Shaq Mason May Be A Top-Five Guard

March 17th, 2022

Bucs RG Shaq Mason.

The Bucs may have lost a Pro Bowl left guard in Ali Marpet when he retired recently. In return, however, the Bucs may have gained his equal to play the right side.

Lost in all the fun Bucs transactions of the past couple of days was, on paper, the swindling of Bill Belicheat by Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht. He traded for right guard Shaq Mason and only spent a fifth-round pick. That seems like a robbery to Joe.

Of course, Belicheat rarely gets taken so this has Joe’s antennae up. Still, an awesome move.

Brandon Thorn — he’s from Pinellas County — has sort of become the de facto expert on offensive line play in #NFLMedia mostly because no one else has really tackled the subject with Thorn’s enthusiasm. And he is absolutely loving Licht’s pickup of Mason.

Here is what Thorn wrote about Mason prior to last season on his website Trench Warfare.

Mason has been one of the five or six top right guards in the NFL over the last handful of seasons after developing and refining his technique in pass-protection during his first couple of seasons under Hall of Fame OL coach Dante Scarnecchia. Mason came into the league in 2015 as a fourth round pick from Georgia Tech’s option scheme, which required a multiple year adjustment period to the quantity of reps in pass-protection as a pro needed to match his outstanding run-blocking technique.

Mason now boasts some of the best footwork you will see as a pass-protector with calm, patient movements that allow him to remain square at the point of attack. With perhaps the best natural leverage in the NFL at the guard position due to his stocky frame at 6’1” 310 pounds, Mason is nearly impossible to work under and consistently being the low man with his power base allows him to anchor and drive at an elite level. Mason is also one of the premier pullers in the league which is a driving factor in the Patriots success running man/gap concepts in the run game.

Since taking over the starting role full-time in his second season (2016), Mason has missed just seven games in five years and has some of the best tape against elite competition that you’ll find from the guard position over that time, including against Aaron Donald which you will see below.

As Thorn noted in his Twitter feed on Tuesday, the Bucs upgraded at right guard. This is nothing against Alex Cappa at all. He is a good right guard. But Mason is top-shelf.

If the Bucs can develop Aaron Stinnie, and in limited but high-level play, he had looked sharp, hell, the Bucs may even have a better offensive line than last year which is saying something.

43 Responses to “Shaq Mason May Be A Top-Five Guard”

  1. Leopold Stotch/BuccaneerButters Says:

    So as a younger guy, I used to bemoan line play, cuz it’s boring. Now that I’m older, I have lost my ignorance when it comes to line play. Case in point, when we drafted Wirfs, I was stoked. Absolutely ecstatic and seeing him play, he blew my expectations out of the water… So again, now that I’m older, I enjoy watching it and seeing this just makes me happy. Definitely think we’re going trenches again, for first round, but maybe on defense. Either way, looking forward to seeing Mason in pewter and red.

  2. HC Grover Says:

    This seems too good to be true. What a score.

  3. Lesko_Brandon Says:


  4. steele Says:

    Bucs need to win in the trenches. Get back to smashmouth and bully on defense.

  5. westernbuc Says:

    So a cheaper younger Logan Mankins with a full offseason to acclimate to Tampa. I’ve trashed Jason Licht a fair bit in my time on this site but when given time he’s an excellent roster builder and manager. I don’t think it would be unreasonable for the Glazers to extend him ten years

  6. adam from ny Says:

    this was a crazy good move…

    and should be seamless since TB and shaq played together already for like 5 seasons…

    stinnie and mason for cappa and marpet — seems legit


  7. Bird Says:

    Cool. Dont watch other teams really at all

    He does not over power people but locks them up. One less position they have to focus on for draft. Stinnie is fine and a guard spot can be leveed with a solid tackle and center on each side. One weaker spot on line not a big deal but stinnie isnt weak just more towards really average

    Bucs may run ball more right side of line then left behind marpet like they used too

  8. ModHairKen Says:

    This team is stronger on the O Line. Instantly. Cappa was weak. Marpet will be missed but this guy Mason is an upgrade. Fact. And how can you ever have enough Shaqs on one team?

  9. adam from ny Says:

    i like stinnies run blocking too…

    what if these 2 are better at run blocking than cappa and marpet…

    also maybe mason takes up banjo lessons in tampa as a hobby ? 🙂

  10. Bucsfanman Says:

    I think it was a “salary-dump” move by Bill. Either way, how can you NOT like this move? A 5th for a legit starter?!
    This is one of those moves that you’d be a moron not to take! AND, we’re not sitting here HOPING we have a starter in Stinnie, Hainsey, or Leverette to fill TWO positions.

  11. Goatfarmer Says:

    Maybe Belicheat found out that this guy has a mega-infectious new strain of covid and shipped him off to infect Brady and the Bucs. Only real explanation for why he would only ask for a 5th rounder in return.

  12. adam from ny Says:

    ali’s like:

    “dang they forgot all about me already!”


  13. 2022 Year of the GOAT Return Says:

    Licht finds the perfect replacement and we will get a supplemental draft pick with the loss of Cappa … Win win all the way around … now thats a GENERAL MGR

  14. DarenGibo Says:

    I wonder if Ali would have still retired if he knew Brady was coming back? It does seem like he had a plan and was done, but MAN, one more year from him and this trade would make our OL a steel wall!

  15. Kentucky Buc Says:

    This is a typical dump the salary move by BB. He’s done it over and over again. He lets guys go early instead of paying them.

  16. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Joe, Belichick the GM, NOT so good. He got nothing for Jimmy G, Brady, Gilmore, Seymour, Gronk he just lost Karass another olineman. Rumor has it he offered him 3yr $15MM if he signed by the Sunday before FA tampering started, Karass didn’t except in time so he dropped the offer to $13 mm. Karass said FU and signed with Cincy for the $15mm. His philosophy is you play for me and take my deal or screw. Now that Brady has gone, screwing has been the norm. The illusion of going to the Pat’s and winning to build your resume has gone with Bucs newfound GOAT. Brady has played with Mason for years, NO doubt he had input in this decision.

  17. James G Arntz Says:

    Perhaps the Bucs may also have a decent running game!

  18. #8 Says:

    Let’s hope for more good news today-
    All these three year deals tells me Brady committed to at least 2 years-

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m certainly pleased and surprised….as I was with Davis signing….I was fully expecting to draft CB & OG in the first 2 rounds….we need DT, then we can go for just about anything but WR,QB, Oline……like RB, TE, S, CB

    I guess I simply didn’t think we could come up with the money…..we’ll see….we still need Gronk & Lenny…..that would complete the offense….

    And Suh, Gholston…..Maybe a cheap JPP would complete the defense….

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    #8 … ‘All these three year deals tells me Brady committed to at least 2 years’.

    Interesting observation. Still, not sure how Brady ties into all of this. Mason replaces Cappa who would’ve gotten a 3-yr deal (like Shaq did). Stinnie is on a 1-yr deal (try-before-buy as a starting OLineman?). Jensen got a 3-yr deal (at his age, he wouldn’t have re-signed for anything shorter IMO). Gage also got a 3-yr contract (at 26 & ascending, doubt that he would’ve signed with anyone on a short-term. prove-it contract).

    All of those MAY influence TB12 to stick around through 2023, but I doubt he’ll REALLY commit to that until after 2022 (although I do expect him to restructure his current contract, which would require him to sign on for another year or two). He wants to win … period. And he’ll do whatever it takes to achieve that. Love it!

  21. BA4President Says:

    I say we draft nothing but O-linemen, corners, and safeties. Can never have enough of them haha

  22. BelleGladeBuc Says:

    @Joe Bucs Fan

    The great Ian Beckles on his show yesterday on 620 WDAE talked about the Buc’s acquisition of Shaq Mason. If you can put that segment on your site that would be awesome.

    He said that in the NFL you don’t expect a fifth round pick to be a starter, and that a lot of them get cut and don’t make the team, but that the Bucs got a starter on their team for a fifth round draft pick.

    Beckles said that he watched film on Shaq Mason and said that he’s better than Marpet.

    Beckles also said that Cappa and Stinnie are of equal talent.

    He said that it’s crazy that the Bucs got better with the retirement of Marpet and trading away a fifth round draft pick.

  23. BA4President Says:

    @Defense Rules – Nice analysis! Even if we can’t keep Brady in 2023, it looks like the idea of a complete rebuild immediately after he leaves seems less likely.

  24. Joe Says:

    Thanks BelleGlade/Muck City!


  25. Beeej Says:

    I’m HOPING this was just a salary dump, and something frightful about the guy doesn’t pop up

  26. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Bill Belichik is taking a lot of heat up in New England for only getting a 5th round pick for Shaq Mason.
    What a deal for us!

  27. Beeej Says:

    Mebbe he was worried Brady would get hurt with a sub-standard guard up there

  28. Joseph C Simmons Says:

    I love this pickup. The media focus this offseason so far has been on whether the Bucs could keep as much of their free agents as possible. nobody has really mentioned that, even if we kept very damn free agent, last year’s team couldn’t run the ball for sh1t. It was glaring weakness. It was the reason we almost lost to the Bills after having a huge lead. It the reason we lost to Washington.

    Mason should help in that regard. Hopefully whoever wins the LG position is a good run blocker as well.

    The good news is Brady led the league in passing yards. The bad news is, Brady HAD to lead the league in passing yards. He carried the offense. He’s going to be 45-years-old. If we want to win the Super Bowl this year, we have to be in a position where the running game can win a few games on its own.

  29. PSL Bob Says:

    What impresses me is that Mason plays to the whistle. He doesn’t just complete his assignment and then let up. And he gets downfield quickly on several running plays. If Stinnie can show consistency at left guard, our o-line should be very solid and provide the wall of protection Brady needs to do his magic. LFG!

  30. lambchop Says:

    Shaq and Big Red will bring it to Aaron Donald. By the time we’re done with him, he’ll wish he retired after the SB.

  31. teacherman777 Says:

    This trade represents Belichecks love and respect for Brady and Licht.

    Bill still loves Tom. Bill doesn’t want Tom to get hurt.

    This trade was a gift to Tom and Jason.

  32. Francisco Guzman Says:

    Run game could be better.

  33. geno711 Says:

    teacherman777 Says:
    March 17th, 2022 at 8:52 am
    This trade represents Belichecks love and respect for Brady and Licht.

    Bill still loves Tom. Bill doesn’t want Tom to get hurt.

    This trade was a gift to Tom and Jason.

    What a nice thought in this current world. I vote Bill humanitarian of the month and you the great ambassador of the month.

  34. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Did they examine his back?
    Did they examine his toe?

  35. Defense Rules Says:

    BA4President … ‘looks like the idea of a complete rebuild immediately after he leaves seems less likely.’

    I agree with you, although our known salary CAP ‘commitments’ down the line (2023 & beyond) will probably require a LOT of jockeying to keep everyone.

    My favorite college team is Bama (wife graduated from there), and I love the way Nick Saban ‘gits er done’ year-after-year. After following Bama for many many years now, I’m convinced they excel largely because Saban doesn’t get greedy. Rather than run up scores (like some teams seem to), he uses the later quarters when they’re safely ahead to bring in his 2nd, 3rd & even 4th stringers and train them for the next season. Those guys who excel become starters that next season, and already have quite a bit of field time under their belts. Seems to work very very well for Bama.

    Hopefully the Bucs get to do that (some at least) this season. Tom Brady has never been into ‘training his replacement’, but at age 45 this would be a good year to make an exception. Let Trask get into any games where we’re safely ahead (or hopelessly behind) to gain ‘in the line of fire’ experience. That’d also allow us a chance to see IF he’s the QB-in-waiting or IF we need to draft another in 2023 (or sign a FA like Derek Carr in 2023).

    Since Trask was a 2nd Rnd pick, he’ll only have 2023 & 2024 BEFORE his initial contract expires (no 5th year option). IF he turns out to be good, he could get to be very expensive to retain. Wow, entertainment is getting to be very costly nowadays.

  36. Coburn Says:

    Marpet was also pretty darn good in run game I recall (we know he was a stud in pass pro), but stinnie def seemed a better run blocker than cappa. Feel like our overall run blocking improved a fair bit this offseason… Just need some running backs now.

  37. David Says:

    Definitely an upgrade from Cappa. Not a huge one but an upgrade. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why New England traded him for a 5th rounder. He seems healthy, he’s young, his salary is not crazy. Heck, the salary is cheaper than Cappa.
    Having played with Brady, I am sure he was Brady approved as well

  38. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    @Defense Rules
    College Football attendance is way down, and has been declining the past 8 years.
    Alabama is one of the reasons for the decline. People have gotten sick of Alabama winning all the time.
    Hell, I could win a national championship at Alabama, because year after year, they have their pick of the best Kids in the USA.
    I was so happy when Georgia beat them!
    Until they have parity in College Football, attendance will continue to decline. People are simply sick and tired of a few teams, winning all the time.
    Imagine an NFL where one team always wins, because they get more draft picks, and that is what we have in College Football Today.

  39. D-Rok Says:

    I really like Mason’s footwork, and never seems out of position to have a solid stance and be ready for the next move from the DLineman. Plus, his hustle down-field is impressive, getting hits on 2-3 guys some plays. Loved the one-on-one with A Donald – that was a complete stalemate, which says a lot. Excellent FA signing.

    GO BUCS!!

  40. Delson Says:

    Needed a lg more than a rg but mason is a great addition to the team. The reason i say lg is because we have donovan smith on our left side hopefully it doesnt become a hindering weakness.. Smith needs a pro bowler beside him remember marpet slid to the left side.

  41. BelleGladeBuc Says:

    @Joe Bucs Fan

    The Muck Bowl is my favorite football game of the year.

    I love going back home and hanging out with my Raiders and Devils friends, and I have to go to Dixie’s for their fried chicken!

    Thank you for letting us know about Thorn’s website, as football and food are my hobbies, and I love that the big fellas are starting to get some love. If you have any kind of pull with Big Storm (another part of being a foodie) please let them know that we love their sours and that they have to get more sours like their watermelon into stores.

    Watching Thorn’s film on Mason shows that he’s got dancer’s feet and he plays through the echo of the whistle. Mason is just as nasty as Jensen, but in a quieter way.

  42. Joe Says:


    Joe will pass that along with the Big Storm heavy hitters!

  43. BelleGladeBuc Says:

    Thanks Joe,! 👍 I had that watermelon one because the server recommended it with their BBQ Flatbread for dinner once, and I told my wife that their watermelon sour is delicious and dangerous!