O-Line Blessings And Sitting On Cash

March 18th, 2017

It’s Gil Arcia’s Saturday column! His sixth since joining the team.

JoeBucsFan.com Saturday columnist

The Buccaneers’ offensive line remains a hot topic. Most of it – well, the majority of it – is negative.

People are upset America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, was sacked so many times (I’ll get to that later). They say they had no running game, they feel left tackle Donovan Smith was a wasted pick (just two seasons in), and they’ve questioned this week’s re-signing of center Joe Hawley. I’m sure I missed other reasons for the hatred.

Personally, I never understood the displeasure. Tampa Bay’s coaching staff hasn’t either. They love those big guys. They’ve let it be known they support them. They even back a guy that just received a roster bonus and has yet to practice or play: veteran J.R. Sweezy.

This puzzles a lot of fans, and I do mean A LOT. But let’s look at a couple things here.

Winston’s sacks were not as bad as many claim. Did they come at bad times? At times, sure.  But the Bucs were ranked 15th in the league in sacks allowed. That means 17 other teams likely would have protected their quarterbacks better if they had Tampa Bay’s offensive line.

Secondly, a lot of factors go into that sack number. For example, Winston holding on to the football too long (which happened), receivers not getting opened (which also happened), and not having a respectable running game (which also happened) among other things.

Speaking of the running game, what’s up with that? Well, the Bucs were indeed unsuccessful in that department. That was largely because of a back named Doug Martin, who has a reliability problem and may not make it to the season in pewter despite the fact the team doesn’t owe him a dime.

But they did bring back Jacquizz Rodgers, who WAS successful behind the same line Martin tried running behind.

So no, the line was not as bad as many folks make it out to be. Many within NFL circles agree with that statement, as well as the team, of course.

Bucs Can Sit On Their Money

Despite the team’s defense of its offensive line, fans want(ed) general manager Jason Licht and Co. to spend money on signing free agent linemen. I have been asked about it a hundred times since the opening of free agency.

However, they haven’t. And from a money standpoint, they don’t have to.


That’s right, they don’t.

When the collective bargaining agreement was signed back in 2011, it stated teams must spend 89 percent of their salary cap cash across a four-year span. The Bucs sit comfortably above that mark.

The NFLPA published numbers back in December of each team’s cap cash spent in the four years from 2013 to 2016. Teams were to spend at a minimum $493,549,500 of the total four-year salary cap of $554,550,000. Tampa Bay had spent $539,736,102. Clearly above the 89 percent mark.

Entering this year’s new four-year span, the Bucs had one of the highest cap figures available. Many expected them to spend like crazy, but they essentially do not have to.

That 89 percent includes bonuses, such as roster, workout, and signing. Like the ones Will Gholston got. The one DeSean Jackson got. Oh, and also the roster bonus Sweezy got.

See what they are doing?

The Bucs will have to eventually pay out money to Jameis (he will be so rich), Mike Evans and Gerald McCoy, when he is due again, etc. So spending now is irrelevant.

If Bucs fans are still expecting the team to spend, I’m sorry. They have three offseasons left before they “have to.”

27 Responses to “O-Line Blessings And Sitting On Cash”

  1. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    Not true abt o line. Jameis’ elite pocket presence and elusiveness is the only reason the oline wasnt close to league worst in sacks allowed

  2. bucNation Says:

    the run game and recievers not getting open definitely factored into the sacks i think our o line has solid pieces at atleast 3 positions but center for sure is the weak link and the thing about your o line is you don’t want to blow it up after just 2 years they’re gonna get better the more they play together and grow but if a lot of the same problems are happening 2 years from now ? it might then be time to look to upgrade

  3. Andrew Says:

    I agree w/ Jolly

  4. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    I love #3 as much as anybody but he is a very young kid with just two years of college ball and one year of NFL experience going into last year. That was a 22 year old kid with 3 years of big time football experience with two of those tainted by the distraction of a budding baseball career. In short…he was INCREDIBLY inexperienced…not his fault…it simply was a FACT.

    Gil is absolutely correct!!! #3 has yet to learn when a play is dead and when to chuck it into the cheap seats. I can even list the number of times I was screaming throw it away THROW IT AWAY!!! I concede as does Koetter that a few of those times he DID make a fantastic play…but again according to Koetter that is one of the major things #3 will work on this year. And like others here I expect young #3 to really blossom this year. He’s smart, he’s motivated, and he’ll figure it out with EXPERIENCE…the best teacher!

    As for our Oline…Muscle Turtle was just gawd awful last year. We had NO RT…at times when Gosder was in there he didn’t even get fingertips much less a hand…much less a chip block…much less a real block..on LDE’s. He was invisible. So you start with 80% of an Oline. We were also weak at Center.

    And so we start this season with 60% of a proven, EFFECTIVE, line!!! We need to solidify just two positions. We need to find a RT and improve at Center.

    Again….the negative nellies here are already criticizing Licht for something that doesnt even exist. We have NO OL yet for 2017. Just think of the possible combinations. What if both Sweezy and Hawley return healthy? Do we move Pamphile to RT…is Benenoch ready….what if Sweezy is healthy and Marpet moves to Center? One of the greatest Centers of all time Kevin Mawae did EXACTLY that in his third year. It’s hardly unprecedented.

    So what are we criticizing…the unknown? The line “could” be Smith…Pamphile…Hawley (or an FA pickup at cutdown) Marpet and Benenoch

    It could be Smith Pamphile Marpet Sweezy and Benenoch. I’m just getting started but you can see where I’m going with this.

    Our OL certainly has question marks at a couple of positions. We really can’t criticize Licht until we at least give him time to answer those questions. Let’s see how he does! Personally I have faith in Licht and Koetter and I think they feel good going forward…so do I.

  5. TeddyTB Says:

    Lmao Dotson and Hawley were horrible last year. Jolly is right on the money, how many more sacks would there have been if it was Glennon back there over Winston? Jameis was doing the electric slide in the pocket all last year.

  6. USFBUC Says:

    I’m just hoping that last year’s performance was an anomaly and the line goes back to being one of the top run blocking lines in the NFL. An improvement in pass pro would be nice too. As you pointed out Gil so much of this is interconnected – injuries, Winston still developing, the terrible play at RB by DM, and the lack of WR depth. I strongly believe that if we take any one of those things out of the equation that the Bucs make the playoffs this past season.

  7. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Gil is spot on!!! Bottom line….football is a team sport!

  8. Eric Denman Says:

    Hawley was continually steam rolled by DTs all season long. I can’t see him coming out of training camp as our starting Center

  9. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    BTW One player that gets left out because he isn’t an impact player is Evan Smith. He gives us great depth in the interior of our line because of his versatility and experience.

    He started three straight seasons for Green Bay! He played in an average of 12 games for us over three years starting 22 of them over three years.

    Is he a world beater? Of course not. Is he a competent NFL OL with tons of experience who is great depth? YES!!!

  10. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Health is going to be a major determinant in who starts on our OL.

    I agree with Eric that Hawley got steamrolled in pass protection and was an ineffective run blocker as well…but in fairness to Hawley he was playing on gimpy knees. Will they heal in this offseason? I do not know but I understand the skepticism of Buc fans who simply cannot forget last year.

    Sweezy is the lynch pin. IF he heals and returns to his former self that would be huge.

    But the real wild card is Benenoch. He helped anchor a UCLA line that gave up just 14 sacks…last year was his first major injury he started a record 35 straight games for UCLA. He’s still a pup having played soccer in Nigeria growing up…and he is fast for an OL. Marpet had the fastest 40 4.98 at his combine…last year Benenoch matched that 40 time..the 3rd fastest of all OL coming out last year.

    And he is smart…academic honors at UCLA. He’s played a lot of guard and tackle and if he could nail down our RT that also would be huge.

    If these three guys come back healthy we are golden. Marpet moves to center and Hawley and Evan Smith provide great depth.

  11. Architek Says:

    So called SMEs and never played in the NFL – too funny.

    Great job as usual Gil..

  12. DB55 Says:


    Luv ya mi hermano but NOPE!!! You can’t just look at sacks cuz The Messiah helped the oline A LOT on that front. Consider sacks and QB hits you must, my young padawan.

    May I refer you to the second half of the Dallas game or Rams games or virtually every game. Come on shun!

    This clip is perfect example of what happens when Jameis Winston has time to throw. And how Jameis Winston will always success despite the Glaziers incompetence at running an organization.


  13. Capt.Tim Says:

    No matter how many knowledgeble NFL people give testimonials for our O-line,
    They will not convince the couch riding Fans of Joebuc

    When Jameis dropped back to pass- who would see a double covered Mike Evans, then a bunch of untalented WRs running the wrong routes.

    Vincent Jackson and Cameron Brate, both on crutches, waving from the sideline.

    Defenses having no fear of our tunning game. Doug Martin proving once again that he only plays to get payed. Once that happens- he lays down
    He is one sorry individual

    Jameis’s competative nature made him try to wait on the inept young wide outs to present him with a target. Which usually never came.
    Lack of weapons, and a quitter hurt Our offense.

    If Sweeny and Hawley are at full strength- our Oline will be even better.
    And that will be very good!

  14. Tomcin Says:

    The only good OL they have is Marpet. The rest are average or below average like Hawley & Smith.

  15. JAB83 Says:

    The OL is considered a UNIT for a reason… They are a team within the team… And football is the ultimate team sport for this reason…

    Keeping this core together is a HUGE advantage going forward.. Mankins brought that understanding which is why we exceeded expectations with two rookies next to him..

    You cry baby FANS OF DEPRESSION will soon need to find another home…

    Tampa Bay is back in the mix of elite teams on the rise and you foljs will go back to being closet BROWNS fans… And I dont mean the football team… I mean your daily lives as poopy pant bandwagoners…

  16. martinii Says:


    Excellent post. Sometimes we need to take a good look at our very young QB and be objective about what we see. He is still learning, should stop trying to extend doomed plays, and while you didn’t mention it Jameis needs to work on his long ball accuracy during the offseason. With Djax on board he is going to need to bring the ball down to where it is catchable. We have options to reinforce (as you point out an already productive OL. Sweezy could be one of our best FA signings, just a year removed.) Lot of folks quick to want to spend money or draft new talent. But I agree we have talent, lets hope Koetter and company can make it even better.

  17. d-roca Says:

    Theyll spend more money before the season starts. Free agency just started. Players are still gona be cut during preseason too. Plus gota save some in case guys go down with injuries in camp. They sign players later every year. Smartly they are saving some for those reasons. Go bucs

  18. Pit Says:

    DB55 I really respect your opinion but sometimes not always sometimes you do like to whine

  19. DB55 Says:


    Ty my man. Jameis got hit about 130x last year. We have to do better than that. Matt Ryan got hit more and they went to the SB. So again what do I know?

  20. Gencoimports Says:

    A couple of points

    1) It’s not so much that Jamies was sacked too much it’s that he was running for his life too much. I will agree that part of it was playcalling and Winston not checking down to his backs enough.

    2) I have no issues with Donavan Smith. He is a decent LT. The problem with the line was at C and RT. The only above average lineman is Ali Marpet, IMHO.

    3) If the OL is blameless, then why did Rodgers (our best back in terms of production) avg. half a yard less on a ground than the Bucs did as a team did in 2015? Please answer that question. And remember, Rodgers benefited from a career best game vs. the 49ers, the worst run D seen in decades, and yet he still avg. a half yard less than the team did the year before.

    The OL needs to be upgraded at C and RT.

  21. unbelievable Says:

    1. Wasn’t JW also hit more than any other QB in the NFL? Just because he is strong and can avoid being pulled down sometimes doesn’t mean those hits aren’t taking a toll, which will eventually cause him to miss games.

    2. Has Gil just forgotten about our woeful play at RT all season long?

    3. Looks like Gencoimports just made this one for me.

    4. D. Smith isn’t the problem, never was.

  22. Cometowin2 Says:

    Pamphile is a improving left guard. Don’t sleep on him. He can play guard or tackle.

  23. Cometowin2 Says:

    Agree upgrades needed at center and EAT.

  24. Dubcity06 Says:

    What about the RT missing blocks and getting penalties all season. If you watch Dotson play, that guy is awful

  25. Cometowin2 Says:

    Stupid auto correct. Center and Right Tackle.

  26. Buc Fan in NC Says:

    So because they were average we shouldn’t address the offensive line? Wow!

  27. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    We for sure need a new RT and a new center would be nice as well. Mangold would fit lovely imo for this season and maybe next year as well. That would allow us to draft a center who needs some time before they are thrown out there. Mangold would be the ideal guy to mentor the new kid.

    RT is something we will be drafting and possibly signing someone after cuts before the season starts. We have to address it unless they feel the kid from UCLA can handle it. I don’t think he is ready yet personally. From the 2nd round to at least the 5th has plenty of solid guys who have tons of potential. I think this is the route Licht will take.