Playing For Jobs, CareersDecember 29th, 2013
Former NFL players and coaches will tell you there are a lots of jobs and careers on the line for the guys wearing Bucs colors today. That’s the nature of the business on a struggling football team with a head coach also fighting for his job.
Donovan McNabb, speaking on NBC Sports Radio yesterday, noted he believes that could be a huge factor in today’s Bucs-Saints game.
McNabb said the Bucs aren’t only in that boat, but also have a load of talent unlike many teams in their situation. Joe agrees. The Bucs defense can dominate in spurts, and the Bucs are a competitive football team when their offensive line wakes up, which has happened in about a one-third of this season
Regardless, this will be the last game in pewter and red for many Bucs. Joe looks at some possibilities among the guys you’ll see today:
Gone in 2014?
Davin Joseph: He’s 30, has a long history of injury, has a contract for $6 million next season, and he had a bad 2013. That screams that Joseph will need to restructure his contract if he wants to stay in Tampa.
Donald Penn: It’s rare to get rid of a productive player who stays healthy. Penn hasn’t missed a start since getting the left tackle job in 2007. But Penn, 30, does make Joseph money.
Demar Dotson: He doesn’t earn much, and it wouldn’t surprise Joe if the Bucs seek some competition for him.
Erik Lorig: The solid fullback and valuable special teams player will be an unrestricted free agent. He’ll have options in free agency. Joe always wonders whether a true California guy like Lorig will want to play closer to home.
Tiquan Underwood: The New Schiano Order cut him in consecutive seasons and he didn’t catch on with another team. His play has fallen off of late.
Chris Owusu: Another disappointment who also was exposed on the practice squad but wasn’t gobbled up.
Adrian Clayborn: Joe wouldn’t be shocked if the Bucs sign a top defensive end in free agency and look to trade Clayborn, who hasn’t put up numbers worthy of his draft status while playing alongside Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy. Clearly, the New Schiano Order doesn’t have faith in Clayborn’s ability to beat offensive tackles off the edge.
Dekoda Watson: Like Lorig, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent and will have suitors. Young, somewhat versatile and a strong special teams player, Watson would be wise to retain.
Rian Lindell: Connor Barth is already healthy, kicking 50-yarders in practice and signed.