How Great Is The Guard Upgrade?

May 23rd, 2022

“We won’t miss you, Cap.”

If believe Adam Schefter, Tom Brady pleaded with guard Alex Cappa to return to Tampa Bay but Cappa ran to Cincinnati for the cash and spurned The Goat.

It was a rare red mark (red pen?) on Brady’s recruiting resumé.

Instead, general manager Jason Licht appeared to fleece Bill Belicheat by trading a fifth-round pick for veteran right guard Shaq Mason. Joe asked Licht if he considered the virtual Cappa-Mason swap to be an upgrade, and Licht wouldn’t answer the question. Quietly at One Buc Palace, Joe is confident Bucs officials believe they lost Cappa but won the war at the position.

So how good is Mason? Well, the PFF Tribe has weighed in with a new ranking of NFL guards for the 2022 season. In a somewhat confusing breakdown, they appear to have Shaq as the fifth-ranked guard in the league, noting how he’s a monster against the run but still solid in pass protection.

Cappa ranked 17th in the same breakdown and was placed in the “solid starter” category. So if the Tribe is accurate, the Bucs indeed got quite an upgrade.

23 Responses to “How Great Is The Guard Upgrade?”

  1. Casual Observer Says:

    Our O line is strong again. With solid depth too. It anchors a very tough offense. Maybe the best in the league.

  2. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Shaq is a definite upgrade over Cappa, especially for the Run Game. However, Marpet’s replacement is possibly another story. Marpet was a Pro Bowl Guard, not so easy to replace. Goedeke might be as good, possibly even better. Only time will tell.

  3. PassingThru Says:

    Mason is a beast at run blocking. He’s good at pass blocking, but he does sometimes get caught flat-footed with a speed rusher moving inside. Overall a great pickup, and an upgrade over Cappa.

    I’m far more concerned at LG. Goedeke probably has a good future in this league if he can stay healthy, which isn’t a given. Needless to say, you cannot move on from Ali Marpet to a rookie without losing something. I just hope Goedeke stays healthy and prioritizes pass blocking for his first year. It will be a learning experience this season, he’s jumping from Central Michigan to the NFL.

  4. Daryl Green Says:

    I don’t care about PFF. I watched Tampa vs. The pats. This weekend.
    The tape never lies. Mason all day everyday and twice on those days.
    Watch the game.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Seems like an upgrade to me…….sort of a wash on the money……and the 5th round pick isn’t much consideration….

    If it makes Brady happy (even if for only one year) then, it’s an upgrade for sure.

  6. Natural Selection Says:

    Logan Mankins looked like hot garbage his first season in Tampa after that trade, but then bounced back for a much more respectable final NFL season. I think Shaq comes to us in better physical condition and not as solidly in decline on the field. We definitely have better parts on either side to blend with than Logan. Still don’t think it’s close to a slam dunk that we just expect the same level of play from Mason than he’s shown in NE. Big guys simply adjusting to the climate change after such a move isn’t to be discounted. Loved the trade and am definitely more excited to plug Shaq in at RG than another rookie, but I think our expectations may be inflating beyond what would be reasonable from a lineman starting fresh on a new unit while adjusting to significant heat and humidity during training/practicing/playing.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Sometimes I think we focus too much on individual positions. Our ENTIRE Oline group SHOULD be better this year than last year, but it’ll more than likely take some time for them to develop the same ‘chemistry’ as in years past.

    Guess is that we’ll carry 9 OLinemen, and dress 8 for games.

    o Wirfs: solid starter; signed thru 2023 (with a 2024 5th yr option).
    o Mason: solid starter; signed thru 2023.
    o Jensen: solid starter & OLine leader; signed thru 2024.
    o D Smith: solid starter who just doesn’t miss games; signed thru 2023.
    o Goedeke: rookie challenging for LG position; signed thru 2025.
    o Stinnie: challenging for LG position (filled in nicely in 2020); signed thru 2022.
    o Hainsey: 2nd yr challenging for LG position; signed thru 2024.
    o Wells: 10th season jack-of-all-trades; signed thru 2022.
    o Leverett: 4th season jack-of-all-trades; signed thru 2022.

    Those are the 9 OLinemen I think will stick. We seem to be in very good shape, not just for 2022 but also through 2023. Also looks like we have a POTENTIALLY strong run-blocking OLine (that could bode well for 2023 & beyond), as well as some excellent versatility in the event of injuries. Probably our strongest position group currently.

  8. Casual Observer Says:

    DR – good summary.

  9. Allbuccedup Says:

    O-line in great shape more quality depth and experience than last year.

  10. GOB Says:

    Cappa’s overall PFF grade was 73.4
    Mason’s was 88.3. Mason only gave up 16 total pressures, with a rookie QB. It’s a clear upgrade. Like Passing said l, he sometimes struggles with footwork against quicker than average D lineman. I think the acquisition of Mason and the kid they drafted to play LG, shows a clear intent to bully teams in the run game. I’d never bet against Brady, but the receiving corps is much worse this year, and the schedule is much tougher. I think the bucs offense will look much more like the old patriots offense this year. Establish the run, and play action when the gameplan dictates. Of course they’ll be games when Brady throws it all over the yard

  11. Power of Pewter Says:

    RG was an upgrade, but whoever ends up the starter at LG will be a downgrade from Marpet. So overall, likely a step back…although OL won’t be the biggest weakness provided they stay healthy.

  12. Buczilla Says:

    With Wirfs and Mason on the right side, I’m thinking that we will be able to run the ball down the throats of a lot of teams if we choose to do so.

  13. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    Now if we could get some dline depth we’d be in Superbowl territory for sure.

  14. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    Linebacker depth too. I like Britt, but he’s kinda slow.

  15. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Agree with your optimism surrounding our Oline. If Goeddeke is half the pleasant surprise as Wirfs…that is EXPECTED to be good yet still exceeding expectations…we might have the best OL in the league.

    I say this because on improvement that I love If Goeddeke is what they say, he’s the next coming of the mean red head Jensen. Meanwhile Mason is also a physical player. We might just get really, really nasty right up the middle.

  16. ClwJB Says:

    Yeah, the right side is a definite strength whereas the left has been for the past several years – gonna make Brady even better at play action

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete … Yup, smashmouth football will return to RayJay. That’s why the Saints & Rams beat up on us (they ‘outphysicaled’ us in the trenches); now it’s our turn.

  18. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Far too many times I saw Cappa back peddling and out of balance. Good luck but I think we got the upgrade.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    Cappa was the weakest part of our O-Line I said this as well, so I’m very glad Bengals took him.

  20. GOB Says:

    Defense is right, if you get smacked around in the trenches, you’re liable to lose. Controlling the LOS will be key to beating the top NFC teams.

  21. Delson Says:

    Although i trust licht in drafting olinemen marpet helped smith so much i see us strugglin on the left side. Smith isnt good. Barely average. Not only that he gets an inexperienced player on his right. Does he take a step forward or crumble like he did in the playoffs n so many other games before?

  22. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    Delson, I agree. Smith was passably good because Marpet helped him out. It’ll be the weak spot on the OL.

  23. Steve Gaudreau Says:

    You got a good one! An TB12 KNOWS IT!