Loyalty, Favorites & Looking Good

February 26th, 2022

Joe is not calling the Bucs’ power brokers a bunch of egomaniacs, but there are realities fans should realize as Tampa Bay prepares to make big decisions with its premier free agents.

Joe has never met a general manager or a head coach who doesn’t have a special place in his heart for one of his draft picks. It’s the nature of the business. You study the guy, pick him and groom him; and then he’s like one of your own kids. There’s almost a level of loyalty that’s often driven by ego. You know, “he’s my guy.”

The draft pick of another regime or a free agent? It’s often a different mindset.

Maybe that shouldn’t be the case and GMs and head coaches shouldn’t be swayed by feelings or personal investment, but that’s how it is to some degree on every team.

So Bucs fans should consider all this as they stay up at night agonizing about the Bucs’ pending decisions in free agency.

For years, Joe has heard GM Jason Licht gush over his 2017 third-round pick, Chris Godwin, calling the Pro Bowl receiver a cornerstone player, an ultimate teammate and a model worker and person with a perfect attitude, among other accolades. Joe hasn’t heard Licht say the same things about Carlton Davis.

That doesn’t mean Licht thinks poorly of Davis. Not at all. But fans should consider that if it comes down next month to paying Godwin and gambling on his health versus paying Davis big money, then Joe thinks Godwin will win easily. Also, remember how many times Bucco Bruce Arians has said he’ll always reward a guy like Godwin who does the dirty work in his offense.

Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen? Licht gets an A+ for Jensen completing all four years of his free agent contract and finishing on an upward trajectory. That’s very hard to do for a free agent lineman, and Joe could see Licht viewing Jensen as a mission-accomplished/massive-kudos signing and there’s no need continue the gamble. Roll with second-year man and draft pick Robert Hainsey at center and you’ve got a win-win through promoting your beloved draft pick.

For similar reasons, Joe thinks the Bucs would love to re-sign 2018 pick Alex Cappa and Aaron Stinnie, the fantastic Licht find, to stabilize the interior of their offensive line.

The Bucs drafted safeties Mike Edwards (third round) and Antoine Winfield (second round) since Arians arrived, so Joe has to think that won’t play in the favor of pending free agent safety Jordan Whitehead.

That doesn’t mean the Bucs will be ditching strong players to stroke egos, but when tough salary cap decisions are made, sometimes teams will lean in certain directions for reasons that might not be obvious.

Again, just something to think about as the calendar turns to March.

21 Responses to “Loyalty, Favorites & Looking Good”

  1. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Excellent take Joe.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Can go along with your take Joe for the offensive FAs like Godwin. Cappa, Stinnie. And when money’s tight, Hainsey in favor of Jensen makes sense too.

    But we diverge somewhat on the defensive FAs, mostly because I don’t think Licht would cross BA. And maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think BA would go against Todd Bowles recommendations. Thus IF Bowles wants to keep Whitehead as a priority, he’ll be a priority. Both JL & BA know that our defense is on shaky ground right now, and if Bowles says that he needs Whitehead or Suh, or JPP or Gholston to keep it marginally afloat, they’ll do everything they can to make that happen.

  3. gp Says:

    As with anything else, reality sometimes gets bent by ego. Something that is ALWAYS denied by those whose ego bends their reality.
    And who pays the price?

  4. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    I agree with your take. I also think he looks at our WR’s and say Evans and Godwin are one of the top WR duos in the league. They work well together. Don’t break that up. I think Jensen can be looked at as joe said or he’s the leader of one of the best offensive lines in football. So depending on there perspective determines which way they will move.

    I think the defense is tough. Our secondary is often injured and seems to give up a ton of big plays. Yes Davis is solid, but I don’t think he’s top 10. When Shaq and JPP are together, they’re awesome but JPP has spent a lot of time injured recently. How do we proceed with our defensive line? Personally I think you bring JPP, gholston, suh and whitehead back. I think we find a replacement for Davis and draft mostly defense for depth and youth. Very tough decisions. Which one of us wouldn’t love to try though.

  5. fern Says:

    Jensen walks start Hainey
    Sign Cappa Godwin Lenny Steenie
    restructure deals and we will be all right

  6. Craig Says:

    I also agree, almost. Licht knows that drafted DBs is almost a luck situation. Remember Hargreaves. He will do all he can to keep Davis, his good luck charm of a DB.

    One other thing is to never underestimate the ego of anyone in football. There is always ego in play there.

  7. Ash Says:

    I think jenson, cappa and Lenny are gone they sign Godwin to a long term deal and tag Davis and try to sign whitehead to a long term deal

  8. Stanglassman Says:

    Those are good points. I think of it slightly broader. I see coaches and front office guys covet the the guys who were high on their draft board too. The ones who got away. They still hold a special place. Draft picks, no doubt but BA loves to chase the guys he just missed out on too.

  9. David Says:

    Great insight. Whitehead is going to be injury prone with the way he plays. Love the guy but Edwards is actually better in coverage.
    If it’s Godwin or Davis, go Godwin all day, every day. 1- that’s going to help get a quarterback here and 2- as good as Davis is, they can draft a CB and/or go to free agency a lot cheaper. Plus Delaney showed a lot of promise and speed
    I’ve been saying they need to sign Jensen and let Kappa go but… This is a great point. They might be able to keep Cappa and Stinnie and go with the kid center from ND by letting Jensen‘s salary go. As much as I like Jensen, going that route might keep them with good depth.
    Plus didn’t we hear that Hainsey is very smart and picked up all the plays and play mcalling on the line rather quickly? That’s a big deal for a center.

    I just hope they figure out quarterback quickly, and to our satisfaction, because that is going to determine whether some of these free agents resign here

  10. David Says:


    Good point. I think someone high on their board that got away and becomes available is always someone coaches and GM’s target 3 to 4 years down the road
    They feel like they know what to do with them, they know how to make them the player that they anticipated they would be.
    That’s a good mentality to a point. It can create a blind spot for someone who hasn’t panned out. But then other times, that player needs a change of scenery.

  11. Joeisback Says:

    THERE WE GO. This article is why I started reading this website 10 years ago, love the real thought provoking articles

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There is no question “draft ego” exists……and that’s perfectly natural and OK….but it only exist if the player drafted performs well……there is a long list of top draft picks jettisoned by the Bucs……

    This may be a stretch but Davis was a bonus pick….he and MJ Stewart were extra 2nd round picks we received in that trade with Buffalo. We see what happened to MJ Stewart.

    Being drafted works both ways….I think players also give credit to teams that drafted them……helped them to accomplish their dreams and set them up for a huge financial future.

    Here’s hoping we resign all of our FA draft picks…..Godwin, Cappa, Davis & Whitehead…..you can throw in another contract for Will Gholston too.

  13. Hodad Says:

    For Licht the only good thing about Brady retiring is now he doesn’t have to consider Tom’s wants, and needs in free agentcy. Yeah Jensen can go, Tom won’t mind. Licht’s hands are free to spend, and sign who he wants. He’ll have to earn his money tho, because he just lost the best sales pitch he ever had TB12. Going to be a very interesting off season. The 2022 Bucs aren’t going to look much like the team that won the S.B..

  14. John Says:

    Every other take from Joebucsfan is about not payin Carlton Davis. We get! You’ll don’t wanna pay him. Thankfully Licht will tag him and you will have all next off season you will give us the same take.

  15. Ben Harvey Says:

    A lot of tough decisions. Weapons and a good o line are key to attracting a good new QB so I can see Licht wanting to keep players on offense. Davis and whitehead would be huge losses though that could haunt them once the season begins. Todd Bowles secondary is not elite. He often puts these guys on an island and most end up on the wrong end more often than not. If these guys walk, they better have a strong contingency plan or Bowles needs to stop blitzing 60% of the time.

  16. TampabayDJ82 Says:

    Joe , I feel privileged to read your post every day as they are never dull and the topics are just the best for a Bucs fan !! I’m happy I found this site as I was getting tired of reading the garbage from Rob “Captain Obvious” Leeds ..

  17. Joe Says:


    Thank you for the kind words. Glad you found this site too. 🙂

  18. acey Says:

    Edwards can’t replace Whitehead, they’re two different kinds of safeties; Edwards is a ballhawk better suited for F.S, Whitehead is the kind of bruiser you want at S.S.

  19. Rod Munch Says:

    The Bucs really should try to bring back Whitehead. I don’t think he’s going to cost that much (I saw someone say $7m, I could be wrong, but I think he’s going to be more in the $4m range since he’s viewed as more of a run stuffer). Davis is likely going to be way to expensive to keep, he could be more of a $12-15m player as the top corner in FA, and the fact he’s young.

  20. Buczilla Says:

    Great problems to have and a great time to be a Buc fan.

  21. Crickett Baker Says:

    Food for thought, Joe. Good article.