Why The Bucs Watched

March 11th, 2015


The sun came up yesterday and the sun set. Yet the Bucs’ roster was virtually unchanged.

Oh, on the very day the free agency dinner bell rang, virtually every team made a transaction, or so it seemed. Teams signed players. Teams traded players.

In other words, most NFL teams tried to better themselves. Well, so did the Bucs. They cut Anthony Collins.

Other than re-signing their own and handing Collins a couple of empty boxes to clear out his locker for good, and losing an aggressive bid for defensive end Trent Cole, the Bucs did nothing. This perplexed veteran sports columnist Gary Shelton, who wondered aloud what the Bucs were doing on his site, GarySheltonSports.com.

Last year was a shopping spree for the Bucs. Grab a guy here, grab a guy there. Everyone was impressed, and every thought the Bucs had won the off-season. … Until it was proven they had hired guys with two left feet.

This year? Either the Bucs were more particular in their targets — who didn’t love the idea of playing for them — or they didn’t bid. So the question is this: If last year worked better, would the Bucs have been more willing to spend this year?

Otherwise, how do you explain that one of the worst teams in the NFL sat out the opening day of free agency? After all, few teams needed more help than the Bucs, who won just two games and had a worst offense than an unplugged pinball machine. Yet, for the first day at least, the Bucs didn’t see anyone who could help.

Several things are at work here. First, players often either want to get paid or want to win. Getting both is a bonus. (See Trent Cole). The Bucs were the worst team in the league last year, not just one of the worst. The worst. Add in uncertainty at quarterback, and it might take a boatload of zeros from a Team Glazer check, or one helluva sales pitch from Bucs general manager Jason Licht, to lure a big-time free agent.

But Shelton sort of touched on another valid reason for the Bucs’ spectating. You can thank Josh McCown and ghostly Michael Johnson and Collins, three of Tampa Bay’s top four free agents last spring. They were/are colossal busts.

So who could blame Licht for being a little picky.

47 Responses to “Why The Bucs Watched”

  1. mikeh Says:


  2. Chef Paul Says:

    Hey, they actually showed our most productive running back an ounce of respect for the first time since they got here. That’s a start.

    I’m actually OK with how yesterday went. Not over-joyed, but not disappointed either.

  3. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    ’cause they got left at the altar……

  4. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    “Otherwise, how do you explain that one of the worst teams in the NFL sat out the opening day of free agency? ”

    Uh…because the FA market wasn’t really that exciting this year? Revis was an impact player. Been there and tried that and decided we couldn’t afford him.

    Greg Hardy is an exciting addition…IF you can get past the off field baggage.

    Who else is really that exciting. We tried to get Trent Cole who perhaps could have helped in an area we are desperate.

    Still kicking tires on the OL models. I simply think this is a bad year for FA’s.

    FA’s always scare me anyway. Other than the occasional genuine cap casualty there is something going on that would allow any team to let their player walk.

    Great players rarely become FA’s. It’s like trying to get lucky in the 4th round and beyond looking for a QB in the draft.

  5. biff barker Says:

    Once bitten twice shy…

  6. mikeh Says:

    agree I don’t want them to sign some bum just to make a move. but I do not trust these two pinheads. lovie is not a good GM talent evaluator he has proved it.

  7. Harry Says:

    Personally, I think most of the FA signings last year had Lovie’s DNA on them. Maybe This is more of a Licht year in getting FA talent. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

  8. cover deuce Says:

    How’s all that “respect” for Lovie working out for the team now? Should have fired him when we still had the chance.

  9. JFat Says:

    These teams didn’t do much free agent wise other than re-signing their own players:

    Steelers, Saints, Pats, Packers, Broncos, Cowboys, Ravens

    I think that’s pretty good company as far as well-run organizations go. Maybe, LL&G learned from last year like they’ve been telling us and they aren’t going to throw a ton of cash at guys just to make a “splash”. Plenty of time left to sign players, I’m glad they are taking their time and trying a different strategy.

  10. Buc Neckid Says:

    BUCS are just Being Responsible
    Last year was as much the result of a new regime coming in and feeling like they had to spend to look like they were doing SOMETHING
    This year, after a year of being together,
    the course is a little more stable.
    And Really Guys…
    Who REALLY is out there that you would (over)pay for this year?

  11. Sick of the debate Says:

    Very disappointed that they didnt go after offensive line. Glad Collins is gone, but I was hoping they had some kind of plan. I hope they dont wait til the first round of cuts and try to sign other peoples throwaways, again.

  12. bucs4lyfe Says:

    we are living proof that free agency is a waste of money if you cant draft well and there are only 3 first round picks left on this team and one of them belongs to Jason licht…..I think they are being smart even though I was thinking whats going on because we’re just used to teams chasing players with big money during this time

  13. The Buc Realist Says:

    I want to see the bucs sign no free-agents! then go all draft! Then Lovie at training camp can run around yelling ” WE YOUNGRY”!!!

  14. 87ForJameisNOMariota Says:

    “Why The Bucs Watched”

    Perhaps the Glazers saw what all that spending got them last season….and restrained Lovie…

  15. louden Says:

    One FA the Bucs should have got after: Torrey Smith. Younger V-jacks who can outrun defenses and draw the most PassInterfereance penaltys..

    for 8 Mio. .. if the bucs would have traded V-jacks last year, like some suggested..
    and also Dougy not-so-special Martini..

    and also Glennon – the best Backup ever… wow.. everyone knows you need a good backup to win the Super Bowl…

    Mike Williams could have been included into a trade package somewhere..
    Then we got Goldson still on here (okay, who would trade for him..)

    Oh gosh, this regime and franchise just make me sick sometimes..

  16. tmaxcon Says:

    No one wants to play for a delusional has been that never was head coach using a dinosaur era system. Lovie is a joke the only people that he matters to are the folks living in the past. Lovie has done nothing. Mediocre career / mediocre coach. You don’t get a lifetime free pass for lucking into a super bowl appearance nearly 10 years ago. Oh he lost that game also, to another mediocre coach. What have you done for me recent 2-14… There is a reason the bears are so messed up personnel wise now. Look they are still cleaning up after Lovie’s bad player moves 2 years removed and 1 additional head coach removed. Lovie is HORRIBLE at personnel. We fans just need to be very, very thankful that players are no longer taking his calls.

    The object is to WIN not be the nicest team / coach in the league. Nice guys finish last. We need winners…

  17. passthebuc Says:

    There are teams that know how to build and ones do not. We happen to be a do not. What is worse, we have been a do not since our Super Bowl Victory in 1847.
    Yes the smart play for saving your job would be to take Winston, but now the smart, smart play. The smart play would be to look 5 years out and trade down. It may not even be possible to trade down and secure a just return. I think that train left the station. But if you could secure the top defensive end and the top offensive tackle for Winston, it would be a no brain er for me.

    Will this provide more wins. Yes, we were very close in many games. And if Lovie can produce 6 or 7 wins, he will be here for another 4 years and finally depart with a record of 28 and 52. I am convinced that until the Glazers sell, we will be nothing more than bottom feeders.

  18. JFat Says:

    @Sick – They went after Bulaga, but he decided to take a team friendly contract with the Packers so the Bucs lost out. They’ve got Wiz coming in for a visit. Just because it didn’t happen on day 1 doesn’t mean they don’t plan on adding a lineman or two. I’m sure there’s a plan, things just have to play out.

  19. Dick2111 Says:

    When I watched New England and Seattle match up in the Super Bowl, it became pretty obvious just how far behind the Bucs are … offensively, defensively, special teams and coaching. We’re at the bottom of the well looking up. You don’t climb out of the hole we’ve dug for ourselves in 1 year or 2 years or even 3 years.

    Free agents can help fill short term needs, but it’s no way to build a team. We’ve got to start drafting better, developing players better, and doing a better job of retaining those players who fit our scheme.

    One big key I think is hiring top quality coaches and providing them some coaching staff stability. We simply can’t keep hiring new coaching staffs every 2 years. Lovie’s a good, experienced head coach and he’s put together a respectable coaching staff. It’ll take time, but as long as they show year-to-year improvement, I’m good with that.

  20. DayOnePaul Says:

    Just to toss the wet blanket of reality over the free agency period, and all of this excitement that comes with it:

    It’s very obvious that the Bucs have to over-pay to get free agents to leave their contender former teams, and sign here with an organization who’s record in their last 100 games is 30 & 70. The kind of player who is willing to sign for more than he’s worth, with a team that has little chance of contending, or improving significantly and suddenly, is a player who is extremely money oriented. Therefore, it makes sense to me that that player is far more likely to rest on the laurels of his fat contract, or to dial it back a bit to try to keep from getting injured, to protect the longevity of his paydays. It’s my theory that that is why so few of the big name free agents come to poor franchises and excel. Team guys who care about winning and continuity, more than they do about the multi-millions, give their home team a discount or they renegotiate, but they find a way to get it done. In our near future, don’t expect too much from free agents who take the big cash to come to the obscurity of One Buc…

    I will, but you shouldn’t.

  21. Josh P Says:


    It has to be combination of the 2.. We didn’t Win a super bowl with just the draft. Hell, we had to trade 4 picks for a HC. We just need to find the right pieces.. I do believe we missed on some OL yesterday though.

  22. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Consider this…if they sign the center coming to town…and move EDS to guard. They will have fixed two spots with one signing.

    Also, if EDS is better at guard than at center (how can he not be? He was horrible at center), then it would mean his signing last year was NOT a mistake.

    If the center and guard are doing better, less will be required of Mankins and he can once again focus on his own job…which will make him worth the signing.

    Suddenly, we go from needing three OL guys to needing a tackle in the draft.

    And that would mean last year’s Free Agency was less of a bust.

  23. bucs4lyfe Says:

    87ForJameisNOMariota Says:

    March 11th, 2015 at 8:25 am
    “Why The Bucs Watched”

    Perhaps the Glazers saw what all that spending got them last season….and restrained Lovie…
    lol it all started with the eric wright signing and greg schiano with the biggest coaching staff in the nfl. it’s almost like people are pretending like this is the first year we’ve swung and miss, joe wont mention it because Dominick is a media buddy now…..both years greg schiano swung and miss even letting players walk right? not getting on you and yes we made horrible moves however if you structure a contract in a way that gives you a way out after one year lol your already better than mark Dominick even with the bad moves

  24. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    Know what I saw in the superbowl?

    The shattering of the myth that a quarterback has to play under center.


  25. bucs4lyfe Says:


    just curious….in the NFL how does one luck his way into the superbowl?

  26. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    Mark Dominick structured most of his contracts so that players could be cut with little to no penalty.

    That’s why the Bucs were in such good cap room last year.

  27. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    How many coaches hold onto their jobs for 9 years? Think about it. There is a reason they remain coaches with their teams.

    Lovie didn’t “luck”” into a superbowl. He worked his tail off to get there. You complain people are looking at the past…well, last year is the past and you are using it, right? So there you go.

    Don’t be a hypocrite.

  28. bucs4lyfe Says:

    hmmmm sure remember John Idzik being the capologist working under mark Dominick before going to the jets but I understand….the guys behind the scenes never get the credit

  29. Dick2111 Says:

    @BuccaneerBonzai …

    If you’re saying we should grab Mariota with our #1 pick, I concur 100%.

  30. OB Says:

    It isn’t when you sign them or how much you pay them, it is how they play and fit in with the others on the team. Lovie proved for the most part he doesn’t have a clue, so maybe the GM is doing it now and has a clue plus Koetter to lean on and some scouts that hopefully know what they are doing. This draft and free agents will tell this year.

  31. JFat Says:

    Gotta remember, first year in Chicago for Lovie 5-11, 4th in the division. Second year, 11-5, 1st in the division. Those calling for Lovie’s head already don’t pay attention to the NFL, teams that rotate coaches every other year don’t make progress. We fire Lovie and hire someone else, we’re looking at another 2 years at least before the team is relevant.

    Having an actual OC will be all the difference IMO, I bet we’re competing for the division title. That could mean an 8-8 record, but I’d be happy enough with that…progress is what I’m looking for next year, not a Superbowl.

  32. BCoburn Says:

    Still less than 24 hours. You can almost guarantee anyone signed with that first 24 is going to be overpaid winning team or not. Kind of curious where the mentality went where you were willing to go to a struggling team in the hopes you can make it better. A lot of bandwagoners even within the athletes.

  33. DallasBuc Says:

    Why the Bucs watched?
    Maybe the incompetent decision-making of both players and contracts that led to abject failure and ultimately the worst team in football. So either the poor decision-makers have learned their lesson on talent evaluation or are scared to pull the trigger for fear of another failure, or probably both. In any case it is now likely very clear to the Glazers that once again they picked the wrong guy to coach this football team. This makes me sad.

  34. Bucfan4life Says:

    I used to shake my head when occasionally a good player would sign with the Jaguars. We are the new Jaguars. Completely irrelevant and no end in sight, at least not in the near future. Most players want to get paid AND play for a winner. There aren’t many guys like Revis out there who care only about the money and don’t have an ounce of loyalty.

  35. DallasBuc Says:

    Why they watched?…more like deer-in-headlights as the train came barreling through at 4pm yesterday. These guys are done. Make Morris/Dominik look like the great tandem in NFL history.

  36. ElioT Says:

    Maybe the Bucs didn’t sit and watch. They got FAs last year with the promise of a new staff, new direction, etc…

    That new staff and direction ended up being a bad of d*cks leading the team to the worst record in the league and complete irrelevance.

    I have a feeling yesterday was a day of rejection for the Bucs.

    All things being similar, why would anyone decent want to come to Tampa?

    Rookie QB and lame duck HC… No thanks!

    If we’re lucky, they’ll manage to sign a few B and C level guys in an attempt to plug some of the many holes on this team.

    Go Sucs!!!

  37. BirdDoggers Says:

    “So the question is this: If last year worked better, would the Bucs have been more willing to spend this year?”

    The Bucs wouldn’t have as many needs if last years signings worked out. The likely reason is they whiffed big time last year. They’re being a lot more cautious, plain and simple. The Bucs have been spending in recent years out of necessity to add talent. The drafting has been horrible in recent years, resulting in a team with several holes. Free agency has proved to be the wrong plan for building a team. Unfortunately, the team still has several holes to fill. They can’t all be filled in the draft.

  38. pick6 Says:

    more regrettable decisions are made on day 1 of free agency than on any other league day. even moreso than the draft, since draft picks don’t have the financial baggage of a michael johnson. the bucs need guys whose contracts they can walk away from or live with in backup roles as early as next offseason if they believe in their ability to build a strong team from the draft.

  39. Skyline Crew Says:

    I have no problem with it. If the player doesn’t want to be here I don’t want to overpay for them to come. Also, June 1 is the 2 round of FA so we have that to look forward to.

    I heard a rumor that the Rams were going to cut Bradford on June 1 anyways, so I’m wondering why the Eagles made that trade.

  40. pick6 Says:

    the bucs have accepted they are not close to contention in 2015, so it makes no sense for them to get into the kind of bidding wars that teams who are 2 or 3 pieces away are willing to over some of these guys. the bucs thought they were such a team last year, and governed themselves accordingly. the bucs could have a bounce back year, but it ought to be on the backs of guys they invested in or developed last year and a large dose of good fortune, not on the backs of another wave of mercenaries.

  41. Johnny Dejay Says:

    This is the downside of “winning” the chase for the #1 overall pick; nobody in the middle of their career wants to play for the Bucs. It will be 3, 4, or 5 years before they are truly competitive, and most of these UFA’s only have 4 or 5 more years left, if they’re lucky. The Bucs will have to overpay or find a guy who really wants to play in Tampa in order to get a top-shelf free agent…

  42. Buccfan37 Says:

    The Bucs can turn their fortunes around quicker than many think. Maybe not playoffs just yet, but a contender is what I expect starting this year. Think positive, anything can happen.

  43. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    “Think positive, anything can happen.”

    Exactly Buccfan. As the late great Chris Thomas used to say…NFL stands for No Freaking Logic.

    Glennon in his third year will be much better than Josh McCown..the OL can’t be any worse…the D is beginning to take shape.

    I think the Bucs have an excellent shot at making the playoffs considering the crappy division. The Saints are in cap hell and have no defense and now no TE. The Dixie Chicks are in the same shape as us other than the fact they have a good QB. And the Stinking Panthers may not suck but they’re far from world beaters and now that their twin beasts running backs are over the hill we only have to figure out how to stop Greg Olsen.

    The Bucs could win 2 next year or they could win 10 like Rah’s year. We’ll get a very easy schedule…the top QB in the draft and plenty of other high draft picks to help.

    For me what disgusted me most about the Bucs was not their horrible lack of talent…it was how below their talent level they played last year. They were easily one of the top 2 or 3 dumbest, poorly coached teams in the league.

    And I’m a guy who hasn’t yet given up on Lovie. But last year was a disaster that belongs as much to the coaching staff as any lack of talent. The way we lost some of the games last year was just a pathetic joke.

  44. Rick Says:

    The Bucs screwed the pooch last year by trying to build the team through free agency. Free agency is largely about role players, except for the occasional odd ball superstar which is maybe one or two per year. Other than that you fill role players in free agency. For example the Bucs tried to replace 60% of their offensive line through free agency and we saw how that worked. Now L&L really felt the need they could have replaced Davin Joseph but left Zuttah and Penn be. You gotta build through the draft although you can sometimes add a significant piece here and there in FA.

  45. Yanksbucsnoles Says:

    Michael Johnson cut

  46. buccos Says:

    Bunch of do****bag losers posting on here. First of all, Love Smith is an awesome coach. He will probably have us in the playoffs this year. And when he does the losers like DallasBuc and Eliot can go suck it because the real fans are patient enough to give a Super Bowl coach a year to get his roster together and for the players to learn his system. This is a new year. Last year is history but it did give us the first pick in the draft. We will sign free agents because players know that Lovie is a great coach and want to play for him. This team is too good for many of the so called fans on here.

  47. Jack D Says:

    Real truth is the Glazers said, spend our money like you did last year and you will be gone before seasons end.