Jason Licht Must Pay

December 19th, 2018

Ira calls for the defrocking of the general manager


The Bucs were just shut out. Blanked. Bageled. Nada. The big zero.

When it came to selecting representatives for the best of the NFL, Tampa Bay was told no thank you  The Bucs were the only NFC club without a player on the Pro Bowl roster.

The only one.

Somebody has to pay for that major slight, a stark reminder of the lack of star quality on this roster.

That person is Jason Licht, a fine human being, a great family man but an unsuccessful general manager.

Five years in one job is an eternity by NFL standards, but from here to eternity, Licht has failed to turn this losing culture around. The Bucs are still in the division basement and it’s time for new direction from the top.

Licht has a knack for finding overlooked talent, so there’s a place for him in any team’s personnel department, but he shouldn’t be granted final say.

For every diamond in the rough, there was a turd in the locker room.

For every Cameron Brate, there was an Anthony Collins. For every Kwon Alexander, there was an Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

“Mark, Ira’s killin’ me. He’s tossin’ me out with Dirk.”

Licht’s best draft pick was his very first — selecting Mike Evans with the No. 7 choice in 2014. Thirty-three additional players have been selected by this regime and Evans is the only Licht draft choice with a legitimate Pro Bowl beef in 2018.

When you keep making mistakes in the draft, you try to compensate by overspending in free agency. That has been a disaster zone for this franchise under Licht’s watch.

Have we forgotten about Collins, Michael Johnson, Alterraun Verner, J.R. Sweezy, Swaggy Baker and Chandler Catanzaro?

The trade for Jason Pierre-Paul has been a good one for the Bucs, but Tampa Bay’s offensive line still isn’t nearly good enough and let’s not discuss the conga line of kickers parading through One Buc Place.

The jury is still out on Jameis Winston, but Licht may not have been the driving force in choosing the first overall pick of the 2015 draft. Lovie Smith and ownership were part of the decision-making process regarding Winston.

But in his rush to surround Winston with offensive talent, Licht has misfired too many times on the defensive end.

The 2016 draft, topped by Vernon Hargreaves, Noah Spence and Roberto Aguayo, was an unmitigated disaster. That putrid draft class was Licht’s gift to Dirk Koetter, welcoming him to the NFL head coaching ranks.

Most importantly, this franchise’s fortunes haven’t improved under Licht’s watch.

Mark Dominik was rightfully dismissed after posting a 28-52 record in his five years as GM. If the Bucs split their final two games, they will also be 28-52 with Licht heading up football operations.

That’s a winning rate of only 35 percent. Need we say more?

This franchise needs a fresh start, a different vision to give a disenfranchised fan base hope that better days are ahead. The current regime has had its chance.

It’s time to bring in new blood to stop all this bleeding.

JoeBucsFan.com columnist Ira Kaufman is in his 40th year covering the NFL. “The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports” is also a TV star, seen weekly on the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show, and on Bay News 9. Also, Ira goes national every Wednesday at 5 p.m. on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio with iconic host Chris Russo. The Ira Kaufman Podcast pops here every Tuesday and Thursday, and Ira fires away with Derrick Brooks on TAMPA TWO, a production of The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan.com.

66 Responses to “Jason Licht Must Pay”

  1. tnew Says:

    I can agree with this, plus I think a solid GM makes a plan going into last season that doesn’t involve Dirk Koetter, minimally there is an insistence for a change to the defensive staff.

  2. Buc believer Says:

    You better watch out there Ira or you may get cut from Joes list if you say anything negative about Jason Gump.

  3. LakeLand Says:

    I really don’t see any purpose of the Bucs keeping Jason Licht
    His record as GM speaks for itself
    His draft history, his free agency history

    The man is an incompetent GM
    He’s not fit to be an NFL GM
    It’s this simple

  4. Eric Says:

    Dalvin Cook offensive player of the week…

  5. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Jason Licht Must Pay


    Kind of sounds like a Horror B-Movie.

  6. Lubby Smith Says:

    The Aguayo episode alone should’ve cost Licht his job.

    It proved his incompetence beyond any doubt. I can’t recall a GM, in any sport, ever making a worse decision.

  7. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    ^^ I love Mike Ditka, but he once traded an entire draft class for Ricky Williams, who was gone after 2 seasons.

  8. zzbuc Says:

    I am glad you said it Ira……and I would complete with never provided a solid running game to your coaches………the secondarys were just awful for the past 4 years too

  9. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    I don’t hold a grudge on Licht for the Roberto Aguayo move as much as others do. He was trying to once and for all end the Bucs K curse with a guy that was looked like he should be great for 10 years.

    Unfortunately, no one could have foreseen that Aguayo would develop a world class case of the YIPS that would run him out of the game.

  10. Rayjay1122 Says:

    I would offer Rich McKay a blank check as well as Derrick Brooks to come in and turn this franchise around.

  11. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    (that looked like)

  12. Bobby M. Says:

    Has any GM survived with any one of these scenarios?

    5 yrs…4 last place division finishes…0 playoff appearances
    2 HC…4 DCs
    7 kickers
    #1 selection gets suspended and benched in same yr for same red flags they had in college
    15 picks in rds 1-3….Maybe 4 legit starters on the entire roster

  13. Kobe Faker Says:


    The Dogs have bitten the hands that feeds it …because


    From 1 Janitor to another Janitor..Thank you for the headsup

    without us Janitors, everyone would be a$$swipes”

    Kobe Faker

  14. Mort Says:

    Where’s the rest of the column? It lays out complaints and then abruptly stops. Ok so he missed in the draft on some players. Name one GM who hasn’t? I’ll wait. A “Good” GM drafts about 33% success rate. You do the math there guys and I think you’ll see he is doing fine. Not to mention his UDFAs have been pretty excellent. How about some context. Look at the rest of the NFL.

  15. Joe Blahak Says:

    It’s a clean house, start over thing again…No Koetter, No Licht and definitely no WinSTUNNED and McSoftie Ice Cream. This franchise needs someone committed to a full blown culture change and change the mind set of this bunch of weak minded players. Something like Dungy did…

  16. AJ Says:

    Any chance of bringing Rich McKay back home to Tampa? Without a doubt the best GM this organization has ever had.

  17. Troy Says:

    It’s all about balance and this franchise doesn’t have it. Really great article Ira!

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:


  19. Defense Rules Says:

    Finally someone at JBF.com said it … thank you Ira. Gets tiresome listening to all the excuses. It all starts at the TOP and rolls downhill.

    There’s a certain irony here though. for several years I’ve read over & over gain what a fantastic job Jason Licht has done at DRAFTING. Now all of a sudden folks are realizing that TEAM BUILDING is a lot more complicated than just accumulating players. There actually has to be a PLAN someplace in there. Who knew?

    And for all those dreaming of bringing back ‘the good old days’ via Rich McKay & Tony Dungy (and for some Derrick Brooks), y’all need to think back to who chased them all OUT of Tampa. I think the last name begins with a G and ends with lazers.

  20. D-Rome Says:

    It’s about time someone from this site offer sharp criticism of Jason Licht. I read a comment from one of the Joe’s yesterday where he gives Jason Licht a ‘C’ grade for his efforts here over the past five years, as if a ‘C’ is good enough to win in the NFL. Nobody here every implied a “C” is good enough to win. That’s all you. –Joe

    If Donald Trump was Tweeting about Jason Licht it might look like this.

    One could argue that Jason Licht did his best job as a GM when he was working with Lovie Smith. There is no way in the world Lovie Smith would have signed off on drafting a kicker in the 2nd round in 2016. No single person has set this franchise further back than Jason Licht. Joe loves to blame Lovie, but Jason Licht has been worse. If the Bucs fail to win another game then his record as GM will be *worse* than Mark Dominick. That should give everyone pause.

    Jason Licht’s keycard needs to be deactivated first before anyone else. I’m sure he’s a great guy, and I’m sure it stinks that everyone except his own bosses are talking about his job security. However, this is a bottom line business and the bottom line is that he’s failed as a GM.

  21. jjbucfan Says:

    Please stop with the Rich McKay stuff- he is probably really happy with the ownership of the Falcons. Also pretty sure we were in salary cap hell with him, I could be wrong about that but I think Dominik had to get us out of that. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  22. Not there yet Says:

    I think the failure of the gm and coach centers around the fact that they had no plan which is why after all this time the team has no identity. Just drafting players no idea of the type of team he wanted. I wouldn’t mind a complete overhaul because at least the next group would turn it’s atte to the underperforming veterans just collecting a check

  23. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    ^^ I may be wrong, JJ, but I believe it was Gruden and Bruce Allen that put us in Salary Cap hell.

  24. El Buco Realisto Says:

    I asked this question almost 4 years ago!!!!!! Now we may see the answer finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its Another “Realist Repost”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The_Buc_Realist Says:
    January 25th, 2014 at 4:50 pm
    When he gets fired will the ” licht has gone out” ? or just lict’s out, or do we bring in Shawne Marriman to do the Lichts out dance???

  25. Joe Blahak Says:

    Yeah, the Gruden/Allen thing is how this mess all started. Just goes to show how a few years of horrible drafting can set a team back, oh, 10+ years or more. They’ve been trying to catch up, talent wise, ever since those “veteran player” idiots were running the show!

  26. 813bucboi Says:

    well i thought dirk was suppose to fix the losing culture not the GM?…..the coach is suppose to develop players and instill a winning mind set……

    lol…whatever, i wont cry a river if licht is canned…..imo, the coaches screwed him over by not developing players like spence and rojo….


  27. Dom is Gone...Licht? Says:

    Broncos have an undrafted rookie RB in the PRO BOWL… Lichts 2ND rounder cant see the field!

  28. __TGH__ Says:

    I don’t want problems… I want solutions!

    Give me your list of current and potentially available GMs. Joe has written ownership has most likely started the process already. Need your thoughts on best fits for both GM and Head Coach.

  29. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Derwin, starting Pro Bowl FS his rookie year. Justin Evans on IR.

  30. JB Says:

    I honestly think JL is trying to build a team, but he’s had horrible drafts and free agent pick-ups during his tenure. The Bucs are deficient in so many areas it will take years for them to build any depth. Let’s look at areas of need…OL, RB, DB, K, and possibly QB. Mr. Light made horrible picks in many of his drafts; how many players did he pick that are starting and productive? It’s really been sad to watch over the years and I don’t know if the Bucs will ever recover.

  31. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Yep. Early success with picks but long term no vision or philosophy on building a winner.

    Horrific draft decisions – primarily in the 2nd round. He could have made 3-4 different picks that changed the course of this franchise but he picked kickers and short CBs instead of elite front 7 athletes/D-lineman and O-lineman

  32. Bucnjim Says:

    The organization has been selling fans Mediocre for over a decade. Players that are considered great here would be nothing more than average on other teams like the Rams, Saints, or even Browns for that matter. We have settled for so many years now that when a great player like JPP comes along we are in sort of shock yet we still defend McCoy for average play. When there is a very good player standing right next to an average player you should be able to see which is great and which one isn’t.

  33. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I disagree with ira on this one.

    First off, draft picks are not the only consideration. Is there another rookie DE with 6+ sacks?

    Mike Evans is not the only guy. Nassib. JPP.

    The Bucs not getting players into the pro bowl is not Licht’s fault…it is the fans fault. Other fans flood the voting system. Tampa fans so not.

  34. SKBucsFan Says:

    I have been saying get rid of Licht for the past two years. I am glad most of you have caught up. However, there is some truth to the fact that coaching hasn’t developed the players. But in fairness your first round picks shouldn’t need a lot of developing. Unfortunately ours , under Licht , do…with the exception of Mike Evans.

    It’s time to clean house…again…with a new GM and coaches. The Law of Averages state that the Glazers will get it right at some point. Of course both of their teams have been sucking hard since Malcom died. Maybe there needs to be a change there too???

  35. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Thanks Ira
    This article is on point and mirrors what a lot of people are thinking . This is not division 2 in college and some might be satisfied with of the busts Licht brought in. But all to
    many picks were very poor evaluation of talent. If they don’t have what it takes
    to play in the NFL then there is little chance of a coaching staff developing them.

  36. Joe Blahak Says:

    Eliot Wolf for GM!

  37. Pete Mitchell Says:

    I wonder how many pro bowls guys Licht cut have been to? I’m not sure there’s any but it’s worth thinking about.

  38. firethecannons Says:

    Totally agree with this–time for Jason Licht to leave

  39. Darin Says:

    I do think its time for a different GM. Also think Licht got screwed over by these lousy coaches. Mike smith can make any defensive player look lousy.

  40. Season Is Over Says:

    If they would have suspended players and set a proper example they would not be in this situation.

  41. Mike Johnson Says:

    Just hope the Glazers hired or consulted somebody with some Football Know how
    to assist them in their search for a new GM and coach. Its very possible with these Glazers? They could do a lot worse. I do not have faith in their ability or knowledge to hire good football personnel. Lets hope they..wised up this time.
    Give us fans something..anything..to be hopeful about in 2019.

  42. Mike Johnson Says:

    Just hope the Glazers hired or consulted somebody with some Football Know how
    to assist them in their search for a new GM and coach. Its very possible with these Glazers? They could do a lot worse. I do not have faith in their ability or knowledge to hire good football personnel. Lets hope they..wised up this time.
    Give us fans Something..Anything…..to be hopeful about in 2019.

  43. @Hands2theFace Says:

    GM replacement candidates:
    Scott Pioli – Asst. GM in Atlanta, his previous stint with KC was very good.
    Reggie McKenzie – Drafted wonderfully with the Raiders and had to deal with interesting ownership.

  44. pick6 Says:

    free agency and round 2 of the draft have killed Jason Licht. so little value on so many tries

  45. Jonathan Lipnicki Says:

    Right on the money per usual, Ira. Licht & Dominik will have a nearly identical 5 year record of futility with a winning percentage around .3375 give or take. That’s terrible. The Pro Bowl Snubbing/Skunking comes at a good time…should seal Licht’s fate unless The Glazers have gone into the equivalent of a “give-up slide” from the 10 yard line.

  46. Bucamania Says:

    By comparison. The Chargers last 4 1st round picks.

    Melvin Gordon
    Joey Bosa
    Mike Williams
    Derwin James

  47. Max Says:

    He’s not fit to be a GM, he’s more of a head of scouting type of guy. Maybe down the road but he’s not there yet.

    We only picked him up because they were trying to find SOMEONE, ANYONE to be a GM with Lovie Smith when they fired Dominik.

  48. Wausa Says:

    Vita Vea is starting to look like an NFL player, but Derwin James made the Pro Bowl and is arguably the best safety in the NFL already.
    Everyone and their brother knew the Bucs were the winners of the draft, because they traded back

    How much would he have helped the secondary this year, especially when it was on pace to break the NFL record for most yards ever given up?

    Drafting a kicker in the second round, Ronald Jones in the second round, Noah Spence in the second round.

    I like Jason Licht, but that’s a lot of mistakes.

  49. D-Rome Says:

    The Bucs not getting players into the pro bowl is not Licht’s fault…it is the fans fault. Other fans flood the voting system. Tampa fans so not.

    Fans only make up 1/3 of the vote.

  50. D-Rome Says:

    Scott Pioli – Asst. GM in Atlanta, his previous stint with KC was very good.

    Don’t forget that Pioli was **critical** to the Patriots success between 2000 – 2008.

  51. GhostofSchiano Says:

    __TGH__ Says:

    I don’t want problems… I want solutions!

    Give me your list of current and potentially available GMs. Joe has written ownership has most likely started the process already. Need your thoughts on best fits for both GM and Head Coach.

    GM – not sure HC – Kris Richard

  52. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Bring back Rich Mckay.


    My choice would be Rich Mckay for GM. Relatively young, very experienced, has a relationship in place with the Glazers.

  53. NPRSageBoy Says:

    In the words of the immortal Dandy Don Meridith: “Turn out the Licht’s, the parties over”.

  54. Joe Blahak Says:

    Eliot Wolf is the son of the first Bucs GM, Ron Wolf, who is a hall of famer. Ron was famous for building the Raiders and Packers Super Bowl teams but did a unrecognized, superb job of putting the expansion team together. Then in a typical Culverhouse move, got rid of him.

  55. jmarkbuc Says:


    “My choice would be Rich Mckay for GM. Relatively young, very experienced, has a relationship in place with the Glazers.”

    And that relationship is crap…Glazers let lil Napolean run Rich so he could get his buddy in here.

    Rich McKay would laugh his A$$ off at the mere suggestion.

  56. Loyaltotheend Says:

    ATL would let McKay go just to clear dead weight from their organization

    McKay is not good stop living in the past Bucs fans

  57. Doctor_berto Says:

    Lets not forget about passing on a pro bowl safety for a run stuffing NT!!! Or drafting Ronald Jones, who has no business in the NFL, over so many good running backs. Somehow we always get the worst one in the draft!

  58. pelbuc Says:

    The fact that everyone is suggesting a “Football operations guy” is proof that Licht has been clueless. He’s been the one whose bought the rotten groceries for 5 years! Ira is just stating the obvious.

  59. passthebuc Says:

    Most of the other teams in the NFL think of us as the other club owned by the Glazers. If you think the fans in Tampa are fed up with the Glazers, you should hear what the people in London say about the owners, management and players of Mann United.
    There is a consistency with ownership. They suck.
    There is also constant talk in London about the Bucs becoming the first NFL Franchise in another country. (London) I get this feedback from my daughter who lives in London. However, the people in London are trying to get the government to package the Bucs in the Brexit deal with the EU. The EU thinks that would be a deal breaker.

  60. TripHitNdip Says:

    Hire George Paton or Louis Riddick for GM.
    Offer Jim Harbaugh a 6 year 66 million dollar contract.
    Keep Jameis and watch Harbaugh work his magic.
    Watch Tampa finally win.

  61. down in the dirt Doug Says:

    The Bucs are a toothless tiger and Licht has been our blind dentist!!!!!

  62. BrianBucs Says:

    You are what your record says you are. Period.
    Jason Licht’s record as GM of the Buc’s is 27 – 51

  63. HolyBuc Says:

    Glazers need to throw whatever money it will take to hire…

    Will McClay as GM he keeps turning down interviews.

    Then hire Kris Richard as HC that guy’s energy is infectious.

    If Will McClay won’t come come Louis Riddick for GM hey gets it. I would let him hire the coach.

  64. lambchop Says:

    It is really unfortunate to read some of the uneducated, lazy, and down right ignorant comments about how the Glazers suck. Have any of ya’ll heard of Hugh Culverhouse? Were you alive when Ray Perkins was the coach?

    The Glazers are a dream compared to Mark Davis who also took over for his pops. The Glazers spend money, maybe in the wrong places sometimes, but I appreciate their effort to try to make the right choice. Sometimes, it’s not about hiring the wrong guy, but not being able to get the right guy to come in for various reasons. The Glazers stay out of the way of GMs, coaches, and the daily football operations unlike Jerruh Jones. I appreciate that they have faith and leave the daily football operations to the people they hire.

    Once we get the right GM and HC, people will forget to give the Glazers’ their due.

    When we won the SB, the Glazers already had a great GM in Rich McKay, but they took a gutsy call to trade for Jon Gruden which worked out. It’s not like they don’t know what a good coach looks like. The only problem this time is they should be looking for a new GM and a new coach. I am damn sure, with the alumni we have, the Glazers are not going to randomly pick a GM or Coach without doing their due diligence.

  65. Bad Influence Says:

    Great article Ira. Smart and gutsy call on your part.

  66. niko Says:

    ito JJBucsfan and TampaBay Demon; Rich McKay put us in Salary Cap hell, as it was the process to sign players to long term deals to lock them in. but McKay was used to Dungy’s way. Gruden’s way was different, when Gruden found out McKay drafted a left throwing QB he about had a heart attack. Then news that he extended the contracts of Gramatica (2 years before he self destructed) and others that were nearing end of their shelf life.

    Bruce Allen got us out of cap HELL, McKay was better at talent, Allen better at contract structure.

    The problem is the Glazers have been hiring coaches to compensate for last mistake.

    They Fired Gruden for youngster (Raheem),then hired d isciplinarian,(Schiano) theqn went back in time for old school blast from the past (lovie) before settling for Koetter before the Broncos hired him.