Jason Licht, Joel Glazer Free Agency Philosophy, And Four Options For The Bucs

March 12th, 2018


If you expect the Bucs to go hog wild during the opening days of free agency, you’re going to head into the weekend disappointed.

Yes, Tampa Bay is in good shape when it comes to available funds under the salary cap. And yes, the Bucs have glaring needs coming off a 5-11 season that tested the faith of the Stick Carriers.

But as a general rule, the Glazers aren’t particularly interested in turning heads during free agency. This year’s free-agent crop is hardly teeming with difference-makers, so expect the Bucs to focus on value — potential starters who represent upgrades at a reasonable price.

Much of the buzz concerning this year’s class focuses on the quarterback position — and the Bucs already have their pieces in place under center. They still have faith that Jameis Winston will be the long-term face of this franchise, even with a dragged-out Uber investigation that should have been wrapped up in about 11 days.

Jason Licht won’t sit on his hands. He will be active in the next few weeks, even knowing the Glazers would prefer a cautious approach to free agency.

“I’m very pleased because in free agency, it’s buyer beware,” Joel Glazer told me a few years back. “Sometimes you have to resist that instant gratification because while you’ll feel good at that moment and you got that headline, you pay some consequences later by overpaying for players that don’t necessarily equal the money.”

For one season at least, Calais Campbell made the Bucs look foolish. The Jags showed Campbell the money and he responded with a career year, lifting up teammates while nearly lifting Jacksonville into the Super Bowl.

I voted for Campbell as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and he finished second to Aaron Donald, but there are no studs like Calais Campbell available this time around.

Here are some free agents that make sense for an organization that hasn’t exactly distinguished itself in the month of March:

RB Orleans Darkwa

He just turned 26 and Darkwa could combine with Peyton Barber in a formidable backfield tandem. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry last year behind a Giants offensive line that is no bargain. In the season finale against the Redskins, Darkwa gained 154 yards in 20 carries, highlighted by a 75-yard touchdown run.

G Josh Kline

The Titans will regret allowing the 28-year-old Kline to reach free agency. He’s a bruiser who would immediately upgrade the interior of Tampa Bay’s offensive line without costing a fortune. Licht can get all the inside information he craves on Kline from Tennessee GM Jon Robinson, who considers Licht a mentor.

CB E.J. Gaines

Despite some injury concerns, Gaines makes sense for a Tampa Bay secondary still unsure about where Brent Grimes will play this fall. The Bills went 8-4 with Gaines in the lineup and he proved a key addition from the Rams as part of the Sammy Watkins deal. Only 26, Gaines would make sense for the Bucs, even if Grimes returns.

S Kenny Vaccaro

Sometimes, a change of scenery can work wonders. The Saints selected Vaccaro in the first round of the 2013 draft and he won’t be signed to a second contract, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t made plays.

Injuries and inconsistency have prevented him from reaching his potential, but a fresh start in Tampa next to Justin Evans could maximize his versatility.

If the Bucs aren’t ultra aggressive in free agency, ownership won’t be disappointed. This franchise is in the process of locking up core young players, a tangible sign of progress.

β€œWhen you start racking up the number of players you drafted and signed to second contracts, you can definitely see a dotted line to success,” said Joel Glazer. “Free agency can be almost like a drug.

You look for that quick hit, that quick feel-good. I know teams that year in and year out are the Super Bowl champions of free agency, and amazingly enough, it doesn’t seem to happen for them during the season. If you can resist the urge for about six weeks, you’re often better off.”

26 Responses to “Jason Licht, Joel Glazer Free Agency Philosophy, And Four Options For The Bucs”

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    None of these guys really moves the needle for me. However, in almost every instance, they would be upgrades to what we have.

  2. GrudenForPresident Says:

    Orleans Darkwa?πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Really?

  3. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    Ira you’re the man as always. I would be fine with these guys, but I think there are some others that we could use that would not break the bank. Jensen, Dion Lewis, Sitton, Lotulelei, Vinny Curry, Aaron Lynch, and Alex Okafor. None of these guys will command huge money. With these guys signed, we can cut Gholston, Ayers, and Sweezy.

  4. DBS Says:

    What is it with you guys and your injured players? Now you look at inconsistent?

  5. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I’d be good with that along with at least 1-2 DEs and bringing Grimes back.

    Darkwa is a bit underrated

  6. idiaznet Says:

    What about Derrick Johnson for a DE? He would be a great Pass Rusher for us to platoon with and mentor Spence.

  7. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    Ira is a stout reporter, but it is laughable when he mentioned that Orleans Darkwa and Peyton Barber would create a “formidable” backfield for the Bucs!!! Dude was hurt 3 times in 2 years for the NYG, and isn’t “formidable” anywhere.

    C’mon Ira, you’re better than that.

    Vaccaro makes sense, and I agree, but that won’t be cheap, which goes against the premise of this article.

    Gaines had twice been injured very recently in BUF, and they traded for him, and still are letting him go, with no studs behind him. So, there’s that.

    Go Bucs!

  8. buc4life Says:

    Cam Brate 6 year deal. Huge re sign

  9. jerseybuc Says:

    Vaccaro can’t stay on the field. That sort of player has been a thorn in our sides for years. Please, if you are going to go thru the FA ordeal of overpaying a vet from another team make sure he is healthy.

  10. Topcoach78 Says:

    So no Cameron Brate news to report?

  11. AtlBuc Says:

    They need to go get Suh!

  12. Baz Says:


  13. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    Why the hell did they throw SO MUCH cash at Brate?!?!? 18 mill guaranteed??

    Unless they are also planning to trade Howard on draft night.

    Go Bucs! Go Barkley!

  14. Baz Says:

    Brate has done nothing but produce, and it’s a 6-year deal, so an average of $3M guaranteed annually. Big damn deal, he’s still underpaid but will continue to improve and play well for us.

  15. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:
    March 12th, 2018 at 2:46 pm
    Why the hell did they throw SO MUCH cash at Brate?!?!? 18 mill guaranteed??

    Unless they are also planning to trade Howard on draft night.

    Go Bucs! Go Barkley!

    That was a bargain deal for a top tier TE. Two TEs are vital for Koetter’s system so Brate is needed just as much as OJ. Not to mention, Brate is one of if not Jameis’ favorite target and among the best in the business as a red zone threat.

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    Nice piece Ira.

    I agree the Bucs will not likely be signing any or many big name FAs aside from bringing Grimes back.

    Agree with LC though – there better be at least 1 or 2 DEs in there

    Bucs are going to be extending Kwon, Marpet and maybe D. Smith, Brate and Hump this year in addition to what they gave Evans – which eats up like $40M+ of the available cap space in 2018.

    Minus what has to be budgeted for rookies and what will be used to resign guys like McDonald, Tandy, McClain etc – that only leaves about $20-25M to work with in free agency.

  17. GhostofSchiano Says:


  18. Mike Johson Says:

    Please Don’t cut Easy (money) Sweezy. I won’t have any more fun..Laughing so hard!

  19. Birdman Says:

    Darkwa and Barber are both C-/D+ level running backs.. Even if we signed him we would still need a running back rounds 2-4.

  20. King C Says:

    You lost me at Orleans Darkwa

  21. Not there yet Says:

    There’s only one reason this team has a super bowl. They made a bold move and traded for a head coach with draft picks. Apparently it wasn’t worth it to the glazers who keep throwing out the word value every since Lovie got fired. So they’ll continue to get the best cheap platters they can find and continue to live in the basement of the NFC South but hey they’ll still have plenty of cap space at least

  22. Rich Says:

    Heres the problem Ira, the Glazers have no business being involved in any personnel decisions whatsoever!!! They have proved time and time again that they are incapable doing so… e.g. our long line of Glazer hired coaches. The Bugs desperately need a ” FOOTBALL GUY” to be put in charge of the total football operation. Look at the Jags with Coughlin as the most recent example. The lightning have become one of the best franchises in sports behind Steve Yzerman…..to continue down this same road is bound to soon the bucs to mediocrity, or less, for many years to come. We are in a mess from a roster building perspective and the Glazer boys are incapable of getting us out…..put a professional in charge and step to the side away from any personnel decisions….coaching, GM or anything involving football operations.

  23. Mike Johson Says:

    Well said Rich. How come this is crystal clear to a lot of us Bucs fans and the Glazers are numb? I’ve said it repeatedl;y. This organization is not truly serious about winning. If they were. They would have hired a proven winner in the organizations hierarchy with some know how. I use to have hope. But now I pity them.

  24. denjoe Says:

    “Scrubs” except for the safety.

  25. Phil Says:

    They need to sign Trumaine Johnson.

  26. Radman Says:

    Too bad the Glazers don’t take the same approach with Tampa as they do with Manchester United. If they did, the Bucs would be a respected football team.


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