A Season Without Donovan Smith

July 20th, 2020

If Donovan Smith gives a thumbs up to sitting out the 2020 season because of his virus fears — and opts to bank his remaining guaranteed Bucs windfall in 2021 instead — how would the team respond?

And how many games, if any, might the loss of Smith cost the Bucs?

These are the things that gave Joe a sleepless weekend.

Joe can’t say what kind of newcomer left tackle Joe Haeg would be. He played very little there in Indianapolis.

Josh Wells? He’s a 29-year-old journeyman who hasn’t wowed anyone in 11 career starts.

What about rookie manbeast Tristan Wirfs at left tackle? Some say he should be left at right tackle, where he played last year in college. But he did play left tackle at Iowa, too.

Is there enough practice time to have him ready at left tackle? Smith himself was a very strong rookie left tackle in 2015, but he had a full offseason to acclimate.

Bucs rejects Demar Dotson and Earl Watford are on the street but know the offense and could provide more tackle depth. But why, in a league hungry for offensive linemen, are they on the street? Watford only turned 30 a few weeks ago and made four starts last year for scouts to study.

Would 37-year-old Donald Penn, who made 15 starts for the Redskins last season, be willing to return to where his stellar career began and provide vital tutoring to Wirfs?

Cordy Glenn is 30 with a ton of experience but is coming off a major concussion.

Joe just hopes the Bucs are ready to make quick and bold decisions if Smith forces their hand.

63 Responses to “A Season Without Donovan Smith”

  1. Roy T. Buford Says:

    We’ll see what comes within 10 days, but I doubt Donovan Smith opts out. If he does, I can’t blame him. And I also doubt he chooses refusing to show and collect/pay fines last minute and still do regular season. The peer pressure in that will be pretty high–as he IS very highly paid among most other Bucs…and I just don’t think it’s his nature to do that. I will only worry when it happens.

  2. El Buco Realisto Says:

    The “real” fans hope that DS76 thinks long and hard about his future and family!!!!!!!!!! The Bucs would probably walk away from DS76 if he plays this year anyway!!!!!!!! And if he catches the “sickness” and has long damage and can no longer perform at an NFL level, then it could be the end of his career!!!!!!!!!! With out multi years of a guaranteed contract, it would be wise to “opt” out, this season and continue for multiple year career !!!!!!!!!!!!

    The “Real” fans stand with any player that does what is best for him and his family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Casual Observer Says:

    Smith may be over rated.

  4. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Like I said before

    Losing DS is really not a loss………he’s been serviceable but never stellar

    Losing DS doesn’t mean anything

  5. Jimmy Says:

    Wonder how many people just a month ago wanted to burn Donovan’s house down to get rid of him are now crying because he may want to sit out? Bet there’s quite a few. Thoughts?

  6. diggler Says:

    The season isn’t going to happen so this take is worthless.

  7. Owlykat Says:

    Let him go! He still cannot stop speedy sackers which results in a lot of holding penalties and he takes plays off and does not play to the whistle! Move Wirts to LT. Haeeg is just fine starting at RT! Save 14 million dollars which was overpaying D. Smith. Take a look at what PFF says about D. Smith. He is lowly rated!

  8. Buc1987 Says:

    diggler…Want to make a bet that season is going to happen?

    Training camp is going to happen in 8 days and so will the season…

    Per NFL.com July 18th :

    Training camp for all 32 NFL teams will commence as previously scheduled, with veterans set to report on July 28.

    NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent sent an email to all 32 NFL clubs’ general managers and head coaches notifying them of this on Saturday.

  9. Alanbucsfan Says:

    They’ll cancel the season and NFL will get a 1/2 trillion $bailout. LOL

  10. Buc1987 Says:

    Does anyone want to make a bet that there’s going to be man NFL season?

    We can bet something small if you like….

  11. Buc1987 Says:

    Nobody from the NFL is saying there’s not going to be a season… in fact they’re saying the exact opposite. There’s not even a might or maybe in what they’ve been saying.

    Where do you peeps base your thoughts on there not going to be a season?

    Because you said so?

    I get my info from the NFL.

  12. Nick2 Says:

    Anyone who thinks the season wont happen is not thinking about the lost revenue for owners, tv companies, sponsors and players. Its possible but to think there’s no way is ludicrous given that MLB has already begun and the NBA is poised to begin in Orlando.

  13. Allbuccedup Says:

    One preseason game and shortened season 10 games.

  14. SlyPirate541 Says:

    DS has been on a soapbox about not playing.

    If he came in would he be a cancer?

    Has he even been working out?

    Move on.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Losing Donovan means nothing??? Do you remember who was the LT before he got drafted???

  16. Allbuccedup Says:

    Look at the bright side a top five draft pick the OT from Oregon Sewell. Trade Smith next year get another draft pick.

  17. Joe Says:

    Losing Donovan means nothing??? Do you remember who was the LT before he got drafted???

    Demar Dotson and Sir SmokeWhiffalot, Anthony Collins, who has been unemployed since the Bucs cut him in December of 2013.

  18. Etzel Says:

    Losing Donovan means nothing??? Do you not remember who the starting LT was before he got drafted???

    I swear half the people in the comments have only been fans for the past three years. Or maybe the Covid is scrambling their brains.

  19. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    C’mon people. Let’s not put all of this on Donovan Smith. (Some of you only.)

    Check out Rick Stroud’s article addressing other significant NFL players who chimed in on the subject over the weekend.

    Until there is not, I do expect there to be a season. No one has yet given us a clear picture of how all of the related issues will play out, individually and collectively.

  20. Joe Says:

    Take a look at what PFF says about D. Smith. He is lowly rated!

    That makes him a keeper in Joe’s book!

  21. Joe Says:

    Check out Rick Stroud’s article addressing other significant NFL players who chimed in on the subject over the weekend.

    Or why not check out Joe’s story yesterday on the very same thing? 🙁

  22. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I’m truly curious about your bet. I haven’t seen anything in Vegas yet…I did read perhaps some wagering was going to occur on whether the season would start on time

    So clarify your bet for me. Are you stating your willing to bet that the season will proceed as scheduled. Will we have all 16 regular season games against the scheduled opponents.

    If that’s your bet I might be interested…bragging rights anyway.

    My personal odds on an NFL season running as scheduled are at most 50-50 even money.

    And that’s assuming these excellent five minute five dollar tests come online.

    IF just ONE regular player slips through screening and plays the game while infected…asymptomatic or not…the potential to infect a dozen guys that day is real. And so if a dozen player on any team are held out in quarantine and play a team that has ALL their players are we simply going to say…oh well tough luck injuries always effect the game?

  23. BucBrady Says:

    This is the fault of the pandemic NOT Smith. Smith has to make the choice that he’s comfortable with–he’s right, he’s not paid to be a lab rat, especially in a state that is so out of control (49 ICUs in FL at max capacity as of yesterday).

    Good on him for speaking out about his concerns–he was one of the first, but not the last as we’ve seen from Brees, Wilson, etc.

    Here’s hoping the NFL gets their wish together and finds a safer process than what they have proposed right now. We all want football!–we just want safe football.

  24. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Follow up questions…

    If a player tests positive after a game and it’s clear he was infected and several other guys get infected how do they quarantine?

    The entire team? Just the guys who the infected player blocked or tackled?

    What happens to a team that has a critical loss as in say starting and backup QB?

  25. richardtyson Says:

    If Donovan has already decided not to play in 2020 I hope he would at least inform the Bucs of this decision immediately. What bothers me about Donovan is I would have picked him to be the one to take advantage of this situation and go on vacation.

  26. Jean Lafitte Says:

    I submit Joe Haeg is a better LT than the soft Donovan Smith.

  27. Michael Winnegar Says:

    MY wifes a nurse, she has to perform her duty and get’s no hazzard pay or stimulus for being a hero. Any given time she can contact covid and bring it home to our two children. Fortunally we are responsible and contain our social gatherings to essential needs, we wont pass on the virus to others.

    While I respect Smiths view, I know my wife would love to sit on the sidelines. I guess we are just not as privlaged.

  28. martinii Says:

    Ya Know I’ve been a casual observer over the last 4 months and have unfortunately come to the conclusion that football and other sports are going to have to join the ranks of “Not dinning in rules. With no vaccine until 2021 a reality and the risk that many non-compliant Americans are willing to take added to the greed of the owners, and concerns of the players it’s time to face the possibility that NO Football this season is a very distinct possibility, We need to focus on beating this Pandemic and sacrificing our love of sports. One would think that All the science and resources of the greatest country on earth would prevail over a flu-bug. Guess what divisiveness, greed, an election year, and our compulsion for stupidity has prevailed. Learn to play video games, forget sports.

  29. stpetebucsfan Says:


    You could look at it that way..not as privileged and who can argue. But really…it is literally about privilege. Your wife nor you nor I were born with freakish physical characteristics we were able to develop and earn millions and millions.

    But I choose to believe that you and your wife are heroes not privileged If DS plays whose life will be saved?

    I salute you and especially your wife and kids for facing this danger for us. But I don’t view it as having anything to do with DS. Football players are not heroes…nurses…teachers…are our heroes…Docs and other healthcare specialists right now are HEROES.

    Just saw a report that a dozen Florida hospitals now have full ICU’s thanks to this Democratic hoax. Damn Dems! The shell shocked individuals staffing these facilities will include a lot of PTSD. Again I haven’t seen the look in the yes of these docs and nurses since Vietnam. I think of them daily…and hold them in my prayers.

  30. Nick Says:

    This guy has been a dud from day one. I don’t believe in paying a guy and having to motivate him.

    Move the new kid to left tackle. Trade Smith this year are next. Use the pick to either daft a left or right take if the kid don’t work out.

    Take the money you save and get a corner. Stop making everything a big deal.

    Let have the people here that want to play.

  31. Jean Lafitte Says:

    A dozen hospitals out of 2000+ hospitals in the State of Florida. Mostly all in the cities where most of the rioters and looting took place like Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Orange, Hillsborough, and Duval Counties. Fearmonger much?

  32. Nick Says:

    @Joe, can we have a poll on how the fans would vote on the opinions.

    1. Kepp him until next year.

    2. Trade him and move on.

    I am saying 70% vote to move on.

  33. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ stpetebucsfan

    Why is it you’re quick to point out “full ICUs” but yet you don’t fully tell the WHOLE truth about ICU facts??????

    #1. ICUs were never meant for long term care of patients

    #2. ICUs were obviously and have always been limited to a small number of beds

    #3. ICUs already had patient’s in there before for various reasons

    People are throwing around ICUs are full…………..WELL DUH!!!!!!!!!!

    People act like there are whole floors or wings that are strictly for ICUs……completely false and misleading information being spread to the mass public to cause and promote fear.

    And where am I getting this information from……from an actual ER Nurse.

    I’m not minimizing the spread, conditions, the effects or even the validity of the information but atleast people should have all the facts.

  34. Allbuccedup Says:

    Donovan Smith is not that bad he may not be worth 14 mil ( More like 10 mil) but he’s still in the top 15 of left tackles.

  35. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Nobody has ever suggested ICU’s are the same as long term care rooms. THAT IS THE PROBLEM!!!

    They are not equally equipped. Yes hospitals are trying shuffle and make do…this effected me personally btw…my wife’s pacemaker surgery was postponed in the Spring and I’m glad she got it done in early June. Not sure if elective surgeries are postponed again.

    So Anthem when this is over do you suppose the history books will be full of the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on America. The great democratic hoax.

  36. diggler Says:

    Buc1987 Says:
    July 20th, 2020 at 11:29 am
    diggler…Want to make a bet that season is going to happen?

    Training camp is going to happen in 8 days and so will the season…

    Per NFL.com July 18th :

    Training camp for all 32 NFL teams will commence as previously scheduled, with veterans set to report on July 28.

    NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent sent an email to all 32 NFL clubs’ general managers and head coaches notifying them of this on Saturday.

    ^^^I’ll put 10 Gs down on it.

  37. stpetebucsfan Says:


    “A dozen hospitals out of 2000+ hospitals in the State of Florida. Mostly all in the cities where most of the rioters and looting took place like Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Orange, Hillsborough, and Duval Counties.”

    So since demonstrations that you disagree with took place scrw them? Really?
    They deserve it right?

    That sad Jean and of course full of other ignorance. The “rioting” in Miami that you speak of was the flood of kids who invaded. The tourists who came here Memorial Day weekend and July 4th certainly brought their share from all over the nation.

    BTW Bermuda just banned Americans from visitation. How much of their annual GDP comes from Americans? It couldn’t have been an easy decision. [The rest deleted for inflammable content. — Joe]

  38. Ron says Says:

    The important part is you have a left tackle who the QB is comfortable with as he has to know his tendencies and weaknesses and strengths. Brady needs to know depending on the defensive look what type of protection he has on his blind side so he can effectively runs plays with some security or peace of mind. So to have familiarity is key, this is a person he has to trust and work closely with and not wonder if this person is committed or not. At this stage Donovan should let the team know so they can move on and find someone who they can trust if it is not going to be him. There is still time to negotiate and find someone for the position and of that value, this is fair and honorable towards those who are committed and working towards a goal. Opportunity doesn’t come very often for this team and it should not be wasted on one player’s indecision.

  39. Mike Johnson Says:

    Let Smith and all others follow their hearts. You are crazy if you actually believe football is that important when you potentially have the..Grim Reaper at the ready. Nobody faults him. There is no I or T in death or potential unknown geromes which could affect you and your family for the rest of your life.

  40. Allbuccedup Says:

    The NFL and players union need to come up and agree upon a opt plan by the end of this week so teams can make plans for their replacements.

  41. StatGuy Says:

    Well Smith was projected as a guard not left tackle and if anything right tackle. Penn should of been here and never left

  42. Buc50 Says:

    Lots of people here thinking about their favorite team first and DS family second. It’s DS duty to his family to think about them first then football.

  43. Reach87 Says:

    Martinii, good post. Go Bucs.

  44. Anonymous Says:

    As I said before, I can’t see DS opting-out because he would lose so much.
    There are no multi-year deals out there for him and even if there were some, he may end up on a team that is struggling.
    The future is not guaranteed now when it comes to players.
    His can be guaranteed by just complying with the team’s safety protocols in regards to the virus.
    If he opts out this season, it is highly likely he won’t remain a Buccaneer. His 7 million per year could be spent elsewhere if he want’s it that way.
    I am sure DS has family that may be able to handle the kids and his wife while he participates this season. Sucks, but isn’t 7 million dollars and a dammed good chance at a Super bowl worth that kind of sacrifice? I think so . . . but to each their own.
    Go Bucs!!

  45. Allbuccedup Says:

    The problem the bucs have is no depth besides tight end. If Smith opts out you have Haeg if Brady goes down due to lack of depth on the o-line you have Gabbert if Gabbert goes down you got Griffin 4 passes entire career. Gabberts touchdown to interceptions is almost 1 for 1 OUCH!

  46. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I’m not worried about it. So long as the IS a football season.

  47. Aceofaerospace Says:

    This real bucs fan is a fan of the game. No game, no fan. You don’t want to play, don’t. But expect to be permanently replaced. It’s as simple as that. I don’t care what the agreement is, when you are replaced, the team can wave you because they have someone better or more reliable. Nothing to do with you sitting out, but we moved on.

  48. Bucnjim Says:

    I find it intersting almost ironic that a player who has a reputation for taking plays off is the first player lined up to take the season off. Had to do a little search but before the recent players support of the union there was ONLY two Smith and Diggs. On the opposite side we have Brady sneaking in every possible workout and practice he possibly can. As far as the ICU`s go almost 100% of all covid patients in Hillsborough county are taken to Tampa General for long care treatment. EVERY hospital NEEDS their ICU between 75% and 85% to make money.

  49. stpetebucsfan Says:

    @Joe and others

    Thanks for deleting any inflammable content. Nerves are frayed enough and so thanks and mea culpa.

    And again…like Jaymiss and others have said…I’ve always respected your Buc coverage it’s the best…but sadly this year Buc’s coverage meant Covid coverage.

    It’s impossible to separate the two and you guys have done an admirable job of maintaining proper control of the debate with open minds and an attempt at objectivity. I salute you both!

  50. TDTB Says:

    I respect Donovan’s right to not play. The decision and risks have to be weighed individually. That said, I think: 1) there should be a drop dead date to report or not based on Covid; 2) it should be a team option whether the player’s contract is tolled for a year or not; and 3) the salary cap should be increased by the amount of any player who opts out. That’s fair to me.

  51. unbelievable Says:

    No offense 1987 but you also claimed for years that we were gonna win a Superbowl with Jameis too.

    I believe you said “Super Bowl by year 3, mark it”

  52. BucEmUp Says:

    I dont like the 100% guaranteed salary a year later.That leaves him a year older and DAMN SURE a year out of shape having a new kid he will never work out.

    But if thats the case his cap hit should roll over to 2021 as well and they should have no problem signing a replacment right? I respect his decision but he needs to make it soon….now! The longer he waits the longer it hurts the team.If he already knows hes not willing to play then tell the team NOW! Otherwise forfeit a percentage of salary determined based on how late you make your decision.

  53. Buczilla Says:

    Man I usually try and stay positive, but an ugly thought just occurred to me. What if players come back and even just one of them (gods forbid) passes away from the sickness? I have zero medical knowledge so I try to keep out of the sickness discussions, but it seems like this thing just savages the hell out of some and leaves others alone. This sh!t is spooky dudes, but we’ll get it in check eventually.

    Donovan, just stay home if that’s what’s right for you and yours. I’d still trade you in a heartbeat for a number one pick though. 😜

  54. Hank Rearden Says:

    st pete

    you have politicized a virus? well at least you’re consistent. I remember you pontificating about the 2009 H1N1 virus and how it disproportionately affected kids and young adults and how the “leaders” were not responding effectively to the virus. You also said “science” and other buzzwords. Not a hack at all. Well done sir!

  55. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Oh my, people saying to cut him and he hasn’t even opted out…hasn’t missed one single meeting without good reason since he put on the Bucs uni.

    He’s not a great LT, maybe not even a “good” LT. But he is in the top 32 and it will be very interesting to see a lot of guys like him…and RoJo, and Dare…under Tom Brady. A real QB…

  56. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Buczilla…not a doc either. But with what I know, if I had to choose between being an old lady with a lot old folks conditions, or a young child we think is healthy, or a professional football player whom we KNOW is healthy…I’d pick the football player any day. I think my chances would be better.

    Let’s say between about 1700 players (almost 2k counting practice squards), the odds are some of them will die…consider 1/10 of 1%…that is 2 people and they never took a snap. The number I use is arbitrary and smaller…smaller than the general population though…but the point is they do nothing and odds are…someone goes…morbid as it seems.

    On a more positive note, a boatload of these guys are gong to get it anyway…especially with guys like Devin White having huge parties. And a far greater % then the normal population will pull throught it fine.

  57. Cainishere Says:

    The Anonymous comment was mine.
    I had just switched over to the new Edge with Microsoft.
    I hadn’t noticed my tag and email info was not filled out.

  58. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I too am a positive optimistic person. But as I was once chastised…optimism without any facts to back it up can frequently be delusion.

    And like you and Roy I’m not a doctor or epidemiologist…my sister is a nurse with a Masters who worked over a decade in ICU’s…but even she is retired.

    My father the bookie would appreciate Roy’s breakdown of the odds for us. I won’t criticize his logic because IMO he has his facts basically correct. But again that just odds. Ten years ago who would have bet on Trump being President.

    But accepting Roy’s long odds let me just add to Buczilla’s question.

    So a young African American safety catches Covid while playing. He takes it home to his wife…both are African American increasing their danger…she has diabetes doubling that danger.

    So it’s not just the players. What happens if they take it home to a family member who DOES have an underlying condition…like Diabetes…my grandson has diabetes and that makes me nervous.

  59. BucBrady Says:

    Who is the genius on here that compared his wife’s nursing profession with Smith’s playing football???

    C’mon man–your wife chose a commendable career in health care where this type of situation unfortunately falls under her purview. It does not in anyway fall under the purview of a football player.

    I wouldn’t think someone would have tho explain that–sheesh.

  60. Buczilla Says:

    Good points Roy T. Buford.

  61. Im tired and 87 is right Says:

    No left tackle forget it. It’s as simple as that.

  62. BillyBucFan Says:

    I domt think any team is gonna give up a 1st rounder for a guy who WONT play this year.

    Why trade for the guy either.
    If the Bucs are able to trade him next year his value will have gone down even more because a fat man sat around for a year.

    I would trade him for a 3rd rounder right now!!!!
    If he doesn’t play and a guy off the right side ends Bradys career, he will never play in a Bucs uniform again.

    Some players will never respect him as a brother again
    Resentment in the locker room.

    No Bueno.

    If he doesn’t play, his career might just take a nose dive.

  63. BigMacAttack Says:

    He’s so stupid