Free Agency Frenzy At One Buc Palace

August 6th, 2016

jason licht 0224bBuild through the draft?

If opening day was this Sunday, your Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be starting six free agents on defense with an average age of 30 years old.

Chris Conte, Alterraun Verner, Brent Grimes, Daryl Smith, Robert Ayers and Clinton McDonald have been all around the NFL and now they’re on the Bucs’ first team. All were acquired in free agency under the Jason Licht administration.

Frankly, they all look damn solid through eight days of training camp. McDonald and Verner might even turn the 2014 free agent class, the one that looked like an Oscar-winning horror movie for too long, into a respectable haul. (Hat tip to Evan Smith for helping a bit with that, though Joe will never stomach the Josh McCown signing.)

It’s an interesting phenomenon at play. The weakness of Licht had been listening to Lovie Smith  free agency, but now that seems poised to change in a hurry.

Ayers, Smith and Grimes are not just names and resumés. They’ve been impact examples and are standing out in training camp, especially versus 2014 big-money free agents Anthony Collins and Michael “Ghost” Johnson, who were content with mediocrity and stealing Team Glazer loot from the day they arrived.

On offense, the Bucs have much more homegrown/home-developed talent, of course. But it’s 2014 free agent Louis Murphy whose return Bucs fans yearn to see, and the O-line was resurrected last year with free agents Joe Hawley and Gosder Cherilus. Arguably the biggest X-factor on the entire 2016 roster, Mr. Vincent Jackson, is one of the best free agent signings (2012) in Bucs history.

Tampa Bay is coming off what might be the second greatest draft in team history, the grand slam of 2015, but the success of this season will ride on the backs of free agents. If victories flow like beer in Joe’s living room, look for a statue of Licht on Dale Mabry Highway.

18 Responses to “Free Agency Frenzy At One Buc Palace”

  1. The Buc Realist Says:

    This is what you have to do when your “Home Grown” players in their 4th to 9th years, are only the number of 3!!!! 3 starters out of the pop-star reign of failures!!!! And He Was Selecting At Very High Draft Picks!!!!!!!!!

    If i give the incompetent one any credit or the best move he did, was when he broke the coaches code and underhandedly interviewed for Coach Schiano’s job in October 2013. Coach my scheme demanded that if he took the job, he did not want to work with the pop-star!!!!! Credit to the no class coach in Illinois!!!

    He realized like many that mark dominik was the worst GM in Buc History!!! Having more resources from the high drafts, free-agents, selecting coaches and coordinators, and wasting money like he was the federal government!!!!!! he is a complete failure!!!!!

  2. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    I think Verner is poised for a great season as well as Grimes. This defense has the potential to be very formidable and become great once they get the scheme down all together. Just like the last regime it will take time for the players to adapt but not like the last one. This one should be a alot quicker and it’s already been said in camp that players are fitting in well and feel comfortable, the last one was set up for failure from day one so u really can’t compare the two. It will be very interesting to see players that were a dissapointing fit for Loviea scheme, fit into this new scheme and play well wich I think most of the will, wich will only provide more evidence why Lovie didn’t know wtf he was doing anymore and was outdated. The biggest difference between Smitty and Lovie?? One knows how to adapt to the league and his players strengths. As well as utilizing the talents he has, not trying to jam a square peg into a round hole.

  3. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    Here’s a question for ya, who was worst, Bruce Allen or Mark Dominick?? Let me know your opinion realist, and everyone else as well.

  4. The Buc Realist Says:

    Its not even close!!!! mark dominik!!!!!

    do you think it is just an accident that the 3 teams that NFL GM Bruce Allen has been on has been to the playoffs twice!!!!!! I know some think that GM Allen’s draft were terrible in Tampa, and they were!!! But if you look at the popstar who was drafting higher, had a worst draft record, worst free-agent record!!! and picked coaches that could not make it a 1 year in the league!!!! wasted more money than any GM in Buc History!!!!

  5. tmaxcon Says:

    Don’t leave McKay of the list of bad drafting gm either. McKay couldn’t put an offense together and whyce already had the key pieces of dungy’s defense in place. I don’t think 2 people could possibly be more overrated in bucs histiry than mckay and dungy …

    Allen and Dominick were worse but mckay was bad in his own right.

  6. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I don’t have Mark Dominik as a person, but I hated him as a GM.
    I actually like him on ESPN.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Dominick is a charmer….he looks good and talks good…..many including Joe are smitten with him…..but as a GM, his record is clear…..he was an absolute disaster…we are just now starting to recover from his failure.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Rich McKay, Bruce Allen, Mark Dominic … old news. Jason Licht … doing an excellent job of building a winning team here in Tampa. Started off a bit shaky by bringing guys like Collins, Johnson and McCown onboard as FAs, but I suspect that Lovie had a lot to do with that. Most of the other FAs he’s signed are either presently starters (McDonald, Ayers, Darryl Smith, Conte, McDougald, Verner, Grimes, Hawley) or good depth players. Throw in what Jason’s done from a drafting perspective and I can’t see why anyone would beach about the job he’s done for us here in Tampa Bay.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We might be able to add Banks to the list of losers Dominick drafted….he was just listed as our #5 CB. Apparently, it wasn’t just coaching with Banks… about that for a 2nd rounder?

  10. Real Buc Fan Says:

    Licht has changed our drafting culture in Tampa brought a winning formula.

  11. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    The Buc Realist

    “No Class Coach In Illinois”

    C’mon brotha – You can spit your rants about our Ole’ Ball coach.
    Lack of preparation, 2nd half adjustments; etc. But to attack a GOOD mans character goes beyond reproach; even for you.

    Listen I think I was the only one this blog that went ballistic.
    When our Ole’ ball coach did the following things.

    • When he was asleep at the combine during one of the drills
    • When he passed on coaching the Senior Bowl.
    • When EVERYONE knew Carl Nicks was done – and he waited until the last minute to replace him. Basically not allowing ANY continuity to be established – across the offensive line. Then to hear him say that continuity is overrated in terms of offensive line play – drove me up the wall.

    • When he didn’t hire a Senior Offensive Asst. when Jeff Tedford down.

    * If you remember I wanted him fired after the 4th game. Tank the season – put Hardy in as Interim Head Coach etc.

    I can go on and on – but one thing I’ll never do is speak Ill of his character.
    Why? Because I’ve heard too many times – how our Ole Ball coach has helped mentor troubled young men; across the league. Young men with chronic alcohol, painkillers abuse – etc. He’s been a strong role model for many.

    Now in regards to your postion on the Popstar – I agree with you 100%

  12. Destro44 Says:

    @defense rules

    I typically give Licht a pass on the first group of free agents and the draft because of the timing of his hiring. I recall when he was hired he kept Dominick’s scouting personnel on board because there wasn’t time to hire a new staff and get scouting done before free agency and the draft. Let’s face it as a GM you are only as good as your scouting department for current pros and draft eligible players.

  13. Buccfan37 Says:

    A bit off topic, Lovie wasn’t very big on Glennon either. McCown has to earn an honorable mention for the beating that he took at QB, imo. On Dungy entering the Hall of Fame, I have tempered my negative opinion and want to congratulate Tony for that honor. I read that recent piece in the Times with his young pic on the sports page cover. His coaching did keep the defense tough. If that propelled you into a sports media TV gig, more power to you.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Destro44 … Great point about still having Dominick’s scouting personnel onboard. Your point about a GM only being “as good as his scouting department” is also right on. Same goes for OCs and DCs and their assistants in my opinion … it’s the HC’s assistant coaches that make or break how well the team does. Just look at last year’s secondary coaches as an example. (Oops, cue The Realist).

  15. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    “Let’s face it as a GM you are only as good as your scouting department for current pros and draft eligible players.”

    Very true – Winning w/ Mckay –Gets blown out proportion a lot.
    Especially when you think of the personell dept. during his tenure

    Rich McKay’s-(Personnel Tree)
    • Jerry Angelo (1987 -2005)
    • Tim Ruskell (1987- 2005)
    • Ruston Webster (1988 – 2005)
    • John Idzik Jr. (1993 – 2004)
    • Mark Dominik (1997 – 2013)

    Note: Remember Rich McKay joined the organization in 93′. He had zero experience when he took over as Bucs GM. Yet with the help of the above men, built the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into a decade long power and playoff run.

  16. Lunchbox Says:

    @Joe, no argument at all about VJax, but I have to say signing the trio of Keyshawn (despite the price), Keenan McCardell, and my boy Joe Jurivicius (sp?) seemed to pay some dividends as well.

  17. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Yeah right. It’ll change because of underwear football…

  18. tmaxcon Says:


    you are giving mckay a little too much credit considering that whyce had final say over the roster and called the shots draft day. whether that is 100% it went down who knows. Given the fact that Gruden had to replace so many players to get the offense functional…. McKay was a politician who well liked in league circles and was very good for the team and the city of tampa he was not the best talent guy and that list of people under them whith exception of 1 have had their share of failures in the league as well. Idzik and Dominik scary bad… Jerry Angelo had his share of controversies and bad deals in his day…

    With the bad playoff record the bucs had it’s unfair to label them a powerhouse for a decade. let’s not rewrite history. 4 good years under dungy and a few under gruden is hardly a decade long powerhouse especially with all the playoff losses. Even regular seasons when defense was ruling the league Dungy’s offenses were so horrendous hardly a trait of a powerhouse.

    Anyhow much respect sir I just don’t see the history the same. I see a lot of missed opportunity and even a bad offense would have helped the poor defense back in the dungy days.