oakland?

With all of the modern technology and super computers capable of instant tabulation, can’t the NFL get it right and wait two more weeks to announce its Pro Bowlers? It may cause a few less snubs in the process.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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DonkeyHunter

While I’d have to agree with it being too early to throw around the “bust” label; I wouldn’t be so quick to call others stupid.

After all, YOU were the author of an article praising Licht as a genius for the Aguayo pick.

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mjmoody

…and pounded the table for Johnny Football over Mike Evans.

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Brandonges

Tampa would be so dumb to move on from McCoy next year. After spending the last decade trying to get their defensive line in order, they finally have a legitimate starting four. Don’t blow that up immediately. Especially when they don’t need the cap space. McCoy is still playing at a high enough level.

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skyrider

It’s time to move on from McCoy, always other options in the draft and he’s injury prone. Can use the cap space for other needs.

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bucballer

McCoy is underperforming for the salary he makes! Look at our record with him. At 13 million next year the Bucs can get better value at that position for the money. How about this blockbuster trade… the Oakland Raiders and Jon Gruden trade a number 1 pick and a number 3 pick along with David Carr to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Gerald McCoy and Jameis Winston…why not??? McCoy due 13 million, Jameis has a 21 million dollar charge next year and then will require a 100 million plus contract…crazier things have happened! What say you… Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb… Read more »

cgmaster27

you’re worried about ho much Jameis costs and want to trade for a QB who’s due about 30 million this year? Really?

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cgmaster27

On a side note, adorable dog in your profile pic.

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cgmaster27

only on this site can you get a down vote for saying someone has a cute dog. Savages. haha

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chefboho

That’s because these vultures breath negativity lol

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cobraboy

Gerald Willis reminds me of a large Warren Sapp.

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chefboho

Agreed. He was a wrecking ball at Miami this year! Would love to see him in pewter. Not sure what round he’s projected for, but him and Vea are building blocks on the line

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Pete Wood

I am really weary of the logic that we’re going to lose a game, because the other team needs the win more. Yeah, maybe the Bucs game is a de facto playoff game for Dallas, but you can’t tell me that the game last week wasn’t equally as important. And, the same team that tanked last week is still going to take the field on Sunday. Every game should be important– to Dallas and Tampa. Teams used to enjoy playing the role of spoiler and knocking someone out of the playoffs. If Dallas and Tampa players only try for “meaningful”… Read more »

Buc-Up

I would ask McCoy to be like Tom Brady and take less money in order to get better players for the team. Brady only made about half of what he could’ve gotten over his career. McCoy has been making over $10 million/yr since his initial rookie deal before the Rookie Pool was instituted.

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e

Any chance McCoy renegotiates and wants to finish his career in Tampa? As a ‘Canes fan, I can say that Gerald Willis is a difference maker. I’d look at their three starting LBs coming out as well, Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinkney & Zach McCloud. The Pro Bowi is and will always be a popularity contest. The Bucs will never be a Cowboys or Steelers, popularity-wise… So, don’t get too hyped about that rigged game.

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chefboho

I agreed with the poster above about the same thing. That Miami squad has a few great players that Tampa could use. Gerald Willis and even the CB Johnson would be a huge upgrade.

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Buc76

They moved on from Warren Sapp after 9 years. Maybe you could say they shouldn’t have but they did and 13 million for a DT in his 10th year might not be worth it. You have a rookie you can develop and that money needs to go elsewhere. Gerald McCoy has been a good Buc. He will go in the Ring of Honor one day but this defense needs a nastier edge to it and he just doesn’t have it. He’s too nice a guy. He apologized to Ben Roethlisberger when he put him on the ground. A nasty DT… Read more »

stlbucsfan

GMC needs to re-structure his contract but losing him for a some draft pick that could turn out to be the next Alex Cappa is what’s stupid. I for one am in no rush to release GMC so that we can tie up money in Kwon or Donovan Smith at elite LT money. Grimes will walk and clear up about 10, apparently we will let Desean go which clears up another 10 plus the room we have should be plenty. Hell I’m asking Jensen to take a paycut before GMC. Shift some of the top C in football money to… Read more »

FLBoy84

Unfortunately Jensen has zero reasons to agree to take a pay cut, since his $10M is 2019 is guaranteed. 2020 is a different story however, as the team can move on without any dead money cap hit.

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Brandonges

Vinny Curry and his $8M non-guaranteed salary can definitely go too

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FLBoy84

Considered adding him in as well, but he does offer versatility at both DE and DT and we still need bodies to fill the DL rotation. Jacksonville and Philly are going to have to make quite a few moves to correct their salary caps, so depending on who becomes available maybe a replacement for him can be signed for similar money that offers better production.

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cettrue

Gerald Willis will be the steal of the draft. Those UM linebackers are all good too. At least one will be available.

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drdneast

Once again I am ambivalent as to whether McCoy stays or goes. The biggest negatives about his are his salary, his lack of nastiness and really his lackluster leadership. At the same time he has been a good player but really never hit an apex during his career that made him standout. The defensive schemes may have held him back somewhat, but you can’t tell me when it is late in the fourth quarter and the other team is driving for a go ahead score or to pad their lead and the Bucs are in a four rush 7 back… Read more »

drdneast

Scott, sometimes you have to be blunt with people like you were with the idiots out here who were calling Vea a bust in September and October. I congratulate you for that. There is no other way to descibe their football acumen. It’s similar to trying to find a kind word to use for liar when Donnie Trump pronounces something. You can call it whatever nice word you want, but after a while when it is so common just call him a liar. That is what he has been and always will be as he has seen no inclination to… Read more »

Naplesfan

I believe it would be a mistake to cut Gerald McCoy. He is an extremely valuable contributor on defense and a totally known quantity. Who would we replace him with? Maybe we could sign an extremely expensive known quantity and pay him a lot more, only to discover that the new guy just wants to coast for a few years until he retires. We’ve seen that movie before. With just one unguaranteed year left on his current contract, I am sure that Gerald would be willing to renegotiate that year’s pay in return for a few more years with the… Read more »

Horse

Naplesfan, agree.

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plopes808

if GMC is willing to restructure I’d be on board with him staying on another year as a mentor to Vea, Big T, and whichever new DT we draft.

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FLBoy84

Being that 2019 is evidently a strong draft for DT’s, would be great to see McCoy restructure to say $10M and move on from Allen, Gholston and Unrein, which saves another $11M. Bring in another young DT to add in the rotation and let McCoy mentor him for a year and hopefully we’ll have a long-term partner for Vea as well.

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Pick6

it’s completely irrational to blame McCoy for all of the futility the franchise has experienced in his career, but it is fair to wonder if he has been an enabler of a culture that cares more about life off the field than on. he was brought into the heart of the raheem morris\josh freeman “clubbin’ buccaneers” and although he’s not that type of guy there was a pervasive message of just celebrating the fact that you made it into the league. it feels like a message that he’s carried the torch for, with him often talking about how football is… Read more »

cgmaster27

This draft is LOADED with d tackles. We’ve all been a little tough on Mccoy at times, myself included. However he’s been a part of a losing culture for 13 years and isn’t quite the leader some of us want. I love what hes done in the community and he’s a great guy, but his numbers have dipped and he’s not worth 13 million next year. He’s just not. And not with a draft coming that is this deep at d tackle. If you can trade him for maybe a 3rd, not sure you’d get that , make the move.… Read more »

FLBoy84

Was kind of concerned about next yr’s cap space being only about $13M, but just cutting Grimes, Dotson, Unrein, Spence, Allen, Gholston and Jackson saves another $27M, so things are quite as dire as it seemed. On a side note, would be interesting to see what an all-Samoan DT tandem of Vea and Tu’ikolovatu could do if both were healthy. That’s a lot of beef in the middle.

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GrayBalls

I was thinking the same thing about Vita and Stevie. Keep McCoy on to mentor those two along, keep him as the “starter” at 3-tech and move him around to the end positions with Vea and Tu’i out there to spell the DE’s. Gerald still gets his snaps, two newer guys get to learn a little more from a tenured player, we get a ton of meat clogging that center artery and the ends stay fresh. He has said in the past he doesn’t want to play end, but if you want that “C” on yoir chest you need to… Read more »

drdneast

Personally, and the players probably feel differently, I could care less if any of the Bucs go to the Pro Bowl to risk a permanent injury in a worthless throwaway game. We lost Lee Roy Selmon to a career ending back injury due to the Pro Bowl and the Patriots lost a No. 1 draft pick in an even more worthless touch football game in the sand due to the Pro Bowl. Thanks for refreshing my memory about when Sheldon Rankins was drafted. At the time, I wanted the Bucs to select him and could have done so instead of… Read more »

drdneast

FlBoy84, I don’t have a problem getting rid of any of those players you listed.
Unrein is gone for sure with concussion problems.
Gholston never earned his money here except in the year preceding FA. Big surprise.
We should have said goodbye to Grimes last year.
Bet here is that Spence stays until at least the end of 2019 training camp. I don’t think he even has a salary cap hit. I know none of the other players you listed do.

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FLBoy84

The team takes a $650k dead money hit for cutting Spence, but saves another $1.27M in cap space. Kind of indifferent if he stays or goes, though seems a fresh start for him and the team might be an idea. Would think they could salvage a draft pick in a trade considering his status as a 2nd rounder with possible untapped potential. Just doesn’t seem like he’ll reach it here for whatever reason.

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surferdudes

If they move on from McCoy I hope they don’t use the money to extend Kwon, and Smith. Kwon is coming off an ACL, his game depends on speed, not power, or size which he lacks. I’ll catch hell for saying this, but to me he isn’t that good of a MLB. He’s no Ray Lewis, or Keuchly, paying him like he is would be a mistake. The fact that Licht over paid for Jensen, and extended Marpet means we’re going to have to draft a L.T. for salary reasons alone. If we over pay Smith, we’ll have to much… Read more »

chefboho

Your definitely not on the wrong side with Kwon. I love his passion but I don’t think he’s top linebacker money. What would the cost of a tag be for him I wonder? Plus if Beckwith comes back, wouldn’t he be better suited for middle linebackers? Interesting off season because the Bucs could still have a bunch of cap once they cut the ton of dead weight from this dream in Desean, Unrein, Gholston, fitz, Grimes, conte, etc.

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Horse

Well Scott there really wasn’t much new information in your Fab 5 this week.
In 10 day season ends for us. I’m waiting with the guessing until then. Heck we’re all usually more wrong than right, but some talk about only their right ones and seem to forget about all their wrong ones.

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bucballer

Do we rebuild around Jameis Winston? Is Jameis a $23-25 million a year for 4-5 years=$100 million+ QB?

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plopes808

right now he’s playing like one, I just hope his performance continues without any more setbacks

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Darin

We know how the pro bowl works. So the team has a losing record, not sure why it’s a big deal to us who makes the team. I dont watch it. Might matter to the players if they get a bonus. And I dont think we can start talking about DT’s in the draft not knowing what defense we are gona be running. Only thing I wana know right now is the draft order and who the coaches are gona be. If you’re not in the playoffs let’s plan for the next year. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No… Read more »

SelmonRules1000

Jason Licht, it’s time to bounce.

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SelmonRules1000

Donovan Smith, you got to go with the GM that brought you.

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SelmonRules1000

Gerald McCoy, it depends on new regime.

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SelmonRules1000

Kwon Alexander, it all depends on that knee baby.

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SelmonRules1000

Carl Nassib, they would be fools to not try you out for one more year.

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SelmonRules1000

Vita Vea, you have a hell of alot to prove to replace Gerald McCoy or anyone at this point and time in your career.

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SelmonRules1000

Gerald McCoy would probably tell you straight up that his biggest disappointment is not every going to the playoffs. Whether he got ten sacks or not, can not compare to always missing the playoffs. Not just this sport but most professional sports are based on getting to the playoffs, starting the second season, and going for the big prize at the end.

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plopes808

While it would definitely be sad to see McCoy go, that extra $13 million would definitely come in handy. Our D-Line looks pretty solid now with JPP, Vea, and Nassib so adding another DT shouldn’t hurt us that bad. That $13million could go toward Jameis and Kwon’s contracts…and dare I say even D Smith’s (I hate to say it but he may be our best options at the moment.) The pro-bowl is a useless popularity contest and therefore I am not concerned with who got snubbed. The reality is that when you play for a losing team, it often doesn’t… Read more »

scubog

Like all of our other safeties, Derwin James might have gotten hurt and folks quickly would be calling him a bust and saying Licht should have drafted Vea. It wouldn’t surprise me if GMC is traded if there is a buyer willing to give up something in return. I always think that most of the time it’s best to retain your own players when their contracts expire. I get that Donovan Smith isn’t Paul Gruber, but he’s not Kenyatta Walker either. If he is allowed to seek employment elsewhere, the LT position would become the # 1 priority in the… Read more »

plopes808

I was a fan when it was held here, as it was the only chance we ever got to see or meet the players in person. Now that it’s gone, I couldn’t care less

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mjmoody

I have enjoyed watching James play in LA’s fluid D. He’s played 6 different positions, including Nickle LB. I have thought many times that Mike Smith would have suffocated a great talent. James would have had a hard time shining; though his leadership would have been a huge benefit.

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BUC-ASS-BOB

Gerald is asset he draws a double team and teams run away from him, They run right at JPP and Veta because even when they make the tackles it is for big gains
and chains keep moving, I watch Ravens run at veta 3 times in a row last week and got 15 yards.
Gerald is bored no one runs at him

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cgmaster27

board no one runs at him? Did you not watch the game last week. Or any other week for that matter? You know who’s right next to Vea? Gerald!

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owlykat

Jason Licht, if you read this and are retained by the Bucs, watch the Army vs. Houston Bowl Game. Make notes on the best Defensive Linemen on the Army team. They were awesome beating Navy. They will have a military obligation and when they are eligible to draft the scouts will have forgotten them. Sign the best of them as undrafted free agents and you will have some great players for the future who normally would be high draft picks. Just a tip.

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owlykat

I would keep McCoy as long as he takes a pay cut. Move D. Smith to Guard and pay him a one year show me contract. Take Alabama’s LT in the first round. Second round take a DE, and trade Spence to a Three Four team for a third round pick. Get a DT in the third round. Sign a free agent CB. Cut Grimes. Trade Beau Allen, keep Jackson as a deep threat. Restructure Vinny’s contract to backup money. Cut Unrein, train Vea to play FB in goalline Offense. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please… Read more »

plopes808

“Vita up the gut”?

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GrayBalls

I, too, have wondered if Vita could learn some blocking techniques. That big ‘ol body with that much power and athleticism pancaking the daylights out of a LB would be funny if nothing else

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tbb345

Its really funny that this article, and a lot of the people commenting, are quick to call for McCoy to be cut because this draft is loaded with Defensive Tackles…..yet are also heaping tons of love on Vita Vea and refuse to acknowledge that it was a stupid pick FOR THE EXACT SAME REASON THAT YOU WANT TO CUT MCCOY. This is not about Vea being a “bust”, it’s clearly way too early to call him that and honestly that whole conversation is a straw man constructed by SR (because he’s the one who loves to call others “stupid” while… Read more »