Is Olivier Vernon An Upgrade?

January 23rd, 2018

The sad, steep cost of repairing a glaring, immediate need.

Simply put, the Bucs are screwed.

No team in the NFL is a total nightmare when it comes to an edge rush like the Bucs. Just a complete and total train wreck.

You can blame this on Bruce Almighty if you wish. You can blame this on former Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik if you like. You can blame this on Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht if it makes you feel better. You can blame this on lousy coaching not developing guys.

But blame isn’t going to fix this mess.

The sad thing is, last year in free agency was the time to get an edge rush. Two years ago was a time to get an edge rush. Not this year.

Unless someone is a salary cap causality (hello, Michael Bennett!), there isn’t anyone expected to be on the open market when the free agency dinner bell rings in mid-March that is worth a damn as a defensive end, unless you consider loafing Adrian Clayborn an upgrade (Joe does not, one freak game does not make a player).

Now we all know how rarely rookie defensive ends make an impact on their teams. Joe doesn’t think Bucs coach Dirk Koetter or Licht have the luxury to be selecting guys who might pan out three years down the road. The Bucs need sacks now — and wins!

So if there is nothing out there in free agency worth Team Glazer loot, might the Bucs be up for a trade?

Joe is trolling through rosters looking for potential trade targets with defensive ends, and folks, defensive ends are like quarterbacks. Team aren’t inclined to trade one, not even a half-way decent one. So to get a defensive end, the Bucs likely would have to or agree to pick up a fat contract of an average end.

This is why Joe is looking at Olivier Vernon. The Giants signed Vernon to a monster contract in free agency in 2016 and Vernon has not been worth the cash the Giants invested in him. His salary for the 2018 season is scheduled to be $13 million.

Vernon hasn’t had double-digit sacks since 2013 when he had 11.5. Since, he has averaged 7.5 sacks a year. Is Vernon really that much of an upgrade over Robert Ayers?

Granted, 7.5 sacks a year isn’t great and likely isn’t worth $13 million. But the way the Bucs are so horrible with a pass rush, 7.5 sacks sounds like Reggie White stuff.

Problem is, the Bucs have little choice but to overpay for a guy unless they want to watch leads evaporate in the fourth quarter because quarterbacks have enough time in the pocket for a rectal exam.

No team is going to give up a good pass rusher without cleaning out Team Glazer’s vault. Even an average pass rusher is going to cost blood.

But the Bucs painted themselves into this corner — perhaps by being penny-wise and pound foolish with Calais Campbell? And there are few if any options to escape, unless one banks on a rookie defensive end getting double-digit sacks, which happens once every five years.

Can Licht and Koetter afford to wait for a rookie to develop? And do you trust this current defensive staff to develop a rookie edge rusher? Sadly, the answers to both questions in Joe’s eyes is, no.

46 Responses to “Is Olivier Vernon An Upgrade?”

  1. Guzzie Says:

    Pointless even trying to get excited for next year, best division, worst coaching staff, GM, only thing we have is improvement from our QB, which is a big maybe

  2. DanBucsFan Says:

    Id vote yes on Vernon. I like that you are actually being creative Joe and at least trying to come up with options, I like Quinn also from rams. Im just worried VERY worried bucs are not looking at every angle as far as trades, hope they are but…..

  3. Ray Rice Says:

    Go get Aldon Smith

  4. Joe Says:

    I like Quinn also from rams.

    Love him!

    Go get Aldon Smith

    He’s on Joe’s to-write-about list.

  5. godzilla13 Says:

    Try to offer Peppers a nice two year contract to get us through the next two years.

  6. NFLNut Says:

    ZIGGY in free agency + BRADLEY CHUBB in draft = PROBLEM SOLVED

    However … Aldon Smith AND Greg Hardy are on the streets and both can get to the QB even if they are head-cases ….

    One more name you should remember as he’s a distinct trade possibility … DANTE FOWLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Getting Chubb would be amazing but I don’t think it will happen. Kind of like I didn’t think there was a shot at OJ Howard.
    If he is there you have to take him.
    I say no to Vernon. Seems like another get paid and lose his motivation kind of guy. I would rather bring in T Sizzle ( someone who has proven himself and still may have a year or two in the tank). He could bring that pedigree and leadership to this young D Line and mentor Spence/ Draft pick / other FA.

  8. teacherman777 Says:

    Vernon got paid and then quit!!

    We had a chance at trading for Chandler Jones from the Pats, we didnt do it.

    We had a chance at trading for Jamie Collins, we didnt do it.

    We had a chance to sign Dontari Poe, we didnt do it.

    We had a chance to sign Chris Long, (a fighter on every snap), we didnt do it.

    We suck!!!!!!

  9. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Trade 4…

    DE Carlos Dunlap

    Personal Intel
    • Height: 6′ 6″
    • Weight: 280 lbs
    • February 28, 1989 (age 28) ←

    Career Stats | Highlights
    • 2× Pro Bowl (2015, 2016)
    • Career Sacks (2010-2017): 64.5 ←

    Dunlap Contract Details
    • 2018 Cap Number: $7,300,000 ←
    • 2019: Free Agent

    Combination of Trade-able Assets
    • Gerald McCoy – $12,750,000
    • DeSean Jackson – $$11,000,000
    • Cameron Brate – RFA ← 2nd Round Tender
    • Kendell Beckwith

  10. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    DeSean Jackson
    • 2018 Third-Round Pick
    • 2019 Fourth-Round Pick ← Conditional Only If he makes the Pro Bowl

    Comparable: Jared Allen trade 2008
    Chiefs traded Allen to the Minnesota Vikings for one first-round and two third-round picks in the 2008 draft.

  11. richbucsfan Says:

    Teacherman, there is no ‘we’. Licht passed on all of those players, ‘we’ did not. The Bucs suck, ‘we’ do not. ‘We’ got about our daily work and succeed, whereas the Bucs do not. I won’t be part of the ‘we’ as I have no financial investment in the Bucs and I’m done with the emotional investment in them. The Bucs and local media way overhype the team every year. I will never drink the koolaid ever again. I have little to no confidence in the current FO. They have proven an inability to build a team. ‘They’ dismantled the O-line when LS was head coach.
    ‘They’ haven’t recovered from that. So many idiotic moves. Years from now ‘They’ may have something but in reality it will be dumb luck if ‘they’ do.

  12. TDTB Says:

    Trading DJax to the Giants is the right answer, but Vernon is the wrong guy. Eli Apple and JPP should be in the discussion.

  13. Bucn Enough Says:

    Licht would not recognize an edge rusher unless he has had three major knee surgeries or was 50 pounds under size.

    On to 2019 discussions …..cause 2018 is gonna be a lot like 2017

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Maybe we’re making ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ as Shakespeare so famously wrote Joe. We’re all going with the assumption that we need several outstanding DEs to create a pass rush to win games. But right now the cupboard’s bare (thank you Jason) so we have to take drastic action to grab several DEs (I know, even 1 would be nice).

    Bucs’ 2016 defense (#15 in Points Allowed) was ‘good enough’ to get us a 9-7 record, giving up 23.1 points/game … 1875 rushing yards & 4012 passing yards. We got 38 sacks that year, 28 of them from our DLine (74%). Our DTs provided almost half of the DLine sacks (GMC (7), McDonald (3.5), Siliga (1), Akeem Spence (0.5) provided 12 of those). Our DEs added slightly more than half of the DLine sacks (Ayers (6.5), Noah Spence (5.5), Gholston (3), Russell (1) provided an additional 16 sacks). LBs, CBs & Safeties added another 10 sacks (Lavonte got half of those).

    Bucs 2017 defense (#22 in Points Allowed) was ‘bad enough’ to earn us a 5-11 record, giving up 23.9 points/game … 1880 rushing yards & 4169 passing yards. However, we only got 22 sacks last year, 20 of them from our DLine (91%). Our DTs provided almost half of the DLine sacks (GMC (6), McDonald (5), Baker (0.5) provided 11.5 of those). Our DEs added only 8.5 of the DLine sacks (Ayers (2), Noah Spence (1), Clarke (2.5), Tapp (1), Russell (2) provided an additional 8.5 sacks). LBs, CBs & Safeties added only 2 sacks.

    The big difference between the 2 years? Our DLine fell off by 8 sacks & our LBs/Secondary fell off by 8 sacks. On the DLine, our DTs contributed essentially the same, but our DEs fell off by 7.5 sacks. Of course we all know that Noah Spence getting injured hurt (5.5 to 1 sacks), Ayers getting older hurt (6.5 to 2 sacks), and Gholston falling off a cliff hurt (3 to 0 sacks). But what also killed us just as much is that the LBs & Secondary sack production fell from 10 to 2.

    So what was the biggest difference defensively between the 2 years when it comes to sacks? IMO – the middle of the Bucs DLine. Bucs blitzed just as much both years it appeared, BUT … the LB & Secondary blitzes were largely ineffective. They didn’t get there, because the middle of the DLine didn’t do its’ job as well in 2017. That also impacts the effectiveness of the DEs IMO. McCoy & McDonald played hurt quite a bit last year, but I think an even bigger factor was putting Baker in there in pace of Akeem Spence. They both got the same number of sacks (0.5) but Akeem gave us more ‘push’ & created more middle holes IMO.

    So the solution? Grab 1 DE in FA (if we can) and draft another 2 DEs relatively high. But even more importantly, get a true beast of a DT (in FA or the draft or trade) to replace Baker who can collapse the middle AND play the run effectively. If we do that, I’m convinced we can pressure QBs a lot more and get back up to 35-40 sacks.

  15. BucEmUp Says:

    Again, if.your last place at something with trained NFL athletes, coaching is a factor. When the DC has his dbs playing so far off you could park a bus in between them and the wr there is no way in hell your going to produce a pass rush. Dead last is a product of bad coaching

  16. OrlandoJoe Says:


    The defensive line was in the top 10 in sacks in 2016. Based on the previous year, the Bucs had no reason to worry about their defensive line. They had Noah Spence with a year of experience and coming back from an injury. They also had Jac Smith coming back from injury as well. There didn’t seem to be much of an issue with the D-Line before this year. The loss of Spence this season was brutal for the entire line. In his only game of the year he had a strip-sack. He will be back next year (hopefully healthy) and it will change the entire defense. Obviously if Ziggy Ansah is on the open market or Bradley Chubb is at #7 then we need to go get him. But the biggest need this offseason isn’t defensive end. It’s actually running back and cornerback.

  17. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Michael Bennett had 15 sacks total in his first 5 years. (before he left Tampa)

    In his first 5 years, Olivier Vernon had 37.5 sacks. More than double that of Bennett.

    Heck yes we should go after him if he becomes available. He is the next Michael Bennett…potentially better than Bennett!

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I would be willing to give up a 2nd round pick for Vernon. He’s worth it and it would address our biggest need.

  19. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I don’t think there is a chance in heaven that we get Dante Fowler…and he’s only had one good year of two, hardly proven.

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    teacherman777 Says
    “Vernon got paid and then quit!!”

    He had more sacks the year after he got paid and was injured the following year so got one less sack. How is that quitting????

  21. Ateonetreebucsfan Says:

    Robert Quinn!!!

  22. denjoe Says:

    Simply put, the Bucs are screwed.

    I’m sure Klueless Koetter is on It!

  23. Rrsrq Says:

    Can Sacksonville keep all those linemen paid

  24. Not there yet Says:

    There is a choice and if it’s my money I’m not letting my gm blow my money on a massive contact because of his open negligence. The problem is licht came out after the season and said the draft is still the route to go, can’t show desperation now.

    This likely means they keep gholston and probably Ayers even if they score 2 ends. Better the known than the unknown with an inflated paycheck

  25. Joe Says:

    Based on the previous year, the Bucs had no reason to worry about their defensive line.

    Sure they did! Both DEs Bucs were banking on for an edge rush each had to have surgeries due to injuries. One never did return; the other got hurt. Again.

  26. AceofAerospace Says:

    Can’t wait for 2019.

  27. SB Says:

    I skipped straight to the comment section at ’13 millionl

  28. doolnutts Says:

    The draft and FA are the easy obvious hopes of getting these types of players. I would like to point out trades like Chandler Jones or a FA like Peppers. Peppers was picked up for nothing and Chandler Jones wasn’t traded for much more. Even the pats getting Harrison who has been effective. It seems we miss the boat on small impact moves.

    Licht, in my opinion, has been great in the draft. Where he must improve is in small impact trades & small FA moves. We have averaged what 40 million in cap since Lichts been here? We should be picking up cheap talent like Peppers left and right… Who cares how old they are guy got half as many sacks as our whole team did.

  29. 813bucboi Says:

    im a little torn with the trade situation….would love to get a proven DE but not sure if some of the options are worth it….Quinn is nice….

    but I say screw it…go big or go home….

    -how about throw the #7 pick & a 4th rounder to the broncos for von miller….

    -draft RB and oline in rounds 2 and 3….

    -sign Bennett and malcom butler & a DT

    -draft DT and safety in round 5 and 6

    GO BUCS!!!!

  30. 813bucboi Says:


    I agree…..d.fowler would be nice…..pair him with Bennett and we could have something….GO BUCS!!!!

  31. William Says:

    I would not be opposed to this. I’m a believer in Ezekiel Ansah though. Noah Spence has a ton of potential if that shoulder can hold up. I’d go with those 2, and sign a guy like Dwight Freeney for cheap to play 30-40 snaps a game. Looks like he still has plenty left in the tank and can bring a veteran presence. Release Gholston and Ayers.

  32. Pepsi Says:

    “But blame isn’t going to fix this mess.” well thats arguable. If everyone correctly blamed Licht, then maybe hed be gone.. and someone whos much more intelligent replaces him, and that guy knows how to build a winning team. With Licht im scared we’ll be bargain bin hunting in FA again and drafting a safety at pick 7…

  33. Pepsi Says:

    “unless you consider loafing Adrian Clayborn an upgrade (Joe does not, one freak game does not make a player).”

    Okay… subtract 4 of the 6 sacks he got that one game.. and hes still at 6 sacks 18 QB hits on the season… Clayborn would be a massive upgrade compared to our guys currently.

  34. c-spann Says:

    Robert Quinn and maybe a 1yr deal with Greg Hardy.

  35. Pa Privateer Says:

    All options are on the table. That means, trades of both Buc’s players and Buc’s draft picks. I would prefer to trade our players than picks.

    There are 3 areas where the Bucs have some Depth. TE, LB and WR.

    It kills me to say this, but TE Brate, LB Alexander, and WR Jackson should all be put on the table as trade options.

    We have Beckwith, Auclair and Godwin as replacements.

    IF there was a way to unload Jackson and a late draft pick for a DE I would do it.

    Be creative and offer money:

    Cleveland 2017 QB Brock Osweiler trade:

    Last year Cleveland offered a boatload of cash to cover for the cost of not only a ridiculous Osweiler salary, but also more or less bought a 2nd round pick from the Texans. Cleveland got Osweiler and a 2018 2nd round pick, 2017 6th round pick, and Texans got 18 million cash and 2017 4th round pick.

  36. rrsrq Says:

    Anybody from the U would be an upgrade including future draft picks

  37. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    Let’s make this simple for the bucs, Joe.
    Here’s there DE vetting list for the offseason:

    Breathing? Yes
    Two working legs? Yes

    If yes to both, then it’s an upgrade.

    Fix the trenches, fix the Bucs!!

  38. Blade runner Says:

    Convert to a 3-4 defense, move McCoy to DE, McDonald to DT, and Spence at the other DE. Draft in the later rounds Shaquem Griffin from UCF who you can blitz off the edge along with David, Beckwith, and Alexander. Draft D-line talent in the draft to develop and utilize as well. A 4-3 defense will not work as well as a 3-4 with the talent we have. Shaquem Griffin can flat get after the QB plus if you add DE Chubb to the mix, I think the pass rush will be greatly improved!

  39. Costa Rica John Says:

    I say bring Simeon Rice back. He is a freak athlete and could still come in on passing situations. He wants to play. Bucs make it happen!!!!!!!

  40. morgan1672 Says:

    What about trading a 3rd round for DE Dante Fowler. He is Jacksonville’s number three pass rusher with 466 snaps but had 8 sacks. 2018 is his last year on contract. Because the Jags pick 29th, so a high third is really a low second. The go after a DE, DT, CB in FA.

  41. webster Says:

    Some of you guys are bi polar fans. You were on here just two days ago crying the bucs overpaid william gholston who only makes 5 mil a year (rotational player and salary) but you want the bucs to trade for an truly overpaid de who has only had 1 double digit sack season? I am glad the joes and some of you are not the gm. You have whined all year about baker being overpaid but you want the bucs to trade for a player who is paid like von miller but produces like a healthy ayers? You guys are bi polar jokes. Fyi…..he will be making 15 mil per year following this one 13 mil year. Buc fans are too funny.

  42. passthebuc Says:

    Thinking NOW is what got us into this mess going all the way back to Gruden.
    If you are going to spend money, buy the best talent evaluators in the market. Everyone that thinks they are on the cusp of greatness will be in the bidding war and the real talent will go to the top flight teams. Teams that are good have towns that provide perks for talent above wages. Tampa Bay has nothing to offer at this point so do it right and build from within.

  43. TheDailyCoroner Says:

    Scroogie on Calais Campbell You think!

  44. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Joe..I am just afraid that any monster we pick up in FA or draft will regress…we can have top two and they ill just become bottom two..I don’t trust our coaching..

    Is anyone going to properly coach Spence this year?? Or is he just going to have to wait till Rice pays another visit..

    This worries, let me rephrase it..this keeps me up at night!!

  45. lambchop Says:


    I feel what you’re saying, but the coaches and talent evaluators grossly over estimated our DL. Jac Smith is not the answer on any squad. Robert Ayers is old as fc*k. We had a good 2016 because the secondary actually picked up their play towards the end. This year the secondary regressed and the DL showed its age and lack of talent. I liked a few guys we had come off the bench over Fatty and Ayers. I’m just not sure the people who make decisions are top tier at their job. It has a lot to do with the HC looking like he’s out of his league. Great HCs move on from coordinators without breaking a sweat and we have a HC who can’t even muster a consistent team with coordinators that never change. Injuries hurt, but the piss poor play was on display well before that. Our coaches look like a Div3 staff.

  46. Dennis Yauger Says:

    Stop with Calais Campbell nonsense. Before this season he had never had 10 sacks in a season and averaged 8 per year. That production is nice but the Jags way overpaid for what he had dhown to that point. You guys make it sound like they passed on Reggie White. Dude had a career year , good for him, but nothing he did prior to that warranted that contract.