May 17th, 2017

Pushed aside?

It may be way, way, premature to talk about bubble players in mid-May. But that doesn’t stop folks.

Over at Spotrac.com, a site focused on salary cap issues (which mostly bore Joe to tears), Michael Ginnitti studies players on the verge of being unemployed because he believes their salaries will be a significant factor in their job security.

Ginnitti has one Tampa Bay player in his crosshairs, and that is tight end Luke Stocker.

The selection of O.J. Howard plus the breakout of Cameron Brate last year could mean Stocker’s $1.7M figure is deemed too rich.

Perhaps, but that is premature. It’s not like the Bucs are in salary cap hell. They have room to afford Stocker, who is a damned good blocker. Is he now the No. 3 tight end on the team? Darn right.

For whatever reason, Bucs fans have been loathe to embrace Stocker. Yet Stocker, who is entering the final year of his contract, is currently on his fourth coaching staff with the Bucs, which says a lot to Joe.

Joe could understand if fans are irritated by Stocker because he gets hurt often. Only once has Stocker suited up for a full season.

However, Joe suspects fans are irked by Stocker only because he was drafted by former Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik. And too many fans, with their irrational hatred of Dominik, detest anyone linked to him.

55 Responses to “Bubblicious?”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “Joe could understand if fans are irritated by Stocker because he gets hurt often.” Granted, Luke has only suited up for a full season once in his 6 yrs (2012) but to say that he ‘gets hurt often’ is kind of unfair Joe. In his other 5 seasons, he’s played in 69 games (an average of 14 games per season for those yrs). For a big guy who’s spent a lot of those plays leading the charge almost exclusively as our fullback and as a blocking TE I’d say he’s held up very well. Just about every play for him is a violent collision at full speed. $1.7 mil is peanuts for a TE with his skills & experience.

  2. Jeagan1999 Says:

    If Stocker wants to stock on this team, he may have to send some time as a blocking fullback. With Howard and Cam Brate getting 75% of the starting TE snaps, Stockers best bet might be as a lead blocker and occasional pass catcher out of the backfield.

  3. macabee Says:

    Don’t overlook TE Antony Auclair. The Bucs are high on him.

  4. Tut Says:

    Stocker is not getting cut. He and OJ will both be on the line in run formations which keeps play-action options open.

  5. BucTrooper Says:

    I was always “irked” by Stocker for 3 reasons:

    1. the Bucs TRADED UP to get him.

    2. He produces absolutely nothing. Did you know Cameron Brate equalled his CAREER touchdown total in ONE GAME?

    3. The excuse we get for him ad nauseam is “Well, he’s a good blocker.” So are eligible receiver TACKLES and GUARDS.

  6. tnew Says:

    Stocker is fine to play out his contract here. No need to cut him. Really good blocking tight end that paired with Howard adds a nice short yardage/goal line duo. But what a great change in the Bucs roster that a player the caliber of Stocker can be viewed as possibly expendable.

  7. Fred E. Bucs Says:

    I completely agree Stocker is now the #3 TE, and that he’s a very good run blocker. Cross or Westbrook are likely #4, with the odd man out probably on the practice squad. The Bucs frequent two-TE sets and not normally carrying a fullback, plus likely carrying Martin, Rodgers, Sims, McNichols, and Barber as RBs, tells me they’ll continue to carry four TEs on their roster. Stocker is valuable in the running game and gets some insurance as their FB. I’d expect less money for next year. As for fans, I don’t think it’s that fans don’t “embrace him” as much as you don’t hear his name called because he seldom gets the ball. When he’s healthy, he does make a difference in the running game. In the only occasional catches he makes (not thrown to often, of course) it’s always the “L-U-U-U-U-KE” from the fans. Solid player. Too bad he wasn’t more in the passing game.

  8. Fred E. Bucs Says:

    @Defense Rules…my thoughts exactly. Stocker is in for most physical of plays due to his role.

  9. BucEmUp Says:

    hes not going anywhere

  10. Bob in valrico Says:

    Can’t overlook the value Stocker brings as an onfield coach.Brate has been quoted as saying how much Stocker helped him and explaining what he should be doing and why on a given play.

  11. Casual Observer Says:

    It seems like they will keep 4 tight ends. Auclair and Stocker are probably in.

  12. Kobe Faker Says:

    Browns pickup corner jason mccourty for 2 mill guaranteed money

    Browns spending to win and we are not?

    ” what the hell is going on out here”

    Kobe Lombardi

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Stocker will stay unless they can find a late round pick for him elsewhere. He has some value as a backup TE if another team sustains an injury early.

    As far as Dominick is concerned….I suspect the dislike for Stocker is totally related to Stocker and has nothing to do with Mark Dominick…..Dominick was an unarguable failure….with or without Stocker.

  14. K_bassuka Says:

    I don’t see any reason to keep him around. Yes he is a good blocker but has zero upside and we are not going to bring him back next year. We should leave that position for an up and coming player someone that can play ST as well while he learns the position.
    The Bucs have spend too many years waiting for him to show improvement and it’s time to cut your losses.

  15. The Buc Realist Says:

    Wow Joe!!! Even Tampabaybucfan said that dominick was an “unarguable failure”!!!!! And he is one of the most measured, calm of all the posters!!! He is captain positive and he just dropped the truth!!!!!!!

    Its 2017 and it is time to face the TRUTH!!!!! He is barely clinging to his last radio job!!! Its not like he is handing out inside information anymore!!!! Because if you do not look in the mirror and come to a rational conclusion on the disaster of dominik, then it just makes you look foolish!!!!! He is the architect of the Den of Depression!!!!!!

    To find the truth you must forget your preconception!!!!!!

  16. German Buc Says:

    Realist – I really like the most of your comments. But an extended use of !!!!! doesn’t make them more valuable nor more readable…

  17. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Top-of-the-mornin SB, Everyone well bro. Hope everyone good on yo side as well my man.

  18. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    And I agree Mac there’s a buzz formulating around Auclair

  19. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Not sure Pablo feels that way about The Rock Star…

  20. tnew Says:

    I don’t understand the magnitude of dislike for him. So okay, Dominick traded two fourth round picks to get him.. How is that Stocker’s fault. Look I agree that a 2011 4th and a 2012 4th should net you a high third, not just move up 12 spots, but that’s what happened. Again, not Stockers fault.

    He played well on special teams and full back in 2015. With Shepard leaving he could very well be the special teams captain. If you can get a capable player in the 4th round, that makes your team for 6-7 seasons, that’s pretty good. He’s not a pro bowler by a far stretch but its not like he is ASJ either. Plus he gives flexibility at the full back position.

    Oh, and with all this being said, I think Dominik was one of the worst GM’s of all time.

  21. Pa Privateer Says:

    Tony Auclair is likely to push out Stocker….at some point. I am not sure whether it will be before the season or mid season, but I think he will replace Stocker. Auclair can block and catch, essentially a poorman’s Howard.

  22. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Folks😊, those exclamation marks are his signature.

  23. BoJim Says:

    I’ve always liked Stocker and felt bad he was hurt so much. But when healthy, he plays mean. TE/FB. Win win?

  24. buc15 Says:

    I think Cross beats out Stocker this year so the real question will be Stocker or Auclair?

  25. The Buc Realist Says:

    Would anyone by surprised if LS88 gets pushed off the roster on final cuts and would not be picked up by another team, and would be available if the Bucs have a string of injuries at TE??????

    When you are tring to say what are the positives about a player, and all you can say is “he knows the offense”, That is not good!!!!!!!!!!

    mark dominik the worst gm in bucs history!!!! even half the employees at JBF know so, and said so!!!!!!!!

  26. Eric Says:

    tnew I agree 100%. It’s great to see someone that knows the deal.

    You guys are mostly wrong. Stocker is an excellent blocker. You think that 3 coaching regimes retaining his services don’t outweigh your opinions of him on here? He is essentially the opposite of Brate and when Stocker went down last year, our blocking regressed substantially. We use jumbo sets with Stocker on the line and he is an incredible contributor.

    Not to mention he’s been here what, 7 years? A fourth rounder that sticks that long is a successful pick no matter how you twist it.

    Myers is gone and Stocker will drop to his slot at #3. Maybe your boy will stick (Auclair) but I’m willing to bet Luke will be here at least one more year.

  27. Eric Says:

    Oh yes and Dominick’s dislike is warranted. He even admitted he took the word of assistant coaches when he made draft picks.

    That guy is the reason we sucked for so long. Look at licht coming in and changing the entire culture into a successful roster in 3 years.

    Dominick failed miserably for 5 years. He was 28-52

  28. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    “And too many fans, with their irrational hatred of Dominik, detest anyone linked to him.”

    Highly subjective. Others could say some have an irrational veneration for him.

  29. R.O. Says:

    Stocker isn’t going anywhere.. 4 TEs will be OJ, Brate, Stocker and Auclair. Stocker will fill FB role when needed. As long as Auclair can play STs with stocker he will take Alex Cross’s roster spot.

  30. doolnutts Says:

    If you play close attention to the overall team we have over the last (3) years or so been purposely overpaying players in an attempt to grow our roster out. Jackson, Verner, Sweezy, now Martin and Stocker etc. You can or could have made easy arguments to cut any of them at any point. I love the situation that we are in keeping players we like while still having the space to make necessary advancements. Good time to be a bucs fan!

  31. rayjay1122 Says:

    I have never been impressed with Stocker. He seems to be always injured and when healthy, he is a one trick pony in that he can run block. He makes our plays too predictable when he is in the game since it usually means we called a running play. That is why I was elated that Howard fell to us. Just having a dual threat TE along with Brate who obviously is more of a receiving TE will mean defenses wont so easily be able to know if we are running or passing in our two TE sets.

  32. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    I think it will be Antony Auclair that supplants Stocker in training camp. All reports are that the kid looks solid and fluid at 6’6 254.

    Apparently he has the tools to be just as good a blocker as Stocker, while also having better athleticism and Receiving capabilities.

    He is a guy to keep an eye on.

  33. Joe Says:

    A fourth round pick that has lasted seven years through four coaching staffs seems to be a pretty good pick to Joe.

  34. Supersam Says:

    I would say he’s the 4th tightend right now, I think Auclair will be ahead of him soon.

  35. bucs_365 Says:

    Stocker is going nowhere. That salary doesn’t mean anything. They carried Gosder around at a much higher salary and got a lot less use of him than they will out of Stocker.

  36. Bucsfanman Says:

    “A fourth round pick that has lasted seven years through four coaching staffs seems to be a pretty good pick to Joe.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! It truly speaks for itself.

  37. Eric Says:

    I love it when people literally repeat exactly what I said but then proceed to get the credit from third parties. LOL

    Thanks Joe. I agree with YOUR comment. smh

  38. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Eric- You said it better before Joe said it better, then, I couldn’t have even remotely said it better!!!! LOL

    Feel better now?!

  39. Eric Says:


    NO 🙁

  40. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    I get it – he’s a decent – not great blocking tightend.
    But he’s far from perfect.

    People act like he’s the second coming of John Gilmore.
    He whiffed on his share of blocks.
    I’ve watched him get beasted plenty of times.

    So if he’s gets cut – who cares?

    He presents NO THREAT as a receiver.
    That’s why defenses will continue to load up – and blitz.
    From wherever he lines up.

    Cause they KNOW he can’t breakout wide. He can barely get off the jam.

    Now if you had two bonafied Y-Tightends – in the game.
    You’ve just changed everything.
    Cause now if you blitz – and the tightend gets behind you.
    Its a wrap buddie.

  41. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Wouldn’t U rather see Leonard Wester or Caleb Benenoch get those valuable snaps?

  42. Pick6 Says:

    $1.7 million with our cap situation is peanuts. small dollar savings should not factor into roster decisions right now. money should be the 3rd or 4th consideration after talent, versatility, and Tuesday-to-Saturday work ethic

  43. Pickgrin Says:

    We are collecting NFL quality talents at TE – not trying to get rid of them. If 2 TEs is going to be a predominant formation in the Bucs offense this year and moving forward – then you need bodies. We might even carry 5 TEs on the active roster this year – to start the season at least. And they will want as many spots as possible available for WR and RB talent as well. Cuts and decisions on skill positions are going to be tricky this year. I’m sure with what we have in house – Koetter would like to keep 6 WRs, 4 RBs and 5 TEs. But I just don’t think that is possible once all the positional #s and their needs get broken down.

  44. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Cut – Luke Stocker
    Sign – Gary Barnidge

    For the last 5yrs Barnidge – has been considered by many to the best blocking TE.
    He also one of the few tightends – to go over a 1000yds receiving over the past 3yrs.

    Cameron Brate | Antony Auclair | Alan Cross
    O.J. Howard | Gary Barnidge

  45. Rojas Says:

    O.J Howard
    Cameron Brate
    Antony Auclair
    Luke Stocker / Fullback role

  46. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Why cut Stocker? Dude has stayed loyal to the team for five seasons, and we can (usually) count on him to be there when we need him.

  47. JimmyJack Says:

    I would absolutely scratch my head if they cut Stocker. Some of you fans just make no sense. You just don’t like Stocker cause he doesn’t make SportsCenter. So that means you want him off the team, that’s a joke.

    Luke Stocker plays like an extension of the offensive line. He’s the best blocker we have at that position, until OJ can catch up to NFL speed/playbook. You guy have no respect for the fact that he makes plays for us……Just because he isn’t the lead dancer in the endzone. This is the NFL not fantasy football or Madden 2019. Jeez!!

    Now of course I don’t know what each players true assignment is on each play, but its pretty dam easy to see when they blew their assignment………And I think its safe to say that Stocker knows the playcalling better then any other TE on the team. Don’t be a fool and think Stocker will easily be replaced………..Oh no but you fools will cheer in glee when an unproven TE gets the job and scores a single TD. Then yoll say “I told you so”……….Of course you fools wont even notice when the unproven scrub that replaces Stocker misses a block and Winston goes down with injury and our season goes down the toilet.

    Luckily our HC has a clue and would never cut Stocker for an inexperienced question mark.

  48. JimmyJack Says:

    Stocker will be here this season. He will be our #2 TE. Brate will be #2b

  49. tnew Says:

    Pick.. you just made my argument why the Bucs can’t keep two kickers.

  50. Kobe Faker Says:

    Koetter is stubborn

    drug martin

    live with it

  51. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Stock is going nowhere. Great blocker and only 1.7 million. Please we run a ton of 2 TE sets. We need a 3rd that can perform and that’s exactly what he is.

  52. Wesley Says:

    Need the depth, keep him.

  53. Capt.Tim Says:


    And that is a great bunch of TEs

  54. Owlykat Says:

    We picked up two full backs to try out. If either one can not only block as well as Stocker, but also catch passes as well as he does, and plays lights out on Special Teams, it would save a lot of money cutting Stocker, and you can count on Leclair making this team if you just look at his video. He is a great blocker as well as a reliable pass catcher and can get down the field on special teams as well with a 5.54 40 time and is a big man who can hit hard with the same height and weight as Humphrey and the same strength too! Cross needs to be in reserve on the Practice Squad.

  55. Eric Says:

    I just had to LOL at owlykat’s comment. If the UFA FB can block and catch as good as Stocker and play lights out on ST, then we can save a lot of money?!?

    Well it’s not easy to even find one of those traits let alone all three and his contract is not a lot of money LOL.