The Bucs And James Laurinaitis

February 20th, 2016


Two indisputable facts: the Bucs’ new defense under Mike Smith is one giant mystery, and the Bucs need talent upgrades on defense.

Quality middle linebacker Jameis Laurinaitis was cut yesterday by the Rams. One of the more underrated players in the NFL for years, the longtime Rams captain hasn’t missed a game since entering the NFL as a second-round pick of St. Louis in 2009.

He never made a Pro Bowl, but multiple times Laurinaitis was voted by his peers to the NFL Network Top-100, which annually honors and ranks the best players in the league.

Joe thinks the Bucs should take a long hard look at Laurinaitis, who told ESPN yesterday that he believes is still productive.

Business, the 29-year-old Laurinaitis said, is what sank him. He was scheduled to earn about $9 million this season.

Is Kwon Alexander best suited for middle linebacker in Mike Smith’s defense?

Danny Lansanah is about a year and a half older than Laurinaitis and will be a free agent if the Bucs don’t re-sign him in the next 18 days. Can Laurinaitis be versatile? And again, what does Mike Smith’s defense look like?

As a veteran, getting cut means you’re immediately a free agent. The Bucs can bring in Laurinaitis right now for a long sniff and a workout. Joe would have to think Laurinaitis would be jazzed to play alongside two quality linebackers like Alexander and Lavonte David.

Of course, as a starting point, the Bucs’ supreme talent evaluators would have to like what Laurinaitis put on film last year.

37 Responses to “The Bucs And James Laurinaitis”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    Can’t hurt to bring in Laurinatis for “a long sniff and a workout” as you say Joe. No way Bucs would sign him for $9 mil however.

  2. Mike Johnson Says:

    Age is a factor. Qwon Alexander is young, good and will get much better. 9 mil can be better spent elsewhere. We have far more needs on Defense.

  3. BigMacAttack Says:

    Sign him up

  4. dave Says:

    sign him. we got the $. get the best people in the building that you can. let mike mold a defense out of the talent you got. if smith decides to do some 3-4 looks (which i would love as a base d) then we’re going to need 4 solid lbs on the field sometimes.
    can never have enough talent. at least JL has done it well each yr he’s been in the league

  5. dave Says:

    bring in long too. he’ll be our most talented de we’ve had since bennett and as we know.. we got the $

  6. Bucs SB with Jameis Says:

    Color me stupid but we have a Solid young core. I am all for winning but bringing in guys who only have a couple years left doesn’t build a long lasting team. I understand the need for temporary stop gaps but I don’t think that is needed in our LB corps. Just my opinion

  7. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Kwon is excelling at MLB. Makes no sense to move him. If Jameis Laurinaitis can plat OLB, well, that would be different. If he’s willing to settle for being depth, then have him replace Bruce Carter at a lower salary. But if the intent is to more Kwon…FORGET IT.

    Took us YEARS to find a great MLB! Now its being sugested we move him to outside!?!?!?!?

  8. tmaxcon Says:

    the bucs don’t have to pay him 9million that is why he was released. he will earn NO where near that from any team that signs him. Bucs Likely can get him cheaper than the walking injury Bruce Carter… He would be a clear upgrade and more durable than both Carter and Lansanah

  9. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    dave Says
    “…sign him.”

    To replace Kwon Alexander? Because that is what I’m sensing Joe is suggesting in his article. Or seems to be.

    Just because a guy becomes available, that doesn’t mean we should get him. Unless he comes very cheap and is willing to play as backup, forget it.

    Everyone talks about how Lovie’s defense laid down the last 4 games last year. What no one mentions is that for those 4 games, they started Bruce Carter at MLB because Kwon was suspended.

    Missing Kwon was what did them in. Later, the players even stated that they had been rallying around Kwon…just was his contagious positive attitude.

  10. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    tmaxcon is right. the $9 mil was the reason he was cut, to save cap room. He’d be lucky to get 3-4 on the open market.

  11. tmaxcon Says:


    I am excited about Kwon as the next guy but let’s not get carried away about labeling him a “Great” middle linebacker just yet. Let’s see if he can make it 16 games next year before throwing out labels like great. He has potential to be great yes but has not proven himself consistently for the greatness category. Let’s not forget the number of 1 year wonders the bucs have had previously. Greatness has to be proven / earned just not handed out because he was one of the standouts on possibly the worst defense in the NFL overall. I love his fire and speed but the suspension is a big question mark. He does not get the free pass it was red bull that’s what they all say that excuses goes right there with the secondary smoke for the tanard jackson defenders.

    And like Joe mentioned no one knows what Smith has in store maybe Kwon is a better fit on the outside for his scheme. I know this is a foreign concept for lovie defenders but hell maybe he might move kwon around to create better matchups for his speed.

  12. Johncurtis Says:

    More importantly, they cut Chris Long. That’s where the Bucs need to look. Did someone say we need a defensive end / pass rusher?

  13. lowlife Says:

    Laurinitis is hot garbage and not on Kwon’s level at this stage in their careers. It wasn’t just his salalry, but his poor soft play that got him cut. He’s nothing more than a name.

    The Broncos have two FA linebackers that are miles away better in talent.

    LA has better FA defensive players Tampa should be targeting. Trumaine Johnson being the best.

  14. Alstott up the gut Says:

    A move like this should spell the end for Bruce Carter. I think Joe brings up a good point about Kwon Alexander’s role in this new defense. Once we know that, we’ll know if JL fits. Either way, I’m taking a more serious look at Long. Injuries will make him less expensive and he fits what the Bucs need most!

  15. Trubucfan22 Says:

    The bucs arent that far off. If we can improve in the obvious spots we have been talking about the last season. Then we could be playoff contenders next season. If lauranitis can help this defense. Then bring him in right now. He is a mature leader too. Great in the locker room, on the field, and in the community. If the price is right, we should most definitely sign him.

    also if anyone read mike smith’s book, the very first chapter and what he believes is the most important “c” of the 7 “c’s”, is Culture. Signing a guy like Laurinitis could help change the culture in a positive way.

  16. Big Marlon B Says:

    everyone gets so caught up on positions, and worrying about Kwon getting “replaced”, while failing to take into account that teams are in nickel or dime in most situations these days. meaning less than half of the time, there will be 3 LBs on the field.

    Laurinaitis won’t see a $9 mil contract. if he was worth that, LA would have kept him. he will probably see about half of that in his next contract. he is a proven, productive, durable leader with great instincts and a nose for the football.

    having quality depth is never a bad thing. Kwon could move to the strong side in 4-3 looks, and maybe stay on with LVD in nickel situations. or he could even rotate with Laurinaitis in those situations, because Laurinaitis does have some coverage skills for a bigger MLB. he could take Lavonte and Kwon under his wing and help take them to the next level.

    i feel the same exact way about Chris Long. he may not be a fast twitch Simeon Rice type DE, but he still knows how to get to the QB. very versatile as he is a phenomenal run stopper as well. he could come in and be the true leader of the DL room from day 1. he could help mentor whatever DE they end up drafting.

    look at the impact Mankins had on the offensive line. even if he ends up retiring, Donovan Smith Ali Marpet and Kevin Pamphile are all in a position to be more successful players simply because of his presence, and him showing them how to be true professionals. even if it’s for 2 years, Laurinaitis and Long could have the same kind of impact on the defense. i’m definitely intrigued by both of these guys.

  17. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Really bonzai? Lauranitis would not “replace” alexander. Depending on what the coaching staff figures out. Laur could be brought in to be sam backer, or if the coaching staff thinks kwon could play the sam backer role, then move him over and play laur at middle. Having 3 stud linebackers who are tackling machines with speed, would be an amazing set up. The only problem would be figuring out who comes off the field in nickle packages. But that is good problem to have. You can never have too many talented players.

  18. Big Marlon B Says:

    @ Trubucfan

    well said sir. signing a veteran doesn’t always mean stunting the growth of younger players. it can speed it up because what they learn off the field, translates to on the field.

  19. Big Marlon B Says:

    but after having said all of that, this is probaly a moot point anyway. because this is exactly the type of player that Belicheat creams his pants over. and i’m sure Laurinaitis wouldn’t mind settling on a smaller contract if he had to, to be on an instant contender.

  20. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    I’m as big of a Kwon fan as anybody here. But let’s look at his assets. Speed..speed..and more speed!!! Let’s look at his skills…non stop motor..gets to the ball in a hurry…has a knack for what is happening on the field.

    But let’s also look at his liabilities…which for me are only one…6-1..227lbs. He is really…really light for an MLB. If they moved him outside I would not be dissappointed at all. And he could also be used more effectively blitzing.

    As someone else pointed out in the nickel one of the LB’s sits anyway..hard to imagine it would be Kwon or LVD considering their speed.

    I’m meh about Laurentitis but any FA MLB who can do the job…even if only for a couple of years until we draft a killer MLB is OK with me.

  21. J-Maguire Says:

    the writer understands that “Jameis” and “James” are not interchangeable, right? I guess not.

  22. The Real Malloy Says:

    I like Laurenitis, but this defense (especially the LB’s) are all about speed. We have a couple of the fastest line backers in the league. Laurenitis is in no way, shape, or form fast. An excellent MLB? Absolutely, but not for how this defense is going to built under Mike Smith.

    But…..what about Chris Long?

  23. dave Says:

    im fine with using JL at mlb and using kwon and lvd to blitz more and from all over.

  24. darin Says:

    If you think he’s garbage you don’t watch much football. Good old school linebacker.

  25. John McKillop Says:

    Dave and Johncurtis, Chris Long should not be considered because the last 2 years he only played in 11 games and had 4 sacks, good player, don’t know if he bounces back after two rough years. Laurinaitis very good player, would bring him in for the right price.

  26. Tom S. Says:

    Between Mark Barron and James Lauranaitis, GM Joe appears to feel the real weak spot in our defense was our Sam LBer Danny Lansanah. Poor Danny, what did he ever do to Joe? Does GM Joe think that all if the coverage problems we had in 2015 was the result from not having a better part-time linebacker?

  27. Costa Rica John Says:

    There is no reason he would want to play here at the end of his career. My guess is he would want to go to a winner and try to make it to the Super Bowl. I bet he signs with the Patriots.

  28. Anmlmike Says:

    Hell yeah bring ANIMALS kid to Tampa!

  29. biff barker Says:

    Do this right freeking now! This cat can run and hit. Prime age!


    Biffer has openly pined about a thumper at Mike. We’s have easily the best LB Corps in the NFC. Let LVD and Qwan loose!


  30. Kevin Says:

    Anyone know why there are talks of letting sterling moore the most consistent corner on the team from last season walk????? Sound stupid to me.

  31. Tbbucs3 Says:

    James Laurniatis has played 99% of snaps in his 7 seasons with the Rams, he’d be a great addition, would probably be a starter over Lansanah.

  32. biff barker Says:

    This is a gift horse staring right at M Smith.

    Do it.

    Then Sanu or Benjamin, then Mario Williams and/or Vernon. Fook. Get both. Throw in Sean Smith at CB too.

  33. Bob in Valrico Says:

    @st pete buc
    not a bad strategy.I am all for unleashing both our linebackers on the blitz
    some of the most prolific sackmasters in the the NFL were linebackers.Derrick
    Thomas,Lawrence taylor,Von Miller and demarcus Ware all linebackers.Now
    with current personnel if you line up Gholston and LVD for instance it can create uncertainty for offensive lineman deciding who to block. Add coverage
    skills and you just might have building block of the defense.

  34. James Walker Says:

    Get Von Miller and put Kwon at strong side LB.

  35. Gofortheface30 Says:

    “Tampa Bay is not that far off.”

    Incorrect sir.

  36. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Bring in Chris Long for a “sniff & workout” as well as Charles Johnson ( if the panthers let him walk) that would be immediate upgrades at DE.

  37. bucs4life86 Says:

    I don’t think lansanah will be brought back, so that leaves a a hole at sam. I think Bruce Carter should be the man for the job. He showed when given the chance last season he can be a productive starter. We’re paying him all that money now it’s time we let him earn it.