Jason Licht: “Somebody’s Got To Go First”

February 24th, 2021

“Glazer, I’ll show you the plan when I want to show you the plan. That’s the plan. You like that? #SuperBowlGM, baby.”

The mystery of the Buccaneers’ cupboard full of free agents is even a massive unknown to the power brokers at One Buc Palace.

That was the picture painted by general manager Jason Licht yesterday. Hard to believe, but that was the company line delivered on The Rich Eisen Show.

Licht said he and his key front office staff had a meeting two days ago on free agency and hatched a plan.

“There’s not necessarily a pecking order of, ‘This is the most important guy, this is the second most important guy.’ They’re all very important,” Licht said. “We crafted out a plan here and it’s a big puzzle here that we’re putting together. And we’re confident that we’re going to be able to do most of it.”

Licht added that “somebody’s got to go first” among the free agent crop, and Joe wrote last week that whoever steps to the front of the line could change the plan at One Buc Palace.

Joe can guarantee a few things for Bucs fans in free agency.

At least one Buccaneer will bolt Tampa for more money and leave a pre-addressed FedEx envelope to mail his Super Bowl ring.

At least one will serve the Bucs an I-don’t-want-to-move-or-play-for-the-Bengals discount.

At least one will operate on a decision timetable that clashes with the Bucs’ plans.

We are 19 days from the free agency dinner bell ringing on March 15, the opening of “legal tampering,” when teams can formally negotiate with player agents.

The Big 8

Ndamukong Suh
Shaq Barrett
Lavonte David
Ryan Succop
Chris Godwin
Rob Gronkowski
Antonio Brown
Leonard Fournette

37 Responses to “Jason Licht: “Somebody’s Got To Go First””

  1. Coburn Says:

    Somehow would be great to keep Barrett, David, succop, Godwin, Gronk. Easier said than done though. The others are nice to have but likely easier to replace. There could always be a surprise cut or two as well or restructure. As good as he’s been at times JPP is getting up there and has been inconsistent.. he also prevents Barret from playing on the blindside. May ask a restructure of some kind. Hard to think of who else.. this team is actually pretty stacked

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Actually, the list looks more like this. Of course, not all of these are relevant….but many are….we just don’t field a team of starters….we need many of these guys & also have to sign our 2021 draft picks.
    Restructuring only goes so far.

    Shaquil Barrett
    Lavonte David
    Steve McLendon
    Rob Gronkowski
    Ndamukong Suh
    Joe Haeg
    Leonard Fournette
    Ryan Smith
    Antonio Brown
    Rakeem Nunez-Roches
    Ryan Griffin
    Antony Auclair
    Kevin Minter
    Blaine Gabbert
    Earl Watford
    A.Q. Shipley
    Ryan Succop
    LeSean McCoy
    Andrew Adams
    Josh Wells
    Deone Bucannon
    Ross Cockrell
    Kenjon Barner
    Chris Godwin
    Jack Cichy
    Tanner Hudson
    Jeremiah Ledbetter
    T.J. Logan
    Pat O’Connor
    Aaron Stinnie
    Zach Triner
    Cyril Grayson

  3. doolnutts Says:

    Tampabaybucfan – Not too worried about the bigger list.. The top 8 are the priority. Many of the folks on the expanded roster will get vet minimums we wont be in bidding wars over them. Excited to watch Licht run his magic. I think a lot of people will be impressed how much of the team well keep.

  4. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Yes TBBF, everyone knows this. And I’m fairly certain Jason Licht knows this, and I’m fairly certain the Bucs will be able to field a 53 man roster on game days in 2021. We’re gonna lose some guys, we’re gonna add some guys. Some new guys better than the old guys, some new additions that arent as good as sayyyy Steve Mclendon. Happens every year. I wouldn’t soil my panties if we lost a Nunez Roches either, he’s someone you can easily replace via draft or open market. WE WILL BE FINE

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m not saying we won’t be fine….just trying to show that even at vet minimum, the number of players needed adds up.
    Primarily trying to show that paying $40 mil for Shaq & Godwin won’t work….add $14 for Gronk & Suh…..$9 for LVD….$3 for Succop

    That’s $66 million……you do the math.

  6. Bird Says:

    Licht is a Smart man

    “Someone has to go first” and “no pecking order”
    Right comment to make as someone like suh might think i am not a given and want to stay for another championship (cause thats how he gets into HOF) so i will come to table 1st at 7-8 mil discount

  7. crazyBucs_CL Says:

    ..i love the Big 8. Let put things in order first:
    Is one REALLY BIG, and him is TB12. I’m so relax we don’t have to worried about bringing him back.
    For the Big 8 a reminder: “Passed performances has no guaranty to repeat in the future”.
    JL, may be lucky to find other guys that on 2021 will as good as some of Bog 8.
    Im totally confident that the Big 8 stay put or not, is not going to effect us to go to SB again. TB12 DOES.

  8. Allbuccedup Says:

    Tampabaybucs fan thats a long list not to mention Overcap has us with 13 mil in cap space. I am good in math and something doesn’t add up, unless some of these guys are going to play for free.

  9. DoooshLaRue Says:

    All I know is that whatever JL decides it will be pretty close to the opposite of what most of us expect.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Allbuccedup Says:
    February 24th, 2021 at 10:22 am
    Tampabaybucs fan thats a long list not to mention Overcap has us with 13 mil in cap space. I am good in math and something doesn’t add up, unless some of these guys are going to play for free.

    Exactly what I’m saying…..not gloom and doom….just a dose of realism without being the Realist.

    We will work it out….just don’t want fans to be surprised if we can’t keep some of their favorite players…..simply business.

  11. Davenport Buc Says:

    Its a hard pill to swallow but the difficult decisions have to be made.

    Tom Brady – 2 years @ 25mil

    Ndamukong Suh – 2 years @ 8mil per

    Shaq Barrett – 4 year deal @ 15mil per

    Lavonte David – GONE he’s 31

    Ryan Succop – 2 years @ mid-level rate

    Chris Godwin – GONE he will be offered a huge deal elsewhere

    Rob Gronkowski – 2 years @ 7mil will stay to play with Brady

    Antonio Brown – 2 years @ 6 mil will stay to play with Brady

    Leonard Fournette – gone

    Cameron Brate – cut

  12. bucfanforever Says:

    crazyBucs_CL – agreed. There is a big1 and he is under contract for 2021.

    Then after that it is about building a team that can win around him.

  13. August 1976 Buc Says:

    I do not see J Licht messing anything up. When all said and done this offseason, the Bucs will be just fine on week 1 of 2021 as they go for 2 in a row. GO BUCS!!!!

  14. Adrnagy Says:

    It’s sounds like …. Bucs will let top players like the shaq, Godwin , David, suh test the market.
    And go from there … of course it can change if Bucs can renegotiate contracts and if those players are willing to accept a moderate offers versus “breaking the bank”

    But most definitely gronk , succop, Ryan smith, Kevin minter will be back . The same with RFA and erfa

    AB , fournette it’s up to them. If They get a nice contract from the cowboys they’ll go. If not , they know they can sign again same contract with Bucs. And Gerald McCoy will tag along.

  15. Colin in Canada Says:

    Im starting to think that LD and Godwin will be gone unless some quality players get cut or traded. Guys like Jensen, Gholston, Brate, OJ.

  16. John Sinclear Says:

    I think we had our free agency period in Oct – Nov. No money left to play games with. Just re-sign as many as we can, and work through the draft as needed.

  17. WiscoJoe Says:

    Joe- Spotrac did a breakdown on Twitter that if Brady restructures for and they add an additional 2 years that can clear up 10 million of cap space. Might want to take a look at it.

  18. Marine Buc Says:

    @ TBBF

    I agree. We need to be realistic. One thing that might work in our favor is the pool of available free agent money has dried up due to Covids affect on profits.

    Most of the teams with a lot of cap money dont have starting QBs. The Bucs dont have a lot of cap space but we are still in better shape than most of the NFL.

    I hope this will help us land a few cheap one year deals in FA…

  19. 813bucboi Says:

    c’mon licht…

    bring em all back!!!!…lol…you and BA take a pay cut….lol..

    GO BUCS!!!!

  20. Adrnagy Says:

    It comes down to money and value. Licht “puzzle” has to be that. While leaving the door open to counter an offer at our value. Don’t reach bcuz it sure sounds Godwin and shaq want a lot of money.
    The first one to go is one of our top players that’s willing to sign a moderate contract. The one who really wants to stay regardless.
    And if we lose David (which I think he will sign with us first then suh) we can hope kwon will be release and we sign him for cheap.
    A plan for retaining and also for replacing has to be in place.

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m still liking my idea of cheating….promise consultancy contracts after playing for Gronk & Brady for less money.
    Give Godwin & Shaq future pieces of the team.
    Let AB sleep with Giselle (again)

    Make it happen after a few Bud Lichts, Licht.

  22. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    TBBF, I don’t think in the end money will motivate TB/Gronk; they have made plenty and can make big $ thru endorsements. Gronk could announce or be a game show host lol.

  23. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Davenport

    I agree with your list except maybe Brate. Maybe he can restructure his deal and stay.

    Brady seems to like Brate and OJ Howard is injured every season.

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    I also agree except for Brate……he will re-negotiate again….Harvard Grad…..life for him after football…..
    Doesn’t look like we need him….until we do.
    I think Auclair may be gone….Hudson stays…..perhaps.

  25. Davenport Says:

    TE: we can’t keep Brate (6.5m) and Howard (6.1m) – once the new year starts, Howard’s deal is guaranteed. Of the two, Howard has the most upside but Brate is more dependable. Neither can block worth a damn. It’s close, but i would keep Brate…. he’s 29 and under contract for 2022.

    If i am Licht, i would extend Brady and work all the other contracts around the 2021 & 2022 window.

  26. BillyBucFan Says:

    We can clear 30 million by restructuring.
    Plus a 4 year 70 million for Godwin with 40 guaranteed in the 1st 3 years doesn’t mean he makes 15 in year 1.
    He probably makes 10 in year 1.
    Same with Shaq.
    That’s the beauty of it.
    Plus 10 mill for Von Miller is waaaaay better than 20 for Shaq.
    This is not as hard as some are making it.

    Plus JL probably finds another Barrett for say 6 million.
    Teams are in way worse a predicament than we are and will be shedding great players.

    I don’t care who leaves.
    We still have TB12

  27. David Says:

    I think they keep the big three.
    Godwin – 6 years
    Shaq – 4 years
    LVD – 4 years.
    Gronk will sign for cheap and either Brate or Howard might not be here anymore depending on how each works out against the.
    Suh signs of cheap.

    I would love Succup to stay but not sure what they’re willing to give to a kicker, even as bad as kicking has been the last several years.

    AB and Fournette are gone because they’re not going to be able to match with another team will offer them.

    I would love Minter and Stinnie to stay because they are invaluable back ups but they may be gone to get starting positions.

    When they said the Glazer‘s will give them the resources, they only have so much to spend this year. The next couple years the salary cap should skyrocket.
    To me that means the big three can be signed because they can extend the money out. They also need to restructure Brady and Evans and Donovan Smith to make more room for this year.

    Maybe sign JPP to a three-year deal to distribute his money to help make a room.

    There’s a lot of options and a lot of it depends on individual players and how much they just want to get paid versus how much they want to get paid well but keep this together to make another run or two

  28. Tommy Gunn Says:

    Either cam brate or oj howard will be let go for cap space. Both make 6 mil each

  29. MadMax Says:

    Shaq is out, im sorry. It just doesnt make sense to overpay! He disappeared a lot when Big V was out. If he wants to come back cap friendly, then great. But he’s already said he wants to get paid and its just not possible.

    Save the big bucks for Big V, thats your Golden boy on D!

  30. ShutTheBucUp Says:

    A lot of you are clearly not “capologists” nor do I claim to be. But it’s not as simple as Shaw for 15, David for 12, Gronk for 8 = 35M and we’re over the cap. That’s now how it works.

    Contracts can and WILL be structured in ways where guys are getting guaranteed money, bonus’ paid out etc. So a $15M/year contract signed by Shaq could only end up being a $7M cap hit.

    That’s why it’s pointless to sit here and say so and so can’t be afforded with our cap and think by adding up their yearly salaries gets us to that number. A LOT of magic to be worked here….keep the faith. If the players want to be here, we’re going to keep them.

  31. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc & TBBF … We all talk about needing to be ‘realistic’ but I’m not convinced any of us have even an inkling what ‘reality’ is to guys like Jason Licht & Mike Greenberg. We have the luxury of ‘massaging’ 1 year worth of salary CAP & a finite number of FAs. Not so with them.

    I’m sure that JL & company don’t work 2021 in isolation of 2022, 2023, 2024 & probably beyond that. And I’m also sure that he’s looking at ALL the FAs hitting the market right now from all the other teams, as well as possible trades, while simultaneously keeping our draft in perspective. On top of that, he’s surely getting all kinds of ‘input’ from Arians, Bowles, Leftwich, maybe even from the Glazer Boyz. And to make it all work, can you imagine negotiating with agents like Drew Rosenhaus, ‘The Shark’ himself. That’s probably what JL was meaning when he answered … “We crafted out a plan here and it’s a big puzzle here that we’re putting together.”

    I empathize with him, although it must actually be a fun job (I’ve always enjoyed negotiating). Not one for the faint-hearted though.

  32. Marine Buc Says:

    @ defense

    I understand what you saying. Another unknown is what the actual salary cap number will be. We know it will be above $180 mil.

    The PFF article has us signing Godwin $15.3, Shaq $18 and LVD $13.

    I dont think that is being realistic given our current cap situation. I understand that some money can be pushed into next year and beyond but it is limited.

    If Brady restructures it would help. Perhaps a few others restructure as well. I still dont think we will have enough to keep everyone…

  33. William Walls Says:

    TBBF: Much respect, but I’m pretty sure that Cyril Grayson didn’t walk to the locker room after the Super Bowl win thinking about how he was gonna “break the bank.”

  34. Marine Buc Says:

    @ will

    What I’m concerned with is the number of free agents we have to sign besides the big 3 or the big 8…

    We have no kicker or long snapper.

    No QB 2 or QB 3.

    No backup offensive lineman.

    We still need a few defensive backs and backup LBs.

    We have 7 draft picks which will help but also cost @ $6.5 mil to sign.

    When I say “be realistic” I’m saying let’s consider all these needs we have.

  35. 1Gr8Buc Says:

    Who knew we had soany unemployed GMs lol

  36. MadMax Says:

    ^ you mean armchair GM’s lol….its so much fun though

  37. unbelievable Says:

    Keep the top 6 names on that list.

    Simple as that.