Did Jason Licht Belt Another Grand Slam?

December 13th, 2016
"Hey, Team Glazer. You like that! You like that!"

“Hey, Team Glazer. You like that! You like that!”

General manager Jason Licht has been quite a polarizing figure this season for many hardcore Bucs fans.

Angry sects were calling for Licht’s head six weeks ago. Now most of those folks are hiding with the Mike Glennon Mob.

That’s life in the NFL. And Joe savors every minute of it.

Joe was never in the blame-Licht-for-every-problem crowd. In fact, one could argue Licht is on the cusp of hitting his second consecutive grand slam, a stunning feat.

The first grand slam came last season in the drafting of Kwon Alexander, Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith and America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston. Those rookies had A-list success. What GM pulls four instant studs from a draft?

Now Joe’s looking at the expensive and key pieces in the free agent class of 2016.

  1. Brent Grimes, on paper, should be headed to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl.
  2. Veteran strongside linebacker Daryl Smith has been a model of consistency, a mentor, and Dirk Koetter said yesterday that Smith probably played his best game this season on Sunday.
  3. Robert Ayers, per a plugged in ex-Buccaneer, is playing at a Pro Bowl level and is the on-field standard for Bucs defensive players. Joe can say that along with Jameis, Ayers is the spiritual beast in the locker room. The Bully.
  4. Bryan Anger is turning in likely the best season ever delivered by a Bucs punter. He’s been the rare difference-maker at the position.

Yes, big-money guard J.R. Sweezy, who never practiced as a Buccaneer, keeps Licht from getting the same grand-slam honor as last year. But perfection isn’t expected, and Licht did a hell of a job with his 2016 free agency moves.

Free agency was a nasty stain on Licht’s resumé, but Licht took a big cleanup step there this season.

Joe may forever regret the move not made to bolster this Bucs receiving corps, but those chickens have already been discussed.

At least the Bucs will have plenty of money to fix that problem in March. And Team Glazer should trust Licht to do just that.

41 Responses to “Did Jason Licht Belt Another Grand Slam?”

  1. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey Joe: what other bands does Licht dig besides AC/DC? 🙂

  2. mike Says:

    Dude, this freaking punter will make you forget about tommy tupa. He is lights out and as been huge. D smith and R Ayers have been solid vets that have raised everyone level of play and Grimmes has been great. I wonder if Mike Smith doesn’t deserve some credit for helping get 2 of his former players here.

  3. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Jason Licht has done a good job, overall. No one is perfect, but we are heading for the playoffs.

  4. Patrick in VA Says:

    Excellent call and good job giving credit where it’s due. It’s easy to focus on the FA flops he’s had, but this offseason has definitely been a win. Couple that with 2 solid drafts in a row and the new culture of winning at Raymond James, I think it’s time to revisit talks about renaming the stadium the Licht House.

  5. The Buc Realist Says:

    The crazy thing is that they were not expensive!!!! and most were basic 1-year bridge player deals with a second year option!!!!! The exciting part to me is that we ( by all looks) appear to be drafting in the bottom finally!!!!! This is what will separate average GM’s with very good GM’s!!!!

  6. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    The sweezy thing sucks, but how has it hurt us? We didnt lose any players or draft picks, Glazers got plenty of dough to spare. This OL needs help anyway, maybe we already have a new piece for next year

  7. mike Says:

    @jolly.. it only hurt bc if we don’t sign sweezy then that money goes to someone else so we get another player but yeah mostly only cost money so overall jason looks great as long as the young guys keep progressing

  8. rayjay1122 Says:

    I would not really include Donovan Smith as a stud in the draft picks. He is a starter but has been a liability at LT. Other than that I agree with everything else.

  9. tdtb2015 Says:

    After the 2015 draft, I thought we would be know for our offense. It is refreshing to watch Licht’ masterpiece coming alive. He is building a complete bad a$$ team.

    It would be surreal to see a Raiders vs Bucs super bowl this season.

    Go Bucs!!!

  10. Shadow man Says:

    Click the chickens article and read the comments. It’s an October post…classic

  11. Max Says:

    No Lovie = better free agency pick ups

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Mark Dominick hit a grand slam……1 player each year for 4 years….I think.

  13. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    And of course there is that elephant in the room 2nd round pick that could have been used for players who actually positively impact the team. And Laremy Tunsil should have been the 1st round pick this year

  14. Jonny 2.2 Says:

    Although we are attached to our current group of O-linemen, we should still have an open mind about JR Sweezy. Fact of the matter is, we are still bad at run blocking and mediocre at pass protection. JR Sweezy’s track record is mediocre, but hopefully he turns out to be an upgrade, however minor it is eventually. Great free agent class by Licht though. Hope he keeps investing in free agency, we need speedy weapons for Jameis and further strengthening of O-line.

  15. BKNYfootballhead Says:

    You could add Shorts and Rogers as productive in-season FA pick ups

  16. DallasBuc Says:

    Conveniently left out the disaster AguaOh,no that he spent a valuable 2nd round pick on. There is simply no doubt to the objective observer that had AguaOh,no been an undrafted rookie he would never have seen the regular season but in an attempt to shield the fragile ego-in-chief GM from having to admit a mistake he puts the rest of the team and it’s fan base on the toe of this lousy keeker.
    Cue the young Janikowski comparisons because he’s made a few self-esteem boosting kiddie kicks and conveniently not asked to kick anything remotely challenging at the NFL level.
    Liabilities raise their ugly heads at the worst time.
    AguaOh,no is a liability and we are in a full blown playoff push. Do the math but whatever you do don’t blame Jason Licht. He only gets held responsible for any good decisions made and left out of the discussion for the numerous failures.

  17. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    I’m not sure who is responsible for FA’s in the Lovie era…Licht or Lovie. Lovie did have roster control. The impression I got at the time was that Lovie was picking FA’s and Licht was running the draft. I could be mistaken.

  18. bucsfaninchina Says:

    You could also include the decision to retain Conte, despite his being a Lovire guy

  19. pick6 Says:

    especially when you account for his impact on the team’s attitude, Ayers is a vastly better value than flashier, bigger-dollar signings like Olivier Vernon and Malik Jackson

  20. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Dallas Buc is that the best vitriol towards Licht you can bring? F3 grade on that.

    There is simply no doubt to the objective observer

    So now your OPINION is the arbiter of objectivity? Really?

    I feel pretty objective when I need to be and I have plenty of difference.

    It’s a two part issue. The first is the player himself! Is Aguayo going to cut it or not? That’s true for every draft pick who comes into the league and it runs about 50% success for that round.

    Any OBJECTIVE observer would know that the verdict is still out on Aguayo’s abilities. As to whether he would have received the same chance if he had been an undrafted FA….DUH…how many freaking players in this league are only in the league because their high draft status gave them a better opportunity to showcase their talents?

    Aguayo’s season pretty much mirrors the Bucs….a horrible start…getting better…still needing more consistency to prove we belong. You could say that about virtually any player on the team including #3!!! That AZ game was scary! For both Roberto and #3.

    I think we can say “objectively” that #3 is going to make it in this league…the verdict is still out on Aguayo.

    The second part of the argument is that NO KICKER is worth a second round pick. That’s a debate that could go on forever I guess but I think a star FG kicker like Vinateri has as much impact on a game as many 2nd and even 1st round picks. Watching Anger contribute as much as he has from the punter’s spot should help people realize the importance of Special Teams.

    As for Licht’s rep in all of this…what a freaking joke…#3..Kwon..Marpet..Smith and now VH…and Noah…and yes the Brate’s of the world count too!

    So even assuming Aguayo is a bust like half the other second rounders…it’s hard to see Licht as anything but genius in the draft based on his winners and losers so far…toss ASJ into the loser pile and then measure up all the winners.

  21. pick6 Says:

    @DallasBuc, i think the point of this article is that every GM makes ugly misses in Free Agency and the draft, which makes getting it right in bunches (as licht did in last year’s draft and in 2016 free agency by joe’s argument) a rare and highly desirable achievement by a GM. Acknowledging success doesn’t disavow failure and vice versa.

    joe spends a fair bit of time berating the GM for sleeping on the WR position this offseason (mentioned and linked in this very article) and has had more than a few articles about Aguayo’s season-long flirtation with “worst kicker in the NFL” status

  22. orlbucfan Says:

    I know it’s O/T but: what other music outfits does Licht like? No snark.

  23. Evo Says:

    He may not have hit a grand slam joe. Buy he darn sure hot for the cycle and I’ll take that. 4 for 5 is still great and a well deserved cycle.

  24. Lord Cornelius Says:

    DallasBuc this is an article about his success in FA this last year and not the draft.

    What the f*ck do you want man? Should we fire Light in the midst of our best win streak in 14 years because of a bad late 2nd round pick?

    Joe has already been critical of Aguayo’s up and down season. This isn’t about that…

    It’s easy as hell to pick on Aguayo. Low hanging fruit of fan hatred honestly. You’re so objective and insightful when you point out something we all already know lol…

    Are you going to do this with any article about the GM? If we win the Super Bowl will you be here saying “God you guys why aren’t we talking about Aguayno! Be objective and stop celebrating!”

  25. MadMax Says:

    I hope Sweezy works out for us next year but we should def have a plan B if he doesnt.

    If we can sign Eric Berry, safety is fixed and has backups in place. Sign another WR too. Then Draft WR first, RT second and maybe a big blocking TE or Pass rusher 3rd.

    Still have a few holes but so far so good. This is how you build. It takes a little time.

  26. MadMax Says:

    @LC, spot on. Dallas is cool but man the hate for Roberto even after he’s started improving is crazy. And he’s a rookie…..give the kid a chance jeeze.

  27. BUC IT Says:

    just not gonna let go of that fact that we drafted a kicker in the 2nd round. We could’ve added more depth to the line.

  28. Bucsfanman Says:

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda. He’s done an admirable job altogether and that’s the point. I still trust the guy and so should we all.

  29. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    St Pete everyone is always trying to decipher who was in charge of what during the Lovie and Licht era. Do you really think they sat down and said “ok, I will handle the draft Lovie and you handle free agency?” I would assume it was a very collaborative effort with Lovie having final say on ALL personnel decisions. However, I would guess there wasn’t a single personnel decision made with out a lot of consideration given to Licht’s opinion. Lovie demanded final say when he took the job in Tampa so to believe that he was hands off during the draft is just downright silly.

  30. pick6 Says:

    the joes seem to have written this possibility off, but if sweezy sticks around and merits a starting role in 2017, the “bust” label could be cast off of him too. imagine if Sweezy could replace Marpet as the mauler at RG, and Marpet can make the move to Center where the consensus seems to be that he could be a heck of a player. Hawley and Evan Smith become pretty darn good backups or cap casualties if someone younger & cheaper outplays them. suddenly the bucs are in the conversation for the league’s best interior line with some starter-quality depth to boot

  31. Nole4JabooANDdBucs Says:

    If we are going to be hell to beat we need to be elite in all facets. Aguayo is a rookie who will be clutch given time. We are going to be the next best team in the NFL.

    Just wait 4 it.

    Licht is putting all the pieces there so please just let it go…

  32. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    I agree that since Lovie had total roster control he should get credit for draft successes as well as FA wins and losses. As Joe points out there would be no #3 here if Lovie didn’t sign off on the move.

    I agree completely that both Lovie and Licht has input into every personnel decision that was made. Even though Licht it the titular head of the franchise and players now I suspect that Koetter still has major input on player selection…draft and FA’s.

    I think this organization is now very deep in coaching and managerial talent. All of their decisions are probably very collaborative as they should be when you have a staff like ours loaded with veteran coaches.

    If they are looking at a #2 WR next year it may be Licht’s call but we can rest assured Koetter will have a large say and I suspect folks like Monken and others will have input as well. This is what I”m really liking about the Bucs right now.
    We’re getting a solid organization from top to bottom.

  33. Bucsfanman Says:

    “We’re getting a solid organization from top to bottom”

    So true. It starts at the top. All winning organizations build the foundation. Put football people in charge of football decisions and get out of the way.

  34. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    OK, guess I need to split this in pieces to see what is “not” filtering out my post after two times posting it:

    Part 1. Quite simply, I think Licht has done a great job. Pick a GM in the entire history of GMs who hasn’t made some mistakes. Even a few boneheaded ones. Look at some of Bill’s drafts in N.E.

  35. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    Part 2

    But, bottom line, all three phases of the team are vastly improved with what he started with.

  36. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    Part 3:

    Even if you aren’t a fan of him (same goes for GMC). As a fan, I don’t understand the vitriol…some of you might as well be spittling in anger like he drove over your dog, and ravaged your wife. (I had to change the verbs here to avoid the “not” filters.)

    If this describes you at all, it’s time to take a step back and get your values reorganized, and also, Pssst…..THE BUCS ARE FRIGGIN 8-5!!!!

    TEAM LICHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Wouldn’t be the same grand slam anyway. One was drafting, one wasn’t.

  38. RumRunner Says:

    I think he’s probably more of a Megadeth kind of guy.

  39. nate Says:

    Jason scouting department has hit on Cameron Brate hes like our 2nd round pick for sefarian Austin.. way better plays with passion gets better every week I really think this is the best diamond in the ruff and he don’t get enuff credit!

  40. America's Commenter Says:

    No. The J.R. Sweezy signing was a flat out bust, which brings the A- for Grimes, B for Smith, and B+ for Ayers down to C+ average. Sorry, no points for punters.

    I have to think both Grimes and Smith were highly recommended by Mike Smith since Licht passed on both in previous off seasons, so it’s tough to give Licht any credit for those signings.

    Licht is a decent college scout, but he’s a terrible pro scout, and that’s at least half his job as GM. The C+ sticks.

  41. Dizim Says:

    Well tell me what gm has been perfect or better than him? Joe…..You act like he filled some big shoes and the Gm before him was some kinda rock star at free agency. I’m not sure if your being positive or just smug as you usually do and I put money on it that Lee wrote this one.