Potential Target?

May 26th, 2020

Backup solution?

Now this is a very interesting suggestion.

There is a reason Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com runs the “Around the League” feature. Because he has a piece of a brain.

Rosenthal recently wrote about the Bucs running backs. Like Joe, Rosenthal is, well, underwhelmed.

Park-violating, home-invading Bucs quarterback Tom Brady loves to throw to running backs. And it seemed the Bucs sensed this in drafting Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who supposedly catches the ball well.

Rosenthal seems to think this could be dangerous because Ronald Jones is not much of a pass-catcher and if Vaughn, a rookie, doesn’t pan out, what does the team have left to bank on?

So Rosenthal wonders if there might be help on someone else’s roster.

The Bucs went into the draft wanting a pass-catching back for Tom Brady. Ronald Jones II isn’t it, so the pressure will be on rookie third-rounder Ke’Shawn Vaughn to learn the team’s protection schemes and where Brady wants him to be during an abbreviated offseason. A veteran pickup or low-level trade at the position (Rex Burkhead?) feels possible.

Joe loves this idea of Burkhead and you can bet so too does Brady.

(Yes, Burkhead was a teammate of Lavonte David’s at Nebraska, the last time they were decent.)

Burkhead is a backup with the Patriots but the numbers he put up last year suggest he could be the best back on the Bucs. Burkhead averaged 4.6 yards a carry. That would have been team-best on the Bucs..

And Burkhead also averaged 10 yards a catch. Yes, 10.3 yards a catch! This too would have led Bucs running backs.

Here is a guy that is a strong backup and might contend as a starter, and is a proven guy with playoff experience.

Joe understands the Bucs are jammed under the cap. Still, Burkhead isn’t that expensive. Per Spotrac, he is due to pocket $2.5 million this year, the final season of his contract.

The killer is Burkhead is about to turn 30 and there are teams in the NFL that simply will not touch a running back that age.

Just judging by his numbers last season, Burkhead has gas in the tank. If the Bucs are all-in for the next two seasons and have turned to a soon-to-be 43-year old quarterback, then why not a 30-year old running back who still seems sharp for a backup?

43 Responses to “Potential Target?”

  1. Jim Says:

    Always liked Burkhead…

  2. Casual Observer Says:

    Little as that contract seems, the Bucs are tightly squeezed for cash at the moment. That could be the stumbling block.

  3. gp Says:

    Jones caught 31 of 40 passes thrown his way last year with a 10 yd avg.
    I wouldn’t call those bad numbers considering the circumstances. A few more targets and a few less penalties and we may be looking at a monster season for this young man. And that’s not even considering a little better run blocking from the line. I don’t think it’s quite as big of a gamble as the Joe’s seem to think.

  4. ChanEpic Says:

    Ummm NO! Burkhead put up #s in a division way less challenging than the NFC South. People have GOT TO STOP the “Put the band back together” mentality. Playing for a SB going through the NFC today is totally different than going up against the Jets, Bills, Dolphins of the last decade. 30y/o RBs? GET OFF THAT Crack man.

  5. K2 Says:

    If Burkhead is somehow available for $2 million that sounds great! However, I believe that Bucs running backs will be a positive surprise this year. Jones is working hard and continues to show improvement and Vaughn maybe the most underrated person in the Bucs solid draft class. What would Vaughn have looked like behind Ohio States line?…8 to 10 yards per carry seems realistic. He was a 1000 yard rusher is the SEC with a weak ass line.

  6. lambchop Says:


    Agreed, I distinctly remember Rojo handling the screen game effectively last year. The kid needs more reps and (knock on wood), he does not have fumbleitis. The kid holds the rock well. Sometimes, you just have to give a guy an opportunity and the confidence to have a breakout contribution. You know he has it in him to break the long one every time he touches the rock. Would I rely on that alone, no. I think we need more depth, but I’m not overly concerned about him not being able to catch out of the backfield. He may not be known for that, but he did a decent job. I think it’ll help that the defense will be so tied up with our WRs and TEs anyway.

  7. gp Says:

    Burkhead caught 27 of 39 for a 71% avg (77% for Jones).
    His longest reception was 12 yd vs Jones 41 yds
    I’m getting these #’s from Pro Football Reference

  8. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Jammed under the cap? TRADE A TE !!

  9. ToesOnTheLine!!! Says:

    We added 2 rookies in this past draft. the Bucs coaching staff has shown over the past two years that they have a lot of faith in RoJo’s development (Barber gone, Vaughn drafted to replace him as RoJo’s complement RB). I say let’s see what we’ve got during whatever training camp looks like this year and see if we even need more RB adds. You’ve got vets still out there and there will be depth guys available as other teams cut players, so no need to spend money now.

  10. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Why are we so afraid to think outside of the box.

    We have a surplus of talented TE’s. One of them is the total package…great blocker…downfield as well as the line…great hands…large body with power and height.

    Should it really be out of the question to imagine Gronk in that role….yeah protect his body and he doesn’t need the wear and tear of running back…so use him judiciously…not for running off tackle or up the gut but for everything else…premier blocker if the OL breaks down….great at finding openings for a safety valve…great at running routes! How hard would this really be for Gronk?

  11. Yup Says:

    Sounds about white

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Burkhead is currently under contract with NE…..if he’s that good, why would they let him go cheaply?
    I’m in the Rojo/Vaughn camp……..like our TEs….all they need to be is used more often. They will succeed.

  13. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Absolutely 100% hilarious mentioning burkhead………

    30 yr old RB/gadget type of back

    this is not what the bucs need at all

  14. BucEmUp Says:

    I would actually love love love this signing and would be a genius move

  15. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ BucEmUp

    Explain why this would be a “genius move”?????

  16. gp Says:

    Got some oceanfront property out west, wanna buy it, real cheap and close to the new stadium in Vegas!

  17. R.O. Says:

    Ummm.. Rojo had 1,000 yds form scrimmage. Caught more balls and basically averaged the same per reception. He isn’t a natural pass catcher but give the guy a break. You are over scrutinizing him. If he put up last years #’s his Rookie year it would be all good.

  18. Joe Says:

    this is not what the bucs need at all

    Fully agree the Bucs need a capable No. 1 running back. But since the shot-callers at One Buc Palace do not agree and seem to have dug in their heels on this, then you have to deal with reality and hope the Bucs stumble upon a good backup.

  19. Joe in Michigan Says:

    One problem with the Devonta Freeman/Rex Burkhead/insert name of washed up RB here…The Bucs have faith in Ronald Jones, and KeShawn Vaughn is RB2 in the 3rd Down/pass catching role, it seems.
    I can see this will be like the times Joe kept on and kept on about Solomon Thomas of the Niners (who has shown nothing in 3 years), when the Bucs had better in-house options the whole time.

  20. thomas farkas Says:

    Burkhead was always hurt and only moderate production when healthy- a hard pass on that one! If Bucs find a way to shed a little salary, I would much rather bring in Freeman to solidify rb spot. And if I cant get the rb, I would target Clay Mathews to provide rotational pass rushing depth for Barret/JPP.

  21. German Buc Says:

    Is there a statistic out there how many yards Rojo had called back last year because of a penalty?

  22. lowercaseg Says:

    Rojos downfall is that he cant pass protect and he has iffy ball security

  23. JP09 Says:

    Burkhead’s 4.6 ypc was on 65 attempts lol about a third of what Rojo had. Rojo will go over 1k rushing yards with 300 receiving yards this season

  24. K2 Says:

    If the choice is between Clay Mathews and Burkhead… In a tenth of a second, we would hear the Mathews named screamed all around Tampa!

  25. The Cory Says:

    Hope the Bucs have a plan. They should have. Lots of opportunities ahead in different phases of the time before the season.

    Just do something🤬

  26. PSL Bob Says:

    Agree with many others. Don’t believe Burkhead is the answer. As they say, you can’t always go to war with what you need. You go with what you have. Let’s let Rojo and Vaughn put in some time in camp and preseason with TB12 under center and see how things work out.

  27. Elita Vita Says:

    So now we are clamoring for a backup RB to backup our backup quality running backs? It’ll be very difficult to get deep into the playoffs with a poor running game. I was thinking next year, when we pick lower in the draft we can finally get our elite running back. Then again, next year we probably will need to fix our aging defensive front. #Sigh #It’s a Bucs life.

  28. SOEbuc Says:

    Negative. Vaughn has hands, protection, and broke Vanderbilt’s rushing record in two years. Not gonna have him sitting at #3 RB and I’m not gonna pay a #3 RB $2.5 million.

  29. Mort Says:

    LOL no. Vaughn and RoJo – in that order by the end of the season, will be the only backs that should see the field barring injury. We don’t need another RB2 on the roster thx.

  30. Bojim Says:

    Between the current RB’s and tight ends I think Tom will be alright.

  31. Alanbucsfan Says:

    You’d think if the Bucs were interested in Burkhead, they would have traded for him before the draft.
    Not a likely move now since they have 2 draft picks invested in RB.

  32. I’m a Tandyman Bucs Fan Again Says:

    I’m with Morgus!! Flop a coin! See ya Brate or OJ!!! Burkhead is a Beast and a Winner!!!👍🤷‍♂️🏉

  33. Bucsfanman Says:

    ^^^Welcome back Tandyman!
    I like Rex just fine but, not enough to sign him and overlook giving the young fellas a chance. We HAVE to give ROJO and Vaughn a chance.

  34. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Teams are made up of young guy and veterans. Every team would bust their salary cap if they got a seasoned veteran at each spot. Just like last years DBs we need to trust and develop our own players to fill in the void. Ronald Jones was starting to play well by the end of the season and Ke’Shawn Vaughn looks like a good option for a third down back, plus we improved our run blocking at RT.

  35. Bradinator Says:

    Been hurt more than he’s been healthy. I’m not opposed to the idea of Burkhead. I like him. Injury history is not positive. Remember kids, “the best ability is availability”!

  36. unbelievable Says:

    No thanks.

    @gp just dismantled this entire argument by highlighting that RoJo had a better catch rate and almost the same average yards per receptions.

  37. passthebuc Says:

    Joe the bucs are not the federal government. they cannot print money.

  38. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    We don’t need another back. Ronald Jones II will explode this year.

    Joe always want to try to get the immediate impact guys…but that doesn’t leave room for development. Ronald Jones II is entering his third year…he got better last year. This ius the year he’ll show what he’s got.

  39. I’m a Tandyman Bucs Fan Again Says:

    Hey my man Bucsfanman!! Good to be back!! A lot of excitement in Tampa Bay!! The Bucs hired #37 Tandyman you heard I suppose!! So yep I’m a Tandyman Bucs Fan Again since Keith’s back on board!! Hope you and Family are safe!! So as TB12 says LETSSSSSS GOOOOO!!!!!

  40. Bangkok Buc Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:
    May 26th, 2020 at 8:18 pm
    We don’t need another back. Ronald Jones II will explode this year

    I agree with you for sure but it is a long season and what if RJ goes down with am injury?? Cupboards would look very bare so 1 vet back there for depth is not a bad idea. Let the capologist figure out how to fit him in.

  41. Buczilla Says:

    Devonta Freeman wants to be paid like a star from what I have read and he’s not worth more than 2-4 million a year with how he’s played recently. I feel like we are desperate for a proven guy and Burkhead fits the bill. I just wonder what we’d have to give up to get him?

  42. BigMacAttack Says:

    I wouldn’t count out Rojo catching Brady passes quite yet. Maybe he’s been working on it and he’s never had a QB like Tom to throw it to him. Winston’s short passes were as bad as his long ones.

  43. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    K2- Trade Brate for Burkhead and use the money saved to get Clay Mathews. I really like Brate, but Burkhead is a BEAST!