Better Off Elsewhere?

February 13th, 2020

Better with Bucs?

Some players need a fresh start. Sometimes they don’t get along with a coach, the head guy or the assistant.

Sometimes they don’t mesh with what the team wants to do.

We only have to look at a guy like Shaq Barrett for evidence. Shaq, once buried on Denver’s depth chart, blew up in his first year outside the Mile High City in 2019. He instantly became one of the NFL’s top players. In a few weeks, Shaq will also become a very rich young man.

(You know, Joe is trying to put himself into Shaq’s shoes. If Joe knew he was about to hit Powerball-like cash in a few weeks, Joe might just lock himself in his bedroom to make sure nothing happened like tearing a knee up slipping on a wet floor or ripping an Achilles playing hoops, or getting flattened by a truck walking across the street. The wait would drive Joe mental.)

So in that theme, ESPN decided to look at what player on each team could use a change of scenery. For the Bucs, Jenna Laine suggests O.J. Howard finding a new home.

He struggled throughout his first season in Bruce Arians’ offense, which has been notorious for not getting the tight end involved vertically as much as Dirk Koetter’s did. The Bucs did entertain offers for Howard before the trade deadline. Going to an offense that utilizes him differently might be what he needs to rejuvenate his career.

Well, Howard isn’t going anywhere soon. He’s making less than $2 million this year. Yes, by all accounts he had a rotten year last year. Joe doesn’t think the Bucs are going to bail on him quite yet.

Now whether the Bucs decide to use that fifth-year option on Howard is another story.

What is more frustrating about Howard isn’t so much a supreme talent not living up to his potential (yet), but how many impact players did the Bucs pass on in the draft in areas of need to select a luxury player like Howard? It wasn’t like the Bucs were in desperate need of a tight end.

If the Bucs part with any tight end in the coming months, Joe’s afraid it would be Cam Brate largely due to his expected $6 million salary for 2020.

32 Responses to “Better Off Elsewhere?”

  1. doctor_berto Says:

    He’s just too soft to be an elite tight end

  2. zzbuc Says:

    Jesus H Christ, Jenna Laine again.!!!!
    He is not going anywhere unless the Bucs get big time rewarded!!!
    Makes much more sense to trade Brate, that he is making much more money than OJ……
    I love both of them, and I get it that OJ didn´t have a great year, but he already showed what he can be…….
    A guy called Bellicheat try to get him, remember?

  3. 813bucboi Says:

    im going to give OJ the same excuse the apologist give JW……it was his first year in BAs system…..

    OJ isnt the only player from alabama that,”hasn’t lived up to his potential”….

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  4. TOM Says:

    IMO Brate & Howard are expendible.

  5. The Graham Tram Says:

    Idk, the $2 million dollar per year would seemingly make him more valuable to a team. Not that I want to trade him, but there’s value there

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If we aren’t going to use them more… least one of them is tradeable.

  7. Robert Says:

    it’s crazy yall wanna run him off…….

    Fitz showed his skills….

    Brady would make him a STAR!

  8. Noles Says:

    I am sorry but OJ has shown NOTHING…. it was a Dumb Pick… Thx Dirk..

    He never made a contested catch at Alabama and was wide open for the whopping 7 TD’s he caught in 4 years of College.

    He looks like tarzan but plays like Jane…

    Tre’Davious White CB would have been a lot better pick. Or TJ Watt, Ryan Ramcyzk, Budda Baker & Dalvin Cook just to name a few……

  9. SammyRebel Says:

    Noles is spot on but not much we can do now just gotta hope he can do something this year in his contract year

  10. zzbuc Says:

    Noles…with all due respect
    1- The GM is Light not Koetter
    2- Have you seen 2018 season how OJ played? How could you say he has shown nothing? I undesrtand this season wasn´t good….but don´t tell me he hasn´t show anything!!!!It´s ridiculous!!!

  11. Joe Says:

    Noles…with all due respect
    1- The GM is Light not Koetter

    Koetter wanted Howard badly and hounded Licht to draft him. The Bucs had Howard graded very high and he fell to the Bucs — they didn’t expect him to be on the board. Licht thought he was getting a steal in value and also knew how much Koetter wanted him.

    So the trigger was pulled.

    Not condoning this. Long-time readers know how depressed Joe was at this (nothing at all against Howard but thought other areas needed to be addressed before tight end).

    Just explaining why it happened.

  12. ToesOnTheLine!!! Says:

    Trade him! Nothing personal, but his perceived worth to many teams is probably far higher than his rookie salary (and there’s the fifth year option that a team could use on him). No GM in their right mind is going to want to take on Brate’s salary. He’s a good player, but Howard has the “1st round pick shine” that could excite some GM and be used as draft capital to potentially move up in the draft to select the next Bucs QB….if they decide to move on from Jameis or he prices himself out of the market.

  13. philip smith Says:

    manage the salary cap asap keep the best talent ….

  14. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Dumb fans. Howard is a very good TE. Leftwich and Arians just need to use him properly.

  15. zzbuc Says:

    @ Joe…..
    The GM is still Jason Light not Koetter…..You can say whatever you want Joe…..
    The GM takes responsabnility on drafting, there is no excuses….Who drafted VHII_? Koetter or Light?

    I am a long time reader on this lovely place, and I read that the vast majority where excited big time when OJ was picked, and that´s a fact!!!!
    He played a very good rookie year, then changes coaches and had a mediocre season and suddenly he is garnage….What a bipolar analisis…..!!!!!RIDICULOUS!!!!

  16. whats the bucs plan 2020 Says:

    glad to hear jaymiss is all fixed up by surgeries now ….

    wondering what day licked , glazers. and bucco bruce have scheduled for lasik eye surgeries…..

    they obviously need it…….

  17. Craig Says:

    O.J. was injured for most of his first season and tentative in his second. He might have progressed if he was thrown more often.

    I am not sure he needs a fresh perspective, yet. He needs a QB who can work his way to the third option and throw it his way. If that happens the offense will eventually use him in rotation. He is a real match-up problem.

    Bets would be if management asked what he wanted. If he wants to stay, set a place at the table for him. If he wants to go, trade him.

  18. Clean House Says:

    BAs system sucks if it means no run game, no tight ends and let your QB get hit a lot by design

    I’m not bought in at all

  19. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    zzbuc Says
    “Jenna Laine again!!!!”

    Well she is the official ESPN Bucs beat writer…

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    zzbuc Says:
    “Noles…with all due respect
    1- The GM is Licht not Koetter”

    Also, the GM’s job is to fulfill the vision of the head coach. For example, Arians is choosing the picks right now.

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Here’s my theory:

    Arians first year was focused un improving Winston’s deep passing ability. To do it, he told Jameis to keep throwing it deep no matter the consequences. It worked…but resulted in more than a few picks.

    I expect this year things will be more balanced, and Arians will use the tight ends more as he moves Winston into more evenly distributed passing attack.

    This is also why I believe Winston will be re-signed or franchised.

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Clean House Says
    “BAs system sucks if it means no run game, no tight ends and let your QB get hit a lot by design…”

    Going into this last season, I had a slogan…”#ShowMe-Don’tTellMe”

    I wasn’t bought in either, but I wasn’t forming any judgement. Instead, I focused on observing and trying to figure out what Arians vision is.

    As a result, I’m sort of sold on things. Aside from the pick, Winston did improve in multiple areas. The offense did improve in the standings. The defense did get better.

    So far as the offense, I think Arians intentionally told Leftwich to focus on deep plays in order to test and improve Winston’s abilities in that area.

    I think this year, things will balance out.

  23. Bucsfanman Says:

    “…but how many impact players did the Bucs pass on in the draft in areas of need to select a luxury player like Howard?”

    THIS, this is the reason it is so infuriating! On a team that simply cannot afford a luxury pick, the Bucs waste a pick on a ho-hum TE when there were needs EVERYWHERE on this football team.
    And, I am so sick of people saying he wasn’t thrown to. When he was thrown to, he couldn’t catch. It doesn’t matter the number, simply catch the balls thrown your way.

  24. Buczilla Says:

    Trade this dude and Brate while we can still get a warm beer for them. If we are not going to throw the ball to the tight ends, at least get a couple that can block!

  25. Tom S. Says:

    The GM, the Meathead, the guy that has managed to steer a team to 6 additional missed playoff seasons in 6 tries while his protege Jon Robinson has been drinking his milkshake and the Titans have had 5 playoff games/3 playoff wins in 4 years, is JASON LICHT.

    Joe, remember how you reported the bullspin about how the Glazers got their hands dirty in forcing poor little Jason to trade up and draft Roberto Aguayo? Does that seem ridiculous yet?

    THE GUY WHO MAKES THE FINAL CALL DRAFT SELECTIONS IS JASON LICHT. There was no reporting at the time about how Dirk Koetter was pulling the strings on that. Yes, Dirk liked TE’s, obviously Jason didn’t think Dalvin Cook was more valuable than a second TE, as he failed to trade up for Cook in the 2nd round when he was falling but please tell me how reasonable it sounds to pin the blame on KOETTER for drafting OJ Howard.

    Just like PR detailed how the Jameis Winston came about from Jason Licht before he got everyone on board. It’s so ridiculous to try to pin blame on people other than the person who in the literal CEO of the Bucs draft.

  26. pick6 Says:

    he’s a perpetual tease on a team where he’s a luxury. unless there is a commitment to involving the TE (and with 2 stud WRs in the building and a pass catching back on the way it’s unlikely), OJ is more valuable to the bucs on another roster. blocking stud TEs are cheap and Brate is the pass catcher that Winston trusts at TE, Howard will be overpaid and redundant on the bucs. even a second or third round pick spent on the trenches or another area in need of youth\talent is going to have more on-the-field impact than a TE who’s the at best the 5th option in the passing game. If the bucs were starving for playmakers in the passing game, i’d feel different about forcing his involvement, but the cupboard isn’t and won’t be bare over the next 5 years for the team

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    It’s funny how so many ‘fans’ glomb onto media positions without doing their own analysis of what’s true & what’s not. Example: the perception that Cam Brate is the better catching TE. In the past 3 seasons (OJ’s duration with us) …

    o Cam Brate: 114-of-181 targets (63.0%) for 1,191 yards & 16 TDs.
    o OJ Howard: 94-of-140 targets (67.1%) for 1,456 yards & 12 TDs.

    Brate had 1,547 offensive snaps in his 47 games in those 3 years, compared to 1,825 offensive snaps in his 38 games in those 3 years.

    Sorry, but OJ has better stats than Cam does in these past 3 years. IMO, the major hit on OJ is that he’s missed 10 games due to injury in 3 years. Of course a large part of that is that he’s much more of a BLOCKING TE than Brate is. The biggest question in my mind is ‘Was he worth a 1st Rnd pick in 2017?’ I thought so at the time, but based on the way he’s been used, I’d now say NO. There are definitely a few players who were chosen after him in 2017 who I’d rather have right now (Ryan Ramczyk for the Saints is one).

    It all comes back to the idea of TEAM BUILDING, and Jason Licht has shown that he’s one of the worst GMs in the league at that IMO. As a consequence, we end up having to ‘fill in the holes’ with FAs, very costly FAs usually. However, in my mind JL’s ‘drafting prowess’ is fairly irrelevant right now because I’m convinced that BA is calling the shots … thankfully.

  28. Joe Says:

    Tom S.:

    You need to pull your head out of the sand. Even Dirk Koetter openly talked about how he hounded Jason Licht to draft Howard. It started at the Senior Bowl practices.

    Joe doesn’t know one GM that at times doesn’t try to draft a player a coach wants. If a GM and a coach refuse to work together, you have the mess that was San Francisco when Harbaugh and Trent Baalke wouldn’t talk to each other and the organization imploded. Or when A.J. Smith with the Chargers hated Marty Schottenheimer so much he had to work in a separate building so they wouldn’t cross paths. That my-way-or-the-highway sure worked out in San Diego, didn’t it? Chucky didn’t like Rich McKay, who in turn despised Chucky. We saw how that turned out when McKay left, didn’t we?

    Joe never gave Licht a pass on this (re-read Joe’s earlier comment). But to suggest Koetter didn’t influence Licht’s pick is flat out inaccurate. Koetter said so himself. Publicly.

  29. Wesley Says:

    A good coach finds a way to get a talent like O.J. involved. It’s amazing how patient some people are for a guy like Winston yet O.J drops a few balls and people want him gone. This guy is a superstar on most other teams, we just have to throw him the damn ball. Get you’re sh*t together coach!

  30. Chris l Says:

    This argument I think is more suited towards Winston. I think he needs a change of scenery to do well as do we. I think that is a valid point and I don’t think he will ever win everybody over and that is due to the picks and the suspension which was a nightmare and embarassment for all of us.

  31. Isaac haggins Says:

    Ok Brate is a 4.5 million dollar T E and his contract will be redone after the draft and at that time he will hv no choice but to be a 4 mil or so player . So add 2 more mil to the cap !! Hey the guy is not good after the catch and can’t block but catches well , has great size and is a decent player !!! Hell if the Bucs offered him a new deal with a third year option and lessen his cap but get him 10 mil for not playing much over those two years he may be in the nfl an extra contract and still be a 30 mil player before it’s done !!

  32. cmurda Says:

    Everybody is a genius after the fact. It’s easy to say oh we should have drafted so and so. Yeah, after being able to see what happened years later, it’s easy to say that Licht should have drafted somebody else. The truth is Licht would have been the whipping boy if he didn’t pick OJ. OJ was clearly the right pick. He was a steal and you can’t pass on a guy that might be a generational talent. He may not work out but all of these hindsight is 20/20 guys crack me up. There wasn’t a soul in Tampa that didn’t scream for OJ when he was surprisingly still on the board.