A Welcome And Necessary Reboot

March 11th, 2019


This Buc roster is about to undergo a massive reorganization, and that’s a good thing.

DeSean Jackson simply isn’t a good fit in Tampa and it appears Adam Humphries will soon be too rich for Buc blood, so Jameis Winston won’t have as many proven targets to throw to this fall.

That’s a good thing.

Jackson’s salary will be off Tampa Bay’s books after he and Winston flunked Chemistry 101 the past two seasons. The Bucs will miss Humphries’ sure hands and precise routes, but he’s the No. 3 wide receiver on this team and Chris Godwin will flourish opposite Mike Evans.

That’s a good thing.

Besides, with Evans, Godwin, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate still on board, can a new coaching staff legitimately complain about a lack of quality pass catchers?

For the past few years, this roster has been top-heavy with targets. Bruce Arians admitted as much at the combine, where he was asked for his preliminary impressions after watching the Bucs on tape.

“I can honestly say I’ve never walked into a situation with skill players of this magnitude, quarterbacks, receivers, tight ends, and running backs that are there already,” Arians said in Indianapolis.

“Obviously, we’ve got a little bit of work up front and then defensively, I love the speed that we have. It’s just finding the right pieces and putting all the puzzle together.”

This is a perfect time for this franchise to reset. The time is right for Jason Licht and his scouts to allocate more resources to the trenches — where most games are won and lost.

Low-Yield Investments

Despite all those targets, the Bucs are coming off consecutive 5-11 seasons. Despite all those “skill” players, Tampa Bay’s scoring offense ranked 12th in the league with an average of 24.8 points per game.

And as the season progressed, that attack withered, even as the defense improved.

The Bucs averaged 28.6 points in the first eight games and only 20.9 in the final eight. That’s a drastic drop, and you can’t blame it on injuries. The starting line barely missed a snap and Howard was the only significant offensive player sidelined.

The arrival of Arians should signal a new emphasis for this organization.

There will be a new slot receiver at One Buc Place. He won’t make as much money as Humphries in 2019 and he’ll need time to develop a rapport with Winston, but he’ll be coached up.

Instead of getting into a bidding was for Humphries, the Bucs would be wise to move on and fortify positions of need like right guard, linebacker and defensive back.

Forced Precision

GM Jason Licht

Unlike other years, Licht isn’t approaching mid-March flush with cash to spend.

That’s a good thing.

Smart teams often wait until the initial wave of free agency passes, leaving bloated, overpriced players washed over the field in a green tide.

“It’s the first year that I’ve gone into free agency without an abundance of cap space to use, here, being with the Bucs,” Licht said. “In a lot of respects, we’re very excited about where we’re at, being able to hopefully retain our good, young players. That’s not to say we won’t be active in free agency, because there’s different levels of free agency.

“There’s the first-day, high-priced, splashy guys, and then there’s guys extending all the way into Week 3 and 4, where you can get some good value, guys we’ve actually had more luck with in the past. Those are the types of guys and the types of deals that make my scouting staff excited. Those are usually the hungry guys.”

The start of a new NFL calendar year is an opportunity to reshape your roster. Embrace it.

If Humphries and Jackson are productive elsewhere this fall, the Bucs should have no regrets. Winston will have to make do with a Pro Bowl wide receiver, a third-year pro who averages almost 15 yards per catch and the best tight end tandem in the league.

Now go address a plodding run game and a defense riddled with question marks. Free agency is here, and it’s time for a reboot.

That’s a very good thing.

Ira Kaufman began covering the NFL as a New York Giants beat writer in 1979. He arrived on the Buccaneers beat in 1985, and the corporate leash finally was removed from his neck when he joined JoeBucsFan.com in July 2016. The award-winning Ira Kaufman Podcast fires twice per week, and Ira’s columns appear thrice weekly, except when Ira is on special assignment. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter also is a popular guest on various national radio and on local TV. He’s also co-host of TAMPA TWO at The Identity Tampa Bay, which returns to its regular format in March.

14 Responses to “A Welcome And Necessary Reboot”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It’s a good thing we have little money……wow……I always heard that nothing is worse with money…..
    And….Licht likes being able to retain his younger players……like Hump & Kwon…..

    Spin time!!!

  2. '79Defense Says:

    “…after he and Winston flunked Chemistry 101 the past two seasons.” Great one, Ira.

  3. Cobraboy Says:

    Losing Jackson and Humphries is nothing more than shifting assets from the offense to the defense.

  4. Lord Cornelius Says:

    For the hate on the D Smith extension, Trent Brown just got over $16M per year on a 4 year deal, with $10M more guaranteed, and is now the highest paid lineman in football.

    I wouldn’t take Brown over Smith straight up. Not sure how a 360 Lb left tackle will do when he’s not in an offense where the QB gets the ball out in 1.5 seconds

    We basically saved like $4m a year by extending smith when we did and don’t have some huge hole at LT

  5. AlteredEgo Says:

    Jason needs a Boot….in the azz

  6. gotbbucs Says:

    This year I’m almost more excited to see who they wash their hands of instead of who they bring in. There will be tons of crying a wringing of hands over watching big names sign with other teams for bank breaking money. I won’t be one of them.

    Any GM and scouting staff can agree to throw money around like a drunken sailor at big names just hoping that the locker room will accept them. This year I want to see smart purchases and a flushing of bloated contracts like GMC’s.

  7. Asdf Says:

    Ok this is kind of a counterintuitive take but Humphries leaving could be good for the offense. Jameis has shown too much loyalty to his guys (locking in on Evans and Humphries and Brate). Now Evans is a legit talent and deserves targets but Humphries and Brate have way more limited skill sets than Godwin and OJ. Getting more balls to those guys might be positive for the offense.

  8. Not there yet Says:

    I defended this guy for some reason but after what 5 years he’s out of cash for locking up players on a team that can’t do better than 5-11. I’m sick of the spin job. Pointless press conferences are no different from the random draft picks and free agents, no rhyme or reason

  9. miken Says:

    This is like the 3rd reboot for this gm…. incredible.

  10. mickman Says:

    Hey lets face it…this team has sucked and that is with Humph, Kwon and many others that are going to go. I could care less who is on the team blow the whole damn team up…just win some damn games.

  11. Doctor Stroud Says:

    I’m OK with a reboot, but how did the team into cap hell? We were rolling over millions of cap money just two years ago. Somebody in the front office has a serious case of proprioception.

  12. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    Doctor Stroud Says:
    “I’m OK with a reboot, but how did the team into cap hell? We were rolling over millions of cap money just two years ago. Somebody in the front office has a serious case of proprioception.”

    Is that like the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing with the wallet?

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ira … “This Buc roster is about to undergo a massive reorganization, and that’s a good thing”. I don’t get it Ira. When several of us JBFers said exactly that when BA was hired, most said “No way, we’ve got all the talent we need. BA said so.” But now it seems that folks are realizing that BA was spewing some BS when it came to the ‘lots of talent thingie’. Or maybe he was just trying to make Jason look good at the time, but now he’s coming to grips with the reality of the Bucs magic show … watch for the slight of hand.

    @Jason Licht … ““It’s the first year that I’ve gone into free agency without an abundance of cap space to use, here, being with the Bucs.” Translation: “Yes, I blew through all the huge salary Cap $$$ we had and now we have very little to show for it. But cheer up Bucs fans, I’ll do better this year with no money, I promise. And you can take that to the bank.”

  14. ERIC Says:

    Losing Hump, Kwon, etc… wil net us great comp pics next season. We are basically trading them fir 3-4th rounders next year and salary cap relief this year. I hope Hump gets paid BIG! Any other unrestricted FA that sign elsewhere will help too as long as we don’t replace them with other high priced FA aquisitions.