Arians And Investing In RBs

February 19th, 2020

Analyst agrees.

Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians has said on multiple occasions he doesn’t like to invest big on a running back.

Joe challenged Arians on that subject over the summer and he put his foot down, “I don’t overpay for that position.”

And why is that? Because more often than not, it’s a bad long-term return on the investment.

Now it is easy to say that when you have a running attack. But the Bucs have tried to go the cheap route the last few years and to call the Bucs’ rushing attack a cheap unit would be accurate.

With Bucs running backs, the team sure has received what it hasn’t paid for.

Numbers guru and noted football gambler Warren Sharp looked at NFL running backs who signed monster contracts in recent years and where they stand now in the pecking order of top-shelf backs.

Sharp’s findings are scary.

So basically what Sharp is suggesting is, if the Bucs go running back shopping in free agency, be very careful.

32 Responses to “Arians And Investing In RBs”

  1. Bruce Blahak Says:

    The draft for that. Sign the free agent defensive guys first. Draft a QB early and both lines and RB within early rounds.

  2. Jason Says:

    This is where I disagree with the concept that you should never take a rb in the first round. I just wonder if it might not be a bad idea to take the best rb available in the first, run the bejesus out of him for 5 years, then let him walk in free agency. Rinse and repeat.

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    Got to agree with Bucco Bruce here. Every FA RB seems to have red flags. Do your homework and find someone in the draft, someone that can find the hole and someone who can create their own.
    Not for nothing but, looking at the effective running teams in the league they all have something in common…a fullback. Would it kill the Bucs to deploy a FB from time to time?! Maybe even one that can catch! I wonder who we could model a FB off of?!

  4. Hodad Says:

    It’s never good paying big money for a vet RB like the Jets did with Bell. The way to go is to draft one every couple of years. RB’s careers, with a few exceptions, usually go down hill after their rookie contracts. Signing a vet RB for big money is a bad investment.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Draft night must be very much like sitting down at the poker table not having any idea what hand you’ll be dealt, yet hoping for at least ‘something’ that you can work with. Bucs have a number of known NEEDS right now (Tackle, RB, Safety?), but that list could grow exponentially if we can’t re-sign our own FAs (or suitable substitutes). Prioritizing those NEEDS is essential IMO to TEAM-BUILDING, and yet come draft night you never know what hand you might be dealt.

    Drafting OJ Howard in the 1st Rnd with our #19 pick in 2017 is a classic example. Seriously doubt that the Bucs had TE listed as a critical NEED on their list, and yet, there he was at #19, and Jason jumped because he surely felt that OJ was the Best Player Available when we drafted. In the early rounds especially, it seems to me that it’s when BPA & NEED come together that you should pull the trigger. Although I still love OJ as a TE talent, the NEED wasn’t there in that case.

    If BA & JL do their job in FA, our list of NEEDS will be manageable come draft night. Hopefully by the time we draft at #14, one guy jumps out as being the obvious pick, and we don’t have to ‘reach’ to fill a NEED. Until then, this seems more like playing craps than poker.

  6. Beeej Says:

    I’m most cases, by the time they hit free agency, their skills/abilities are diminishing

  7. ModHairKen Says:

    Doug Martin is available. So is Cadillac Williams. They’d do just as well with this OL.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucsfanman … I agree with you about FB. I still remember the ONE year we had Lorenzo Neal (1998), an awesome FB IMO. Bucs put up a lot of rushing yards (2,148) that year. Neal got a grand total of 5 carries that year, but he saw a lot of action as I remember while Warrick Dunn & Mike Alstott got the yardage.

    Tend to doubt though that a ‘dedicated FB’ is in the cards with BA at the helm. However, a big back like BC’s A.J. Dillon (6′ & 245 lbs) could very well still there in Rnd 5 (he’s projected to go Rnds 3-5). Wouldn’t mind a bit if the Bucs took a flier on him at that point.

  9. Pewter power Says:

    This Issa why it’s a waste to invest in signing a big name free agent or even investing a high draft pick at running back in a pass heavy offense. Just find thre right guy, can’t be using undrafted guys but no way a first round pick or the levion bells

  10. footballjunkie Says:

    What a tiresome outfit this can be…

    Some obvious mistakes or material misstatements above that colored his supposed “results” above:

    1. Jerick McKinnon wasn’t a “vet” at all, when he received his pre-2019 deal or now.

    2. Dion Lewis is a season long backup with the Titans, signed to compete with a once-in-a-generation 6’5 250lb. hulk of a man (now known to be that special). How is a full time backup going to average OVER 4 ypc…as a backup?!?? Not getting enough work, touches. ITS A COMPLETE OUTLIER due to Henry, doesn’t belong in any statistical test, due to that.

    3. Where does this Sharp yahoo account for 2 freakish and completely random ACL tear knee injuries occurring to both McKinnon in preseason and Miller early on last year??? Age doesn’t specifically and solely precipitate that! See Gurley’s at Georgia, Lev Bell’s in his 3rd year. Translation….how in the h3ll are 2 of 6 guys on this list…supposed to gain 4 ypc, when they’ve torn their knee up?!?!?!?

    4. Bottom line, this hack Sharp only actually has TWO guys on here correctly to support his assertion. Two. And that is Gurley and DJ. BOTH of whom were signed AT THAT TIME because…they were AT THAT TIME huge centerpieces of their offense. THUS, they each had massive leverage over the team, fanbase. Also, there was only buyer beware with Gurley, because Rams knew of Gurley’s chronic knee problem prior to that contract. No one knew DJ would break his right wrist landing on it, AFFECTING his ability to create 4 ypc directly.

    ** If Leveon Bell, were not running behind the consensus bottom 3 rated offensive line in NYJ…(and even though his contract was signed in technically 2019), he would have blown this farce outta the water.

    This dude selectively created a misrepresentative pile of vomit. Hack.

    Sure the evaluation of acquiring tenured more expensive RB’s is specific and precise, but it certainly can be done. Just don’t go ask this fool.

  11. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    You can do well with “good” NFL caliber RB’s IF you have a strong OL….that and at the end of the year in the Play Offs…teams with dominating running games really shine if they need to use that for ball and clock control….when was the last time a Buc offense controlled ANYTHING….each offensive series is just another roll of the dice

  12. I Bleed Pewter Says:

    Use our first pick on an OT then move back into the bottom of the first and select RB. Or we could just wait till we pick again in the second. Either way if we don’t or can’t we’ll still get a quality RB, we just won’t have that 5th year option.

  13. Guzzie Says:

    Antonio Gibson from Memphis is Arians type of back, look him up, he’s a WR and RB hybrid, he is 6’1 223, a young David Johnson clone, low usage in college like Kamara, averaged 10 ypc and returns kicks, wont cost more than a 3rd round pick, also like Joshua Kelly from UCLA is also a mid round guy with workhorse size and recieving receiving ability

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Rojo is good enough for me this year. What we need, as I have been saying for the past decade, is either a Lorenzo Neal type of Fullback for blocking, or a tough, bone jarring straight runner for short yardage situations.

    Opponents feared Mike Alstott because when he ran, they knew they were going to hurt. That’s what this offense needs more than ever.

    Third and two? We knew we’d get the first with Alstott running. 4th and goal on the 3? Alstott touchdown.

  15. Guzzie Says:

    Bonzai this isn’t 2010

  16. OneBuc55 Says:


    I totally agree with you…Never ever over-pay for a FA running back; 9 times out of 10 you won’t get a favorable ROI…

    If they’re talented draft them high, get your 4 or 5 years of production out of’em on their rookie contract and let some other team break the bank on’em in free-agency…

  17. geno711 Says:

    Certainly elite fullbacks can help a running game but they are so few and far between.

    Besides Juszczyk is there a stud fullback year in and year out. Unless that fullback hits the hole in the right way 9 times out of 10, I think they are a waste and apparently so does the NFL.

    Last year fullback use per percentage snap counts:
    San Fran – 45%, Minn 30%, Atl 20%, NO 20%, Oak 20%, Buff 15%, GB 15%, Car 10%, NYG 10%, Det 10%, Dallas 10%, KC 10%, LAC 10%, Mia 5%.

    More than half the teams did not use a fullback at all. I think the only correlations is that the Shanahan’s know how to use a fullback and went out and got the best one and last year Minn figured out how to use a fullback.

    So I am not sure that you need an effective fullback to have an effective running game. It may help. But there are a lot of effective running games without big time full back usage.

    Some lead backs that did well last year on Tennessee, Dallas, Cleveland, Carolina, Seattle, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Indy.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    Guzzie … There’s a really interesting article that MIGHT change you mind about Bonzai’s comment ( if Joe let’s the link go through.

    Turns out that, as the article’s title says “Reports of the Fullbacks Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”. A number of playoff teams, including the 49ers, used the FB quite extensively and effectively. Their FB, Kyle Juszczyk, got almost 400 offensive snaps, even though he only carried the ball 3 times. Even in our own division, the Saints FB, got over 200 offensive snaps even though he only carried the ball 7 times. Both of those teams seem to have done pretty well with a combined 26-6 record. Maybe they know something we don’t?

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Give Rojo the ball…..even 15 carries per game at 4.2 yds is 1008 yards

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Geno711 … Good stuff. Wrote a comment that’s in moderation right now that gives an interesting link. Your analysis is spot on that “there are a lot of effective running games without big time full back usage”. But with the right back AND with the right OC, having a FB can be beneficial. Right now the Bucs have neither when it comes to our running game IMO.

  21. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    DR…i agree with you and those stats; the problem here in Tampa is that licht has had no clue on the identity he wanted to build the bucs into and thuse the bucs are like a satellite lost in space with no purpose. If the bucs had a purpose of building a defense 4 years ago and having that be the focus and then get a offense like Tennesse, Bmore, SF, and all 3 of those have great defenses. Now I am pretty sure arians is a very non flexible coach and is going to run his deep verts offense no matter what

  22. 813bucboi Says:

    plenty of good mid round RBs in the draft….

    aj dillion
    adrian killins

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  23. catcard202 Says:

    I agree w/ BA…You don’t overpay for RB in today’s pass happy NFL.

    But RoJo being #1 on Bucs roster isn’t enough…FO needs to find the complimentary back to pair w/ him. Barbour is not worth a bump in pay…So, It’s Draft or UDFA… (3rd-4th Rds looks to be the sweet spot for quality/value RB in this draft class.)

  24. Brandon Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:
    February 19th, 2020 at 7:33 am
    Rojo is good enough for me this year. What we need, as I have been saying for the past decade, is either a Lorenzo Neal type of Fullback for blocking, or a tough, bone jarring straight runner for short yardage situations.

    Opponents feared Mike Alstott because when he ran, they knew they were going to hurt. That’s what this offense needs more than ever.

    Third and two? We knew we’d get the first with Alstott running. 4th and goal on the 3? Alstott touchdown.

    I’d be willing to bet my lunch for the next week that Alstott never scored a TD on 4th and goal from the 3.

  25. Bucsfanman Says:

    Utilizing a FB does not time-warp a team to the “stone age”. You cannot keep burying your heads in the sand when the subject of running the football arises. It is not coincidence that the teams with top rushing attacks made it to the playoffs.

  26. Mister Negative Nancy Says:

    The NFL needs to change its rookie contract rules for running backs. Very unfair to players.

  27. catcard202 Says:

    1st Rd picks have a 53% success rate, regardless of position…The Rookie Contract salary structure was put in place to protect the League from $30-50M draft busts & provide more incentive on paying experienced proven players…RB just happens to be a position where the career expectancy is = to a rookie contract period. 3-4yrs.

    If the NFL keeps trending toward a 7-on-7 camp passing league & I think it will…The RB position will quickly evolve into a Slash-Back by committee, role requirement…Just as the modern day TE is now really a HB-TE/FB + carries added ST expectations…RB will need to offer more than grit…Every team is looking for versatility, with limited roster space.

    It’s just the evolution of the sport & how the pendulum swings.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    catcard202 … Agree with you about the overall ‘trend’ towards a passing league, but certain teams seem to have thrown a monkey wrench into the equation. Baltimore for one. They had a ridiculous season IMO … 3225 yards passing (37 TDs) against 3,296 yards rushing (21 TDs). Lamar Jackson ended up with a 9.0% TD percentage which is unheard of, as well as rushing for over 1,200 yards & 7 TDs himself.

    I don’t know that the NFL has ever seen an offense like that. The Ravens had near perfect BALANCE in their offensive attack, and it probably played havoc with opposing defenses. , One things for sure though: if 1 team has success with a ‘new’ anything, other teams will invariably attempt to copy it sooner or later. In our case, the Bucs would do well to strive for better BALANCE in our offensive attack.

  29. Mike Johnson Says:

    So don’t be pissed fellow Buc fans. Arians does not like to draft RB’s high in the draft at all. I bet you all he is looking at bringing Johnson from the AZ Cards.
    I got us going OL, DE and maybe a DB in the 1st 3 rds. despite the fact, there will be plenty of good runners in the 1st 3 rds.

  30. #1 BUCFAN Says:

    I’ve not been fan of RB sense mercury morris. Alstotti was the ultimate HB the Bucs need a HB 6’2-3 240lbs just to beat the line.

    NFL is a passers game , RB HISTORY.

  31. Smashsquatch Says:

    Agreed, chasing RB in the draft or FA is foolish. Easiest position to fill in the mid rounds or via UDFA. Look no further than the 49ers who have a stable of five backs three of which are UDFA and the other two were third round selections. They know how to pick them and Shanny knows how to use them too. All the 49ers backs are excellent in space and can catch. In other words, they’re all interchangeable three down backs which avoids tipping your play calls.

  32. Bucemup Says:

    Draft our back Bruce! Of course you don’t over pay for a vet who’s 27/28. Get a rookie who’s 21/22 and you have him for 4 years. Please draft a back and not wait to rd 5 or 6 and try to out smart everyone. We play in a division that has Kamara, CMAC, and before the injuries Freeman was ballin and they had Coleman. We trot out Ronald Jones and Payton Barber. Jones is a good rotational piece and I bet Barber doesn’t see the field for any other team this up coming season. If he’s signed he will be a back up. Before them we had a back that gave us only two good years in Doug Martin. Give the fans a good damn running back we can be proud of. I just know we will do the Bucs thing we do and pass back after back to draft a safety no one has ever heard of or some hybrid linebacker when so many backs are on the board at the time.