FAB 3. Bucs That Could Get Cut This Year

Matt Gay beware.

When Bucs general manager Jason Licht makes a personnel mistake he typically doesn’t hang on to it for very long.

After signing quarterback Josh McCown, left tackle Anthony Collins and defensive end Michael Johnson to lucrative contracts in 2014, Licht released all three starters after the team went 2-14 that year.

After spending a second-round pick on kicker Roberto Aguayo in 2016, Licht cut him one year later after Aguayo was the league’s worst-rated kicker during his rookie season.

Former Bucs K Chandler Catanzaro - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Former Bucs K Chandler Catanzaro – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Licht also cut the Bucs’ next two kickers during the season when he gave veteran Nick Folk, Aguayo’s replacement in 2017, the axe after just four games. Folk missed two extra points and two field goals, but hit the game-winner in a 25-23 win over the New York Giants in Week 3 that year, but the next week went 0-for-3 on all three field goal attempts in a 19-14 loss to the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football.

Last year, Licht signed Chandler Catanzaro to replace Folk, and Folk’s initial replacement, Pat Murray, but cut him after nine games. Catanzaro started off 6-of-7 on field goals and was 15-of-17 on extra points before the Cleveland game in Week 6 in which he missed a field goal and an extra point that caused the Bucs to head to overtime. But he did nail a 59-yarder game-winner to live another day.

In fact, Catanzaro lived to play three more Sundays, but missed an extra point the next week at Cincinnati, before missing two field goals from inside 45 yards in a 16-3 loss to Washington.

Gay isn’t a personnel mistake – yet. After missing two extra points and a 34-yard game-winning field goal in last week’s 32-31 loss to the New York Giants, how long is Gay’s leash in Tampa Bay? History suggests not long, as Licht only has a fifth-round pick invested in him and had for more invested in both Folk and Catanzaro from a salary standpoint.

New head coach Bruce Arians is even more impatient than Licht is when it comes to dealing with players that make mental errors. And let’s face it. Kicking is considered 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.

Bucs K Matt Gay
Bucs K Matt Gay – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

After a perfect outing in Week 1, the rookie kicker missed his first field goal attempt in Week 2, as he was 2-of-3 against Carolina in Tampa Bay’s 20-14 upset win. Against the New York Giants, Gay missed his first extra point, had his second extra point blocked, then made his next two PATs and four straight field goals until missing his 34-yarder as time expired.

How many more misses will the Bucs allow before Gay has to go? That number is unclear, but it’s not many. Gay is not a lock to remain the Bucs’ kicker if the misses continue.

Gay isn’t the only Buccaneer that’s on notice. There are a couple more players that need to step up – and soon – or Licht and his pro scouts will be looking for their replacements.

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman was signed to replace DeSean Jackson as the team’s deep threat, but after three games, Perriman has three catches for 16 yards and is averaging only 5.3 yards per catch, in addition to a 13-yard run. Perriman signed a one-year deal worth $4 million and thus far hasn’t come close to earning his money.

The other Buccaneer that may be in jeopardy is new punter Bradley Pinion, who signed a four-year deal worth $11 million in the offseason. That contract makes Pinion the seventh-highest paid punter in the NFL. The problem is that he’s the 26th-ranked punter in the league when it comes to gross average (43 avg.) and the 28th-ranked punter when it comes to net average (37 avg.).

Bucs WR Breshad Perriman
Bucs WR Breshad Perriman – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The contracts of Perriman and Pinion offset the Bucs’ offseason losses of wide receiver Adam Humphries and middle linebacker Kwon Alexander in free agency, which means that Tampa Bay likely wouldn’t get any compensatory draft picks in 2020 as a result. However, if either Perriman or Pinion were released before Week 9, the Bucs could get some mid- or late-round compensatory picks.

Could the Bucs sign a new punter midseason to replace Pinion? Yes, but Pinion also is Gay’s holder and handles the team’s kickoffs, although Gay has a strong enough leg to do that and kicked off at Utah. Could Justin Watson or Bobo Wilson match Perriman’s production and catch three passes for 16 yards in three games? Probably.

I’m not saying that Perriman or Pinion will be cut in a few weeks, but their performance needs to dramatically improve in a hurry to prevent that from happening as compensatory draft picks are at stake. There aren’t any draft picks at stake with Gay – except the fact he was drafted in the fifth round this year.

Fifth-round picks don’t usually have a long shelf life in the NFL statistically, and the Bucs’ front office is not looking to cut Gay. To the contrary, they are rooting for him to bounce back from his gut-wrenching miss against the Giants and have a good season. But there is precedent for Licht cutting kickers midseason, so it’s up to Gay to rebound.

Reserve linebacker Deone Bucannon also factors into that compensatory draft pick calculation, and his release before Week 9 would aid in the team’s efforts to land a compensatory draft pick. However, Bucannon has value on special teams and as Lavonte David’s reserve at MO linebacker, and he also can play strong safety.

Bucs P Bradley Pinion
Bucs P Bradley Pinion – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs saw veteran MIKE linebacker Kevin Minter, who has plenty of experience playing in Todd Bowles’ defense, have to step in for rookie Devin White in Week 2. If anything were to happen with David the team would feel better about inserting Bucannon into the starting lineup over Jack Cichy at this point.

So keep an eye on Gay, Perriman and Pinion and track their progress from now until Week 9. The Buccaneers’ brass certainly will be.

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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]

27 COMMENTS

  1. Well we stopped Barkley, and the Giants running game last week, and still gave up 35 points to a rookie QB getting his first start. I think it’s getting old saying we have to shut down the run every week when the NFL has become a passing league. I said last weeks game would come down to what the QB’s did, not just stopping Barkley, and it did. Spin Jameis’s numbers all you want, but he was completely out played by Jones in the second half last week. In the home opener he handed the 49ers the game with two pick six’s. He did enough to win at Carolina, but more importantly he didn’t give the game away with picks, or fumbles. Last week as I said he had an impressive first half, but sure didn’t do enough in the second half to secure the win. Don’t hate me, I don’t hate Jameis, but he hasn’t shown me so far he’s the man we should give 30 plus million a year to. Now to this game. Yeah Gurley needs to be held in check, but the game will come down to which QB does better. There’s a reason QB’s are paid the most, and every team want’s ( that guy). So will Jameis tear it up, and not be the reason we lose, or will Goff do it. Most weeks that’s what it comes down to. Which QB puts his team in the best position to get the win.

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    • Which qb puts their team in postion to win you say? So having a fg from about 27 yards to win the game isnt putting your team in position? Spin it how you want dude ,but you just made your own comments look stupid.

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      • A quarterback who scored no TDs in the second half, but throws it to the other team in the second half, completely negates any possible effect of any kicker.

        If you are depending upon kickers to win games, you have a losing team. Period.

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        • A qb that throws for 380 yards and 3 tds is more than enough naples. It was a chip shot fg to win the game, spin it how you want. But that is a fact. And how is jameis supposed to do anything when he passed the ball 1 time in the 4th quarter? I know i know, its hard for you to grasp, but again youre making zero point here as usual. Fg was a chip shot to win, jameis put us in position to win. You cant change that to fit whatever narrative you want.

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    • Agreed CG. Surfer, I used to enjoy your posts. They were always informative. Now you sound like a kid who got his ball taken away from him. Jameis doesn’t call the plays, jameis didn’t give up 35 points to a rookie, jameis didn’t miss two extra points and a field goal. Take the hate elsewhere because your credibility is about as high as BAB and that’s not a good thing

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    • You know nothing about football so please watch more games so you can learn thank you

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  2. Hoping Jensen, Godwin, and Vea all get to play Sunday. They’ve all made their presence known so far this season. I like the idea of locking up Barrett and Nassib long term. JPP prefers to play in a 4-3 anyway. Glad we’re likely to have that extra 13 million in cap space next season.

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  3. So the Bucs will have close to $79 mill next offseason? Winston, Barrett and Nassib extensions. Also need to get a vet CB, let VH3 go, and sign a LT, move Smith to RT.

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    • You think Donovan smith will be better at RY? I never thought about that. I agree with everything we need too add a Veteran CB and Safety to this team

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  4. Winston extension? Hold on there fella, maybe you’ve seen enough to extend him, but I’m still waiting. Read my last post, it’s going to come down to which QB plays better as it usually does. Winston has to prove he can win more games then he loses to get a big pay day, that’s why he’s hasn’t been locked up yet. This is prove it year, and so far he’s proved jack shit. Let’s see how it plays out before signing that check.

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    • Since you seem to think it’s all on the QB, I guess Rodgers was the reason they lost last night huh? We all know if Jameis did that, you’d be calling for his release. You can’t have it both ways.

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    • I’m an FSU fan. I’ve been watching Jameis since like 2012. I know the QB he is and the potential is still there.

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  5. Can’t believe you waisted an entire page talking about “Captainship”. Listen Nassib may be a nice guy, vocal leader, hard worker and everything else but what Nassib has shown me the 1yr he’s been here is that he is just a guy. Nassib still haven’t figured out how to get off a block, he’s drawing on every play a single blocker and once they get their hands on him he’s stuck. Nassib is a decent rotational player but that’s all. Nothing against him it’s just my opinion.

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  6. A win Sunday and we are right back in the thick of things. I hope Daniel Jones lights it up to help mend another QB having there career game against the Bucs. Pound the rock and let Rojo have a great homecoming. Defend the run, keep Gurley under 75 yards and lets see if we get a couple breaks for a road win on the dreaded west coast.

    Go Bucs
    Bucs 24-17

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  7. Well, as always, the bottom line is the bottom line. And in football and other team sports, the bottom line is winning. Everything else is just explanation for the winning or losing.

    To date this season, at 1-2, the Bucs on “on pace” to win 5 games, repeating the sorry results of the previous two 5-11 seasons.

    Unfortunately for the Bucs, most expect the “pace” to go lower not higher.

    But we’ll see come the end of the season.

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  8. Soooo is anyone else concerned that Jameis has never thrown a reciever open to get YAC when the ball has to travel 30+ yards in the air ? If that throw to Mike is a little bit better, Mike gets into the endzone. We’ve never seen that kind of throw from him!

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    • Rewatch Godwins last catch of his rookie season vs NO. That’s the throw you’re looking for. Can Winston do it? Yes. Would we like to see more of it? Absolutely!

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  9. This article is close on JPP but not quite right. Yes, the Bucs hope he can come back this year but the odds are stacked against him. They are cutting their potential losses by paying him more but cutting the contract for one year. There is a story out there saying the Bucs doubt he will be able to play again. That is the reality of JPP. https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/jason-pierre-paul-agrees-to-restructured-contract-with-bucs/ar-AAHPtYd

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  10. IDK Scott – I find it amazing no matter how hard it’s raining on him, you can always find a ray of sunshine around Jason Licht.

    How much better would our offense be with Humphries ($5m cap in Tenn), instead of the horrible Perriman ($4m cap in TB) and his 4 drops this year? That’s $1m difference.

    You also missed noting his biggest financial move of the offseason – swapping out Donovan Smith at $1.93m of cap, for Donovan Smith at $12.5m of cap…a negative to the cap of $10.5m!!!! All to sign the worst LT in the league…..and it’s not just me, or pff saying that….you guys put Donovan Smith on your Worst Performers list more than any other Buc.

    Face it – the guy is not good at this GM stuff….

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  11. The fact still remains that we can win any game if everyone shows up. Just like the past couple years we could be 3-0 just as easily as 0-3 so far this year. If we can bring both ‘fences together at once we can win any game. We have seen improvements in some areas and weaknesses in others and it’s all about how they learn and improve. For al we know, this long road trip will allow them to focus on nothing but their game and it could go a lot better than expected. Nothing wrong with Hope!!!

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  12. Thank you Scott for the information.
    I will be recording the Bucs and will not be watching them live for a while until I feel like they can be winners. I’ve been disappointed so many times, but this last one has really got me.
    I have been a Buc fan since 1976. I have gone through two 15 year no playoffs games time-frames. I’m not wasting my time anymore for a while. I’m not giving up on Bucs, but I’m not going to put myself in a position again where hope is scratched just like that! Presently we are no better than what we were last season or many past seasons. You all enjoy the game; I’ll watch them if they win the game via recorder; much healthier for me right now.

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  13. Blaming Jameis Winston for the loss to the Giants is just another attempt to spew the anti-Winston agenda with virtually no supporting data other than the “L”. Typical Naples who, while far more rational than Bob, usually emerges to enlighten the rest of us about #3 after a loss. To be sure, Jameis has his faults and his play hasn’t been consistent enough or spectacular enough to overcome the shortcomings of his teammates. But in this game against the “Gints”, Jameis’ play contributed to the 18 point lead and put the team in excellent position, with but a few seconds to travel the length of the field, to kick what should have been the game-winner.

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  14. Much less drama without GMC. The D-line seems to work as a unit not individuals. Good future.

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  15. Great work by Licht!!

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  16. Licht releases free agent mistakes (though weren’t your examples really Lovie’s?), but he does hold onto draft picks (Spence and Hardgraeves come to mind). To me having a guy money for the really, really important kicks (40 in) who *can* bang a long one (Santos) is more important than spending a draft pick on a guy who’s iffy from closer but can bang from far (and don’t give me Gay’s 39-40 ratio within 40 in college. Look at how the ball comes off his foot. If it’s straight and true (think Justin Tucker), it doesn’t matter if he makes it, it’s HOW he made it. With Gay and Aguayo, even though the field goal was made it was always drifting to one side or the other. This will manifest itself in the pros and has).

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  17. Let me see if I understand. We’ve lost of three games to the worst two teams in football and the answers provided by the coaching staff are platitudes as follows:
    1. It takes 60 minutes to win games.
    2. We just didn’t make plays.
    3. I took a penalty to move back.
    4. I took a lot of sacks.

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  18. Fab 3 is incorrect. Arians said in his presser Matt Gay “is our kicker and isnt going anywhere.” So no they will not be releasing Gay of course

    The kid bounced back and nailed 4 straight FGs including a 50 + yarder. He wasnt the reason we lost. It was obviously on the defense and specifically the Secondary is to blame.

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