Replacing Bobby Rainey

February 8th, 2016

bobby rainey 1112Bobby Rainey’s NFL career has been marked by some great afternoons running the football, and years of teams thinking he’s not quite in their plans.

Rainey, who is a heck of a success story, could be an unrestricted free agent in a matter of weeks. He turns 29 in October and the Bucs have a decision to make.

Is Rainey the returner the Bucs desire? Doubtful — for two reasons.

First, general manager Jason Licht did his best to replace Rainey in the draft last year by selecting Kaelin Clay in the sixth round. The Bucs gave up on Clay quickly and he landed in Baltimore, where he returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

In 2014, the Bucs had no interest in letting Rainey return kicks. Lovie Smith and Licht burned through Solomon Patton, Marcus Thigpen, Trindon Holliday and a second shot at Patton before before settling on Rainey to close the season.

Joe doesn’t need stat nerds to know Rainey has a fumbling problem. Just watch the 2015 film. The guy was a master at recovering his own fumbles. That’s a nice but scary skill, and a looming disaster. The fumbling issue can’t be ignored.

Per, Rainey coughed up the rock seven times. The next NFL returner with extreme jelly hands only lost four balls.

In the running game, Rainey was a luxury, a versatile talent for a third-stringer. But the Bucs never needed him last season.

Joe likes Rainey, but it’s time to let him hit free agency and see what he might command. If there are no takers, then maybe the Bucs re-sign him as a high quality training camp body.

Licht needs to find the returner of the future, and maybe add that Pro Bowl bruiser fullback.

23 Responses to “Replacing Bobby Rainey”

  1. grafikdetail Says:

    rainey was my nephew’s teammate at western kentucky so i always rooted for him but i sure would like to see more excitement & production from our returners

  2. DallasBuc Says:

    It was hard to watch him as a kick returner. The GM formerly known as lapdog Licht has a lot to prove here.

  3. tmaxcon Says:


    you have to be impressed with Lichts draft class last year right??? hopefully that was the beginning of him proving himself. I am not giving Licht a free pass but having to find system players for the loser kind of tied his hands. I am confident he will do a much better job shopping for the groceries without having the dinosaur forcing his hand.

    jumping on 35 heading to dallas right now actually.

  4. DallasBuc Says:

    tmaxcon- what I meant was that he has a lot to prove with regards to the KR position. Generally speaking I will wait and see. If he goes out and shts the bed like in the 2014 off-season I’m gonna be ruthless.

  5. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Licht did select Kaelin Clay in the 6th round. I’m not suggesting he’s the next coming of Devin Hester but he did return for the Ravens.

    Given all that I’ve read last week about how Lovie did Rivera and so many OC’s and DC’s and he came in with total power how much could Licht have done that first year? Seriously!

    People talk about a palace coup to get rid of Lovie from Licht and Koetter…perhaps Licht realized it was either Lovie or him…after that great draft last year perhaps Lovie was threatened by Licht.

  6. Rojas Says:

    Saints have release guard Jahri Evans.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Rainey is unfortunately expendable….we surely can find a replacement at the same or lower price….Maybe we gave up on Clay too early…maybe not.
    I’d love to see us pick up a WR/KR/PR combination in FA.

    I really wonder why we didn’t get Hester…..Lovie really swung and missed on so many of his ex players.

  8. Kevin Schmidt Says:

    I really liked that joey kid they got from I think Oregon…but they cut him and he was signed with the patriots??? I thought he would have been worth signing to the practice squad. Rainey can go. Keep Martin if he’s willing to stay for a reasonable contract. And YES we need a return man BAD!!!

  9. DallasBuc Says:

    StPete- yeah Licht burns a draft pick on Clay and he is scoring TDs for Baltimore while we have Rainey juggling footballs like a drunk circus clown. Hence, much to prove at the KR position. If that position isn’t dramatically upgraded this season I’m not going to be happy and it all falls on the GM.

  10. Stanglassman Says:

    Bucs should draft TT WR Jakeem Grant in the 5th as a play maker kick return specialist. He’ll be the next JJ nelson.

    I feel like the Bucs got a extra draft pick today when the Falcons cut former 2nd rd pick SS William Moore. Mike Smith is sure to pick him up.

  11. Stanglassman Says:

    Here’s WR Jakeem Grant’s highlights. He’s small but is super quick, shifty and is a play maker. He was a power lifter so he is has a lot of strength and is durable.

  12. tmaxcon Says:


    thanks for the link… he’d be a nice pickup.

  13. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Get rid of Rainey.

  14. Erik with Clean Athletics Says:

    We just signed that little burner from the falcons last week….

    I forget his name, but he might be a serious deep threat for us, maybe a dynamic slot guy, & maybe a returner Idk. Supposedly, he has great hands & runs a 4.3 flat

  15. DB55 Says:

    I thought Kenny Bell was our returner for ’16?

  16. DallasBuc Says:

    Jahri Evans to take over for Mankins who took over for Nicks. Could do worse.

  17. Mr. D Says:

    Kenny Bell was injured the whole year so is actually an unknown asset. Hopefully we find out the kid can ball and we’d be set.

  18. dmatt Says:


    I agree with u 100%, Grant is all u mentioned n some. He’s a version of Arizona’s John Brown…but faster. I also saw some traits of shifty Barry Sanders in him. My hope is that we refrain from using a bandaid approach for our return man. Bucs have a history of retaining misfits with hopes of redemption i.e., MClayton, Myron Lewis,EJBiggers,BGriese, just to name a few. Please snatch Grant…a game changer with heart n power.He maybe small but dynamite comes in small packages. My hope is that unlike Lovie we go after FA’s with a long track record of consistency such as Broncos, Packers, Seahawks, Cardinals n not one game/s wonders such as MJohnson,ACollins,GJohnson,Oniel Cousins, JMcCown. U wanna play with the Big Dogs u gotta go after the Big Dogs.

  19. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Returner is not Raineys natural position, he was only put there cause we literally had no one else for that position. We might have one in Kenny bell, other than that licht has to draft a returner. I like Rainey as a RB and hope he gets a bigger role as our #3 back cause ever since he got to Tampa he has played well when he’s in.

  20. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Was never a big fan of rainey. He is decent with a little bit of space but nothing special. As a returnman he wasnt bad, but the fumbles will cost him his career if he doesnt fix it. Im sure some team will bring him in to TC. What he makes of that opportunity is up to him.

    Good lick to Bobby hope him the best, but i won’t sorry in the least to see him go. Any other coach would have cut his but in the middle of last season, when it was apparent he couldnt catch punts.

  21. OneBuc55 Says:

    Where’s Mike James??

  22. Bob in Valrico Says:

    nice link the kid is one highlight after another.I wonder what eound he will be projected to go in.

  23. godzilla13 Says:

    On December 26, 2015, Mike James was promoted to the 53-man roster when Akeem Spence was placed on injured reserve. Not sure how long he will stay there. It is time to move on from Bobby Rainey. With 8 total fumbles (1 lost) last year it is a surprise he is still with the team. Then again, who do we have or who can we get to replace him?