Re-Sign Russell Shepard

May 15th, 2018

Ex-Bucs wide receiver Russell Shepard (center) embraced Bucs general manager Jason Licht and chatted it up with Tampa Bay’s front office chieftains before the Bucs played the Panthers in December.

Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht are fond of saying they are eager collectors of talent, “You can never have enough good players,” they say.

And Koetter is a big fan of players he knows and trusts.

Russell Shepard is one of those guys. A special teams ace and a capable No. 4 receiver, Shepard declined a pay cut and asked to be released from the Panthers this week, per the Charlotte Observer. Apparently, Shepard was being proactive after seeing the writing on the wall; the Panthers drafted a wide receiver in the first round, traded for a good one, and signed one in free agency.

The Bucs wanted Shepard, Tampa Bay’s special teams captain in 2016, to return after the ’16 season. But they didn’t want to pay him No. 3 receiver money, which he got from the Panthers.

Now Shepard is a free man — after the Bucs’ coverage units took a step back without him.

Joe sees no reason for the Bucs to not pounce on Shepard, assuming the money is reasonable. So what if they drafted receiver Justin Watson in Round 5 this year. There’s nothing stopping the Bucs from having six receivers on the roster, if that’s what they desire.

Joe also would love to see Chris Godwin have his special teams reps gobbled up by Shepard. Godwin is too valuable for that.

Shepard, still just 27 years old, could be a valuable but inexpensive puzzle piece.

Joe will leave you with a snippet of what America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, told the Charlotte Observer about Shepard in the fall.

“One thing, he’s a leader. He’s a leader by example and he’s a leader vocally,” said Winston. “Another thing he brings is passion. He is one of the most passionate players I’ve ever been around, ever had the honor to play on a team with. He just loves this game of football.

“And the third thing he brings is his energy. He’s one of the hardest workers that I know. When it’s time to play football, he really loves this game and he’s always pumped and he’s always ready to take advantage of any moment that he gets.”

Jameis went on to say of Shepard, “I wish we still had him.”

48 Responses to “Re-Sign Russell Shepard”

  1. AlteredEgo Says:

    No vacancy ….

  2. Casual Observer Says:

    Not a bad idea.

  3. ChanEpic Says:

    Agreed. If the money is right, why not? He’s familiar with our system, familiar with a divisions rival’s mindset and system, and a special teams ace. Sign him up.

  4. Bobby M. Says:

    If you can get him cheaper then Humphries AND can trade Hump…..then sign Shepard. Other then that, dont see where he fits in the depth chart/budget for receivers. We just shelled out a ton for Evans….and have a lot in Jackson and Brate….If you go expensive on one end….you have to offset it to a degree elsewhere.

  5. AlteredEgo Says:

    I may be mistaken but I think Shepard was the one giving a profanity lance pre game speech….Lovie stopped him….the team got their azz handed to them that game…towards the end of the season ,if not the last game

  6. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Could not agree more with @Joe.

    Re-sign Russell Shepard!

  7. Waterboy Says:

    I’d make that move in a heartbeat as long as he’s not asking for too much. I read yesterday that he was being asked to take a paycut on the 3 yr/10 mil contract from Carolina so he may be looking to make close to that. Unfortunately that’s too much for a #5 WR/ special teams guy but if Licht can get him for about 1.5 mil a yr it might be worth it.

  8. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Even though Russell Shepard’s a very good special teams players, he still give you some decent reps at receiver.

    I can’t say the same about Josh Robinson though bruh.
    Does he bring any value to the table as defensive back?

  9. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    This guy has always been a leader. — When you read the quotes from Jameis Winston above about Shepard,,, it seems to me that he is EXACTLY the type of player that Licht wants in our locker room.

  10. Destinjohnny Says:

    Can he play in the secondary o line or rush the passer?

  11. BigHogHaynes Says:

    Colon K and Eric Reid .

  12. AKick'nTheBucNuts Says:

    On the fence with this one. We have more pressing needs. However, if the price is right, sign him.

  13. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    WR Mike Evans | Justin Watson
    WR DeSean Jackson | Chris Godwin
    WR Adam Humphries | Bobo Wilson

    Defensive Backs
    RCB Ryan Smith | Carlton Davis
    LCB Brent Grimes | Vernon Hargreaves
    SCB M.J. Stewart | Javien Elliott
    FS Chris Conte | Keith Tandy
    SS Justin Evans | Jordan Whitehead

    Special Teams
    Russell Shepard = Josh Robinson

    Russell Shepard (WR) > Josh Robinson (CB)

  14. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Agree completely Joe!

    And he’s not a dummy. He’s not going anywhere on this team as a WR there is a logjam in front of him. However…if he’s had a nice career…he’s 27 now..and simply wants to compete in the NFL for the next few years…he accepts the assignment as the Captain of the Buc’s ST’s.

    Just as Licht turned over our DL….added RB’s…a mean center…it’s time to actually put some effort into our ST’s and not just settle for 3rd stringers filling in.

    We should make our ST’s a special point of pride….last year was flat out embarrassing all those TD returns.

    We take Shepherd and a few others and make our ST’s the envy of the league.
    It WILL show up in the W’s and L’s. eventually.

  15. Lamarcus Says:

    Naw man. Koetter will keep 6 tight ends tho. Old school throwback ’80’s

  16. Licht’s Out Says:

    Always liked him…got a nice payday from the Kitties…would welcome him back as the 53rd man on the roster at or near league minimum ( not that it’s my $ ). 🙂

  17. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Agreed, StPeteBucsFan. — Well said. This guy is needed back on this team, and in the locker room.

  18. Jeff Says:

    Make too much sense. They’ll never do it . Falcons will grab him, probably.

  19. Not there yet Says:

    Agreed no vacancies….. Special teams Captain won’t get us over the hump and we need young talent to develop for life after d Jack so no point signing an old guy who has already got a ceiling that isn’t very high. Can’t walk back in day one and act like a leader to strangers, this team has changed a lot since he was here

  20. TOM Says:

    Need to trade Jackson & sign Sheppard for no more than 2mil

  21. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    If we can pay a Corner who never plays Corner (Josh Robinson) then we can pay a WR who doesn’t need to play WR.

    Shep was a legitimate leader on this team in 2016, and he’s still one of the best gunners in the league. Sign the man.

  22. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    No brainer.

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    Not happening.

    Shepard wants opportunities to play as a WR. That’s not happening here.

    Shepard obviously thinks he’s worth the $3.5M he was “due” this year – but fails to take into account that the deal Carolina signed him to was over-blown in the 1st place. Which is why the Bucs didn’t consider matching it last year.

    The only way Russell Shepard gets re-signed as a Buccaneer is if he’s willing to play for the $1.875M the Bucs are paying Josh Robinson – in which case Licht would likely and correctly favor Shepard over Robinson as our primary Special Teams leader/gunner and just release Robinson if Shepard would sign for that amount.

    It all seems very unlikely. Bucs honestly just don’t have a spot for Shepard in the WR room this year. Watson and Bobo are your 5th and 6th WRs in 2018. We have to be continually working towards the future at WR from now on as long as Mike Evans is eating up such a high % of cap space at that position.

  24. Marine Buc Says:

    I’m fine with this as long as we get him at a decent price. I wouldn’t want to overpay for a #5 or #6 receiver who plays mostly special teams.

  25. Erik w/ Clean Athletics Says:

    Shepard is more talented and would be overall more valuable to the team than Hump, if we had to choose between them.

  26. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Yes….he can receive and yes he can play special teams….but can he sing?


  27. teacherman777 Says:


    So you like my ideas? Awesome!

    Get Godwin off special teams!!

  28. tnew Says:

    So who would you cut.

    Mike Evans
    Desean Jackson
    Chris Godwin
    Adam Humphries
    Bobo Wilson
    Justin Watson

    Justin Watson won’t last a minute on the practice squad. I’m not an FSU guy but Bobo is hard to trade out for Shepard. Then look at our TE squad. I’m not comfortable moving any four of those guys out for Shepard. There is just not room for an aging special teams WR.

  29. Wausa Says:

    I think its time to move on. I would be very surprised if the Bucs signed Shepherd even if it was for the minimum.

  30. Joel Says:

    I’m actually all for signing him. Makes too much sense. But the Bucs coaches and GM and coaches like to roll with question marks and not sure things.

  31. Trench War Says:

    Shepard may have other designs like job security. He may decide to wait until he gets other offers while looking for that long term contract and a guarantee there will be a spot for him. With the Bucs, I don’t think he can get that. Especially from what Joe had said, they would probably have to open another WR spot to accommodate him. I think Watson will be that shoe in for the 5th spot and he plays ST also. If his release had been before the draft it might have been a different story.

  32. Erik w/ Clean Athletics Says:


    But Shepard already left 2 teams at this point because he wants to go somewhere and be appreciated and relied upon as a WR.

    Guaranteed he wouldn’t even sign here because of all the horses in the stable.

  33. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    If he can’t make it with a playoff team why bring back mediocre talent when the goal is to improve and contend. We’ve been losing for nearly two decades with mediocre fan favorites. Talent wins games not mediocre nice guys.

  34. NJBucsFan Says:

    Bye Bye Bobo and Martino….Hello Mr. Shepard

  35. OneBucPerson Says:

    I wouldn’t mind it but I’d prefer not to carry 7 WRs into the 2018 season. If we sign him I’d like to see Martino and Bobo go. Evans, DJax, Hump, Godwin, Watson, and Shepard would be just fine.

  36. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    This is a joke, right?

    Russell Shepard would steal a roster spot from someone who needs a real chance. We’ll never improve the depth if we keep bringing back the same terrible guys.

  37. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    And I’m no saying we should keep BoBo of Martino either. We now have Justin Watson to think about.

    That leaves only one spot if we cut Bobo and Martino. We need that spot to try out new players to explore upgrades.

    Forget Russell Shepard. Heck, Martino is as good as he was!!!

  38. joestang Says:

    Why do we keep cutting players and then pick them up again after a few years? Pass on Sheppard, we have enough receivers.

  39. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    We’re talking about swaping out Josh Robinson for Russell Shepard.


    Russell Shepard is one of the best special teams players in the league.
    Plus he provides value as an emergency WR (#7), and QB.

  40. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Outside of being a good special teams player – Josh Robinson provides zero value as a CB/S.

    Outside of being a great locker room guy.
    SHEP can at least give some decent reps at WR in a pinch.

  41. Roy T. Buford Says:

    He’s still likely a good number 4/5 and special teams player in particular. His prices is clearly lower. Sign him up.

  42. Gambelero Says:

    Shep works hard. Plays hard. Gets along with everyone. Still, one sign we’re getting better is that we don’t have room for a guy that was a dead lock to make our roster for 4-5 years running.

  43. Greecosuave Says:

    That ‘16 season was pretty damn good. I like his experience and leadership. We’ve go to get a decent pick for one of these “Expendable” WR. I’m a Humphries fan and would hate to see him go. Workout the money and let’s boost the profile/play of this team.

  44. BoJim Says:

    ‘Joe also would love to see Chris Godwin have his special teams reps gobbled up by Shepard. Godwin is too valuable for that.’


  45. BucEmUp Says:

    Trade djax for someone’s good kicker, there’s a wr spot

  46. Pryda ...sec147 Says:

    Hell NO!

  47. Alan T Barlow Says:


  48. pick6 Says:

    Special teams is how bottom-of-the-depth-chart WRs contribute, and sheperd was clearly a glue guy who would also relieve Jameis of those pregame hype duties which had mixed results. Let the kid from Penn be part of the 53 but not part of the sunday 45 this year and updgrade special teams and team chemistry