“It Is A Big Area Of Concern”

July 28th, 2014
The absence of Bucs G Carl Nicks has the offensive line in a state of flux.

The absence of guard Carl Nicks has the offensive line in a state of flux

The Bucs and left guard Carl Nicks parting ways Friday shocked few Bucs fans. And it shouldn’t have.

Nicks had played sparingly in the last two seasons, his only years with the Bucs, and rather than wearing a helmet, Nicks often was seen wearing a floppy hat watching OTAs and minicamp from the sidelines this spring.

The same folks who were surprised Nicks couldn’t make a go of it are the same people who are surprised it gets hot in Florida in July.

While the Bucs, publicly, are offering a calm front and supportive words, saying whoever on the roster secures the two starting guard spots will be fine, Woody Cummings of The Tampa Tribune sees a far different reality. Deep down, Cummings believes, the Bucs know they are in a pinch at guard, so he told Jason Jennings of WFLA-TV Channel 8 last night on “Sunday Sports Extra.”

“It is a big area of concern,” Cummings said. “Look, Jason Licht said the other day he feels pretty good about three-fifths of this offensive line. He likes the left tackle Anthony Collins and he likes the center Evan Dietrich-Smith and the right tackle in Demar Dotson. The guard spots? Listen, those positions are up for grabs. I am not convinced that the players on this team, that any one of them will be starting.

“They are looking around for other players. They feel good about a couple of veterans they have in Oniel Cousins and Jamon Meredith that they can do the job there, but they have not done it before on a consistent basis. At least, not at a high level.”

Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop Sunday took the company line that all is well when he said, “I like the guys we have competing. We’re rolling them through until it gets solidified, but I think we’ve got some pretty good prospects. I’m excited about them.”

It’s fine to be excited about them in July. But when Josh McCown is laying on his back in September, or when Doug Martin is running into brike walls in October, just how excited will Warhop be?

33 Responses to ““It Is A Big Area Of Concern””

  1. Jim Walker Says:

    One or two injuries early in the season on the O-line could ruin the entire season. There is NO depth at all, even worse there are no starters.

  2. BucsQcCity Says:

    The roster was a complete mess before L&L. They did a good job yo fix it but they came short of 1 or 2 G…

    We can’t have superstars everywhere. Let’s hit the preseason before panicking

  3. Rob Says:

    Thats why you dont freaking trade Jeremy Zuttah.

  4. INDYbucsfan Says:

    I’m guessing we’re going to draft a guard early next year

  5. Ur mom Says:

    Incognito. Desperate times-desperate measures & give the dude a second chance. I know it’s a long shot that Lovie would be down but I would welcome the dude.

  6. OB Says:


    With all the proven running backs alone and the teams in desperate need of one, like the 49ers, I am sure, if necessary, a trade will be done.

  7. biff barker Says:

    Admittedly, now that we have freed up the cap space from Nicks deal, the $5M Zuttah was getting seems like chump change. But the Bucs knew Nicks’ status all along and blew out Zuttah for a sandwich and a beer anyway.

    My conclusion is the felt his footwork and athleticism wasn’t good enough for what they are trying to do.

    Licht has his game face on, talk up the current roster all you want, but the Niners still aren’t going to cave and deal Boone on the cheap.

  8. JonBuc Says:


    Interesting point….one I pondered yesterday as I saw LaMichael James went down in SF. This after Hunter going down and out prior to that. I began to dream of taking Boone off their hands for Rainey or Demps and a pick. Then I realized I was no doubt dreaming. 🙂

  9. biff barker Says:

    It’s probably James on the outs with the reps Rainey has been getting so far.

  10. JonBuc Says:

    I agree Biff…but figured James has little to no trade value coming off a fairly serious injury. Most rbs have very little trade value these days actually.

  11. Tom Edrington Says:

    Carl Nicks in his “Fishing Hat” pretty much sums up his time here…..

  12. DallasBuc Says:

    Cutting the former oline probowlers, trading Zuttah for almost nothing and drafting luxury picks like Sims. Now that people are getting on board with Licht’s obvious screwups it is time we start looking at Lovie too since he let all this happen. It was not just one move but a series of moves that put us in this position.

  13. mpmalloy Says:

    These perennial personal problems all go back to the owners.

    * They paid Gruden a lot but then wouldn’t spring for player talent

    * They tried the cheap route w/ Morris. Predictably that blew up
    in their faces

    * In 2012 they actually tried springing for some real talent:
    “The big 3”. Eric Wright was a joke who was overhyped
    and sold to the fans as “elite” talent. However, signing 3 high-price
    free-agents was actually one of their few good moves.
    But they just can’t win: See the Nicks debacle.

    * From what I hear they try to run the team with minimal
    effort on their parts (Man U takes a lot of work).
    However they do occasionally micro-manage behind the
    scenes (which just creates more problems).

    Yeah…Rob Craft they are not.

    Go Bucs.

  14. mpmalloy Says:

    It’d be nice if we could make a serious play for Alex Boone.
    …but that won’t happen.

  15. Macabee Says:

    Carl Nicks’ 7mil salary was not guaranteed, but he had a 6mil guaranteed injury settlement clause in his contract for 2014 if he was indeed injured and could not play. The actual settlement amount has not been published yet but I’m going to assume it was for the 6mil guaranteed amount.

    The Bucs have 7.071mil remaining in dead money from Nick’s year-end 2012 restructure – equal payments of 2.357mil spread over years 2013 thru 2016. That is why Nicks had a 2014 cap hit of 9.357mil (7mil salary + 2.357mil dead money).

    For those who were yelling for the Bucs to get rid of Carl because he wasn’t participating in OTAs did not understand that if Carl had been cut before June 1st, the Bucs would have been obligated to pay the 6mil injury settlement and all of the dead money (7.071mil) would have come due immediately. By using the June 1st option they are allowed to absorb the 2.357 amount in 2014 and delay the remainder of the dead money (4.714mil) and absorb it under the 2015 cap since the cap is expected to increase another 10mil for 2015.

    There is no reason (that I’m aware of) for the Bucs not to pursue a top NFL OG – they have the cap space. Contracted or CBA-approved injury settlements do not count against the cap. I don’t know if Nicks received additional money to walk away with no future claims – claims that could be MRSA related. If so, that would be considered salary and would be counted against the cap. There is no way to avoid the 2.357mil in dead money, but the 7mil salary will go back into cap space which I think is around 10mil now. That’s a nice sum (less any additional monies paid to Carl) that will allow the Bucs to buy the top OG in the market assuming they can get a team to trade with them. If they had kept Carl hoping that he could get back into playing shape, as a vested veteran with 4 years of accrued service, his 7mil salary becomes automatically guaranteed if he is on the week one roster. That was a risk they were obviously not willing to take.

    Don’t feel bad for Carl either. You notice that I used the verb absorb when referring to dead money. That is not out of pocket money, it simply has to be accounted for under the cap. That is money that is already in Carl’s pocket, paid lump sum in December, 2012, but not counted against the cap.

    Under Article 45-Injury Protection of the CBA, the settlement will be paid to the player in equal weekly installments commencing no later than the date of the first regular season game, which benefit payments will cease if the player signs a contract for that season with another Club.

  16. Eric Says:

    As someone else pointed out, there is no way that Lovie and co., in one offseason, can patch every hole left by the Master of Disaster AKA Mark Dominik.

    Although he damn sure is trying to.

    Great job so far.

  17. mpmalloy Says:


    Good stuff there. Very informative.

    It would make all the sense in the world for the Bucs to
    pursue the best available guard. It would also make
    sense to give GMC a new deal.
    Whether either of these will happen is another story.

    go bucs

  18. biff barker Says:

    Eric, I agree, It takes time to build a castle, but many are inclined to bitch that at least the walls are up.

  19. ForgotAboutDre Says:

    We all knew it was going to be a concern, so why, instead of addressing it, did we trade Zuttah?

  20. teacherman777 Says:

    Come on Lovie

    Give richie incognito a chance

    jesus preaches forgiveness!!

  21. Buc89 Says:

    Don’t get incognito. Do you want a guy to crap in your mouth? I’d rather have integrity and a patchwork line than a skilled A-hole that will be a cancer

  22. Piratic Says:

    @teacherman777: Why would you want that POS? I hope he bullies the wrong (right) guy, and he gets what he’s been giving. D-bag personified.

  23. mpmalloy Says:

    biff barker Says:
    July 28th, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Eric, I agree, It takes time to build a castle,

    Yeah, about 7-8 years apparently.
    Of course it doesn’t help to build shit*y
    castle, tear it down, build another shit*y
    castle, tear it down…etc, etc

    HOPEFULLY, they got it right this time with Lovie Smith
    and Jason Licht

  24. Lou. Says:


    I see all this love for Zuttah. I do not understand it.

    Had The. Bucs listed Nicks, Joseph and Zuttah for the roster this year, no one should have felt satisfied. In fact, Zuttah’s calling card was his versatility, not his potential or performance. Unlike Nicks, who had an awesome history but had a bad break, Zuttah was at most adequate.

    Adequate MAY be more than we have now. And Zuttah may perform ok in another scheme for another team. Can someone look up his efficiency rating? It could not have been too high. He realistically was a back-up caliber player, for which $4 million is too much to pay.

    But it seems we are only marginally worse at guard this year, if that. The pining over Zuttah sounds like a wish for mediocrity.

    Where am I wrong? Or am I?

  25. mpmalloy Says:

    ForgotAboutDre Says:
    July 28th, 2014 at 10:46 am

    We all knew it was going to be a concern, so why, instead of addressing it, did we trade Zuttah?

    We’re trying to save money.
    Zuttah was due a payday.

  26. Lou. Says:


    I also do not get the love for Martin and the hate for Incognito.

    We hear constant songs of praise for the old Buc teams. Does anyone doubt that the sainted Hardy Nickerson was a bully by today’s standards — indeed, by any standards? Do you know whether poor little Jonathan would run to his mommy for what Warren Sapp would say? #55 would not have put up with a soft self-absorbed prima Donna.

    By all accounts, Incognito was doing a job the coaches thought needed doing. Now he is torn down on the altar of political correctness and NFL labor lawsuit aversion. I do not know if he can ply — let L&L decide that — but don’t hate a Player for doing his job.

  27. sam Says:

    We never really had Carl Nicks ttoo begin with. I don’t know why everyone thinks this is such a huge loss, the guy never played!!! We basically gave him 30 million dollars for 9 games!!! Get over it people, move on. )Ou can’t miss something you never had.

  28. mpmalloy Says:

    At this point, yeah, I’d take Incognito.
    1-year deal.

  29. Piratic Says:

    Lou. Says: “By all accounts, Incognito was doing a job the coaches thought needed doing.”

    -By all accounts, this coaching staff is in no way comparable to that one, and for that I am truly grateful.

    I get what you’re saying, Lou., but those days are gone. And besides, being a d-bag isn’t a necessary component to being a successful football player. Do you think that #93 ot #54 act like that?

  30. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Lou- I think Incognito’s a good player. When you put aside the PC BS, that’s what matters. Absolutely, yes I would want him on my team. Somehow, I don’t think there would be the same behavior in Lovie’s locker room as there was in Miami.
    Sure would’ve been nice to have had a healthy Nicks!

  31. pick6 Says:

    i get that the team can’t patch every hole, but why get rid of 2 proven NFL caliber guards who have started games for you when you are practically certain that a 3rd (once the best of the bunch) will never play another down for you? and on top of that, you cut your proven left tackle who might have allowed your majore free agent OL acquisition use his versatility to compete at guard. bruce allen’s best trait was that he never cut anybody until he was certain he had secured his replacement. on the OL we have now let 3 former pro bowlers and our most valued OL backup since the superbowl and replaced them with 2 proven performers (although only our C is a clear upgrade right now) and a bunch of guys who wouldn’t be competing for a starting job in 25 or more other training camps

  32. pick6 Says:

    we are now flush with enough cap room to have kept zuttah and penn and probably could have re-signed davin joseph for pennies and no guaranteed money to take a chance on his rehab, but instead we have to hope that the division II rookie can beat a veteran who has stood out as a rag doll even to people who have barely seen him play. we willfully gave away our ability to have options and competition at key positions that could make all of our other offensive investments irrelevant

  33. delson aka told u bout nicks Says:

    I think kadeem edwards deserves a chance to start over cousins. Bring in incognito because lovie won’t be puttin up with that ish. He said it before. If incognito can’t prove that he can play football without the off the field issues than he can bury his career into his ego. Lovie ain’t raheem people.