If The Bucs Must Go Shopping For An Offensive Lineman…

July 30th, 2022

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

Savvy intel here from a former Giants and Eagles beat guy.

With Ryan Jensen expected to be out “months,” Joe understands a lot of fans are begging Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht to go out and get this JC Tretter, who last year started for the Browns at center and is currently looking for work.

To be fair, Tretter is Jensen-like durable. He hasn’t missed a start since 2016.

Part of this fan desire is fueled by the PFF tribe, which thinks Tretter is one of the top centers in the game — and also ranked Jensen No. 12.

(As Joe has preached over and over for years, NFL folks consider offensive line grades by the PFF tribe to be high comedy at best and usually used toilet paper.)

Joe gets no sense speaking with several folks that Licht has an irresistible urge to sign a veteran starting center ASAP. Joe really believes the Bucs are willing to give second-year Notre Dame product Robert Hainsey a fair shot at the job to replace Jensen.

Does that mean they give Hainsey two weeks to prove himself? Three? That’s another story.

Typing for Heavy.com, NFL national scribe and columnist Matt Lombardo named interesting low-cost/high-ceiling guys possibly on Licht’s radar at center. Those three suggestions from Lombardo are Matt Paradis, Luke Juriga or Jon Halapio.

Here are excerpts from Lombardo’s analysis of the three:

Matt Paradis

A former teammate of Shaq Barrett’s in Denver when the Broncos won a Super Bowl, Paradis started nine games at center last season for the Stinking Panthers.

Paradis only allowed 2.0 sacks in 2021 … Paradis could offer the unique combination of experience, leadership, and ability, to be able to step in to replace Jensen without the line skipping a beat.

Luke Juriga

The former Eagles lineman appeared in nine games for Philadelphia in 2020 and allowed just one quarterback pressure.

The Buccaneers got an up-close look at Juriga this spring, when the Western Michigan alum took part in a tryout during the team’s rookie minicamp. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if Juriga is on the Buccaneers’ emergency list, in the event of an injury such as Jensen’s.

Jon Halapio

The former Giants lineman blew an Achilles in the final week of the 2019 season. While he may not be the same player, Achilles’ injuries often take a long time to rehab. A long time. Lombardo notes that Halapio is a class locker room guy, which is exactly the kind of player you want on a team with real Super Bowl goals. (Think A.Q. Shipley in 2020.)

Though he hasn’t appeared in a game since rupturing his Achilles tendon in Week 17 of the 2019 campaign, Halapio only allowed 2.0 sacks that season. He could be a strong culture fit, and provide some much-needed stability as a pass-protector, in Jensen’s absence.

Yeah, the loss of Jensen is bad. But think about it, hasn’t Licht built up enough trust and street cred after constructing and maintaining the Bucs’ offensive line since the 2015 NFL Draft? No GM is perfect but Licht has nailed move after move on the offensive line.

So if he and his coaching staff believe Hainsey is worthy of a test drive, why not?

Besides, Joe thinks we all know who will have final say on who snaps the ball come September.

31 Responses to “If The Bucs Must Go Shopping For An Offensive Lineman…”

  1. WillieG Says:

    I trust Licht. If he says Hainsey is the man, Hainsey IS the man. How can you doubt a guy who built the line we have? How can you doubt a guy who built that line with two men from DII schools?

  2. Bird Says:

    In defense joes, you can look for yourself…other sites have tretter rated high the last few years. Just saying. Not just pff
    Highly doubt the Bucs will go there. –Joe

  3. Beeej Says:

    Tretter will require Gronk-like money, and at (31?) won’t want to sign for just 1 year, even to play with the GOAT

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Hainsey will undoubtedly get a fair shot at winning the job, but the reality is that Bucs will need a backup center in any event. The other reality IMO is that Tom Brady will be calling the shots. Whoever Tom wants at center, that guy will be the center.

    For all practical purposes, Hainsey is a rookie (31 snaps in suiting up for 9 games doesn’t scream ‘highly experienced’). To his left we could very well have Luke Goedeke, a rookie with even less experience. To his right we’ll have Shaq Mason, highly experienced but still new to the Bucs’ OLine.

    All 3 of them are about the same size as last year’s interior line: Hainsey (306 lbs), Goedeke (312 lbs) & Mason (310 lbs) versus Jensen (319 lbs), Marpet (307 lbs) & Cappa (305 lbs). They just don’t have the same experience level … YET. But they will soon enough, once Joe Gilbert gets through with them.

  5. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Donell Stanley to the rescue…

  6. mark2001 Says:

    Now we are cooking. If you can bring in one of these guys with a promise to give them a chance to compete, at a very reasonable salary… particularly a guy that can also play guard to spice up that competition, I’m all for it. Not some big high-priced FA, mostly worn out, that is old and may put us in the same boat injury wise, and cap hit basically eliminating the chance to bring in another D guy.

  7. Mike pizzoli Says:

    Hey Joe’s if you have never watched or heard of JC Tretter you obviously have no clue how good he is, he has been one of the best centers in the NFL and was the anchor on the browns o-line which has been dominant the past two years. To not seriously consider signing him would be a mistake

  8. Anonymous Says:

    The question is, does the new need for a center, with our salary cap restraints, throw a wrench in the plan of this new acquisition Ira hinted around at in his last podcast?

  9. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Folks, Tom will not be making the call on this one. OL is Licht’s baby. He will have the final say, and Licht is in love with Hainsey. Brady will just make do with him, regardless if he might not be his first choice.

  10. BucsNoles Says:

    If you can, you bring in the best possible player to replace the loss of Jensen – just common sense – and let the best man win.
    Defense Rules makes a good point. In any case we need a backup C on the roster, so get the best guy you can find

  11. mark2001 Says:

    And Mike.. he was cut by a team that could easily afford to keep him for a guy that has no more on the field cred than Hainsey. So that should tell you something.

  12. WillieG Says:

    A fear of mine is that Hainsey steps in, does a damn good job, and Jensen is a cap casualty at the end of the season. I want my Bucs to do well, and I want all our players to excel, but damn! Jensen is one of my favorites. He has the attitude I love in a lineman.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There’s always the “Earl of Watford”…..he said he’s ready to fly in and play….

  14. mark2001 Says:

    Willie… we can keep Jensen and Hainsey. And in the third year of both contracts, see who we can afford to keep for the future. But with the normal lifespan of an O lineman that doesn’t tire of the life and the game, would hate to see Hainsey go elsewhere and have a ten-year multiple AP career, while Jensen has a couple more very good years. Just the nature of the business.

  15. PassingThru Says:

    Part of this fan desire is fueled by the PFF tribe, which thinks Tretter is one of the top centers in the game — and also ranked Jensen No. 12.

    No need to take a shot at PFF. In this case, PFF is right. JC Tretter is among the better Centers in the league.

  16. Oneilbuc Says:

    No more bringing other players in even at center because it’s time for these young players to step up and show what they got . We can’t keep throwing away draft picks and giving up on them without giving them a chance to play. Now yall love to say Jason Licht is a good GM so let’s see . Our young center sat a whole year and supposedly been learning from Jensen and Marpet it’s time to show what he got no more excuses.

  17. AbucAway Says:

    Already have a backup as well. Leveritt.

  18. Topcoach_78 Says:

    Don’t bring in a guy to be a back up , bring a guy in to be a potential starter, just because Hainsey was next in line to be a starter you don’t bring in a less talented guy in! Bring in best option NOW! And let them Duke it out during camp!

  19. Allbuccedup Says:

    If Hainsey is the man why did they sign Jensen to a 3 year deal. Hainsey apparently is not the man I see a free agent center in here by next week.

  20. David Says:

    I think they’re going with Hainsey but I think they should go sign Jurigo immediately. He’s a 25-year-old free agent the other guys are early 30s with injury concerns.
    They need another back up center. Might as well get them in a training camp and work them out see how it goes

  21. sasquatch Says:

    We’re not going shopping for an O lineman, but I guess you have to write about something.

  22. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Tretter will be an upgrade at center over Jensen, if Hainsey does not work out.
    Hainsey is from Notre Dame, a school well known for turning out good linemen.

  23. Goatfarmer Says:

    Given the way Todd apparently runs non-contact practices, we should probably sign all of them.

  24. T REX Says:

    The GOAT does “make do”

    That is hilarious. Licht is fired without Brady.

  25. T REX Says:


  26. JonCyn90 Says:

    JC Tretter is not a scheme fit for the Bucs. Cleveland Browns offensive line scheme is wide zone. The difference is the wide zone blocking is horizontal, either going toward one sideline or the other. Inside zone running what the Bucs do is vertical blocking where you are trying to move your man either left or right but always towards their end zone. This is why JC Tretter is lighter and agile. Tritter is 15 to 20 pounds lighter then Jensen

  27. PassingThru Says:

    Yep, run blocking is more likely a challenge. Bucs are power gap/duo, while the Browns rely on wide zone. That’s where Hainsey might have an advantage as he’s had a year to soak it all in (Notre Dame is also zone, from what I recall). To be fair, Hainsey had a lighter base when drafted so hopefully he has filled out the 15 months or so as he moved inside as an IOL. JC Tretter is more suited to the zone, but either way he’s proven as excellent at pass protection, which is the priority.

  28. Mike pizzoli Says:

    Exactly PassingThru Tretters pass blocking is phenomenal, the pocket doesn’t get pushed into the quarterbacks lap. By the way Mark the browns cut Tretter because they decided to give deshaun a ridiculous deal plus they took on amari coopers 20 million salary, he wasn’t cut because of his play that much is blatantly obvious

  29. Smashsquatch Says:

    Nice update, thanks Joes! In Licht I trust.

  30. unbelievable Says:

    Obviously whoever replaces him needs to be technically sound, but IMO an almost equally important factor will be finding someone who can also bring the same amount of NASTY, and call out other lineman if they’re loafing.

    Assuming Hainsey has skills that come close to a Jensen (after a few games) my biggest concern is whether he can bring the same leadership and nasty, with so much less experience.

  31. Vgb Says:

    Brady will know if he needs to look for a center…Brady believes ” one man up “because he knows injuries occur…..Wirth says he works with back ips and practice squad to make sure on same page..not worried…go bucs!!!!