March 16th, 2014

cautionYes, Joe understands why Bucs fans are giddy about the way Bucs coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht went shopping last week. It’s not like they didn’t warn Bucs fans when they said over and over again that the roster was filled with players who went 4-12 last season.

It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of an upgrade at quarterback, and an upgrade at defensive end (yes, Joe is still sore about a downgrade at cornerback, but Joe’s trying to be patient).

“The Professor,” John Clayton of ESPN cautions Bucs fans that while the Bucs may be among the winners of free agency, a March victory often leads to massive disappointment once the helmets and pads are strapped on.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: In most years, the most active teams in free agency ultimately find that their moves don’t translate into wins. So giving the winning tag to the Bucs comes with a caution. Usually teams that spend more than $100 million in unrestricted free-agent contracts improve by only one win or drop back a game or two in the standings. The Bucs are the big spenders in free agency this year. They invested $125.5 million in contracts for six players — quarterback Josh McCown, defensive end Michael Johnson, left tackle Anthony Collins, cornerback Alterraun Verner, tight end Brandon Myers and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. They let high-priced players such as Davin Joseph, Penn and Darrelle Revis go.

Obviously, the key to the whole thing will be how starting Josh McCown plays within the new offense run by NFL neophyte Jeff Tedford. If the Bucs can’t generate much offense, then it won’t matter much how improved the defense is.

One more good thing about this free agency season, Carolina’s receiver corps has been absolutely gutted. If the Panthers become a one-dimensional team (they were No. 11 rushing the ball last year), then that can only help the Bucs.

38 Responses to “Caution”

  1. JC De La Torre Says:

    The only thing I’d counter is that the Bucs have spent a lot, but not wildly as they did when “Rockstar GM” Dominik was in charge. Dominik overpaid everyone to come here – Licht has put together some spectacular value deals for the organization while cleaning up the cap mess that Dom created (i.e. $16 million to your cornerback when your offensive and defensive lines are in shambles).

    Everything the Bucs have done have been smart and addressed need positions. We all know to really be a contented you also have to “Win the draft” but it’s difficult to do that with only five picks. Again, thanks Rockstar. At least the Bucs recovered their third rounder.

  2. Harry Says:

    been watching the Panthers WR debacle with absolute glee. I don’t know what the heck those fools are doing over there. Do they think they have B_rady at QB and they can just line up anyone at WR and they turn into All Pros? Love it!

  3. deminion Says:

    Licht didnt overpay 1 guy I like that

  4. zam Says:

    In fairness to Dom, ppl forget that the Bucs were 7-9 with almost the worst secondary in the history of the league. The O-line was expected to have Carl Nicks back and play at an elite level. The D-line was looking to get back Clayborn. Freeman was thought by V-Jax to be a top 5 QB.

    Why wouldn’t you spend the money to shore up what looked like the only major hole on your team? Didn’t turn out that way obviously, but I can’t fault Dom on doing what looked like the last major piece at the time.

  5. BucNasty!!! Says:

    Plus the saints lost a lot of good talent on the,offensive side of the ball running backs lineman and recievers. Not to mention that already weak defense got weaker losing a lot of veteran leadership and proven number while only gaining another safety albeit a good 1 but it doesn’t make up for what they cut an let walk

  6. brandonbucfan Says:

    Agree with the “caution” theme as I have mentioned over the past couple of days. We will have a completely different scheme on defense (back to Tampa 2) and on offense (going to zone blocking scheme. These things don’t happen overnight. With a much better team we still could only be marginally better record wise. The NFC South will be very tough as usual and am not looking forward to the AFC North. Our schedule will not be easy and we could start out very slowly. I do have faith in Lovie and Light though that they will turn this around. Again, we must be patient.

  7. BucNasty!!! Says:

    An we all kno the gallons have a high powers vertical offense with,no te now and no true running game Steven Jackson is over that hill and they have no cash rush they better trade u for clowney or b n the same,boat as the Panthers with wr. We are the only team n the division wit out glaring holes and or weaknesses

  8. Thibs5599 Says:

    I agree with Zam I don’t think Dom and Schiano did that bad. You gotta give it to them for drafting Martin, Barron, and David in the same draft also, one of the best drafts we have seen in a long time. However with L&L they didn’t go out and get shiny players, they got guys who can help shore up the trenches and play mean, tough football that will ell both the offense and defense, something Schiano and Dom shied away from in free agency.

  9. John23 Says:

    We got a coach

  10. Kevin Says:

    Dom brought in some talent, but the players respect and want to play for Lovie, and him and Jason got all these players at fair prices. MD would have paid millions more for the exact same guys and thats just the truth. With last years team being three points or less away in what, 5-6 games. That VERY VERY close to being 8-8 or 9-7. If they got that done under Schiano, MD, and Sulivian, than this team is much closer than they were before. I wouldn’t expect Super Bowl, but a fun season of football should be seen coming as bucs fans.

  11. joseph mamma Says:

    Hey I’d like to counter your counter JC. If there was one thing the Rockstar did right, it was manage the cap. Even though he gave Revis that massive deal there was no guaranteed money. So there was no ‘cap mess’ that you speak of at all. There was a lot of big money deals given to aging, offensive linemen. But then again there was no guaranteed money in the final years of their deals because of the way Dom did the contracts. If we were in a cap mess, then Licht wouldn’t have been able to shed those contracts and sign the new additions like he did.

  12. Clowney Says:

    Was drafting Martin, Barron and David really “One of the best drafts seen in a long time?

    We saw how RB’s are interchangable in today’s NFL. 6th and 7th rounders are as good as any. Plus with the beating they take, they are on IR as much as the playing field.

    Was a one dimensional strong safety such a great pick that low in the 1st round when Luke Kuechly would have done the job better at MLB? Then they compound that problem by overpaying for another one dimensional SS.

    Lavonte David was a great pick.

  13. ruggyup Says:

    Often said, ‘beware of the first step, it’s a deeper drop than you thought’. Coach S and GM L I hope knew how big a drop that first step is when they signed McCowan and Collins. Yeah, yeah, I know, no risk no reward. We’ll revisit this mid-season.

  14. rayray1 Says:

    Think the offense will be solid in the run game. Still think the Bucs should look @ T Wright in the slot & then get a speed receiver in the draft.

  15. johnny Says:

    Sorry but no Upgrade at QB , we went from having the 4th best QB in the Div to having the 4th best QB in the Division …i wanted a upgrade over Glennon and was hoping Vick, Schaub or someone who had at least won a a playoff game not a guy that is 35 and has had 4 good games in his Career and was coaching High School Football 2 years ago and waived for Jason Campbell .

  16. eric Says:

    By the way Joe do not forget the upgrade at LT that Bucs Fans are STOKED about!

  17. Eric Says:

    Super outstanding work by Lovie. All players, aside from McCown, are young and the future was not mortgaged nor the bank broken.

    Brilliant work.

    We cut one pro bowl corner, got another only 25 at less than half the price and uninjured. Allowing us other signings at key positions. Overall a big upgrade.

    Now, get a franchise QB in this draft! We would have to trade the farm to get one in the future…..

    Go Lovie!

  18. rayray1 Says:

    Agree w/ Johhny here. We only got a slight upgrade @ QB. JM had a lot more weapons in Chicago than Glennon had here. We’ll see where the competition takes us. Looking how S & L went @ FA don’t see them taking a QB @ 7. There looking for the VALUE pick. Value in the draft means more picks in one of the best drafts in the last decade. Think they will trade back for additional picks.

  19. Macabee Says:

    24 hrs after FA started, I stopped following because I could see what we were doing and the guys in charge was ably guiding the ship.

    Not that anything I would say matters, but I’m going to sit back and let these guys continue to implement their plan. I have every reason to believe that they will be equally as impressive in the draft.

    In other words, I’m all in. I have no wild ambitions that the 2014 Bucs will be the 2013 KC Chiefs, but I do know that we are better today than we were a few days ago. Go Bucs!

  20. mark2001 Says:

    zam…only someone with “pewter glasses” would have seen it the way you describe. Liked Joseph, but how many times did he play a full season without injury? You think Nicks had a perfectly healthy toe before coming here? How about Wright….onward and onward. This team had degenerated into what it was…what knowledgeable professional prognosticator said more than 8-8 last year? The truth hurts, but it is the first step in realistically dealing with what must be done. Just like taking about our WR’s…an aging star, a guy that is torn between football and a rap career, and everyone else off the couch or off the street. And we seem to be going towards more of a zone blocking scheme and more of a modern passing game…with one aging star….reality may be depressing, but it is what it is.

  21. Mr Lucky Says:

    So far I’m impressed with what the new staff has done to upgrade the defense. As far as the offense – McCown vs. Glennon is really a 6 vs. half-dozen debate. Maybe it helps Glennon in the training room maybe it doesn’t its too early for now but I’m NOT impressed.

    As far as the O-Line is concerned getting rid of Penn and Joseph won’t cause me to cry in my beer – both were overpaid for what they put out on the field. I really wonder how this totally new O-Line is going to get their act together. I HOPE that Nicks is back but frankly I’m not that optimistic.

    At least I have something to look forward to in 2014 with the Bucs because in 2013 I had LOW expectations and yes Schiano et al managed to play BELOW my expectations.

  22. BoJim Says:

    7-9 🙂

  23. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    forget caution. do we know how the new team will look and play? NO! but we did know how the old roster played. Like garbage and quitters. Its has been time to roll the dice and shuffle the deck!!!

  24. lion Says:

    @rayray putting Tim Wright in slot is a no-no. We need to add a speedy receiver to the offense. The reason that Wright excelled at TE was that he is fast enough to get open vs linebackers, but he is not quite fast enough against cbs.

  25. Chris Says:

    Exactly. Sure it all looks good in paper but the huge difference between licht/ lovie and mark dominik: this new regime spent wisely. Didn’t give up any critical draft picks and didn’t overpay. Maybe overpaid for Johnson a slight bit at 8 mm a year. But that’s not over kill for a pass rusher who is stout against the run and had 61 pressures last year. Joe even said pressures are key when backing McCoys play.

    Verner and McDonald at 6 mm and 3 mm were steals. Smith? Less than 4 mm is a steal for a top 5 center. Fits our oline. Collins at 6 mm? That’s 1.5 less than penn. Myers had a 79 catch season 2 years ago. His play slipped bc he went to giants team that doesn’t utilize the TE position much.

    Now looking at Dom: he signed flash players who didn’t fit. Overpaid for them. We can’t cut goldson bc of his guaranteed money. Nicks has 7 of 9 mm guaranteed and could face legal issues if cut due to MRSA. Eric wright lol. Davin Joseph Michael Koenen , Darrelle Revis 16 mm and 2 picks. One or them being stud Sheldon Richardson. I laugh at this bc Dom made the circus jets look like geniuses. And he couldn’t draft.

    Licht and lovie are off to great starts but we need the qb.

  26. Jordan Says:

    We added around 40+ million to our cap, while cutting around 28 million. We really just swapped out three large contracts for 7 smaller contracts.

  27. Yeah It's me! Says:

    I can think of only one other team that’s done anything close to what we done this year and had a new coach that was (who players love to play for)a already proven head coach and that’s Andy Reid and the Chiefs. Worked out pretty good for them last year. Redskins don’t count because they didn’t do a quick smart rebuild the first year that they had Mike Shanahan. My point is this has happened but one other time besides the AR/KC situation. Yes, maybe KC had more talented players to start with and im not saying we will necessarily win as many games this year but I do believe we will be a much improved team over what Dom & Schiano would have had done if they weren’t fired. Lovie/Licht had o choice but to make lots of changes on a 4-12 team but picked players very wisely and spent the Bucs money very wisely. Which doesn’t usually happen with new HC& GMs. Remember most new coach’s would not have so many players wanting to come play for them and at very reasonable salaries.

  28. Eric Says:

    I’m with the realist.

    To heck with caution!

  29. TJ Ware Says:

    So let me guess the broncos are doomed to fail…..great article

  30. BucsQcCity Says:

    Schiano Is gone, players are willing to come at a more reasonnable price and play hard, what is there to be cautious about? Overexpectation? It’s there every off season. L&L made a statement with these FA moves that we were not 1 player away to be legit playoff contenders. We will be competitive but as long as Brees is QB at NO, they have a shot at winning the division. I don’t think the Falcons are as good as advertised and the Panthers should take 2 steps back this year just to pay Newton and Kuechly.

    With the changes I see a 2-3rd place in the division and hopefully a chance to grab a wildcard spot in the last quarter of the season

  31. Hawk Says:

    Don’t laugh to loudly at the Stinking Panthers. The draft is deep with excellent WRs and they have an ample number of draft picks to cure their problem.

  32. Eric Says:

    Not to mention they got Cam Newton…….

    We gotta get em somehow after they laughed in our faces on national TV.

    That was just about as low as the Bucs have ever sunk.

  33. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    @ eric

    did you not see 2009 and 2011 season?

    2009 – 3rd game of the season. Leftwich gets pulled in the 3rd, Josh johnson comes in and converts the first first down of the game for the Bucs. The crowd gave the offense a standing ovation. Ny Giants started putting in scrubs, Bucs lose 17-0. Top that!

  34. Eric Says:

    Unfortunately realist, I remember all too well.

    Wasn’t that the “grown men team” game, or maybe that was the jets or steelers.

    Often hard to distinguish the ineptitudes.


    Still the 4th best QB in the division !!!!!!! But I’m o.k. with it !!!!!!! GO BUCS !!!!!!!

  36. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    I was thinking the same thing.

    It’s easy to feel like winners in free agency… in fact its a great feeling as a fan. So for the rest of spring and all through the summer we will have positive hope.

    But the games will come this fall. The games will come.

    Then we will really see if this free agency spree will pan out. For now, I will enjoy the year though.

  37. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Clowney Says
    “Was drafting Martin, Barron and David really “One of the best drafts seen in a long time?”

    Heck yeah it was. The following draft was even better, even though it was meant to fill backup roles.

    The trade for Revis was a really bad idea (I screamed that the whole time), but once he was signed, it was done. And at least it helped sell more tickets.

    The only players I feel were over spent on are McCown and Johnson, especially Johnson.

    McCowns price isn’t really that high, but for only having a few good games last year he certainly doesn’t deserve it. He goes down as the worse signing for me.

    Johnson is overpriced because of his lack of continuity. He only has ONE double digit sack season, couldn’t repeat it.

    I’ve heard the excuses about who he had playing on his line last year, but let’s be honest. Elite DEs and elite DTs get the stats regardless. Sapp Did. Rice did. Peppers did. Allen did. And on down the list.

  38. louden Says:

    @Bonzai: different interpretition – just like said by … D.Martin, while good player, value doesn´t say it was the right choice to trade back into the first, giving up another pick again for an good – not outstanding RB (this year that Ohio RB is worth a late 1st rounder, watch him compared to Martin hui).
    Barron over Kuechly was bad mistake – we had big NEED at Safety but at a pick that high, just loosers or a Shianomik demon would have gone for NEEDS.
    David = Homerun
    AJMc MurrayWater next please (or Shaw or good surprise; please no Carr) and/or whatever: this regime seems to understand business and know what they are doing and yeah, lets hope and see if they keep it up that way and lets have fun discussing all the different options..