What Should The Bucs Focus On?

January 28th, 2022

Bucs GM Jason Licht

Joe is creeping to the realization that we must start looking to the 2022 season. Joe will mentally get there after the Super Bowl.

Over at Pro Football Network, Dalton Miller decided to list the position groups the Bucs need to focus on this offseason.

* Defensive tackle
* Defensive end/Outside linebacker
* Interior offensive line
* Running back
* Tight end

If Joe had to rank these, Joe would do so as follows:

Tight end, defensive end/outside linebacker, defensive tackle, interior offensive line and running back.

If Rob Gronkowski leaves, the Bucs are going to be hurting for a tight end. Joe doesn’t know the plans for Cam Brate, a free agent, who will be on the wrong side of 30 this summer. Brate wants to stay in Tampa and the woman he is marrying this offseason has a thriving south Tampa business.

Outside of signing a rock-bottom contract, Joe sees the Bucs moving on from free agent O.J. Howard, who hasn’t come remotely close to playing at a level you would expect from a 19th overall pick.

At defensive end/outside linebacker, Joe isn’t sure the Bucs can turn things over to Joe Tryon-Shoyinka yet. Love the athleticism and the heart but he seemed to regress as the season grew long, not improve. Jason Pierre-Paul, given his age (33) and recent injury history, might be a discount buy, provided he doesn’t retire.

Joe really has a strong hunch the Bucs will draft a defensive tackle on the first two days of the draft. Remember last year when Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht said he didn’t draft a defensive tackle in 2021 because the crop of d-tackles was thin? That meant he squeezed the fruit at the produce stand but didn’t find anything ripe.

Interior offensive line? If Ryan Jensen comes back, the Bucs have that covered. Running back? Joe thinks the Bucs are OK there if free agent Playoff Lenny returns.

61 Responses to “What Should The Bucs Focus On?”

  1. Bird Says:

    No corner? Yah right

    Do offense in FA
    Got to get top 3 picks on defense
    Im cool with db / dt/ de

  2. Kalind Says:

    How in gods name is Corner not in that list?!?!?!

  3. Bucs Fan From Philly Says:

    No first rd picks on TE’s please. Spend the first two picks in the trenches. Another DE to put pressure on Tryon to develop, and someone who replace D. Smith in a year or two. Then spend the 3rd rd on a corner, and the comp 3rd rd pick on a LB

  4. Cobraboy Says:

    JTS hit the rookie wall, IMO. He had not played for over a year and the conditioning showed.

    I won’t be surprised if Howard comes back on a lower “prove it” dealio.

  5. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Here are my top 5 priorities:
    1. Pass rush
    2. Pass rush
    3. Pass rush
    4. Pass rush
    5. Pass rush

  6. lambeau Says:

    Looks like Licht missed on Christian Barmore, the needed interior pass rusher.

  7. Ash Says:

    Where is wr on that list pretty high priority. Need to replace the wr3 badly and it isn’t on the roster currently hopefully someone with the versitlity to step into the slot if need be so our offense is t completely detailed if Godwin gets injured again.

  8. Ash Says:

    Also high is a slot cb because it isn’t smb that’s for sure

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    OLB, CB, WR, TE

  10. PassingThru Says:

    Add two CBs to the list.

    I keep harping on it, but I have not idea why CB and developmental OT were not prioritized during the last draft during rounds 2 and 3. The lack of both ended up killing this team. The crazy thing is that last season’s draft was deep and rich at OT.

    DT is high priority, too bad Christian Barmore wasn’t selected. Sapp’s review might have been what killed his draft stock with the Bucs. The good news is that this draft appears to be quite a bit more deep at DT.

    IOL, yes. My guess is that Jensen leaves, and quite possibly Cappa. If either stays, it’ll be Cappa as he’s less expensive.

    TE? Only if Gronk retires with Brady. I’d love a TE but given the need for at least one CB and one DT, that leaves TE to be a potential third round pick.

    OLB is a priority because Tryon-Shoyinka is far from a sure thing. Another option at round 3.

  11. Joe Says:

    Here are my top 5 priorities:
    1. Pass rush
    2. Pass rush
    3. Pass rush
    4. Pass rush
    5. Pass rush

    (No, Joe this not type this incognito. But Joe likes this philosophy!) 🙂

  12. Joe Says:

    Looks like Licht missed on Christian Barmore, the needed interior pass rusher.

    Is that the guy Sapp wanted to punch? There was some SEC defensive tackle (Joe is too wrapped up in the Bucs to remember) that blew off Sapp for a workout and NFL teams also thought he had a ‘tude problem.

  13. DBS Says:

    How many times are you going to draft a DB and miss? We need a vet back there. Some way some how.

  14. westernbuc Says:

    My philosophy is that you can never have too many offensive and defensive linemen. Our weak spot is against the Saints and Rams who can rush four all day and not blitz. That should be our goal. A good pass rush makes corners look better than they are.

    Wide receiver depth is needed as well, especially if Tom comes back. Maybe tight end can be resolved through free agency.

    I’m happy we weren’t having this conversation in October/November like we normally do but I still hate that we’re having this conversation

  15. Christos Says:

    1.Pass rush
    3.DT with Pass rush ability (Gholston, Nacho, McClendon are decent but inside pressusre is coming constantly only from Suh and Vea)
    4. Wr
    5. A 2nd Rb behind Fournette
    OL will be good if we keep Jensen and Stinnie

  16. PassingThru Says:

    Is that the guy Sapp wanted to punch? There was some SEC defensive tackle (Joe is too wrapped up in the Bucs to remember) that blew off Sapp for a workout and NFL teams also thought he had a ‘tude problem.

    Yeah, that one made me laugh. Sapp thought he was such a loser that he said that if Barmore turned out to be a decent player, Sapp would stop talking about football for a year. Well it looks like Sapp didn’t honor that deal.

    Barmore wasn’t a sure thing, he wasn’t even a starter for ‘Bama. But give him his due, he looked like he had tremendous upside during the college playoffs. That’s what you get at the end of the first round, guys like Barmore, Tryon-Shoyinka, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (the guy I really wanted as he should have been taken earlier). These are all guys with terrific upside but possible flaws. It is what it is.

  17. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Pass Rushers need to be our number one priority.
    We need to blitz constantly, to get pressure.
    This has to stop.

  18. Alexander Nascimento Says:

    Cam Brate still under contract for 2022
    I beleive Corners and WR must be on that list
    Go Bucs

  19. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    I don’t know enough about this draft class yet to have any idea what the depth is at certain positions but we definitely need to consider dt because outside of VV we are old

  20. D-Rome Says:

    * Defensive tackle
    * Defensive end/Outside linebacker
    * Interior offensive line

    I agree with this top 3. I would then go TE and RB. This team needs to get younger on defense and they need to bring in a Center at some point. JPP, Suh, Gholston, Minter, Stinnie, Wells, Cappa, Whitehead, Jensen, Godwin, Fournette, RoJo, and Howard are all UFAs. Cam Brate is still under contract. Bucs won’t be able to sign all of these guys nor should they.

  21. Alstott up the gut Says:

    Before players get to free agency, we need to retain our own free agents to see where the gaps exist. I wholeheartedly believe the Jensen and Gronk decisions will be based on Brady, so that is wait and see. Prior to that: Godwin and Fournette!!! Please bring these two back immediately!!

  22. Buc4evr Says:

    We need CB’s before anything else.

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    It’s humorous to hear folks say that ‘money isn’t an issue’ but that’s a gigantic fallacy; EVENTUALLY you have to ‘pay the piper’. Ask the Saints. Ask the Falcons. And in 2022 & 2023, ask the Rams, Chiefs & Packers … and the Bucs.

    Many of the 2022 roster decisions will depend on what Tom Brady decides to do. For instance, IF he retires, chances are Gronk will also, so now we have TWO BIG HOLES to fill. Gigantic holes IF we expect to be competitive. And Suh might opt to also retire IF it doesn’t appear the Bucs will be competitive. So now we’d have THREE BIG HOLES to fill. Etc, etc.

    But those are the EASY decisions actually: QB, TE & DT. Those 3 players are all future HOFers. You don’t replace them with 3rd or 4th Rnd picks without expecting to be LESS competitive. MUCH less competitive.

    The HARD decisions are what do you do about OTHER starters like Godwin, Fournette, Jensen, Cappa, Davis, Whitehead, JPP, and Gholston who are all FAs this year. Look at the projected Market Values of just those guys:

    o Godwin … $18.2 mil/year for projected 5-year contract.
    o Fournette … $6.2 mil/year for projected 2-year contract.
    o Jensen … $10.1 mil/year for projected 3-year contract.
    o Cappa … $10.8 mil/year for projected 5-year contract.
    o Davis … $19.7 mil/year for projected 5-year contract.
    o Whitehead … $7.9 mil/year for projected 3-year contract.
    o JPP … $10.1 mil/year for projected 2-year contract.
    o Gholston … Unspecified (but probably around $5 mil/year)

    All of those guys were highly-qualified starters that you can’t effectively replace with 2nd or 3rd Rnd picks. Or with cheap FAs from other teams. And yet, they EXPECT to be paid, especially since all of them are either on the 2nd contract or their last contract.

    Right now the Bucs have 44 players under contract, but only about 24-25 of them got any appreciable snaps on offense or defense this past season. Thus we’ll be filling holes in slightly more than half our roster for 2022 (starters & key rotational players). Those 44 ALREADY under contract will cost us $196.7 mil of the 2022 salary CAP (Bucs adjusted CAP is $209.6 mil). Factor in Dead CAP & the the other crappola that goes into salary CAP and the Bucs RIGHT NOW have $9.5 mil available to play with (to sign roughly half a roster?). Of course that’ll change, but reality is … I wouldn’t want to be in JL’s shoes right now.

  24. Dapostman Says:

    westernbuc Says:
    January 28th, 2022 at 9:42 am
    My philosophy is that you can never have too many offensive and defensive linemen. Our weak spot is against the Saints and Rams who can rush four all day and not blitz. That should be our goal. A good pass rush makes corners look better than they are.

    Wide receiver depth is needed as well, especially if Tom comes back. Maybe tight end can be resolved through free agency.

    I’m happy we weren’t having this conversation in October/November like we normally do but I still hate that we’re having this conversation


    I would also add maybe moving Slow Donnie to someone else if possible and drafting an OT who can play the right side. Your LT needs to be as solid as a rock and that is Wirfs not Donnie.

  25. ChiBuc Says:

    Pass Rusher!
    Not popular, bit a KR/slot would be nice
    Forget about drafting a CB (or kicker) because Licht has shown no ability to do so

  26. ChiBuc Says:

    While our OL did seem to get handled by Saints, Rams, WTF, a solid journeyman interior FA shores it up. I feel the bigger issue was gameplan/play calling than personnel. A good coaching staff staunches the bleeding at half, while BL and absentee daddy BA double down on the same crap hand

  27. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Defense Rules

    You are 100% correct. We have $10-$20 million to sign 25 players – 12 of which are starters. Godwin will cost our entire salary cap space available.

    I would put an emphasis on keeping our defense intact and adding a few pieces via the draft. LB/IDL/OLB.

    Work a long term deal with Davis and franchise tag Whitehead. Hopefully Suh returns for one more ring chase if TB12 returns.

    I would use Hainsey, Stinnie (cheap FA) and Nick Leverett to replace Cappa and Jenson.

    If Brady comes back so will Gronk. Godwin gets replaced by a first round pick. Fournett either comes back cheap or we draft a RB in rounds 2-4…

    It’s not pretty having to say goodbye to Godwin, Cappa and Jenson but I just don’t see any other way.

    If TB12 retires then we have to rethink this plan…

  28. Anonymous Says:

    We need WR’s if anything showed this season is that after Godwin and Evans and AB the quality of the receivers went down tremendously.

    Tyler Johnson did not do well this year, Scotty they hate for some reason and Darden just needs to be off the team.

    They either get a actual WR3 in FA or they go get some WR’s in the draft but WR is absolutely a need.

  29. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … I really do believe that it all hinges on what Brady opts to do. Personally I don’t think he’ll be back in 2022. I don’t see any way that the Bucs can field a team that can compete for the SB championship. Oh I think we can win the NFC South crown, but beyond that I’d give us the same chances in next year’s playoffs that Vegas gave to the Eagles against us this year.

    That said, I think the place we START is to decide how to free up salary CAP space by ‘culling the roster’. Several players who are under contract for 2022 haven’t shown me that there’s value in retaining them.

    Cam Brate is one of them. Sorry, but a TE who is a marginal blocker & who only caught 30 out of 57 targets (52.6%) for 245 yds this year and was available for all 17 games simply isn’t worth $7.3 mil in 2022. Ryan Succop is another. Our S/Ts is the most expensive in the NFL, and the results don’t justify the cost. Succop’s due to make $4.0 mil in 2022. His 83% FG percentage made isn’t bad at all, but he’s too expensive. Same with Bradley Pinion. He’s scheduled to make $2.9 mil in 2022. I wasn’t at all impressed with his punting this year.

    That’s not freeing up much money ($14-$15 mil), but we could fill those positions with comparable performers for say $4-$5 mil, saving $10 mil overall (and getting younger in the process). Hey, that’s enough to pay maybe Fournette AND Gholston (2 guys I believe we should re-sign because they have performed well in the past couple years for this coaching staff).

    Beyond that though, I’m at a loss. No way we can afford to re-sign Carlton Davis for almost $20 mil (IF in fact that ends up being his real Market Value). I really want though to see us re-sign Chris Godwin, but that’ll be tough. And without a really good QB to throw to him, it may not even be the wise thing to do. Like I said, I wouldn’t want to be in JL’s shoes right now.

  30. Capece is Kaput Says:

    The more I think about it the more I come to the conclusion that we have needs everywhere. As long as they don’t draft a kicker or punter in the first 4 rounds, I am good.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Also the DT draft class this year is god awful, they need to get offensive weapons. A WR3 is a need. I’d go with WR the first pick tbh. Or corner.

  32. SlyPirate Says:


    The last two off seasons have been exciting. I can’t wait to see him pull another rabbit out of the hat.

  33. Proud Bucs Fan Says:

    New GM and Head Coach would be the correct answer.

  34. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    Good ideas… I agree with Brate and Pinion. Cutting Succup scares me – how long did it take to find a decent kicker?

    Hopefully we can find @ $10 million with these adjustments and find another $10 million or so restructuring other deals like S. Barrett.

    That would at least give us the cap space to re-sign a few starters.

    I still don’t think we can afford both Godwin and C. Davis…

    Got to pick one or the other.

  35. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I would also add maybe moving Slow Donnie to someone else if possible and drafting an OT who can play the right side. Your LT needs to be as solid as a rock and that is Wirfs not Donnie.


  36. THOMAS PFALZ Says:

    I guarantee if TB comes back he will want Jensen, Godwin & Fournette & Gronk who would come back if TB does. I would not pick a CB high in the draft, since Licht hasn’t had much success in that area. Go out and get a FA. I also think Cappa can be replaced with Stinnie or Hainey.

  37. sauron's eye Says:

    I agree with Joe and also think we need a starting free agent corner.

  38. Marine Buc Says:

    @ dooosh

    I don’t see D. Smith going anywhere. His cap hit for next season is @ $19 million.

    Maybe if BL goes to the Jags he will want to take Smith off our hands. But I doubt it…

  39. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … Why did we protect Jose Borregales all season long if we’re not gonna use him this year to replace Succop?

    Agree with you about the cost of keeping BOTH of the 2 high-dollar guys (Godwin and Davis). Personally I think that Davis’ Market Value though is way over-inflated. What team would pay $20 mil for a CB who only played in 10 games this year?

    But then again, that’s one of the greatest disservices IMO that certain high-spending teams have done to the rest of the league: they’ve over-inflated salaries, especially for certain position groups like QB, WR & CB. It blows my mind that for 2022, Aaron Rodgers is due to make $46.7 mil (with a Dead CAP of $26.8 mil) … and he was crying wanting to be traded.

    Of course in one way that’s hysterical. Packers salary CAP right now is at MINUS $46.4 mil … Rodgers’ salary. Duh!

  40. Brian Says:

    January 28th, 2022 at 12:00 pm
    New GM and Head Coach would be the correct answer.

    Have to agree with this one. Licht has not shown the draft ability IQ for a rebuild.

  41. gotbbucs Says:

    Speed, speed, and more speed. I don’t care where on the field, speed kills.

    We are a slow plodding team outside of a couple guys.
    Beef up front, and speed literally everywhere else.

  42. Ed Says:

    Tight end is definitely a position of need as Howard is not a football player and Brate is overpriced. He is very slow. Good hands but not explosive enough. If he was a rookie, fine but to be paid as a top tier tight end, no way should the Bucs keep him unless he wants to restructure and be paid for what he is, a red-zone specialist.

    I’m also afraid of putting big money into Carlton Davis. He drops way more interceptions than he makes (did he have any?), get penalized and isn’t athletic enough to be considered a top level corner. Is he good? Yeah. But he isn’t going to get much better than he is now. He isn’t top tier, why use up $20,000,000 per season on him?

    Whitehead, Edwards and Dean are reasonably priced secondary guys that play hard. They are fine. Draft a more athletic corner if there is one to grab.

    Offensive line: Cappa and Smith are the weak points. Don’t tie up any more money in those guys. Bring in some free agent backups that are playing behind stars, kind of like what they did with Barrett who played behind Von Miller. Scout second teamers on more physical teams and replace Smith and Cappa. Draft some more linemen. Grab someone from the Cowboys or Saints, those linemen are always good and they have depth.

  43. Bqen green Says:

    In this order. New head coach. New defensive coordinator. Beg Brady to come back. Make him the highest paid player in history. Let him pick his coach and coordinator. Hurry up, cuz if the bucs don’t try, y’all will be left with Bruce Arians and Kyle Trask

  44. HC Grover Says:

    Is Chucky lurking out there?

  45. Kansas95Buc Says:

    We should focus on finding competent coaches and let Brady run the offense, DL,CB,WR

  46. Jeff Says:

    Free agency target pass rushers. Draft pass rushers. It’s all about getting to the QB! Find a QB and get to the QB. Everything else will fall into place. And the Bucs have a decent o line to work with.

  47. Mike Johnson Says:

    Bucs need to focus on a Pass rush. The Rams showed us just how valuable a great one is.

  48. captivajim Says:

    Brady will wait until its known if Leftwich is ( likely ) gone or not.. As well , until Bowles is very hopefuuly gone–but I don’t think thats likely anymore..

    I just don’t see Brady working directly with Bucco as the OC. / HC for an entire season. He dosen’t respect him

    Once Bellicheat benched Malcolm Butler in SB & then traded him; Brady lost respect for Bellicheat. Brady called Butler ” a friend” in that games press conf.

    After Bucco got AB to flip-out; Brady said in his press conf ; ” I still consider him a friend “

  49. Swampbuc Says:

    Secure Godwin.

    Oh, and THANKS, TODD.

  50. tampabuscsbro Says:

    Man this comment section is wild. People are talking about Donavan Smith like he isn’t coming off his best season as a pro.

    Yes Lets move the all pro right tackle first AP all pro O lineman in team history to left tackle getting cute has never shot teams in the foot.

    There are some tough decisions to be made and not a lot of options to replace them. IMO the biggest priority is Carlton Davis. This team went a decade without a competent corner (I guess the Darelle Revis rehab tour counts a bit though). Look how good the defense was with no competent corners until we got some playing well. Davis is the best of the group it would be a mistake to let him go.

    Pass Rush we are going to hope JTS gets better. Not a lot if any better options JPP may be cooked and it’s not like we can afford him.

  51. mark2001 Says:

    If Brady comes back, you sign a FA passrusher. You might draft one later, but you have a one year window. And likely no one at the 20 something pick will make an impact year one.

  52. Swampbuc Says:

    Tampabucsbro —

    The short bus drops these geniuses off at the community center every day where they’re allowed to use the internet for an hour. They have voice-to-text software there. It’s clear many of them were oxygen starved in the womb.

  53. catcard202 Says:

    Between now & the draft, BUCS team needs could go 100 different directions.
    However, as of today…The FO has their work cut out for them!!!

    Both OC & DC are out looking for Hc gigs,
    Brady’s future is in limbo – Gronk is likely done & OJ not worth resigning –
    Godwin a franchise tag candidate & AB jettisoned – Jensen/Cappa/Stinnie/Wells + Playoff Lenny, RJ3 and Bernard all looking for new deals.

    Suh & JPP are in obvious decline – Davis III injury prone & Whitehead’s a walking concussion protocol waiting to happen. McClendon’s deal is up, Gholston’s too…Even though he’s been openly begging for a home team discount offer from the FO with his “want to be a Buc for Life” contract negotiating blunder that I’m sure his agents loved.

    In the NFL, yearly attrition is a given, but this BUCS off-season is unlike most.
    It’s either scramble to resign as much core pieces as possible to go compete for a division title / another SB run effort…or straight to roster upheaval & total rebuild.

    There’s no in between…& it all depends on whether TB12 returns or retires.

  54. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Ok so we have watched the secondary play sub par so much and also down right terrible at times for the last 2 years. They have had their moments yes, BUT how they are not at the top of the list, and then the pass rush 2nd, is nuts.

    There are many needs, BUT the secondary needs an overhaul.

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  55. crazybucs_CL Says:

    Time for Bucs to BUILD.
    No rebuild (cause we didn’t build anything); no reload, cause we don’t have any gun to load.

  56. brooks Says:

    yall see the opponents…
    we’re 10- 7 at best

  57. OBP Says:

    DE all the way, it’s a deep class and you can get some quality ones. Get another man beast up the middle with Vita and let our rushers eat

  58. captivajim Says:

    So the Bears , Giants , Broncos have hired new HC’s. Raiders look to go with Josh McDaniels and Leftwich likely to Jags.

    that leaves us with Bowles & Bucco-who said he’ll also call plays for offense for our reloaded Bucs !!!!

  59. Bucs Guy Says:

    I agree with most of what you say Joe. However, after TB12 returning, it all comes down to his is re-signed or who we lose to FA and retirement. I’m assuming we get two more 3rd rd picks for one of our coordinators leaving.
    DT – McClendon is probably retiring, Suh is 35 and Gholston is 30 and overpaid for his production. That leaves Rochester and Vea. You need an aging cheap veteran and a high draft pick – Rd 2 unless a very high value DT falls to us in rd 1.
    DE – JPP is done by retirement, cap or injuries. Draft his replacement in rd 1.
    OL – Cappa or Jensen. You can only afford one. Draft the other in rd 3.
    RB – Keep Lenny and Gio. Draft in rd 5.
    TE – OJ is gone, Gronk is gone when Brady leaves, Brate has lost a step and is overpaid for his production. He may get traded for a day 3 pick if the Bucs can find a buyer. Draft in rd 3 and 7.
    CB – Mid-level FA and Draft in rd 4.
    WR – Resigning CG, this will have to wait or get a real #3 in FA, not a #1A we call a #3 like AB. If we trade Brate, this day 3 pick could become a WR.
    LB – Focus of 2023 Draft to find LVD replacement and more DLine – assuming the QB situation is resolved.

  60. Ex-Pats-Fan Says:

    This most talented defense has the worst defensive coach. I hope he gets a job else where. I’d fire him alone for the last game. And there were several games where the defense was so undisciplined.

  61. orlbucfan Says:

    Ex-Pats-Fan Says:
    January 29th, 2022 at 12:59 pm
    This most talented defense has the worst defensive coach.
    Crawl back under your braindead rock. Thank you. I hope Bucs go after defensive line players first and foremost. After that..??