1. Sorry it’s been so long. I’ve flown 25,000 miles over the past two weeks, and have had plenty of time to worry about what Kevin Carter might have left in the tank at 33 as I circled the globe. I’ve been looking on-line from time to time and just loving the fishwraps trying to figure out the Bucs’ moves. Oh, how we mock what we do not understand! Anyway, I’ve thrown in a baker’s dozen this week to celebrate my return home.
2. Fishwrap mythology number one: Getting the rights to Jake Plummer makes no sense! Why the Jake Plummer deal is a no-lose proposition: Only three things can happen in this deal. First, Plummer reports and plays, which is fine by the Bucs. Second, he stays retired and the Bucs or Broncos get millions of dollars from the signing bonus Denver paid him. Third, the Bucs trade his rights at some point to a team that really wants him. It’s that simple.
3. It says here Plummer is traded before the 2007 season starts. 4. Fishwrap mythology number two: The Bucs are spending way too much on quarterbacks if Plummer shows up! Um, no they aren’t. If Plummer shows he gets his $5.2 million. Simms’ and Garcia’s deals are contingent on playing time. Do not believe the $5 million annual numbers you are hearing about those contracts. The actual contracts minus the performance clauses are worth much less than that. Even if Plummer does show, the Bucs will be paying less at the QB position than teams like the Colts, Eagles and Falcons will be paying their starter for 2007.
5. Fishwrap mythology number three: Kevin Carter, Jeff Garcia and Luke Petitgout are all disguises for Charlie Garner, Derrick Deese and Todd Steussie. Wrong. Maybe they all pan out and maybe they don’t, but there will be minimal cap disturbance. The largest signing bonus of the three is $3 million. Carter didn’t even get a signing bonus. 6. So, why did the Bucs sign these aging players? Well, firstly, as Jim Flynn pointed out in a recent Flynn’s Focus, even with Carter, Garcia and Petitgout on the roster you can easily project a Bucs 44-man unit where the average age is 27 or 28. People seem to forget that the Bucs also signed guys like Philip Buchanon and B.J. Askew. Secondly, it would be great to get more young free agents, but have you seen the crazy money that has been flying around? Anybody want to give $20 million guaranteed to guards like Eric Steinbach, Derrick Dockerey (Derrick Dockerey?) and Leonard Davis? Me neither. The Bucs are sticking to their promise not to put the team back into cap hell. They are finding serviceable veterans at good prices to try to patch some of the holes on the roster.
7. Readers of this space know that I’ve been pounding the table for Jeff Garcia since late November. No, he isn’t a Pro Bowler anymore, but aren’t you kind of excited to have a quarterback that can really run a West Coast offense on the roster? Call me optimistic, but if Garcia stays upright I think the Bucs make the playoffs. Yes, he will help that much. Mark it down.
8. Was there a better defense for Adalius Thomas to play in than that of the New England Patriots? AFC East coaches and quarterbacks are already having sleepless nights.
9. Like them or loathe them, you do realize that the Patriots are going to contend for the Super Bowl every year that Tom Brady is still in his prime, right?
10. Did you catch the Justin Griffith deal? Three years and $3.8 million? Guess there’s only one genius general manager in the league that thinks it’s worth paying a fullback $3 million a year!
11. If you aren’t happy with the Bucs’ offseason moves so far, just be glad you aren’t a Giants fan. They took a huge cap hit to get rid of LaVar Arrington after just one season. They now have no left tackle. And, their “splash move” has been to get Reuben Droughns to replace Tiki Barber. Reuben Droughns? When the Browns are giving you their cast-offs to start at running back, it’s time to hang ‘em up.
12. I woke-up during my flight from Singapore to Zurich, and noticed on the flight map that our plane was crossing right over the Afghan-Pakistani border. I put up the window shade and looked down. The skies were very clear because I could see some lights in towns and villages even though it was the middle of the night. Gave me an eerie feeling. Glad I was just passing through. God bless our troops. I3. think I’ll have another eerie feeling watching the Raiders pick JaMarcus Russell first in the NFL Draft on April 28th. This kid must have more public relations staff than Donald Trump. Everywhere I look I read about how much Russell “loves” football, and how he has a “burning passion” for the game. Well, he must have a burning passion for Krispy Kreme too, because he turned up at the Scouting Combine looking like the Pillsbury doughboy. Two hundred and sixty-five pounds? Anybody else having Ryan Leaf flashbacks?
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