“A Veteran Guy That We Felt Was On The Cusp”

June 19th, 2017

GM Jason Licht and Ron Rivera are on different pages

By the time the Bucs first face the Panthers this season in Week 8, Joe expects all the Russell Shepard hype pulsating through Charlotte to have evaporated.

Yes, Shepard is a spring hero in tobacco country.

Tampa Bay wagged a finger at Shepard this offseason, despite his special teams prowess and captaincy, and his slowly growing receiving skills.

The former Bucs No. 5 receiver, who was pressed into regular action for Tampa Bay the past two years, just wasn’t worth the $3.7 million the Panthers will pay him in 2017. It was as if general manager Jason Licht said, “We love and appreciate you, Shep, but not enough to make a bad business deal.

Ron Rivera and the Carolina brass disagreed.

And now they’re smiling after Shepard has completed a long stretch of underwear football heroics. Charlotte Observer writer Jourdan Rodrigue studied spring practices and seems smitten by Shepard — while Rivera explains that Shepard was a textbook free agent signing.

Shepard and linebacker Shaq Thompson have been matched up often over the middle, and Shepard bested the capable Thompson on Tuesday out of the slot with a stunning grab of a ball thrown by quarterback Derek Anderson.

It seems like Shepard has made big play after big play throughout OTAs and is carrying that into minicamp – and head coach Ron Rivera is not surprised.

“He’s a veteran guy that we felt was on the cusp,” said Rivera. The Panthers signed Shepard in the spring after he spent four seasons in Tampa Bay, after a 2016 campaign during which he sealed his up-and-comer status with 23 catches for 341 yards and two touchdowns.

“Those are the kind of guys you look for in free agency,” Rivera said, “the guys who have been three, four years in the league and they’re right on the cusp of taking the next step. We feel like he’s one of those guys.”

Again, Joe will not shed a tear over the Shepard loss. Good player, but replaceable.

However, now it’s up to Licht to replace him. Serious Bucs fans are well aware of the sea of names fighting for that No. 5 receiver gig — which is why a tryout for Anquan Boldin is so intriguing.

30 Responses to ““A Veteran Guy That We Felt Was On The Cusp””

  1. grafikdetail Says:

    shep gonna score some TDs on the Bucs just hope it’s not a game winner 😂😂😂😂

  2. Lord Cornelius Says:

    wish him the best except for when we play.

    He had his chances to step up last year and had a hip injury the first game with major playing time (Oakland) which caused him to miss like a month almost.

  3. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Boldin is washed-up…hate to say it, but same with Roddy White and VJax last year. Just would be taking up a valuable roster spot.

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    still wish we would’ve resigned him….I always thought he played solid when his number was called….best of luck to him….GO BUCS!!!!

  5. teacherman777 Says:

    Hes a former QB with a legacy in the South.

    He steps up in big games. Hes never afraid. Hes a Pro Bowl caliber special teams player.

    He is a team player.

    I miss Shep very much.

    He was one of my favorite players!

    I wished we had signed him to a 4 year deal!!

    Big mistake letting go.

    Best #5/6 WR in the NFL.

    For real.

  6. mike n Says:

    We shoulda resigned Shep! We have plenty of cap space and a 1 yr deal at 4 million would have fine to over spend on a special teams ace and a developing wr. Anger had so help last year otw to the pro bowl season he had.

  7. DB55 Says:

    And that why Ron Rivera is always competing for playoff glory and our season is over by week 5 but wtf do we know. Letting Shep go to a division rival over 3mil is as stupid as letting a future HOF RB go to another division rival over 3 mil bucks.

    But hey carry a big stick and I’m sure everything will be alright 🙄

    I mean we’ve have Godwin AND hump what could possibly go wrong?

  8. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    This one will come back and bite us in the behinds..I really wanted him re-signed..not resigned folks..some of you need to know the difference in the two words..

  9. webster Says:


    Godwin will be alright.

  10. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “DB55 Says:
    June 19th, 2017 at 5:51 pm
    And that why Ron Rivera is always competing for playoff glory”

    2011 – 6-10
    2012 – 7-9
    2013 – 12-4
    2014 – 7-8-1
    2015 – 15-1
    2016 – 6-10

    2 winning seasons in 6 does not make one a genius imo…

  11. Lamarcus Says:

    Well joe. If ur looking to sign Boldin to replace shep as a 5th then shep was value to the bucs

  12. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Wow he is beating back up LbS in practice? Wow I am amazed we let such a talented guy go.

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    Shepard was “on the cusp” of not even making the final 53 for the last 2 years – and that’s before we signed DJax and drafted Godwin. Great special teams gunner – but almost $4M for a 6th receiver who might not have even made the team this year?? Licht made the right move. I imagine Godwin, Ryan Smith, Justin Evans, Bond, Beckwith or McNichols – one of those young guys who will already be on the team can take over Shep’s special team duties and do just fine….

  14. Pickgrin Says:

    And I hope Rivera makes Shep a starter or at least gives him significant playing time this year – increases the chances we get a (better) compensatory pick.

  15. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    No story here. Shep will be serviceable but nothing special. He was a GREAT gunner and a MEHH Wr. Replaceable bottom of the roster guy.

  16. FartinMartin Says:

    He should beat a linebacker ….. JS

  17. LakeLandBuc Says:

    These dumb clowns paid Vincent Jackson 55,555,555 over the course of 5 seasons. Did they get their money worth from him? Hell no, VJAX should be in prison for robbing these dumb fools.

  18. Wesley Says:

    He’ll become an all pro, it’s the way of the Bucs.

  19. DB55 Says:

    Pickgrin Says:
    November 22nd, 2015 at 5:54 pm
    Congrats coach Smith. This was definitely a statement game. The Bucs have turned the corner and are now well on their way to becoming “relevant” again.

    Five- dash- Five is quite an achievement considering the talent that was here 18 months ago and what the product on the field looked like last year and the 1st game of this year.

    We have our franchise QB – the Bucs are competitive – and football is fun again.

    From now on All the Lovie haters should just shut the hell up before they dig their hole even deeper. Talking to tmax – Realist, Dallas and a whole bunch of others that have been unrelentingly spewing their criticism of the Bucs HC day in and day out here on JBF.


    Be careful who you listen to bc they may not know wtf they’re talking about.

  20. Not There yet Says:

    Shep always showed up. He doesn’t have to be a superstar to be considered a great signing, he will contribute and based on his time here be reliable and motivated when we play him. This is not high praise just giving credit where it’s due not sure why Joe always asks as if it’s all about money but if Shep would have been fine with his role they would have paid him, the guy wanted to play and he earned the shit he’s getting. Good luck in 14 games this year

  21. JGA Says:

    You guys need to get a grip. Every team is full of players from other teams. Shep was a very good special teams player. He CAN be replaced.

    As a receiver, he doesn’t bring a better skill set than the guys we have on the roster. If he starts at receiver for Carolina, they are in trouble plain and simple. We were in that boat last year, but because of injuries. He would strictlybe a special teams player for the Bucs, as he always was.

    If we struggle this coming season, it won’t be because Russel Shepherd is playing for another team.

  22. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Shep as a #5 WR and gunner would be perfect, however, how many #5 WRs make 4 mil a year? Probably none. Some of that salary would have been for his SP teams work, so I could see it, but Licht might think he has that covered. I would have loved to keep him since he was a captain and had respect from his teammates, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. If Licht thinks it was a good move I guess I gotta roll, but I would have tried harder to keep him. I just happy that we are arguing over a #5 WR and not a #2 or 3! Boy, have we come a long way in a short time.

  23. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    Lol, top 100 list is a JOKE!! Dak @ 14? I almost lost my dinner

  24. Owlykat Says:

    Just one of a number of dumb moves by Licht. He will regret it when Shep becomes a big star for Carolina and beats us. Carolina and The Saints both had better rated drafts than Licht did. That should have never happened if Licht was half as good as Licht thinks he is. Moving up to get our hurt MLB backup was another goof. He should have used those picks to move up and get Cook. The VIkes are liable to run him down our throats too.

  25. Pickgrin Says:

    Hmmm – so you want to go that route DB? Guess who’s got more ammo…

    DB55 Says:
    December 23rd, 2014 at 6:30 pm
    Banks is a beast child and LVD is a beastslayer. Both are PB quality talents playing in a passive pathetic defense.

    DB55 Says:
    July 9th, 2015 at 3:51 pm
    Hardy is very dangerous and often angry. Yes! We need more of that!

    DB55 Says:
    October 5th, 2015 at 12:34 pm
    I never liked Koetter anyway. I’m a mike sully guy myself.

    DB55 Says:
    November 2nd, 2015 at 11:10 pm
    Now, if you want to talk about competitors then let’s talk about Howard Jones. Who? Yes! HOWARD JONES!!!!!

    DB55 Says:
    April 17th, 2017 at 2:41 pm
    Sadly I think Jameis is just wasting his time here, TB not ready for greatness. Jaboo will win Championships in NY though in about 2 years. Screenshot this!!!

  26. Mike Says:

    Worst move of free agency letting him go

  27. Rod Munch Says:

    Shep looked good when he had the chance to play- I still don’t know why they let him go for so cheap.

  28. Jonny 2.2 Says:

    Of course we won’t miss Shep, but proven depth guys like him are great in critical moments when we go pass happy and have to convert a 3rd down at any cost. I don’t know why we carry dead weight like Dontea Dye.

  29. unbelievable Says:

    Just don’t aeee a 37 year old vet like Boldin playing special teams. Great for the locker room I’m sure, but what will he contribute? He’d want to be a WR3 at minimum I would guess.

  30. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Another Jason Gump move, not sure how this guy moved up the ranks to be a GM of an NFL team, he has gotten lucky on one crafty move and that was marpet, every other one has failed miserably…and grabbing the K in round 2 ranks high up there but letting AP walk to the Saints when the bucs were in desperate need for an RB is a top of the crafty moves