Need For Linebacker(s) Just Got StrongerMarch 20th, 2012
When the Carolina Panthers, rich and deep in running back depth, signed versatile running back Mike Tolbert Monday, it sent a clear message to the Bucs that if something isn’t done at running back this offseason, it could get very ugly in two games against the Panthers.
This was not lost on former Bucs defensive lineman Steve White, who aired his concerns on Twitter.
@sgw94: Cam, DeAngelo and Tolbert… *cranes neck at Bucs* Yall aint got to get Lofton but yall better bring SOMEBODY in at LB that can tackle
Now Joe knows that linebackers, especially inside linebackers, may very well be devalued much like running backs are in this pass-happy league. Otherwise, why would so many decent linebackers still be floating out there unsigned over a week after the gun sounded opening free agency?
Shoot, the Saints had Curtis Lofton for a full weekend of wining and dining in one of the greatest eating and swilling districts in the world, the French Quarter, and even after all of that, Lofton is still unsigned. You get Joe grubbed up and liquored up at The Gumbo Shop on Rue St. Peter, and the Bourbon Street Blues Company, respectively, just two blocks apart, and Joe would perform all sorts of acts at a discount rate.
One reason for the devaluation of linebackers is, of course, how the NFL has gone pass-happy. Another, per Seattle coach Pete Carroll, by way of Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio and CBSSports.com, is that the draft is loaded with linebackers.
@PatKirwanCBS: Pete Carroll has a take on slow signing of linebackers. ‘There are close to 12 draftables with good grades which hurts vets looking for deals’
So basically, if Carroll is to be believed, the quest for an inside linebacker by Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik has turned into a glorified game of chicken between Dominik and a couple of agents.
In short, Dominik has told the linebackers’ agents, “Here is what I am paying and nothing more. Try to find someone else who will pay this and fine. I’ll draft a linebacker for far less cost and about the same talent level.”
Joe just hopes Dominik can win this stare-down. For if the Bucs open the season with a linebacker corps consisting of Quincy Black, Mason Foster and Geno Hayes, let’s just say a good investment to make will be in Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), after all the beers Joe will need to consume both during the game, and for days afterwards each week.