Leonard Wester Emerging

December 4th, 2018

Coach applauds.

Whether or not the Bucs decide to keep Bit-O-Honey-snacking, Ozark-watching, yams-eating coach Dirk Koetter and/or Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht, the team (whoever is running the show) will have to make tough decisions come March if not before.

The Bucs don’t have a whole helluva lot of salary cap space. Sure, the cap will rise. It always does. And the Bucs sure can trim roster fat to save some shekels. But players are going to have to be paid, too.

One could make an argument that either Donovan Smith or Adam Humphries could/should be franchised. Both are important cogs in the offense and both would be hard to replace, if not very costly to replace.

So yesterday, Koetter was asked in his day-after presser about reserve offensive lineman Leonard Wester who started in place of injured Demar Dotson at right tackle. Koetter liked what he saw.

“Really well, really well,” Koetter said of Wester’s play. “Just in the first series alone he went against three different defensive ends. For a guy that played every down, Leonard, really pleased with how he played.”

If Wester played that well, could he be a target to start at right tackle next season? Currently, Wester is in the final year of his contract. He makes $600,000, which is far less than Dotson’s $3.9 million. Dotson’s current contract runs through the 2019 season.

Wester turns 26 in January.

If the Bucs are looking to squeeze pennies so that guys like Smith and Humphries can be kept, does that make Dotson, 33, an endangered species?

Just off the top of Joe’s head, it’s unlikely Brent Grimes returns (Miko’s not hip to that idea). There’s cash that can be saved right there. DeSean Jackson possibly won’t be here next year; cash can be saved there. Will Gholston shouldn’t be brought back. There’s cash that can be saved there.

If those three are gone, that’s roughly $23 million for Team Glazer to play with. That should be enough to keep Humphries, Smith and possibly Wester, too.

51 Responses to “Leonard Wester Emerging”

  1. Clarence Says:

    Wester is barely a short term answer at rt let alone a long term one. Dotson been mediocre for a while now.

  2. SchwiftyBuc Says:

    I believe you meant to say that Dotson turns 34 in January. Wester is 25.

  3. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Hey Joe,

    Since I know how much you love our Color Rush jerseys, just wanted to let you know the Bucs are wearing them again this Sunday against the Saints! 🙂

  4. Wausa Says:

    Wester is a decent pass blocker. I don’t see a lot of push in the run game though

  5. gbobucsfan Says:

    Wester is 34 in Jan?

  6. JimmyJack Says:

    Didn’t notice him play Sunday(which is usually a good thing for OL). Remember liking his play last year. This is good news.

    The OLine is easily the weakest spot on the team.

  7. NPRSageBoy Says:

    I think Wester will be 26 in January.

  8. TOM Says:

    I can’t believe they would pay underachieving D Smith. Hump, yes. Wester, yes. But D. Smith no way. He does play pretty good when he wants to. But the trouble is thats not very often. I’ll say one thing he does have the hands on the hips looking down at the pile of bodies after the play is over down pat.

  9. Nprbuc Says:

    Clarence- Wester could certainly be a log termguyfor us. At only 25 and learning he could be a fixture for years to come. Who knows what his ceiling is until he gets the playing time he deserves. I like Dotson. But he is over the hump and on the downside of his career. Go with the kid.

  10. ATLBucs Says:

    Releasing Dotson will be like when we released Penn when we had no one to replace him; not smart

  11. BAGIJ Says:

    Releasing Dotson without any proven starter will be just like it was when we released Penn. Not smart and the line is still recovering from that move

  12. AlteredEgo Says:

    and..and…#93 needs to renegotiate the balance of his contract…if brought back at all ….Webster…Dotson…Gholston and Grimes need to be replaced due to age alone…Donovan is LAZY and that simply won’t change and probably be reinforced with a rewarding contract…time to move on from all the names I mentioned

  13. Not there yet Says:

    Donovan Smith is hard to replace? The politics of sports is so sad. If he was a late rounder other guys would already be getting looks at his spot on a normal team that is used to competing and doesn’t allow slacking. He is not a top 10 tackle at all maybe not top 15. Tired of seeing us draft guys that require the fat boy clause at the position that has to have the quickest feet on the line.

  14. SOEbuc Says:

    Do not resign Smith. He’s stubby, jumps, and gets ran through by longer DEs. We need to draft an ultimate LT in the first or second round. Draft a RG in the fourth and bring in a bunch of camp meat. Let them battle out the RG spot. DT and Oline are our top priorities.

  15. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Before we do any of the above fire the OL coach. Hayes has been here awhile and really hasn’t improved the players.

  16. Dooshlarue Says:

    Cut the Dancing Clown and save 13 million.
    And bye bye to:
    DJax (should have traded him)
    Old man Grimes.
    Let Donovan walk and make LT a 1st or 2nd rd priority.
    Dangle Brate for trade capital.

  17. Dooshlarue Says:

    Yes Dewey, Warhop needs to go.

  18. SchwiftyBuc Says:

    At least you tried Joe. Wester is already 25.

  19. dmatt Says:

    I wouldn’t pay DSmith elite money for “I can sometimes block performance”. At times he’s an embassment. While hosting a show with sidekick Marpet, he should b spending his time useful working on extra reps for speed rushers n find ways to protect his qb. DSmith is too soft n Teddy Bearish for me. We need a mauler. As for Webster, he’s a thumbs up n his left hand counterpart Benenoch is a thumbs n big toes down for me.

  20. Dewey Selmon Says:

    My bad Doo, I meant Warhop.

  21. Dom is gone ...Licht Says:

    We’ve already over paid for a center and guard! Do not overpay for a left tackle ! We would have one of the highest-paid average offense of lines in the league.

  22. Darin Says:

    Bye Donovan Smith. Give Leonard a look at LT. No way Smith should be brought back at what he will get paid. Let someone else get that terribly inconsistent play and effort.

  23. SOEbuc Says:

    Off topic Joe. Just read we’re going to be wearing the all reds again against the Saints. I don’t know why everyone thinks they look so bad. I think they look cool. Look a lot better than the regular ones. If we pick Breese 5 times Sunday, I’m calling for automatic change to them.

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Would it be unheard of or totally out of the question for us to draft a Tackle or Guard in the 1st or 2nd round?

    If so, the money isn’t so much of an issue. We need to get some help from our lower salaried draft picks…..like Rojo, Cappa, Beckwith, VH3, Carlton Davis…and perhaps MJ Stewart (probably not much from Stewart)

    We have OJ Howard & Chris Godwin who are low paid…..high production players.

  25. passthebuc Says:

    You could send JW to the Arena league and save money.

  26. JWBUCS Says:

    Joe… I think you failed to mention that DeSean Jackson will likely Not Return for 2019 and that should add an additional 11 million dollars to the 23 million you mentioned above…

  27. BigMacAttack Says:

    Donovan Smith is the most inconsistent left tackle in the league. He is occasionally good but when he’s bad he’s get your QB killed bad. He’s not worth LT money. Not even close. He also refuses to play Right tackle. Draft a Left Tackle early and get rid of the trash LT we have.

  28. Rod Munch Says:

    Humphries …. franchised….

    A #4 WR getting a franchise tag? LOL!

  29. Geno Says:

    Lot of options for our CAP next year.
    No problems:

    1. GMC 13 million. No dead cap space.
    2. D-jax 10 million. No dead cap space.
    3. LaVonte David 9.7 million. No dead.
    4. Vin Curry 8 million. No dead.
    5. Cam Brate 7 million. No dead.
    6. Beau Allen 5 million. No dead
    7. Dotson 4.8 Million. No dead.
    8. Golston 3.8. No dead.
    9. Mitch Unrein 3.7. No dead.
    10. Noah Spench 1.9 million. 650k dead.
    11. Caleb Benenoch .8 million. 60k dead.
    12. Evan Smith 2 million. No dead.

    Grimes is UFA next year. Not sure that was clear with Joe’s article.

    I gotta think that most are fine with letting go #2, 7, 8, and 9. That is 22 million.
    Some of those other 5 players will gladly agree to a lower base to still make a contract instead of taking a risk.

    UFA’s are Humphries, Fitz, Ryan Griffin, Donovan Smith, Kwon Alexander, Cairo Santos.

    Inexpensive RFA’s are Barber, Wester, Cross, Andrew Adams.

  30. Joe Says:

    I think you failed to mention that DeSean Jackson will likely Not

    Didn’t fail to write anything. Joe has no idea if team wants him back or not.

  31. gambelero Says:

    If we lose this week, I’d like to see Lietke, Cappa and Wester play the rest of the season. Like a lot of people here, I don’t like committing huge money to keep Smith. You don’t find left tackles growing on trees, even mediocre ones. The next off-season is going to be about Protecting America–assuming that our seeming lack of talent on defense through the first half of the season was really a lack of coaching/coordination.

  32. gambelero Says:

    Need a valence change marker there. Something like “…keep Smith, but you don’t find…” or “…keep Smith. Still, you don’t find.”

  33. Getaclue Says:

    Donavan Smith is built like a guard and was projected as a guard coming out. He should only be brought back at RG and bring talent in that are true tackle

  34. BucEmUp Says:

    If you think Adam Humphries is only worth wr4 money you gotta be a crack baby

  35. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Think we could save a bunch of money playing Vita Vea at both Dline and LT…..just think velcro at LT……sounds very good to me……a LT who can’t get off a block. (sarcasm)

  36. Dom is gone ...Licht Says:

    Let’s pay Hump # 1 wr money like are avg center TOP PAID and our avg LG ToP PAID…. hell let’s make LT highest paid in the league. We’ve sucked for 10 plus years for a reason NO EYE FOR TALENT in this organization! Over pay for mediocre FA and to keep our own players

  37. Mr Kleen Says:

    Giving D Smith a large LT contract without first giving Wester and Liedke serious game time just seems irresponsible to me.

    Getting beaten isn’t a crime by itself, but getting beaten without even affecting the path of the defensive end looks really terrible; and whenever I see Smith getting beaten, it is that bad.

  38. Boo Says:

    Cut Jackson
    Cut Evan Smith
    Cut Gholston
    Make Curry take a pay cut.
    If Unrein can’t play again, cut him, too.

    Grimes is already a free agent.

  39. Maze Says:

    Webster is probably better than Smith right now. Smith can go give up sacks somewhere else.

  40. Rod Munch Says:

    Bucs should have plenty of money next year.

    Jackson, $10m
    Curry, $8m
    Brate, $7m
    Gholston, $3.5m
    Anger, $3m
    Evan Smith, $2m
    Unrein, $3.5m

    That’s $36.5m.

    Additionally they could easily redo deals with David and/or McCoy to create cap space if they really needed to.

    Now with Brate do we want to keep him? I think so, but not at $7m, that’s just too much for a backup TE. Plus Brate should have trade value – so it’s not like you cut him for nothing. Curry, there’s no way he sticks around for $8m, and he’s been injured all year – old injured players aren’t what you build the defense around. Jackson should also get the Bucs something via a trade – if he can finish out the year healthy and playing perhaps as high as a 3rd from a WR desperate team, like his old team, the Redskins. Mitch Unrein brings nothing to the table, it was a dumb signing, cut him. Beau Allen isn’t listed above, but while he’d be a $1.5m hit, that frees up another $3.5m, and he too hasn’t done anything this year.

    So all that money is on top of the $20m they already have, whatever they carry over from this year, and whoever much the cap goes up. So they’ll probably have well over $60m available.

  41. DayOnePaul Says:

    Two sacks got by Wester. One to an inside swim move, and one on an outside speed rush. Neither time did he have any blocking help on the strong side from a TE or a RB. I thought he did pretty well playing every snap of the game.

    We’ve got to let him play. We’ve got to find out if we need to address two Offensive Tackles in the off-season, or only one.

    Demar is not affordable, considering his age, recent performances, and injury trend. And Donovan is, at best, needing to be moved to a different position.

  42. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Joe, the Bucs do not have to franchise Adam Humphries. He signed a two year deal in the off season.

  43. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Peyton Barber is on a one-year deal though. Is he worth bringing back? Maybe, but not as the starter.

  44. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Actually, I might be wrong about Humphries deal. Could have sworn I had read that in the off season.

  45. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    On topic, I have been screaming to replace Dotson for years. People talk about D. Smith not blocking well, but the majority of the sacks over the last five years have come from the right side, most coming right around Dotson.

  46. Bucsfanman Says:

    Will Gholston is STILL on this team?!!!

  47. John5 Says:

    I’m sorry. I like Donovan smith but he constantly gives up on plays. As soon as someone gets around him, which sometimes looks as easy as juking a statue, he gives up entirely. The lack of effort is apparent. I really wanted him to shine this year, but he’s really inconsistent and the bad plays seem to show more than the good.

    Get rid of diva Jax for sure.

  48. KW Buc Says:

    Don’t forget about #93 — he and his $13,000,000 should be gone as well. He is not worth anywhere near that money

  49. Mike10 Says:

    Not to mention Kwon..

  50. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Salary cap shouldn’t be too much of an issue. They can shed anywhere from 30-40 million, if they really wanted to. They will just need to focus on acquiring d line help.

  51. Owlykat Says:

    Evan Smith is the backup Center and not a bad Guard-we still need him. Move D. Smith to LG and get a first round LT. Liedtke can play a better LT than D. Smith and also play Guard. But you must fire Warhop and get a competent OL Coach. Then he can develop Wester into a starting RT and develop Cappa as the backup for LT or RT. He should try to develop 77 or cut him if he can’t. Marpet should be an All Pro at RG. Don’t tamper with the great chemistry we have with our starting DL. Vinny and Beau Allen we’re backup players with Philly and have only produced here only good enough as our back ups and should be asked to agree to backup pay here or else. We need to get a rookie DE to backup next year and be developed. Offer backup pay to other prior starters or get another cut player to develop. Sign Adams and Harris to long term deals!