Key Dates Around The Corner

February 5th, 2019

Franchised in two weeks?

The NFL season ended Sunday but the NFL never sleeps and, of course, Joe never sleeps on Bucs coverage so there are key dates to start thinking about.

Two weeks from today, Feb. 19, teams can slap the franchise tag and/or transition tag on players. That window lasts until March 4 at 4 p.m., roughly two weeks.

The following Monday, March 11, legal tampering begins leading up to the free agency dinner bell ringing at 4 p.m. on March 13.

Also, three weeks from tomorrow, the NFL combine begins. Now Joe’s concept of the combine and fans’ concept of the combine are two different things. The combine for Joe begins on Wednesday when, if the last six years holds consistent, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager and new coach Bucco Bruce Arians will talk for the first time since Arians was introduced as new coach.

Of course, the TV show known as the “combine” has a different schedule and Joe pays absolutely no attention to that. But as can be expected, Joe will be in Indianapolis to talk to Licht, Arians and a whole bunch of draft prospects.

So two weeks from today, can Bucs fans expect left tackle Donovan Smith to get slapped with a franchise tag or is Licht going to roll the dice and hope he doesn’t bolt for a bigger bag of cash?

28 Responses to “Key Dates Around The Corner”

  1. stpetebucsfan Says:


    As an old guy my memory fades LOL. If the Bucs do not franchise Donovan and other teams begin bidding do we have a chance to match any offer?
    Also is there any compensation if another team takes him? Does that depend on how many games he starts for the other team?
    If Smith is not franchised, then the Bucs are free to sign him to a traditional contract at any time up until the start of free agency and beyond. If the Bucs slap the franchise tag on Smith, then he would have many months to decide if he wants to sign it. And the Bucs can rescind it if it is not signed. No, there is no direct compensation if another team signs Smith as a free agent, only the complicated compensatory draft scene, which Joe is not going to explain here.–Joe

  2. Todd Says:

    No risk it, no biscuit…bye-bye Donovan.

  3. ncbucsfan Says:

    Franchise Smith. Sign Humphries. Keep McCoy. He will be excellent for the one-gap scheme Bowles runs. Trade Djax….Get what picks you can for him….Justin Watson can stretch the field also. Trade down for more picks no lower than #10. Draft order: 1st DL ( Edge: Sweat, Interior: Christian Wilkins). 2nd OL (RT/RG Cody Ford, Oklahoma) 3rd OL (RT Tytus Howard, Alabama State)……skill positions afterwards, unless we can pick up some extra picks from trading down in the 1st.

  4. Cobraboy Says:

    Before the Smith decision is made, a whole slew of other careers with the Bucs will get decided.

    Cap space is the first order of bidniz.

  5. Stanglassman Says:

    I’m going to guess the Bucs use transaction tag on Donovan.

    The transition tag is a less-expensive version of the franchise tag that allows a player to garner contract offers from other interested teams. It offers a team the right of first refusal when it comes to one of its unrestricted free agents.

  6. Not there yet Says:

    D. Smith I’m more ok with the one year franchise tag then licht trying to lock up another one of his picks long term. Interesting to find out what BA’s evaluation of the current roster is more than anything else. Every year fans get jacked up about rookies who can’t help because the core players are mentally weak. One a one year price deal just like Winston and hope we can squeeze every ounce of want to from this guy then decide. Can’t keep getting rid of players, we need coaches to push these guys to be better

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    @Stanglassman: I suspect you are correct. Or they could use it on Humphries if they’ve made a decision on Smith.

    Problem is the “who do you replace him with” conundrum. He’s not that good, but who else is there?

    Bucs prolly want to keep him to see what non-Warhop majik can produce, but at the right price.

  8. StoutGospel Says:

    March 3-4 is really the only date that matters, as all teams wait till the last minute negotiating with the player’s agent until basically 4pm on the 4th. The “opening” of the window is useless every year.

    Only $2mm difference between transition or franchise tag values for a LT, so that discussion is ridiculous when you’re already talking about $13mm minimum on that value.

    I think the Bucs don’t tag Smith. They will either have something up their sleeve as an alternative (possibly in draft), or will reach an agreement before March 4th on a lower, reasonable 3 year deal.

    No way in hell they hand Smith $15mm franchised for one year…he sucks.

  9. doolnutts Says:

    Cobraboy — Also agree.. I am not excited about Smith but the reality is we have limited draft picks and even less cap space. Letting Smith go opens yet another major hole for a team that sounds like it wants to win now. I suspect the best move is to transition tag Smith and use draft capital elsewhere. With Smith signed we would still need RG,RT,DT,DE,LB,CB,S we have just too much to do with this roster.

  10. Bucnjim Says:

    Talent can be argued about certain players like McCoy, Jackson, and Donovan Smith but the one thing that even an average fan can spot is effort! Hard to argue with modern day rewind and pause.

  11. 813bucboi Says:

    cobra and stan

    i agree….


  12. Uncle Donnie Says:

    I say let Smith walk trade Brate the great, trade D Jax restructure GMC if not trade him or release him also release the following Vinnie Curry Bo,Allen William Goldston and arrest bennock for impersonating a NFL player draft OT in first rd OG in rd 2 best player available after that and look to free agency to fill holes on the team with our new funds we freed up # go BUCS

  13. StoutGospel Says:

    Sure….@Joes..sure. 🙂

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    @Cobraboy … “Cap space is the first order of bidniz.” For sure. Assuming the use the franchise tag or transition tag on Donovan AND re-sign Hump (for say $7 mil or thereabouts) we’d already be in negative CAP numbers with just those 2 signings. Seems like a foregone conclusion that somebody’s gonna get the ax (and more than 1 ax will fall).

    Bucs have no choice but to rely on the draft for several starters, but it’s seems rare that teams get more than 2-3 rookies to either start or become key rotational players. Assuming we do that well (3 key draft pickups), that’d still leave a minimum of 5 and probably closer to 10 or so ‘replacements’ (if you look at the CAP space we’ve got right now, we NEED to fill LT, RB, WR, backup QB, MLB, ILB, CB & Kicker as a minimum from our existing CAP space because those guys aren’t on the roster right now). Then add replacements for every high-salary player we cut (DJax? GMC?) to ‘save money’. Looks like a daunting task. Glad we’ve got BA to solve this riddle for us.

  15. 813bucboi Says:

    uncle donnie

    LMAO!!!!!!!….TPD will have to arrest more than just him……


  16. BucNole Says:

    Plz people. . . . u have to franchise or transition Smith at this point cuz you have no better option to replace him. . duh

  17. Dewey Selmon Says:

    If you transition him all it takes is one team that has that cap space to overpay and he is gone. Then we have another hole. Pay the man this year and strengthen the rest of the roster.

  18. Couch Fan Says:

    There is no reason to over pay for any of our UFA. None of them are special so far in their careers.

  19. Darin Says:

    Huh? No better option to replace Donovan Smith? Lol. Thats funny. Watch the better option then watch him perform better next season, IF you do watch that is. I dont think he’d be back IF he was stil under contract. The fact he will get more money next season somewhere means he will be somewhere else, imo. The only area of the team that Ive heard Bruce repeatedly say needs work is the Oline. So expect it. He doesnt BS.

  20. What the buc Says:

    I’m shocked at how many people are buying into the “we don’t have any salary cap room” thing. Some of you act like we have this star studded roster and no one is expendable. Do we really need to resign all these guys? GMC will take a pay cut or he will be a free agent. That’s 13 million. D jax was 11 million last season. He can be gone. Curry was garbage living up to his 2.5 sack per year average like I said he would. Cut him and save 6.5 million. Gholston played better in a swing role but he’s not worth the 6.5 million. Cut him. Even Smith is 2.5 million. He can be replaced with Cappa or a 3rd round draft pick. Unrein is 3 million and we can reach an injury settlement with him. Grimes is gone. There’s another 7 million. Vita Vea counted 10 mil against the cap last season and will be around 2 this year. There’s another 8 million. Dotson is a 5 million dollar decision. We have expiring contracts to add to the pot as well as an increasing cap that will likely provide 10 million more. Before anyone says it, I know we have guys to sign. The fact is that almost everyone is expendable on a team that won 5 games. Watch the Rams and the Saints will find money to sign stars to loaded rosters and some of you guys believe the hype that we can’t be players. If we aren’t players it’s due to internal budgeting not salary cap.

  21. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    Call Belichick TODAY, and get that Super Bowl winning left tackle, who is losing his job next year. Give him some of Smith’s money, and give Smith the option of staying as a left guard and or testing the market. AND NO MOPING!

  22. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    BucNole Says:
    February 5th, 2019 at 5:36 pm
    Plz people. . . . u have to franchise or transition Smith at this point cuz you have no better option to replace him.

  23. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:


    I meant to add: See my comment above^^^^

  24. Lucious Selmon Says:

    @Dewey Selmon

    Hey, my brother from a fantastic mother! I saw you mentioned me the other day, but you were long gone by then.

    Anyway, I don’t know what I did or said, but one of the Joes got a hate-on for me. I even kept posting for like 2 weeks even though I was totally banned, just to show good-faith pennance–all to no avail. So I had to change my name and address. I’m in FBI witness protection. (Yeah, I really trust them. NOT. My days are numbered…)

    I’m still here, but my name is “changed to protect the innocent.” (There’s an old line from the TV show “Adam 12.” LOL)

    This will be my last post as your beloved kin, if Joe is kind enough to let it slide to ya. PEACE!

    GO BUCS!!!

  25. Cobraboy Says:

    @What the buc: all you say is true. However, in the “key dates” Joe mentioned, it all comes down to managing the cap, and the cap is about timing.

    A bunch of Bucs will be former Bucs in a couple of weeks.

  26. BucEmUp 7 Says:

    Yes stan transition tag would be best

  27. D1 Says:

    L. Selmon,

    Dragnet is the show your thinking of.

  28. George Says:

    The transition tag is determined in the same manner as the non-exclusive franchise tag although it is the average of the top 10 players at the position. The club has the right of first refusal if the player negotiates a contract with another team but there is no compensation if it declines.