Dekoda Watson’s Agent Is Smiling

June 17th, 2013

Joe always gets a laugh when he hears Bucs fans blubber about how the strongside linebacker in the Bucs’ 4-3 defense — Raheem/Gruden/Dungy or New Schiano Order regimes — isn’t a big deal.

Well, it is considered a big deal by the organization.

If you need evidence, just look to rockstar general manager Mark Dominik guaranteeing Quincy Black $11 million or so before the 2011 season (not the GM’s finest hour), or take how aggressively the Bucs pursued Cato June in 2007, and then quickly signed him away from the Super Bowl champs to a $12 million contract.

This season, the Bucs are issuing clear signs they hope fourth-year pro Dekoda Watson emerges into a strongside linebacker beast. And if so, Watson will walk into a massive payday.

Watson only just turned 25. And last week Greg Schiano called him an “elite” special teams player.

That adjective surely had Watson’s agent foaming at the wallet.

If Watson only has a decent season in 2013, his special teams prowess — and age — will put him in demand around the NFL.

Again, while many fans don’t believe the Bucs value the position, Joe disagrees. And Joe believes the Bucs will invest in Watson if he proves to be a solid starter. But first Watson has to win the job, something he couldn’t wrestle away from Adam Hayward last season.

35 Responses to “Dekoda Watson’s Agent Is Smiling”

  1. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I admit, I’ve been nervous about the position. But the more I think about Watson the more I think he could maybe work out. It’s pretty much too late to get a better option, so I suppose if he doesn’t work out we can get someone next year.

  2. You Go Joe Says:


    Watson payday can come from an excellent performance on both sides special teams and defense. But we’re thin of cap space next year with all the signings we did. If Watson can do just as good as special teams then yay us we got a good punt blocker. But anything after that we can’t pay the big bucks for that.

  3. Sneedy16 Says:

    @You Go Joe

    We can re-negotiate Revis’ contract with more guaranteed money to free up some cap space.

  4. T in Orlando Says:

    @ Joe

    As I’m one of your readers that feels the SAM LB is not critical to this defense (don’t get me wrong, you wouldn’t want a scrub in there, my point being at that position we can afford an average player who doesn’t make too many mistakes), let me back that up with a few points of my own:

    – Foster and David have solidified themselves as the 3-down LBs for this team, so whoever the SAM is will only be playing run downs.
    – The Bucs did over pay for Black, and personally, I feel it was a matter of a coach who was too in love with how a player looked rather than played, and a GM, factoring his coach’s opinion a little too heavily, not seeing many other options coming off a Lock-Out shortened offseason
    – Despite the money thrown at Black or June, were either of them utilized as great (or even good) playmakers? June was solid, not great, and Black didn’t really show anything until last year, and even then I feel was upstaged by a rookie and 2nd year player.
    – In this Defense, which is more important; the SAM LB or Nickle CB? I think most would agree the Nickle CB, and I could even make an argument that the 3rd DT for rotational purposes, is more important. Meaning the SAM is at best the 13th most important position on the Defense.

    I think Black and June are case studies as to why we shouldn’t go crazy when trying to fill the SAM LB position.

    Look, I would love nothing more than Watson come in, and set the league on fire his first year as starter, giving us the most feared LB Corps in the League. However, based on history, and the current state of the League (teams running 3 or more WRs on over half their offesensive plays), I just don’t feel the SAM linebacker is a very critical piece of the puzzle. We just need a sure tackler and someone who doesn’t make too many mistakes in their assignments. There are plenty of players like that, and most don’t make significantly more then League minimum.

  5. Buc-n-Junkie Says:

    Anyway, I think that for what is asked and needed of the position, Watson or Casillas will do just fine. Is it worthy of a huge payday, I say no, and only because the whole league seems to be retracting monetarily what they want to pay for certain position. So what ever the market dictates at the time of renegotiating Watson contract is what he will be offered, and it won’t be 10 mil. Especially for a 4-3 OLB compared to a 3-4 OLB.

  6. Joe Says:

    @YouGoJoe – Forgetting about Black, Joe sees no reason why the Bucs are thin at cap space for next season.

  7. Joe Says:

    @T in Orlando — Jury is still out on what kind of LB Foster is in coverage. Also, a lot of Watson’s value might be determined in how he rushes the passer. We don’t know how many packages the will use that push Bowers inside and use Watson.

    Also, the Bucs pursued June despite having Ruud and Brooks, guys who were considered strong in coverage.

    Black was supposed to a pass rusher. But the “Redskin” package Dominik and Raheem were in love with never amounted to much.

    It’s an interesting topic …

  8. Jonny 2.3 Says:

    Dakota’s agent can smite all he wants, but all his client just a contributor on STs at the moment and will likely not make much more than vet minimum unless he makes a significant impact as SAM besides being a sure tackler.

  9. T in Orlando Says:

    @ Joe – Saying Black or Watson have value as rushers would absolutely increase their value to the Bucs, but odds are when they’re rushing they’ll be doing it from a DE position or some bastardized Hybrid scheme, not the SAM position (and, using Black as the example, he was either poorly utilized or just didn’t have the pass rush skills). When it comes to creative ways to get to the QB, the team should use every resource available; the 3rd LB, 4th DE, 3rd CB, 2nd Safety, hell if the 3 TE has knack for getting to the QB, find a way to get him in there.

    In that scenario, you’re paying for a SAM, Specialized Rusher and ST contributor, something worth $3M-$5M/yr depending on how well they do that.

    My point is, unless the he’s getting more than 5 of any combination of sacks/INTs a season OR if he’s a Pro Bowl Special Teamer, just being the starting SAM in this defense is not worth that much.

    As far as Foster being questionable in coverage, there’s no one on the bench that’s clearly better than he is, so he will be given every opportunity this year to show he should be long term answer. Again he and David will be on the field for pretty much every single Defensive play (barring injury).

  10. Cody Says:

    Dakota, Mason, and LaVonte may be the fastest starting LB trio in the league…That’s assuming Watson can convince the coaching staff he’s ready to be a starter….Pulling for you Dakota…Go Noles…

  11. Joe Says:

    Anyone notice that Mason Foster’s play — who Joe likes a lot — began to slip after Quincy Black got hurt?

    Feel free to cue the “SAM linebacker is not important” chorus, which was silent when Black played.

  12. TheRealVince Says:

    Pulling for Watson

  13. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Most fans just parrot what they hear the media say, so if fans are claiming the SLB in the Bucs defense isn’t important then you can probably blame certain media types for saying the same damn thing to start with.

  14. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    As for Watson I’m not so sure I agree with Joe. The organization harbored the same hopes for Watson last offseason, but that didn’t end well. He couldn’t wrest the job from a perennial backup journeyman like Hayward. In fact from what I remember it wasn’t even really that close of a competition. Hayward pretty handily beat him out. That’s not a good sign.

    Yes, he’s an elite special teams player. But all that means is he’s assured a backup spot. It doesn’t say anything at all about his ability to be a starting linebacker.

    What I’ve noticed about Watson when watching him play is that he doesn’t seem instinctual. He doesn’t react quickly enough to the situation he finds himself in and therefore doesn’t make many plays. He’s the opposite of someone like Lavonte David in that regard. Mason Foster is somewhere between the two in the area of football instincts and reaction time to changing situations.

    My prediction is that even if Watson wins the starting role the Bucs will be drafting or signing an upgrade at the SLB spot this coming offseason. I honestly think Watson, Casillas and Hayward are stop-gaps at the position until the organization can find a more talented starter.

  15. The 300s Says:

    @ Joe.

    Mason Foster was second on the team in tackles last year with 105. So please define slipping……

    Bringing in a Cato June (or any other big name free agent) or overpaying for Quincy Black for a position that is on the field 50% of the time for defensive snaps is not sound policy. You can’t argue that.

    Having an football intelligent, technically sound player on the field at that position makes much more sense. And is the precise reason Dakota Watson lost out to Hayward last year. Now he seems to know the system and his assignments a lot better. Which allows his physical attributes to stand out and win the starting job.

  16. Joe Says:

    Mason Foster was second on the team in tackles last year with 105. So please define slipping…

    First half, maybe first 3/4 of the season, Joe was thinking Foster may eat pineapple. The final few weeks, not so much. Coincidently (or not), Black was gone.

  17. Capt. Tim Says:

    I think that Cato June was a critical, and under appreciated , cog in our Superbowl winning defense. His ability to take on the TE on both run and pass situations doesn’t get you a lot of highlight film. But June’s ability to nullify the TE as a blocker- then shadow him in the shallow center of the field- was important on providing Rice and Sapp the extra second they needed to get to the QB! And stifling the run gave us a lot of 2 and 8s, 3rd and 7s.

    Not a down you wanted- when you looked across at the guys on that D-line

    I hope Quincy Black is regaining his health and mobility. He never quite lived up to his athletic potential.

    This defense is schematically different than the “Tampa 2”.
    But it is even more predicated on stopping the Rush, and rushing the QB. Our recent Sam LBers haven’t played 3 downs, due to their limitations- not because the scheme predicates that they leave the field.

    If we find another Cato June type, he will be on the field for third down.

  18. The 300's Says:

    @ Joe

    You yourself said Quincy Black started off the year slow and only started to do well the game (3) before he got injured (4). I believe it was Adrian Clayborn’s injury in week 3 that was probably more costly to Foster’s performance. Regardless, he had 12 tackles the final game of the season so I don’t think losing Black hurt anything.

  19. Joe Says:


    Regardless, he had 12 tackles the final game of the season so I don’t think losing Black hurt anything.

    Schiano thought the opposite.

  20. JonBuc Says:

    Cato June wasn’t on the SB team of 2002-03.

  21. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    @Capt. Tim

    You’re only 5 years off on your Cato June opinion. He wasn’t signed by the Bucs until 2007. But I have to give you credit for giving me a laugh at the idea that June helped Sapp & Rice get sacks! Perhaps you meant Chris Hovan and Greg Spires? Or Jovan Haye and Kevin Carter? And your analysis seemed so thoughtful. LOL!

  22. Illuminati Says:

    Looks like Desmond Bishop is about to be released. Wonder if he’s truly healthy.

  23. Pete 422 Says:

    I’ve been beating the Watson drum sinse last season. Look for some big plays coming from him (no I’m not his agent).

  24. Sneedy16 Says:

    Cato June signed in 2007?

  25. Sneedy16 Says:

    Singleton was they SAM I think.

  26. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Yep, Cato June signed in the offseason just prior to the 2007 season. He started alongside Ruud and Brooks that year. Black, Nece and Hayward were backups.

  27. Jonny 2.3 Says:

    LOL @ Timmah!

    You drunk in broad daylight son?

  28. Capt. Tim Says:

    Sorry! I hate getting old!! Lol
    I meant Al Singleton, but started thinking about Cato June when I saw him mentioned in the article and post.

    Jonny- no, but now I’m gonna get drunk ( kinda dusk now, though!)

    Hate ruining my record- I had perfect post up til that one!! Lol
    Turned 49 two weeks ago. Apparently senility just sorta jumps on you- all at once. I was hoping it would be more gradual.

  29. Buc-n-Junkie Says:

    Capt. Tim

    lol …. and even I know better than to make crap up! Now it bodes to question how many other times did you feed us a bunch of made up crap? You’re credibility is en fuego.. you might as well change your name. 🙂

  30. Tiny Tim Says:

    Trust me, unless Watson or whoever else starts at SAM has “big” year, they are not getting paid major money. Even if they did, the bucs will not invest heavily into the SAM unless he is transcendent, which players who only play 40% of the time are not. Ask bennett about a pay day from the bucs, the very person many moaned about wondering why the bucs did not resign him. Ask roy miller about his pay day. Thats the very person Joe questioned his non signing as if he was Wilfork. The bucs are not investing heavily into the SAM. BOOK IT!!!!

  31. Joe Says:


    Reason why Roy Miller never got a raise is because he is damaged goods (same with Michael Bennett).

    If Watson stays healthy and plays well, he will get a raise. Joe’s pretty sure Greg Schiano doesn’t want a revolving door at the position.

  32. scubog Says:

    I’m hopeful that Watson, who certainly looks the part, can find a home at the position.

  33. Capt. Tim Says:

    Buc and junkie-
    I’ve lost my Credibility with you??
    OH NO!!! You don’t know how important the opinion of a guy like you is to me!!!!

    Lol! Not Very!

  34. Buc-n-Junkie Says:

    Capt. Tim (nice play with my name there)

    Are you making that up? …. lol 🙂! why so sensitive? I know… I know! What is important is what “YOU” are saying.

    Lol! Not Very!

  35. Tiny tim Says:

    @ Joe. Sure Watson will get a raise, but it won’t be for major dollars. The bucs do not value the SAM in that way.