Judging Jason Licht

April 25th, 2018

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

Joe is paraphrasing here: when he was an offensive coordinator of the Bucs, Dirk Koetter had a line for the ages when he stated the only thing people give a s(p)it about are wins and losses.

That’s all that matters. Doesn’t matter why or how, just win baby. If you cannot win, find a way. If you can’t find a way, out the door you go.

Sadly, that might be what dooms Licht.

Licht, entering the final season of his contract, has proven fairly sharp at the draft. But during his Bucs tenure, the product on the field hasn’t gotten the job done. Only four NFL teams have a worse record since Licht was hired.

As data-driven, limousine-ridin’, jet-flyin’, kiss-stealin’, data-analyzin’, Bucs-film-studyin’ Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times points out in an exhaustive project researching Licht’s drafts, Licht walked into a “dumpster fire” when he arrived in Tampa. This, in Joe’s eyes, was made worse when inept Lovie Smith was hired and Lovie took a page from former Bucs commander Greg Schiano and ran off talented starters like Donald Penn and Darrelle Revis for tripe like Anthony Collins and Mike Jenkins.

You know, the research Lovie did in his suburban Chicago basement studying tape for players he wanted when he returned to coaching?

A high school freshman could have found talent just as well.

And yes, Lovie had full and complete control of the roster. Otherwise he wouldn’t have taken the job.

Anyway, Bassinger’s research shows Licht is in the top third of NFL general managers when it comes to the draft.

Every NFL general manager has draft hits and misses. There’s no evidence that a team becomes better or worse at drafting over time. In many ways, it is a lottery.

Even for Licht.

During his tenure, the Bucs rank 11th in choosing players who exceed their expected value. The Chiefs, Jaguars and Cowboys have been the best. The Jets, 49ers and Browns have been the worst.

This is one reason why Joe is so adamant about moves the Bucs should have made or should make this offseason. Time is critical. The Bucs need wins this season, 2018. They cannot be worried about 2022.

For if the Bucs don’t win this year, a housecleaning could very well happen at One Buc Palace come January. And that’s not a good thing.

Joe is confident in typing Licht is the best general manager this team has had since Rich McKay.

At the end of the day, however, Al Davis’ famous quote determines futures in the NFL.

“Just win, baby.”

61 Responses to “Judging Jason Licht”

  1. Bucn Enough Says:

    Joe, Quit with the “draft guru” analogy…
    He is avg at BEST…
    Ignored huge holes on the roster for way to long, no he is chasing his tail.
    Almost like he did not have a plan to build the roster…especially on the defensive side of the ball.

    He will get what he deserves!

  2. Noah Spence Says:

    Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter don’t equal wins. The record is on the coaches. A competent coach could win with an offense like this especially when you’re head coach has the luxury to ignore the offense. Kicker in the second round was bad and ignoring the running back and defensive end were foolish but for a young gm he’ll only get better and will get that second contact

  3. Noah Spence Says:

    *ignore the defense*

  4. mark2001 Says:

    Joe…agree with your analysis….Licht is the best since Rich McKay. Additionally, can’t wait for Inspector Clouseau’s swinebird to make the third day pick.

  5. The Buc Realist Says:

    Yes, wins and losses are what count!!!!!!!! But if you are not winning, what is the correct course to be in the “winning”!!!!!!!!! Is dumping the gm and head coach guarantee that this team will be winning next year???? the answer is no!!!! I have seen the gm’s and coaches they have rolled thru One Buc and I would rather stick with this regime!!!!!!!! The sheep, joe, and the so-called fans are now just learning that the roster was garbage like I said years and years ago!!!!!!!! And soon they will figure out that this coaching staff has been covering up the holes on the roster!!!!!!! Last year was just too many distractions and injuries to cover up that much is all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And the ownership is to be blamed as well!!!!! I would never let my GM and coaches play out the last year of their deals, Even if I was unsure about their tenure, Give them an extension and say at the time that you are fully behind them!!!!! IT could effect free-agency!!!!!!! Maybe the Bucs would have had team friendly offers taken if it was perceived as a stable regime in place!!!!!!!!!! pressure breaks pipes, so why should ownership create pressure or relieve pressure???? To create distractions, or clear the way of distractions for the team?????

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Horse Liver Says:

    Rich McKay?

    C’mon man.

  7. Pickgrin Says:

    Licht is not going anywhere – even if the Bucs lose 10 games this year Jason Licht will still be here. Coaches won’t be though.

  8. DoSomething Says:

    But who wouldn’t look like an all star GM after the crapshoot we went through with Mark Dominik

  9. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    I agree with you Joe, but “at the end of the day” Rich McKay was fired too. Unfortunate and undeserved, but true.

  10. Casey Morgan Says:

    Licht didn’t “ignore DE and RB.” He just misread what we had. Remember we thought Jacques Smith would return and didn’t know Noah Spence would be out for the year. At RB he brought in Jacquizz Rodgers to go with Drug Martin, Peyton barber and Charles Simms. We also had some young talent in guys like Russell Hansbrough. It wasn’t all his fault…

  11. mark2001 Says:

    Couldn’t we have Clouseau’s seeing eye minky make our pick the third day next year? Or maybe a baby Buc fan with a jersey and a diaper. Everyone lives animals and little kids.

  12. mark2001 Says:

    Harry….McKay WAS NOT fired. His demise started when he was basically neutered in his HC pick….Marv. Lewis.. when the Glazers contacted Davis and did the Gruden deal. And there wasn’t enough oxygen in the organization with McKay and Gruden sharing the same space, so he headed out. But he was in no way fired.

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    And regarding this “rating” of GMs – Light is higher than 11th best at drafting over the last 4 years.

    He was hampered by having to use Dom’s scouts and directors’ info that 1st draft in 2014 for starters – and not much weight at all is given to last year’s excellent Buccaneers draft in this analysis. Licht picked 4 starters with his 1st 4 picks in 2017 – exactly as he did in 2015.

    No other GM in the NFL has drafted 4 starters with their 1st 4 picks – two out of the last 3 years. (and forget trying to point out that Godwin was not a “starter” – the talent is obviously there.)

  14. Wausa Says:

    I think Jason Licht has done a good job overall, but he has struggled with getting the right pro free agents in Tampa. I think his biggest mistake in the draft was not addressing the running back position in last years draft.

  15. The Buc Realist Says:

    Big payday Mckay was terrible his last 3-4 years with the Bucs!!!!! as front office personal started leaving for GM Jobs, McKay was exposed!!!!!!!!!!! And futher proof was that he was a disaster with Atlanta!!!!!! Boy I miss those days with Mckay/ Mora JR running the show!!!!!! Then Coach Mike Smith salvaged that franchise!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Bobby M. Says:

    Funny thing…..we get rid of players like Penn….that’s on Lovie. But under Lovie we drafted Winston and Co. aka the “grand slam” and that’s all Licht? We then blame coaching on this teams failures but ignore that the current GM is the one who opted to keep both Koetter and Smith. He’s an avg GM that tries to hard to be savy and wastes premium picks. 2016 draft we had a 1st, 2nd, 2nd…..not a single one can even start after 3 yrs….one of which was a kicker that is out of the league. That’s all Licht.

  17. mark2001 Says:

    Wausa… the RB position is curious. Have to wonder how much of the decision to not draft a RB higher was because of a Koetter backing of Martin? Someone went to the wall with Doug…rather than cutting him after his contract violation that would have let us off the hook for his huge contract. Someone really made a huge mistake in that deal. I wonder if we will ever know?

  18. mark2001 Says:

    BTW Wausa… I think there is a pattern here. Lack of decisiveness in dealing with Martin… Jameis making a poor decision in not sharing the Uber allegations…the blow up of Evans on the field last year…the Juvenile helmet thumping by Jameis and such. To me, it all points to a weak HC…one that may be loved but not respected as a guy that has expectations and rules not to be broken. One that won’t stand up for players on the field or make them act responsibly off the field or hold them accountable if they don’t. How can such a guy ever light a fire under a guy like Swaggy? He can’t. Just think about it. I like Koetter as a person…but I don’t know he is successful HC material.

  19. Buc believer Says:

    Yeah trading UP to get Aguayo in the second round… now THAT is real talent evaluation. What a GM! None better!

  20. miken Says:

    if you put a crappy team together every year, you will have high picks making it easier. Hard to give a gm credit for the jw pick… who else would it be? The ASJ, VH3, sims, kicker are hard to get past.

  21. Bucsfanman Says:

    You can’t ignore our record under Licht! Talk about handing out “moral victories” and such! It’s a win/loss game.
    You can’t win games in the offseason via draft or free-agency. It doesn’t matter that he found Brate or Hump or whoever. You win games on the field.

  22. Jjones Says:

    “And with the #7 overall pick the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select, Antonio Callaway!”– Jenna Jamison(The Parrott was sick)

  23. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    This by pickgrin:

    “– and not much weight at all is given to last year’s excellent Buccaneers draft in this analysis. Licht picked 4 starters with his 1st 4 picks in 2017 – exactly as he did in 2015.

    No other GM in the NFL has drafted 4 starters with their 1st 4 picks – two out of the last 3 years. (and forget trying to point out that Godwin was not a “starter” – the talent is obviously there.)”

    Guys, give Licht time, he is one of the NFL’s best at drafting.

    Unfortunately he came into a team COMPLETELY devoid of talent that also had an ingrained losing culture, and his first two years were under the most incompetent coach in the NFL.

  24. I Bleed Pewter and Red Says:

    Actually I think this schedule could give Licht a reprieve especially if he hits well in the draft. There is no one in FA right now that is worth signing until after we see where we stand after the draft. Maybe Dez Bryant, but WR and his salary is more than we can digest. C.J. Anderson created a buzz at first but it seems other GM’s want to see where they stand after the draft before taking a flyer on him. I think a young 2nd round RB would be more explosive than CJ Anderson, and would certainly be less expensive. How do we find our next Alvin Kamara if we keep settling on other team cast-offs. I bet if we go 6-10 Licht will be safe unless the local media beats the drums for his firing. Koetter and company could be a different story.

  25. Marine Buc Says:

    In the land of the blind the one armed man is king. Licht is ranked 20th in the NFL and I agree with that ranking. He is a below average NFL GM but he is not a horrible GM. Mark Dominik and Bruce Allen were among the worst GMs in the league and that helps us view Licht in a more favorable light than he really deserves.

    I will never forgive him for picking a worthless kicker in the second round while we needed help at every position on the field. That move was as dumb as it gets.

  26. Capt.Tim Says:

    The telltale sign of this management team is esay to identify.

    When they hired Licht- this team desperately needed a pass rusher.
    Teamed with McCoy- this defense would have been able to rush the QB.

    But he didnt get one
    Draft after draft

    Last year- EVERY POSTER HERE knew we needed A DE and a RB.
    Everyone here could assess this teams biggest need.

    Yet somehow, Licht didnt know. He didn’t draft either one, as we watched and waited. Not until 5th round failure, McNichols

    Ill bet there arent 3 posters on here with NFL rxperience, but we all knew, and Licht didnt.

    That many years,ignoring De. They all need to be fired

  27. Joe Says:

    Rich McKay?

    C’mon man.

    You pick:

    Is Licht better than Bruce Almighty? A telephone pole would have been better.

    Is Licht better than Mark Dominik? Draft results are pretty obvious.

    So, yeah, Licht is the best GM this team has had since Rich McKay.

  28. derrickbrooksforGM Says:

    “Our philosophy is going to be to build through the draft. That’s where we find our stars. That’s where we find the next generation. But also in the short term and long term we’re going to supplement our roster through free agency” “But we’re going to look for value. We’re going to spend wisely.”

  29. DBAG56 Says:

    They let Michael Bennett go because he was going to cost a fortune. This team is Culverhouse 2.0. They will suck until Glazer’s finally sell. It’s really not Licht’s fault.

  30. martinni Says:

    This may sound lame, and I certainly am no expert on all the dynamics of analyzing draft prospects, but I think sometimes we put way too much emphasis on the rankings that so called experts put on players. I say if you see a player you want and really feel he is best available for your system and is a need why agonize over his market value. If you see a player ranked 22 and you have the 7th pick and he is the player your scouts and war room has determined needed by your team then screw what Helmet Hair or Mayock or McShay says PICK The DUDE. I honestly think that is what very successful coaches like Belicheat do. Those ranking numbers are for the most part wrong. Just look at last year, did KC and NO get better players before they drafted Hunt, Kamara? So why wait, just go ahead and get your guy. I personally think Will Henderson is what we need in a guard. Draft him at 7. I personally think Rashad Penny is what we need at RB, draft him at 38. I think we get hung up on values and ranks set by other teams and chance loosing a sure thing because of some stupid ranking system. Orlando Brown has dropped dramatically because of his underwear workout at the Combine. His game tape shows him as a road grater, pass blocking sensation. At 6’8/340 he could anchor the right side of your line for years. IMO we focus more on value than who we really want and need for our team IMO.

  31. Joe Says:

    They let Michael Bennett go because he was going to cost a fortune.

    Not true. He signed for a paltry amount with the Seahawks.

  32. DBS Says:

    Some of you clowns kill me. Had OhNo worked out as he should have. The BEST FSU kicker and made all the kicks to win games where Jameis could not get the job done and left us hanging Licht would be the best GM ever. But of course you won’t admit that. Just keep on him because OhNo did not live up to his billing.

  33. Costa Rica John Says:

    If they don’t keep Licht they can always try to bring Dungy back as a GM.

  34. Marine Buc Says:

    Name one kicker drafted in the NFL in the first or second round this past decade. You know why no other GM has done it? Because it is very very very DUMB. That’s why. Dumb as dumb can be. Just really dumb.

  35. Noah Spence Says:

    The Buc Realist Says: The sheep, joe, and the so-called fans are now just learning that the roster was garbage like I said years and years ago!!!!!!!!

    So we’re the only team not drafting and signing free agents for years? With each regime change has been a change in players, you think this roster was garbage last year based on wins and losses? The head coach and the defensive coordinator are garbage. The Joe’s keep trying to point to Mike Smith success in Jacksonville which was like a decade ago as some kind of track record even though the league has changed since but this roster is not garbage but I don’t think there are some weak-minded players that don’t have the testicle fortitude to lead a team and unfortunately they are highly payed players.

    Doesn’t matter who they being in if it’s not a leader they’ll follow this train wreck of a coaching staff off the tracks

  36. DBS Says:

    Janikowski FSU RD1. Hanson RD 2.

  37. Marine Buc Says:

    Picked in this past decade? Janikowski was selected like 20 years ago.

  38. DBS Says:

    These were kickers drafted that made a winning difference at the times they were drafted. The decade does not matter. What matters is it has been done.

  39. Marine Buc Says:

    Plus Aguayo missed 5 kicks out of 26 his Senior year. WTF?

  40. richardtyson Says:

    Did anyone notice that for the 2017 NFL draft do-over they had OJ Howard getting drafted outside the first round with TE Evan Engram going 21st overall? They had us picking Dalvin Cook.

  41. DBS Says:

    Keep pulling at strings. Like I said your not man enough.

  42. Marine Buc Says:

    “like I said your not man enough”

    What are you talking about bro?

  43. 813bucboi Says:

    5-11 is all on the coaches!!!!!!….simple as that!!!!!!

    the coaches are responsible for getting this team prepared to face and over come adversity……not licht……

    the coaches are responsible for making adjustments during the game or when injuries occur…..not licht……

    coaches are responsible for getting players to score points and keeping the opponent from scoring…..not licht……

    the coaches are responsible for playing to the players strength……not licht……

    this staff is screwing licht over……imo, licht is saver than dirk and smitty…..if the losing starts, we know licht is at his best in the dark….he’ll have the glazers ear and dirk and smitty will get that late night call with licht saying, “come holla at me”…..

    we don’t make the playoffs this, glazers will clean house……no doubt about that……

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!!!

  44. DBS Says:

    Admit it. If ohno had worked out as he was billed Licht would be one of the best GM’s instead all you want to do is knock him over his selection of a kicker you don’t agree with because he did not. I don’t knock him for trying if he felt it was right because we needed a good one and last year proved it.

  45. Kobe Faker Says:

    The 2016 draft was the worst draft in the history of this irrelevant franchise….

    Next year none of the putrid 2016 drafted players will be in this team nor maybe in the league…they will probably playing with johnny football

    Kobe the Parrot

  46. 813bucboi Says:


    lift your shirt up and shout all you want to, its falling on deaf ears!!!!!!!!!!!…..if we don’t win 10games this year, we’ll be helping dirk and smitty pack their PODS containers!!!!!!!!!…..you and your 2 booty partners have been exposed!!!!!!!!


    now, pull your skirt down!!!!!!…..your dirty tmax is showing!!!!!!!

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!!!

  47. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Licht is a C average GM at best….the bucs did not need OJ last year nor did they need the kicker, now OJ MAY turn into an all pro but the bucs needs were the same last year as they are this year and that is flat out on the GM

  48. Tony G. Says:

    DBS I think you’re in the minority on this. With the #2 pick, kicker was the last thing on earth that we needed. I personally think the Glazers had a hand in that pick, thinking FSU fans would be inclined to buy more tickets. A PR stunt that backfired. Had they drafted Aquayo in the later rounds he might still be with us but drafting him so early put to much pressure on him to live up to the billing. I think kickers are a fragile bunch whos mental state is sometimes more important than their physical ability. It’s between the ears.

  49. mark2001 Says:

    “Admit it. If ohno had worked out as he was billed Licht would be one of the best GM’s ” Admit it….it didn’t work out. “If Ifs and buts were candy and nuts, everyday would be Christmas”. A GM like anyone else, eventually is held to his performance. I hope it works out for Licht….but…number 20 right now sounds about right.

  50. mark2001 Says:

    Dusthty…Howard will be an excellent player, so I have no problem with that. Aguayo, on the other hand, was a swinebird, who did nothing but crap on most chances we had of winning. Let’s face it…that one mistake should be two strikes on any GM.

  51. Tony G. Says:

    Dusthty Rhothdes

    So you’re basically saying that after we jettisoned TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins that you had psychic knowledge that Cameron Brate would play like an All-Pro prior to the draft? C’mon man, Licht was just as surprised as the rest of us were that Howard would be there, and TE was a need.

  52. Marine Buc Says:

    But it didn’t work out very well did it? Now Licht has to live with the honor of making the dumbest draft choice in recent NFL history. Plus the kid missed 20% of his kicks his senior year. Not very good and he was worse as a Buc. Very dumb pick no matter how you look at it.

  53. Eric Says:

    Easy to hit on a few when your team sucks and drafting near the top.

    I wont be the least bit impressed until the team he puts together actually accomplishes something.

  54. Reality_43 Says:

    @ Tony G
    Cameron Brate played like an All Pro BEFORE we drafted OJ.
    TE wasn’t a need in that respect.

    We haven’t had a 10 sack guy in a DECADE.

    That’s a NEED.

  55. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Mckay was a great GM, IMHO.. He certainly put together the best scouting dept. we’ve ever had, that’s why they all got GM jobs somewhere else.

    People also forget that if Mckay hadn’t stepped into the Vacuum when Culverhouse died, this team would have most likely not been here.

    He got the Bucs through that,got the fabulous Ray Jay built (whether or not you agree with tax dollars funding it) hired the greatest coach we’ve ever had, put together an all star front office and built a SB winner. If the Glazers hadn’t succumbed to Grudens whining, we’d be in much better shape today.

  56. I Bleed Pewter and Red Says:


    I disagree

  57. Tony G. Says:

    Cameron Brate has grown into an important part of Tampa Bay’s offense in the last three seasons but after signing a one-year, $690,000 deal as an exclusive-rights free agent in 2017, Brate was headed toward restricted free agency. He got the big contract after his huge 2017 season. Then they were confident in resigning him. Before the 2017 draft the Bucs didn’t really know what to expect from Brate that year and did have a need at TE after releasing ASJ. Howard falling to the Bucs was totally unexpected and they jumped on it. Had there been a pass rusher worthy at that time I’m sure they might have passed on Howard but how can you blame him for not. You, after the fact GM’s always tickle me with your “I would have done this”. It’s so much easier after the fact. Plus, Howard may end up being a HOF someday. Who knows?

  58. JimmyJack Says:

    Love that this article explains how Lovie was in control of player personal in the first 2 seasons and was responsible for most of those free agent blunders. Those decisions make Licht look worse to fans who don’t realize that.

    Lovie having control means you have to give him credit for drafted players. But it’s been widely assumed that Licht has always had a big voice in the War Room.

    If you take away those first two years of free agency and the W-L record Licht looks a lot better. To be fair you can’t really do that since he was the GM and does deserve some blame. But without personal control you can’t fully blame Licht.

  59. Defense Rules Says:

    Wow, exciting times. If this article was a dartboard, the darts would be all over the place.

    @Realist … “I would rather stick with this regime!!!!!!!! The sheep, joe, and the so-called fans are now just learning that the roster was garbage like I said years and years ago!!!!!!!! And soon they will figure out that this coaching staff has been covering up the holes on the roster!!!!!!!” That’s humorous Realist … The ‘sheep’ are JUST NOW learning that the roster was garbage like you said years & years ago? Nostradamus you’re not … during Licht’s employment, we’ve gone 2-14, 6-10, 9-7 and 5-11. Check my math Realist but I think that equals 22-42. Kind of a dead giveaway that our roster sucks.

    You & I agree on one thing: constant rotation of GMs & HCs guarantees NOTHING when it comes to the Bucs. Personally like Koetter & think he’s a decent HC. Also think however that he needs to become MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVE. Too danged conservative when it comes to play-calling, training camp & several other areas.

    Not all that enamored with Jason Licht admittedly, but I’m trying to keep an open mind. These last several FA signings (Jensen, Evans, Curry & JPP especially) have impressed me, although there was a significant amount of ‘luck’ involved IMO & he paid a king’s ransom for each. Not at all impressed, however, that we’ve still got so many starting holes to fill, nor am I impressed by our lack of depth in several position groups. And what I find almost laughable is that ‘the sheep’ keep using the same tired old narrative about him being a draft guru. Virtually almost any GM picking as high as he’s picked in the Top 3 Rnds for FOUR years (coming into the 5th year) would’ve done at least as good IMO in terms of getting starters. And most would’ve done better in terms of identifying & filling our NEEDS to turn us into a more balanced T-E-A-M.

    Marine Buc had the best Licht evaluation IMO: “He is a below average NFL GM but he is not a horrible GM.” LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW NIGHT.

  60. Tony G. Says:

    Defense Rules

    Slamming a GM trying to put back together a losing program that has never really had prolonged success except for a few seasons peppered in here and there, with a lifetime record of 256 -402, is pretty shortsighted. Especially when on paper his draft picks have been above average combined. This franchised is fk’n cursed I tell you.


    The way you call people the “sheep” who basically see the glass half full rather than half empty is pretty hateful. If it’s your mission to shut down debate then just refer to people as mindless animals. Yeah, people will begin to turn you off, and you can write till the sheep come home <–(did you like that?) but no-one is listening. Trust me,

    Licht wants to win people, but dealing with this curse may take an exorcist.

  61. Defense Rules Says:

    @Tony G … “The way you call people the “sheep” who basically see the glass half full rather than half empty is pretty hateful. If it’s your mission to shut down debate then just refer to people as mindless animals.”

    Tony, the reason “sheep” was in quotes is because that’s the description Realist uses for all of us. And my response was back to Realist. Go back and check his earlier comment at 8:22 AM and maybe you’ll see why the quotes were in there.