Freeing Robert Hainsey

February 23rd, 2022

Robert Hainsey

You would have to be quite a longtime Bucs fan to identify the last time the Bucs used a premium draft pick (Rounds 1 – 3) on an offensive lineman and the guy was a bust on the field.

Alex Cappa, Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith, Jeremy Zuttah, Arron Sears, Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood were in that boat and jumped in as rookies with strong success.

You’d have to go back to 2005 and tackle Chris Colmer (third round) to find a guy that didn’t play. Colmer got injured and never took an NFL snap.

Before that, you could easily argue that 2001 first-round pick Kenyatta Walker wasn’t very good, but he was a five-year starter and won a Super Bowl ring, so he wasn’t exactly dragging the team into the toilet.

The point here is that Joe has all the confidence in the world that Buccaneers 2020 third-round pick Robert Hainsey could replace Ryan Jensen at center and do a solid job, if he could beat out whatever inexpensive veteran center the Bucs signed to compete with him.

Hainsey made the team last year (no small feat on that roster), and got to learn from Jensen, many other veterans, a strong coaching staff and even work a little bit with The Goat himself, Tom Brady. Joe suspects Notre Dame-schooled Hainsey soaked in a wealth of knowledge as he got stronger.

Last year, Joe shared that Buccaneers right tackle Tristan Wirfs became very close friends with Hainsey and said he marveled at how Hainsey mastered the Bucs’ playbook and seemingly had little problem transitioning from college tackle to NFL center.

Late last season, when Jensen injured his ankle, it was Hainsey who was warming up to replace him. Jensen didn’t miss a snap, but the Bucs’ faith in Hainsey was clear.

Joe is not among the Bucs fans shaking in the corner worrying about a changing of the guard (center?) on the offensive line.

The Bucs can’t pay everyone, unfortunately. And it wouldn’t be like Hainsey, if he replaces Jensen, is a super-green rookie jumping into the lineup.

Enjoy Today’s Ira Kaufman Podcast.

27 Responses to “Freeing Robert Hainsey”

  1. Rod Munch Says:

    The only real issue with Hainsey is that he moved from tackle to center, which is a huge move, and an odd one. But Licht has more than earned any benefit of the doubt.

    If the idea is that the Bucs go with Trask and they’re going to clean up the cap this year, then sure, go with Hainsey since you’re not winning anything anyways.

    Also if you go with Trask, let everyone except Godwin and Whitehead walk, the Bucs are going to get a bunch of comp picks if they’re not signing anyone. So you get a clean cap in 2023, lots of picks, probably a very high 1st rounder – that isn’t so bad.

  2. SOEbuc Says:

    If Hainsey can handle it, im down. I’ve really been wondering between the young Cappa next to Wirfs or extremely older, extremely expensive Jensen.

    If we’re rebuilding I hope Bucs fans saw how important an oline is. Especially for someone not Tom Brady.

  3. APiratesLife Says:

    The name that I thought of immediately was Walker. You are way too kind. He was terrible, regardless of him starting for 5 years and being part of the Superbowl-winning team.

  4. Crickett Baker Says:

    I have been pretty impressed with Hainsey when he has played a bit in other positions. Let’s see..

  5. BuxfaninTX Says:

    Brett Moritz…how about that one!

  6. fern Says:

    Look up the play he made when scotty miller scored on the last game of the season

  7. Adam Says:

    On Scotty Miller’s big TD run, Hainsey not only was playing Center but he made a huge block down field!

  8. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Agree with everyone here, Jensen is on the wrong side of 30. If Brady was still here you could franchise him but plans have changed…

  9. Marine Buc Says:

    Bring Stinnie back – he can also play center.

    If we lose Jenson – Stinnie and Hainsey can compete for starting center job.

    It also would not surprise me if the Bucs draft a G/C in rounds 3-5 this draft.

  10. Rod Munch Says:

    If you lose Jensen and Cappa, then you, at the very least, need a starting guard, and no, I’m not counting on Stinnie to be that guy (maybe he can be, but I’d want someone better, this is a great offensive line, not a barely adequate one). What’s great is that Licht can find offensive lineman all day long, and he can get another starter at guard in the 2nd. If Licht thinks Hainsey can, not just start, but be good, then he can be the center, but if not, then maybe Licht is drafting a center in the 2nd and a guard in the 3rd. Regardless, Licht has more than earned the benefit of the doubt on the offensive line, and I have complete trust in him to know what he has and what he needs.

  11. Wild Bill Says:

    Jenson is a good player but he often lacks self control and draws way too many stupid penalties. Let him and his big salary walk. Time for the Bucs to clean house of over paid and often injured older players too. Rebuild now for the long term. I don’t care if they don’t even make the playoffs as long as they make moves and load up on younger studs for the long haul. Next year could be a rebuild year that payed off in the future. Build around the solid core of talentmthat deserves to stay, draft smart and make smart choices on free agents. Time to be thinking medium to long term upgrades for younger, healthy and solid ballers. The Bucs have a good core and just need to reload wisely. It was no accident that all the top seeds got beat and did not make the SB.

  12. JimmyJack Says:

    Rod Munch I think its pretty common to draft tackles and move them inside. I think both Cappa and Marpet were tackles in college. Jensen might of even been a tackle too. Not sure its worth worrying about.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Jensen can be replaced by Hainsey…

    Who on our roster replaces Davis, Whitehead…

    Who replaces Gronk, Godwin, Suh

    Maybe JTS9 replaces JPP….

    But we didn’t spend a 3rd round pick on an olineman to sit him….

    I think Jensen is gone…he will want a high-dollar multi year contract & we have other needs.

  14. Marine Buc Says:

    @ TBBF

    I see both Jenson and Carlton Davis leaving this year for different reasons.

    Davis is going to chase a king’s ransom and will end up somewhere like Jacksonville.

    Jenson is replaceable and on the wrong side of 30 for a big money deal.

    I hope we bring everyone else back.

  15. Jordan Says:

    Rod and Marine Buc, totally agree

    I’d rather sign the younger free agents than “chase” Jensen

    Godwin, Whitehead, Carlton Davis, and Cappa would all be priorities for me over Gronk, Suh, JPP, Jensen, and Lenny

    If we do go all in this year, 2023 cap situation is likely to be a true nightmare and tank job.

    Really tough decisions coming for Licht. Lots of lessons to be learned from going all in, but also just as many from not evolving the roster at all last year. We have to go a little younger on the roster this off-season.

    I think you’re more likely to see signings/trades for younger talent like Wentz or Trubisky than huge splash moves for an older guy like Teddy or Jimmy G

  16. brooks55hof Says:

    Wasn’t Cosey Coleman a second round pick? Wasn’t Cosey Coleman the guy that jumped offside and gave Carolina another shot at an extra point that cost us the game ? Wasn’t Cosey Coleman the guy that cost Chris Simms a gall bladder ?

  17. SB Says:

    100% agree with this take Joe. You have been a bit “story deprived” lately as have all National writers in this “smoke season” but this one is worthy

  18. The Coroner Says:

    Before Jensen the Bucs’ pocket collapsed from the center. I don’t know of another Buc lineman that is as aggressive as Jensen and blocks a guy clear out of bound! He has more defensive players push him after a play is over because he plays to the last note of the whistle.
    Hainsey to right guard.
    Jensen and possibly Cappa will likely get bought by another team with cap space who need linemen.

  19. Beejezus-belt Says:

    Joe, you can’t really say Cappa has great success as a rookie. He didn’t dress until week 12 in 2018 and then only logged about 100 snaps. I won’t count Hainsey out yet. But I also don’t know how comfortable the Bucs should be with him instead of Jensen.

  20. BFFL Says:

    I think Trask needs a vet center to help call things

  21. Buczilla Says:

    Licht has my complete faith when it comes to the offensive line. Corners? Lol, not so much, but no one is perfect.

  22. Noles Says:


    It was a spleen

  23. Craig Says:

    Hainsey can probably play the position better than Jensen right now.

    It is the intangibles, like Jensen’s fire, and helping Trask’s early days that make it worth re-signing him.

  24. MadMax Says:

    You put Wirfs at Center and Hainsey at RT until further notice if we lose Jensen….

    you’re welcome : )

  25. Stone crab sam Says:

    This poster thinks the stock market plummets, money get tight, and the owner ship group reigns in their purse strings much like 2009. So few vets get resigned because of economic reasons.

  26. ClwJB Says:

    Jensen/Cappa – we only keep one, and this kid replaces the other – Stinnie is the super sub for C/G

  27. Rob Says:

    Licht is great at drafting linemen. He drafts tackles (who are usually very athletic) and slides them inside. Cappa was a tackle in college The biggest issue is learning the blocking schemes and handling the mental end of being a center. I say draft a left tackle to eventually replace Donovan Smith. He can be a swing tackle backup and let Josh Wells test free agency.