The Glazer Wager

March 28th, 2020

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The head coach is 67. The starting quarterback is 42. The playoff drought is 12 years.

Numbers can lie … these don’t. These numbers tell the story of the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a franchise that has pushed its pewter chips all in.

The last time a sense of urgency for this franchise has been so heightened came in 2008, Jon Gruden’s final season on the sidelines. That was the year a veteran team bolted to a 9-3 start before wilting in December.

That late collapse led to Gruden’s departure and ushered in a youth movement that has lasted more than a decade.

Until now.

The Bucs would not have re-signed 33-year-old Ndamukong Suh out of free agency unless management believed the time was now. Tampa Bay wouldn’t have targeted Tom Brady behind Door No. 2 if ownership was guided strictly by a long-term plan.

You don’t hire Bruce Arians at his age and ask him to live and die with a rookie quarterback. He didn’t do it in Arizona in 2013 and he’s not about to do it now in Tampa.

Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer

When the 2008 season ended, the Glazers were convinced the club was at the end of a cycle. Gruden and GM Bruce Allen were dispatched and a veteran purge soon jettisoned Derrick Brooks, Ike Hilliard, Warrick Dunn and Joey Galloway.

That was then, this is now.

Protection Plan

When the 2019 season ended, Arians told the Glazers this roster had enough talent to make the playoffs — if those 41 giveaways were reduced by a significant margin.

Hence the pursuit of Brady, who just presided over a New England offense that turned the ball over only 15 times. That kind of ball security is a trademark of Brady throughout his remarkable reign in Foxborough. In the past six seasons, the Patriots have averaged only 14 giveaways.

Arians is convinced he can win with these players — now.

“We have the talent,” Ryan Jensen told CBS Sports Radio. “We have the skill.”

Now the Bucs have Brady, ramping up the pressure on Jensen and the rest of the players responsible for keeping No. 12 upright. And while Brady has few peers in terms of releasing the ball quickly, all it takes is one breakdown up front to disfigure the new face of the franchise.

“Everybody always says it’s a .500 league and the teams that end up 12-4 with first-round byes and end up going to the Super Bowl, it’s those little details in every game that this play or that play can determine the outcome of the game,” Jensen said. “I feel like growing in Bruce’s offense and Bruce’s team culture and then adding Tom on top of that, I think we’re going to be a very tough team to beat.”

They say the letters NFL stand for Not For Long, and that’s surely the case with the Brady-Arians partnership. Brady probably feels like he could remain effective at the age of 50, but that’s not going to happen. Arians knows his tenure will be relatively short before he rides off in that golf cart, ideally with a Vince Lombardi Trophy on the adjoining seat.

Bet Big, Win Big

It’s all-in from ownership on down to fans, writes Ira Kaufman.

This win-now creed is a big hit with Buc Nation, beaten down by promises that a major turnaround was dead ahead. The gravy train never arrived, leaving this fan base rolling in the slop.

This time around, the Glazers said enough is enough — we’ll worry about 2023 when it gets here. Right now, we’re betting on a head coach and an iconic leader to justify the faith of those Las Vegas oddsmakers.

A half-century after Hall of Fame coach George Allen adopted a “future is now” approach in the nation’s capital, the Bucs are ready to rumble.

Some might think it’s a bit of a gamble to place your faith in a quarterback who was born during the Jimmy Carter administration.

I say go for it.

After all, for the past 12 years, the only thing Buc fans have had around here are peanuts.

Ira with his good friend Sean Sullivan, general manager of Bill Currie Ford, Tampa’s first family of Ford. Sean will help you personally in any way he can. It’s the Bill Currie way.

36 Responses to “The Glazer Wager”

  1. TheBradyBunch Says:

    I know the odds for the SB went down to something like 22-1 after they signed Brady. What is the over/under for wins right now? Really the Bucs were 9-7 last year if they had a real NFL kicker. That was with 30 interceptions. I think with a good draft (stud OT in the first and Swift hopefully in the 2nd) the team can be much more balanced on offense and extremely difficult to stop. Brining JPP, Suh, and Barrett back were key. The young secondary got valuable experience last year and should be improved. I think this team should be an 11 to 12 win team next year.

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    We are in a win now mode, that’s pretty obvious.
    I see no way we don’t at least become a wild card team.

  3. Colonel_mp Says:

    Let’s trade our peanuts for confetti!

  4. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Nicely done, Ira. I particularly liked the Carter/peanuts finale. Not sure the younger crowd will appreciate that one. I like that the Bucs have adopted the sense of urgency mantra. It’s been a very long while since it’s truly been exciting and hopeful to be a Bucs fan.

  5. Belligerentbuc Says:

    Let’s go pick up Michael Bennett for a 1yr $3mil deal to replace Nassib.

  6. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Waiting for Adrnagy to crap on this story since he’s terminally butt hurt over Bucs replacing you know who.

  7. BringBucsBack Says:

    “Gruden and GM Bruce Allen were dispatched and a veteran purge soon jettisoned Derrick Brooks, Ike Hilliard, Warrick Dunn and Joey Galloway.”?

    Dunn’s last year as a Buc was 2001! Gruden never coached him. I know it is early but, come on; you’re a journalist Ira.

    This is the mentality that will preclude the Bucs from drafting a QB and I believe that to be a mistake.

  8. Buczilla Says:

    Good article Ira.

  9. BringBucsBack Says:

    …nice peanuts reference, though, Ira.

  10. Hawk Says:

    IIRC, Dunn never played a down for Gruden.

  11. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Dunn actually did…Gruden brought him back to the Bucs for a short stint. Felt like a sentimental/ “the one that got away” type of move. 🙂 He played pretty well actually.

  12. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    I think they should kick the tires on Clay Matthews, if the price is right. Give him around 10-15 plays a game on the pass rush and he can be very affective.

  13. Hawk Says:

    And there were stories that it was Dunn’s choice. The Birds offered more money, and to chip in to his charity.
    It’s very difficult to find the right GM/Head Coach combination that can build a long-term successful team.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    What did we really have to lose?

    At least the acquisition of Brady has made our Bucs relevant….

    I’m getting texts, calls & emails from people I haven’t heard from in years……congratulating me on the Bucs getting Brady…

    I’m sure many of you are experiencing the same.

    Ticket sales, merchandise sales, TV ratings….chatter…..and the addition of casual fans all over the country…..and maybe….just maybe some wins.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ryan Jensen … “I think we’re going to be a very tough team to beat.” That’s all well and good Ryan, but you all have to prove it on the football field. As the old saying goes … ‘Talk is cheap’.

    Bucs still have several holes in their starting lineup IMO: RT, RB & S. Our depth isn’t close to where it’ll need to be … YET. I think of Cleveland last year, and how everyone anointed them as the turnaround team of the year. They had all the ‘pieces in place’ most seemed to say. And yet they finished 6-10, worse than the Bucs. Beat several pretty good teams (Ravens, Bills, Steelers) but against most they kept shooting themselves in the foot. Sounds eerily familiar.

    I’m certain that Tom Brady will make a huge difference in terms of giveaways, PROVIDING that our OLine can protect him and also that we develop a respectable running game. We need better BALANCE in our offense, plus need our defense to start off this season where they left off last season.

    Assuming that the remaining pieces come together, this should be our best opportunity in many years to make the playoffs. And once in, anything can happen. Just ask last season’s Titans or Ravens … or the Patriots.

  16. Robert James Says:

    @Hawk… ummm Dunn was Gruden’s back for 16 games in 2008

  17. Destinjohnny Says:

    It Never gets away from blown draft pics

  18. DRFEELGOOD Says:

    Good take D.R., but I respectfully disagree comparing us to the “sexy” pick of Cleveland last year. They had a rookie head coach, a second year QB, and a prima donna malcontent WR. We just added the GOAT to a team that just needs to stop turning the ball over so much. But, we obviously need to protect him. I think he will protect himself with quick decision making. We shall see. GO BUCS!!

  19. Rob in Land O Lakes Says:

    Defense Rules: Really great take!

  20. MadMax Says:

    Thats exactly why i was squawking so much for TB….its the perfect fit at our perfect time. He needed us and we def needed him! Screw the big name this and that, splash sign yadda yadda…its about movement in the moment….Intelligent minds thinking alike 🙂

    Now we need…
    Brown (or one of the big 4 for RT)
    Ezra (if we land Brown)
    Dugger/Davis for FS

    im asking for a lot, i know…thats why if the big 4 and Brown (or Simmons) are gone, TRADE DOWN!

  21. MadMax Says:

    Simmons at FS or wherever you want him

    or Brown at DT/DE

    if one of those fell down to us…or within reach a few spots for a trade up…my gosh!

    or Wirfs/Thomas!

  22. Bucs Guy Says:

    I agree with Def Rules on the holes the Bucs have. Wouldn’t mind seeing a low cost veteran FA picked up for RB and OT. Then go address both in the draft also.
    1st – Trade back then draft OT Josh Jones
    2nd – DT Justin Madubuike
    2nd – S Ashtyn Davis (this is your trade back extra pick)
    3rd – Edge Alex Highsmith
    4th – CB Michael Ojemudia
    4th – RB AJ Dillon or Darrynton Evans
    5th – Interior OL (G/C)
    6th – WR James Proche

    This draft helps balance the Bucs need for depth (lost to FA – DT, Edge, WR), building for the future (CB, T, G) and immediate needs (OT, RB, S). I tried to be realistic on the round these guys are expected to be drafted. I also recommend the Bucs bring in the Dallas XFL kicker Austin MacGinnis to compete with Matt Gay and explore trading LT Donovan Smith and a day 3 pick for Trent Williams; then signing him to a 4-year contract at $17M/year. This could be a trade that occurs after the draft. I’ve debated picking a QB in the 5th or 6th rd, but developmental QBs this late just doesn’t work out. Name a few that have had long term success in the last 10 years. So QB will be a priority in rd 1 or 2 of 2021 – along with Edge and LT unless the Bucs trade for Trent.

  23. Jim Says:

    Where are we now with the cap? Do we have enough to make Defense Rules happy, plus pick up a back-up QB somewhere?

  24. stpetebucsfan Says:

    D.R. Not sure the Cleveland example frightens me at all. Because one of the “pieces” in place was at QB and he certainly had a horrid sophomore slump.

    He completed 5% fewer passes and the %’s that really sucked…his TD % fell from 5.6% to 4.1% while at the same time his int % increased 2.9% to 3.9%

    My son lives in Columbus and has always been big Browns fan. Their fan base is gripping over the fear that Mayfield may end up a bust and they had a total lack of belief in Freddie Kitchens as their coach. He has been replaced.

    I do not think Brady is viewed as unpredictable as Mayfield…nor is BA viewed like rookie coach Kitchens or their new guy Stefanski.

    I agree with you that depth is a concern but I’m not sure that’s particularly a Buc’s issue. In the era of the salary cap I think many teams struggle with depth.

    And as usual I agree with all of your fixes. The most exciting thing for me is that ALL of these fixes can be made rather easily now in the draft. RT…2 RB’s..Safety and DL help. One mock had us taking Kinlaw first however and fixing our RT with an FA…that scares me a bit. Rather do the obvious and since we signed SUH I think we will.

    The wild card in the draft to me is at QB. Indeed the “Future is Now” and it will be that way forever in reality. Aside from Burrow I do not like this class nearly as much as next year…I fear some overselling but I could certainly be wrong.
    Tua’s got the injury issue…and the other have issues as well. I suspect if BA feels comfortable enough with Blaine Gabbert under center we’re not really going to spend much draft capital on that position and it’s fine with me.

  25. WestChap Says:

    All in with a winner at the helm feels VERY good.

    Draft is going to be fascinating if a Top 4 OT and Love are available at #14… will they take one (OT screams win now; Love screams we want to be good 3 years from now too) or trade down (Jason likes to get more picks if he’s got his eye on someone further down the draft list… say OT Jones out of Houston)?

    With Brady at QB and DL starters re-signed there is no wrong answer. All is good for the moment in Bucs land. 🙂

  26. BringBucsBack Says:

    My Apologies, Ira.

    2008 Warwick Dunn: 186 rush att. 786 yards 4.2 average with our Buccos, under Gru!

    WD is one of my favorite Bucs of all time. One would think I would have remembered. After jetting to Atl for all of those years, I guess I retired him a bird in my mind.

    Pride before a crash…

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    DrFeelGood … I agree with you about Cleveland (‘sexy pick’?). Freddie Kitchens had a lot of experience under BA, but I never thought that he was HC material. Their undoing though was Mayfield and his giveaways (21 INTs vs 22 TOs). That and their defense never really ‘rose to the occasion’ as they say.

    Jim … For the record, I’m never happy when it comes to the Cap, UNTIL the season ends with a Super Bowl victory parade. The salary Cap represents ‘flexibility’ to me, and the opportunity to take advantage of grabbing the best talent available IF you have enough $$$. For example, I’d love to have enough salary Cap space right now to grad the BEST RT on the market, plus the BEST backup QB and the BEST veteran Safety. Unfortunately we’re not there, but we’re in a LOT better shape than most teams at this point in the season.

    And to answer your question (how much?), looks to me like we currently have $21,655,300 with all our newest FAs accounted for except Ndamukong Suh ($8.0 mil) and Ryan Smith ($1.75 mil). That’d take us down to $11.9 mil PLUS the salaries of the last 2 players in the Top-51 who they replace ($1.3 mil) so I guess we now have $13.2 mil available. IF we end up keeping all 7 draft picks, that’d cost us a max of $7.8 mil according to Spotrac, but we’d pick up $4.8 mil when the bottom-7 drop off, leaving us with about $10.2 mil still to play with. IF we sign 3 FAs, they’d replace the then-Bottom-3 ($2.3 mil) so to sign them it looks like we’d have $12.5 mil for those signings (minus keeping a little back for injury replacements). For that amount, I think we can get a decent backup QB & a veteran Safety, plus potentially another OLineman or a RB.

    Of course, like several have said, you can always restructure contracts or release players to pick up salary cap space. And two guys in our Top-51 right now (Justin Evans at $1.7 mil and Kendell Beckwith at $0.9 mil) very possibly won’t be with us this fall, but I have no clue how injury settlements would play into all this. Bottom line IMO though is that we’re in relatively good shape, assuming that we draft well.

  28. Mike Johnson Says:

    Look Ira, this entire thing is a gamble. I hope it works out well for us. Arians is trying to get that ring and Brady perhaps should have just sailed off into the sunset as the GOAT. I just don’t want our fans to get all hyped up and realize its a 50/50 gamble here. Beady goes down and then what? I’m more concerned about a good backup than I am the hype concerning Brady. We have yet to address that backup. I do see a 43 yr old lasting the entire season. He might..Might not. He’s only one hard solid hit away from IR. Just because other QB’s have done it does not apply to all. I wish us luck. We may need a lot of it. Because to hear Arians say he could still win with jameis and not having him is gonna be wishful thinking If things don’t go our way. Our history indicates things do go wrong..when they are suppose to.

  29. Grizam Says:

    As a Buccaneers’s fan since the 80’s I am truly excited to see TB X TB IN 2020!

  30. Bucs Guy Says:

    Stack the team this tear with the draft, keep Blaine Gabbert as the back up.
    Get our future QB next year and whatever you do, please stay away from Jordan Love.

  31. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Peanuts and “Billy beer”

  32. sincethebeginning Says:

    Hell yeah Ira! Way to spell it out.

    All in, baby!!

    GO BUCS!!!

  33. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Seriously and with total respect. You can explain something for me. The logic behind your thinking which mirrors many here.

    Why shouldn’t we get hyped up? Think this all the way through. The biggest risk is mere disappointment…as Bucs fans are we not equipped to handle disappointment.

    So…by NOT getting hyped up that risk is mitigated but at what cost?

    All the joy and excitement and buzz that was missed and can NEVER be gotten AFTER an SB win.

    If we get hyped…two things can happen…The Bucs win and we all celebrate…or we lose and those who were hyped are disappointed.

    OR…we can NOT get hyped…the Bucs lose and what? We’re not quite as disappointed? We win the SB and celebrate like always but having sacrificed more than six months of hyped joy and expectation…gone..with no possible way to replace them.

    Sorry…again respectfully I simply do not see the logic in that.

  34. Pewter Power Says:

    Defense Rules

    There isn’t a single team in the nfl that doesn’t have holes.

  35. Hawk Says:

    Thanks for the call-out, guys (Dunn). I should have known better than to go by ‘memory’. lol

  36. Defense Rules Says:

    Pewter Power … You’re absolutely right. But some do have fewer holes than some others. There are a number of very solid teams in the NFL right now. Coming out on top is no walk in the park.

    Kansas City is a good example. In 2018 they had the #1 offense (565 points scored) but the #24 defense (421 points allowed). They adjusted. In 2019 they had the #5 offense (451 points scored …. over 100 FEWER points scored) but the #7 defense (308 points allowed … over 100 FEWER points allowed). IOW, they became a better BALANCED TEAM. And it paid off handsomely.

    I’m hoping that’s what the Bucs are shooting for, to be a better balanced team, offensively and defensively. So far so good IMO.