Investment Decisions

February 17th, 2020

A handful of beastly right tackles in the NFL earn $10 million or more per season.

More left tackles earn that kind of cash, even average ones, but right tackle money is growing quickly in a pass-happy league.

The Bucs have soon-to-be free agent Demar Dotson at right tackle. He earned about $5 million last year and it feels like 80 percent of Bucs fans want the 11-year veteran to have a new team in 2020.

Joe gets it, but just don’t blame Dotson for the Bucs’ substandard running backs stable, and understand that the Bucs’ explosive and dangerous passing game of the past two seasons happened with Dotson manning the right edge.

The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports, Ira Kaufman, along with NFL scouting godfather Gil Brandt, believe the Bucs would be wise pursue one of the big prizes of this year’s free agency class, 25-year-old right tackle Jack Conklin of the Titans.

The former No. 8 overall pick (2016) blew his knee out in the playoffs following the 2017 season but bounced back in a big way as a full-timer last season. The Titans declined his fifth-year option after the injury, so he could become a free man next month.

Would the Bucs really sign Conklin and have four starting offensive linemen earning $10 million or more?

Joe is all for building the trenches, but that’s a lot of cash for an offensive line that isn’t setting the league on fire.

What makes signing Conklin extra intriguing is his age and raw talent. He could be a true cornerstone piece for the Bucs.

Of course, beastly experienced offensive linemen are wonderful to have around a rookie quarterback. And it’s possible the Bucs’ thinking could be in that direction.

66 Responses to “Investment Decisions”

  1. Marine Buc Says:

    We need a true RT. All of the tackles being mentioned in the draft are all LEFT TACKLES. Just like our current left tackle Smith – who admits he isn’t able to play RT. How do we know any of these LTs available in the draft will be able to convert to RT? It’s just not that easy. I would prefer to sign FA Conklin because he is a true RT. I would also re-sign Dotson as a backup tackle. He stayed healthy last year and graded out slightly higher than LT Smith did.

  2. AwShbucs Says:

    Depends on how serious this franchise is about winning.

    Seems to me the single biggest contributor in Arians Offense is the downfield passing attack. Having a dominant Oline would keep the QB clean in addition to bolstering the running game we need to make our offense nigh indefensible.

    You cant tell me it wouldnt be worth it letting players like Dotson, Barber, Beau Allen, and Will Gholston go in an effort to transform our Oline in to one of the most dominant units in the league.

    But it wont happen. Because it just makes too much sense.

  3. Mister Negative Nancy Says:

    If the Glazers have their hearts set on Brady, they may need to spend more on o-line to get him.

  4. Pewter power Says:

    Even marpet played left tackle in college, the top lineman in the draft usually have played more than one spot in college. Hopefully they put themselves in a position to replace the inconsistent Smith

  5. Jerseybuc Says:

    You hit on a key point Joe. You need a mix of youth and experience at all your positions primarily so you don’t have them all cashing massive checks at the same time. Or all hitting the end of their career at once. It is an art to manage the payroll. This is why the 3rd 4th and 5th rounders need to contribute since they come cheaper. Be nice id we get another 4 due to Kwons departure.

  6. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    Mister if Brady signs here I’m flying down to Tampa and buying everyone a beer at Joe’s bar of choice.

  7. Pit of Misery Says:

    He is the only “high priced” FA I would consider after signing Shaq, JPP and if Winston comes back between $23-$25M ( or other QB). I would be good with this. Then, let the draft play out.

  8. JP_09 Says:

    You could get a Jack Conklin, Leonard Williams and a rookie QB for the price of a veteran QB weather it be Winston, Rivers, Brady or whoever. Then you still be able to resign most of our defensive free agents

  9. MadMax Says:

    If Suh doesnt come back, we’ll have the money, but then we need to draft Brown(trade up) or his team mate Marlon Davidson(after trading down) to replace Suh.

    Or move Cappa to RT which is what i prefer, then draft our future C Badasszzz to play RG.

    If not, theres mid 3rd Ben Bartch and a 5th/6th we could use on OT Terence Steele. I think Dotson is done. He probably wants to retire.

    I wanted Becton when i thought he would be a 2nd or 3rd, but he’s a 1st now.

  10. MadMax Says:

    @SC, im in sc too….i’ll drive but yeah, i’ll buy a round too haha.

    I think Brady is coming….then we draft Gordon to sit behind him.

  11. pelbuc Says:

    Bucs could field a pretty good roster if they dont re-sign ATM!

  12. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    If you don’t overpay a turnover machine it’s a good signing to protect a young qb

    If they give Jameis a big raise from his 20 million in 2019 then they can’t afford to upgrade the trenches

  13. SammyRebel Says:

    Joe I get your thinking but picture this. Yes we sign Conklin to a nice big contract that he deserves and we have him play RT, we have D Smith play LT for us this year and we still should draft one of these LT in the first round this year, thus releasing D Smith next year and letting him go and we have our line set next year for sure

  14. footballjunkie Says:

    Just like the Bell column…wonder where this one came from…hmm.

  15. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Hogwash that tackles aren’t interchangeable. The only reason any LT claims they can’t play RT is because of potential money earnings. They feel moving to RT takes away their leverage to make more money. Think of it as sort of being demoted. Just like Joe said, there are only a handful of RT’s that earn LT pay, so why would a LT voluntarily move to RT unless their possible future earnings remains the same? Just like someone mentioned above it’s rare that an offensive lineman hasn’t played almost every position on the line before declaring for the draft.

  16. ManzielMadness Says:

    The problem with our OLine is were investing way too much cash for mediocre results. Draft rookies to replaces the vets (Like Dot & Jensen), successful teams build from the trenches.

  17. martinii Says:

    What energizes an O-Line is a RB that can hit the hole in a hurry and break tackles. A running back that will not lay down behind the line of scrimmage and can take on blocks to help protection in passing game. I don’t understand why we can’t take any one of 5 OT’s in RD1 and a RD2 RB. Use the Cap space and salvage as much of D-Line as possible.

  18. Joe Says:

    What energizes an O-Line is a RB that can hit the hole in a hurry and break tackles. A running back that will not lay down behind the line of scrimmage and can take on blocks to help protection in passing game.

    Amen. Bucs haven’t had that since maybe LeGarrette Blount. Doug Martin had two OK seasons but don’t recall him breaking that many tackles — could be very wrong here. Just going by memory.

  19. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Spotrac has Conklin’s market value at 6 yrs, $90,163,388.
    Avg. Salary: $15,027,231. That’s too rich for me, if true.

  20. Swampbuc Says:

    BA will not, no way no how, agree to draft a rookie QB unless with a late round pick to challenge Lame Goobert for the backyup role.

  21. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Or just sign perennial Seahawks starting LT Germain Ifedi who is a tremendously underrated player that at 6-5 and 325 and extremely agile and mobile is a beast.

  22. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Martinii: I couldn’t agree more. Bucs already have 3 high priced players on the o line… why make it 4? Draft, get a little younger on that line and draft a dang rb who has some juice. A shot to the arm (an actual nfl caliber rb) will do wonders to the confidence an offensive line.

    That gives more money to go towards keeping their own players and contrary to ppls beliefs on my opinion, that means Winston too!

  23. Pryda...Sec147 Says:

    Need to sign a RT and then draft a T not necessarily in the 1st

  24. Bobby M. Says:

    The fact this team is in a perpetual state of filling holes after 6 yrs with the same GM who has had premium draft picks and mostly supportive owners when it comes to spending, shows how absolutely incompetent Licht is.

    He’s built this team a$$ backwards for Winston to ever succeed….all the investments should have been made in a top tier line and running game….we loaded up on WRs/TEs. On defense, we’ve been drafting secondary players at 5x the rate of d-linemen even though QB pressure is grossly more valuable in today’s passing league. Throw in 7 kickers, two that were draft picks and we’re still talking about bringing in kicking competition….its an absolute joke. Licht might likely be the worst GM in the league based on body of work and certainly has made Buc fans forget about Dominick.

  25. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Drafting an O lineman in the 1st round has not happened since 2006 and I can see why. If you are not drafting a generational talent like Quentin Nelson , you are just HOPING that the pick pans out , and if it does not you are set back years in the most important player group=the Oline. Sign a proven commodity that is a plug and play with little risk of lack of performance quality.
    Rojo had more long runs per attempt than any back in the league except one . So please quit whining about the RB position and showing what you do not know by doing so.

  26. Defense Rules Says:

    I think that the earlier ‘delusional’ piece carried over to this one Joe. Three starting OLinemen who make over $10 mil each is a hefty burden to bear. Four OLinemen making over $10 mil would be ludicrous.

    Lots of teams have invested more than one 1st Rnd draft pick into their OLine … Bucs have NONE.

    o D Smith: 2nd Rnd pick … 5 years experience … Pro Bowls: NONE … $14.5 mil
    o Marpet: 2nd Rnd pick … 5 years experience … Pro Bowls: NONE … $11.0 mil
    o Jensen: 6th Rnd pick … 6 years experience … Pro Bowls: NONE … $10.0 mil
    o Cappa: 3rd Rnd pick … 2 years experience … Pro Bowls: NONE … $0.9 mil
    o Dotson: Undrafted FA … 10 years experience … Pro Bowls: NONE … UFA now

    Might be wrong, but it looks like only 2 of our ‘Depth OLinemen’ were even drafted (Hawkins & Watford both in the 4th Rnd). Kinda tells me all I need to know about how high the Bucs have valued our beasts in the trenches for at least the past 5-6 years.

    Time to spend a 1st Rnd pick on a quality Tackle. Personally I’d prefer a beast LT, even if he ends up playing RT or G. That’d at least be a start in attempting to build an OLine that can run block as well as pass block. Bucs have pumped a whole bunch of money into ‘Weapons for Winston’ and ‘Pass Protection for Winston’, but have very much ignored the running game & the defense. The results speak for themselves.

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    @Martinii … “What energizes an O-Line is a RB that can hit the hole in a hurry and break tackles.” And what energizes the RBs is to run behind an OLine that can actually OPEN the holes that they can hit. The running machine has more than one moving part.

  28. Jerry Jones Says:

    I’m all for going after Conklin. We would have alot more flexibility in the draft if able to acquire him.

    I also believe Rojo is going to have big year next year. His comments about how he wants to mimc Godwin and Evans approach to the game hit home for me. He made a decent jump this season and I expect him to only get better, especially at 225lbs.

  29. Jerry Jones Says:

    @DR, we’ve not picked an Olineman in the 1st round since 2006. That’s insane.

    I’d love Conklin but agree it would be a heavy weight to carry.

  30. Buczilla Says:

    We’re already overpaying for 3 slightly above average offensive linemen. Even if Conklin’s the best of the bunch, I don’t think he’s worth top 5 right tackle money with his injury history. The draft is your friend, so I think that we should look for tackle there. Besides, we have a lot of defensive mouths to feed. Pass.

  31. thisisouryear!! Says:

    What will we learn from the combine next week? Will we hear any rumors about trades or where they are with contract negotiations? Thanks.

  32. Jcscycles Says:

    Becton and Wirfs can play either side. And play guard. Either one at 14th would be solid. Arians doesn’t like to draft offensive line, but I hope he makes an exception if one of these guys are there when it’s our turn.

  33. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Just so Marine Buc has all the facts

    During Jack Conklin’s college career with the Spartans, he started in 38 of his 39 career games (35 at LEFT tackle, three at right tackle)

  34. JimmyJack Says:

    Conklin sounds great but the payday he is going to demand means we are going to sacrifice something.

    No freaking way should we be letting either Suh, JPP or Barrett walk so we can buy a RT. We finally got the defense heading in the right direction. Awful idea to start plucking key starters away from that side of the ball.

    The only way the Bucs might be able to afford Conklin is if Bruce decides to roll with a rookie QB in 2020. If that’s his plan I’m down. But I seriously doubt that’s what we’ll do. If the plan is to let key defensive starters walk I will defientally question what the heck they are doing.

  35. LordCornelius Says:

    Even Drug Martin’s 2 best seasons were seasons in which he was massively inconsistent and propped up his annual stats on 2-3 huge games. He still had a ton of bad games in his best seasons.

  36. JimmyJack Says:

    Bring back Dotson. Assuming he would play for a low salary he would be a great backup to have around. Knows the system, knows how to work with the other lineman & has pro experience.

    If his number gets called we can depend on him to give us very quality snaps. Anybody that wants him gone is a danged fool.

  37. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Why are so many people convinced Donovan Smith should be playing right tackle?

    I keep seeing people say things like “because he wants to make more money” but he literally started most of his games in college at left tackle and as a pro at left tackle. but for some reason we need to switch him because he is really a right tackle even though by now in a pro career switching from left to right tackle would be like having to start writing with your left hand if you’re right hand.

  38. JP_09 Says:

    It’s hard to take a Lineman at 14 when they’re taking a QB. Bring in Conklin draft Rd 3 Logan Stenberg G- UK, Rd 4 Matt Peart OT- UCONN, Rd 5 Terrance Steele OT-Texas Tech. This will create depth and competition along the O-line

  39. Jean Lafitte Says:


    Nobody is advocating to replace Smith, but the smart move would be to draft a college LT because they presumably would be a better tackle than a RT. So if we draft a LT and during TC he grades out better at LT than Smith then the right move would be to move Smith to RT.

    It would be really dumb to draft a RT at #14 if there are quality LT’s still on the board. But hey, it would be just like the Bucs to do so even if Licht was a former o-lineman in college.

  40. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    I mean Jean in the past I was one of smith’s harshest critics but he genuinely played better last year.

    also this is the modern NFL both right and left tackle are of equal importance. granted it’s easier to find guys to play right then left tackle. what I am advocating for is to keep Smith at left tackle. Draft Tristan Wirfs at 14 day one starter at right tackle and one of the top O line prospects.

  41. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Also usual your spot on.

  42. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:


    Two OK seasons for Martin? Leagues 2nd leading rusher one year is just OK?oh boy this Joe is just clueless keep stalking Rachel Watson and leave the football writing to Ira

  43. Defense Rules Says:

    I don’t have a problem with keeping D Smith at LT. But who’s his backup if he goes down? And what happens in 2 years when his contract is up? And in the meantime, we still NEED a quality RT.

    HOPEFULLY one of the Top-4 tackles in this draft falls to the Bucs in Rnd 1. If not, no problem, draft a DLineman or even a QB (like Eason) if a decent one’s still there (just please don’t reach JL … there’ll surely be a quality player at #14 who meets a Bucs NEED).

    Folks might be overthinking this LT-RT thingie. A beast is a beast. Most of these tackles could probably play either tackle position on the OLine I bet. It’s just that they might play one position BETTER than the other. Many could probably play Guard as well. I’ve long had a suspicion that Donovan for instance could play LG just as well as he plays LT (maybe better actually). Smith (6’6″ & 338 lbs) is almost exactly the same size as Carl Nicks (6’5 & 343 lbs) was, and Carl didn’t seem to have any trouble playing LG (well, except for when he was with the Bucs).

  44. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Sign All-Pro RT Jack Conklin $15M

    • Ali Marpet -11,025,000 (+ 3,671,250)
    • Ryan Jensen -10,000,000 (+$5,410,00)

    • Cameron Brate – $6,000,000

    Total: $15,081,250 <—–

  45. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Still would have $86 to do everything else

  46. LUVMYBUCS Says:


  47. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Upgrade the Run Game

    Potential Cap Casualties
    -RG Ramon Foster

    Potential Free Agent Signing
    -RT Jack Conklin

    LT Donovan Smith
    LG Ali Marpet
    C Ryan Jensen
    RG **Ramon Foster
    RT **Jack Conklin

    Note: Ramon Foster’s current salary is around $4M per year. Probably could trade a future 6th round pick for him right now; to get the deal done.

  48. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    We have all the cap space, draft picks, and leverage to turn the franchise around this offseason.

    No More Excuses!

  49. LordCornelius Says:


    I’d be down.

    What should we do at QB?

    If not Winston my ideal scenario would be Derek Carr / Teddy Bridgewater or go for some guy in the draft like Jacob Eason.

    I’m reading Eason did horrible under pressure though which scares me. I only saw him in a few games but he looked legit to me in terms of that prototypical QB mold you want and his stats were very solid. In the game vs Herbert he looked like the better QB to me.

  50. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    March 21st, 2016 at 11:50 am ←-

    Jack Conklin is a Blue Chipper. Your not gonna finding that kind of talent (this year) in the 3 or 4th round. An even though, a few folks have projected Conklin at RT. Most will tell you he could easily slide over to LT.

    This guy is what football is all about. He came out no where as a walk on. Demolished so called 4 & 5 star prospects every practice – to gain his position. Then he proceeded to destroy almost every single rusher he faced- Including Buckner.

  51. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Solid Veteran & Draft Pick


    Solid Veteran & Solid Journeyman and look forward to the 2021 draft for a QB

  52. Smashsquatch Says:

    Agreed, this would be a wise investment. Paying two receivers top dollar would NOT be a wise investment.

  53. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    >Paying two receivers top dollar would NOT be a wise investment.

    No that would make sense. you want to pay your best players they make the offense better it’s best to have them out there. paying a lot of money for FA O linemen is by no means a good idea. right now it would be worlds better to use the 14th overall pick on one then pay one. thing is if they were worth it their own teams would have payed them.

  54. Defense Rules Says:

    LUVMYBUCS … Very interesting proposal on Conklin, Marpet, Jensen & Brate. I’m admittedly not a big fan of restructuring contracts (kinda like kicking the can down the road), but that may end up being the only way we can re-sign all of our own UFAs if we decide to bring on a guy like Conklin.

    Personally still prefer drafting a RT LUV, if for no other reason than to spread out the contracts. That’s where we seem to get into trouble … poor TEAM BUILDING year-to-year by Bucs’ management. We obviously just did the same thing on the DLine, and now the swallows are coming home to roost in Capistrano. Of course, waiting to draft a STARTER is a risky proposition when you don’t pick until #14.

  55. MadMax Says:


    Yeah, im on board, sign Conklin….Bring the D back….Draft Simmons for safety(trade up)….QB Gordon after bringing in Brady…RB Moss….BOOM!

  56. Defense Rules Says:

    Lord C … Eason is a risk IMO, but most QBs in the draft are. He played well in 12 games in 2016 for Georgia, but only started 1 game for them in 2017 due to a sprained knee in the season opener. Transferred to Washington & had to sit out the 2018 season, then started 13 games in 2019. So really he’s only had a couple dozen starts, with a 2-year lapse in 2017 & 2018. Kudos to him for a nice 2019 season, but I’d personally rather see a bigger body of work.

    Lots of positives (size, strong arm, etc) it looks like, but comes with ‘cautions’ too. A recent writeup on him includes the following …

    “Locking onto a single target in hopes of them coming open is a constant problem and leaves him oblivious to underneath threats. With just over two full seasons of experience as a full-time starter, Eason shows positive signs of growth, but it also involved lots of up and down play. While his peaks are ultra-intriguing, there’s a huge mix of bad plays littered in as well. His back and forth dilemma with consistency will result in him always facing questions of whether or not he can take the next step in his development. His arm strength and baseline traits will help him eventually become a starter, but it ultimately will come down to his decision making and if he can hone in on the turnovers.”

    Yikes! Does anything in there sound familiar? Still, anything after the 1st Rnd is a gamble on QBs anyways. It’s not like the Bucs have never goofed up a Rnd 2 selection before.

  57. Bucs Guy Says:

    Conklin will cost $18-20M. Can’t afford him; though I would love to have him. Ali, Ryan and Donovan all need to restructure their salary by $3-5M each if you want Conklin.

  58. footballjunkie Says:


    In the repost…from March 21st 2016, “your not gonna finding”……good gracious. No matter what comes after, grammar is your…friend.

    Soo..from March 21st 2016…

    “You’re not going to find”….

    Then whatever comes…next. Just gosh…

    But the precursor to offseason moves, is…right here.

  59. Jean Lafitte Says:

    We should’ve brought in Incognito when we had the chance. He’s been a model of consistency since leaving Miami, while getting his head back on straight. He’s the ultimate ironman. I would like to see Cappa at RT. I bet he could hold his own very well now that he’s had a chance to grow and get acclimated to the level of talent for two seasons. I think it would be easier and cheaper to find a veteran RG in FA than a tackle.

  60. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Keep Dotson as your veteran backup tackle and draft a LT

  61. Tom S. Says:

    To the poster who wouldn’t trade Suh for Conklin you make that trade 7 days a week and twice on Sunday. In addition to being younger with more tread on his tires, Conklin can get a much needed push on the right side of the line that Dotson couldn’t. The problem however is that Conklin is likely coming in about 2x the rate Suh would command. You’d absolutely love to fill a hole on the oline and either spend a 1st round pick on someone like Kinlaw if he fell. But this is the Bucs so it won’t happen since we can’t have nice things.

  62. SOEbuc Says:

    Ppl want to bring in some rook to play RT in the passing league. Pay a proven 26 year old C or RT. Move Ali back to RG where should of been the entire time he’s played in TB. Maybe a LG in the third round.

  63. Bucsfanman Says:

    I’m 100% all in on improving the OL. If the Bucs have not been planning succession from Dotson at RT, shame on them.
    All that said, one thing that stood out to me this last season was how poor our RB’s vision was. In addition to better O-line play, we need a back that can find and hit holes with conviction. Speed, power, by whatever means necessary!

  64. CrackerBall Says:

    This is a solid year for OTs in the Draft – don’t waste that by selecting some other position thinking we can get a guy later – because all the good ones will be gone (* and this is how we ended up with Donovan Smith)

  65. Brandon Says:

    Here’s a news flash for those that are clueless. Most offensive linemen in the NFL played LT in college. Great LTs in college are tried at LT in the NFL, good LTs are moved to RT, LTs that are short or have short arms are moved inside. Great RTs often stay at RT in the NFL but the good ones get moved to OG. Great OGs often stay at OG in the NFL but the good ones sell insurance.

    An average collegiate LT has a much better chance of sticking in the NFL somewhere along an OL than a good OG. So, yeah. We have a bunch of LTs on our team… all teams do. Caleb Ben

  66. Brandon Says:

    Caleb Benenoch, Jeremy Zuttah, Kevin Pamphile Marpet, Cappa, Smith, pretty much every OLineman we’ve drafted in the past 10 years has been a collegiate LT.