The One That Got Away

February 18th, 2019

Lesson learned?

One great free agency miss by the Jason Licht-Dirk Koetter regime was not fishing for the big fish of 2017 free agency.

Ironically, the Bucs were afraid to risk it, so they got no biscuit — one of Bruce Arians’ most tasty biscuits.

We’re now 23 days from the free agency dinner bell ringing and that looming clang might forever remind Joe of the Bucs passing on manbeast DE/DT Calais Campbell back in March 2017. At the time, it felt unthinkable to Joe. The Bucs were so damn desperate for help on the edge and overall on the D-line.

But they played scared and wouldn’t get in the game for best fish in the sea, a guy who had been a monster for good Arians teams in Arizona. Campbell also was heck of a person.

The Bucs paid dearly as Campbell moved on to dominate in Jacksonville while their signings, Chris “Swaggy” Baker and DeSean Jackson, failed here.

(Last year at the NFL combine — as opposed to say, the National Lacrosse League combine — Joe directly asked Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht if the Bucs were involved in any way in negotiations with Campbell the previous spring. Licht refused to comment.)

Who could forget Dirk Koetter’s famous exchange with former Bucs beat writer Roy Cummings in September of 2017.

Cummings: There’s one thing people still wonder about with this team through the offseason, why you didn’t fortify yourself a little bit at defensive end, just get more pass rush help. But then when you look back at the fact you had 21 sacks the second half … [cut off by Koetter]

Koetter: How would you like us to fortify it, Roy? How would you have liked us to do that? Would you like us to maybe [cut off by Cummings]

Cummings: I’m not [cut off by Koetter]

Koetter: Well you’re asking the question, so I’m asking you. So, you’re asking me a question. How would you like us to fortify it? We could have given up Kendell Beckwith. We could have given up O.J. Howard.

Cummings: You could have got Calais Campbell [in free agency].

Koetter: Well, we could have, but we didn’t have $17 million laying around.

Sadly, the Bucs sure did have that money available. Instead, they paid/kept the wrong players.

Campbell is still dominant and his salary this year is $12 million salary with a $14.5 million cap hit. If the Bucs had signed Campbell, Joe is confident they wouldn’t have coughed up a third-round pick for Jason Pierre Paul.

There might be some expensive, true-impact fish on the free agency market this year, Anthony Barr or C.J. Mosley, for example. Joe sure hopes the Bucs don’t convince themselves they can’t afford greatness.

21 Responses to “The One That Got Away”

  1. StoutGospel Says:

    M-o-s-l-e-y. CJ Mosley.

  2. Not there yet Says:

    Ha Campbell had the one good season with all that money spent on him and we know how this past season went, uh they are picking 7. The entire defense played well that year. Not sure why people keep saying this guy or that guy would have had said production if we had signed or drafted them knowing they would be playing in a mike smith coached defense. Campbell would have been as ineffective as Vinny Curry and would have been cut after one year to save money.

  3. AwShbucs Says:

    I knew Koetter needed to be axed after he made that ridiculous statement. Because we did in fact have 17 million laying around to sign Calaid Campbell.

  4. Dewey Selmon Says:

    We didn’t miss, we weren’t even in play to get him. he went straight to Jax to sign his contract. Never stopped or visited another team.

  5. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    $17 million. I can’t imagine getting paid that much.

  6. AlteredEgo Says:

    So many scabs to pull….

  7. Bird Says:

    That’s not true. He was interested in bucs if you remember.

    We never thru a lifeline so went straight to jags

  8. Jonzey Says:

    No to Campbell yes to Barr

  9. Bobby M. Says:

    Koetter had no say on who was brought in…..Any coach is going to pick Campbell over Baker. Licht opted for Baker just as he opted for a kicker in the 2nd rd. Licht tries to be too savvy but rarely pulls off anything worthwhile. All his picks are starting to look like reaches other then Marpet, Evans and Howard….His free agency moves are well documented…not just failures but total back fires. Sweezy ate up cap space but never played….Baker was an absolute joke. Jackson has been a distraction….Grimes was disgruntled….Fitzpatrick created a QB controversy. None of his kickers have worked out. He extended the DC for THE WORST DEFENSE IN THE LEAGUE. When Lovie got fired, Licht made a power play and in doing so revealed he’s in over his head.

  10. Jeff Says:

    Surprising Arians didn’t tell Licht what a player/leader/person Campbell was and he would be wise to sign. Imagine an alternate universe where the Bucs sign Campbell and a bargain deep wr instead.

  11. 813bucboi Says:

    im just thankful joe isnt our GM lol…..campbell wouldve been nice but we still wouldve needed JPP…..imagine JPP,GMC,CC,nassib…..

    but smitty wouldve still screwed it up…..


  12. TOM Says:

    I said it before Licht is right up there with the worse GM’s in Bucs history. He seems to be off to a good start by not going after Hunt. Now in his defense I don’t know how much BA had to say in this.

  13. R.O. Says:

    If we singed CC then all we would be doing right now is talking about him being a salary cap casualty this year. His signing would have accomplished nothing.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    @AlteredEgo … “So many scabs to pull….”. Awesome! LOL. That summarizes so many of these ‘discussions’ during this non-football season.

    The Jaguars are an excellent team to analyze as a case-study on how to go from terrible in 2016 (3-13) to very good in 2017 (10-6) THEN back to terrible in 2018 (5-11). Defense was gross in 2016 (allowed 400 points), but made a remarkable turnaround under the defensive coaching staff in 2017 thanks to the infusion of new TALENT (only allowed 268 points). Their key to a good season though IMO was playing great COMPLIMENTARY FOOTBALL (offense scored 99 MORE points in 2017 than in 2016). Defense did somewhat worse in 2018 (allowed 316 points) BUT it was really the Jags offense that fell off a cliff … scored only 245 points, an astounding 172 FEWER points than they scored in 2017). Bye bye Blake Bortles.

    The Jags actually got what they paid for. They had the most expensive defense in 2017 & 2018 (and in 2019 at present) … by far. Bucs BTW have ranked in the Top-12 in terms of CAP $$$ spent on defense since 2016 (ranked #7 in 2018, although our DLine ranks #2 in terms of CAP $$$). Seems like in 2018 neither the Jags nor the Bucs got what they paid for (both 5-11 in 2018).

  15. Loyaltotheend Says:

    So many bad moves by a bad GM

  16. ben Says:

    Licht is the worst gm as the record shows ..the man in charge has made piles of mistakes !

  17. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Um…Jason Licht is actually easily top two BUCs GM of all time. No there GM has brought in more great talent through the draft…not even Rich McCay.

    He’s also the best all-time in contract management.

    His free agency is only about 50-50 and the wins have not shown up, but wins are on the coaches and players, not the GM.

    But hey, go ahead and make false claims of history showing it.

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    What fringe fans do not understand is that Jason Licht is a build through the draft GM, just what the Glazers have always preferred.

    Both view free agency as a stopgap, a way to fill holes until the right guys can be drafted.

    Fans also do not understand the concept of player development, and how it takes three years. This is evidenced by how they have given up on the 2018 draft picks already. Such as Rojo, who was barely on the field. Or Stewart, who excelled in press coverage but was forced to play off coverage.

    These same fans called Vita Vea a bust early last season, and even after he played only a couple games.

    Bucs fans are the worst evaluators of all.

  19. Loyaltotheend Says:

    What is Licht building through the draft?

    An o line? He’s spent two good picks on a Guard who’s never made a pro bowl who he just extended and a LT who is as inconsistent as the QB he drafted

    Is he building a run game? If so it’s taking awhile…

    After 5 drafts we still need

    DT if McCoy is cut
    OLB as we don’t know if Beckwith will play again

    So outside of good targets for a inconsistent qb what has he built in 5 years?

  20. Guzzie Says:

    50-50 on FAs, stop gap $8 million DE and CB, are you kidding, Licht is a complete idiot, Jon Robinson is way better, what FA has made an impact on our record, NO ONE, Ayers, Baker, Grimes, Curry all made $8 million plus, Sweezy made $12 million for 2 years and played 1, Beau, Gholston, Urein each made $4 million plus, DeSean made $10 per, Dotson hasn’t been healthy since before he was 30 just stupid relying on him…..just pathetic

  21. Guzzie Says:

    Brate didn’t break 300 yards and Licht pays him $7 million and everyone on here wants to keep him, stupid stupid stupid