Unselfish Times

July 26th, 2022

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The Bucs are eager to welcome their veterans to Tranquility Base.

As Tampa Bay prepares for the 2022 season, this franchise has every right to pat itself across the shoulder pads for a lack of drama heading into training camp. There are injury concerns and some keen competition for starting jobs, but there’s no discernible turmoil hovering over One Buc Place.

What a wonderful world.

In large part, that’s because this roster is teeming with team-first players. Start with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Both are the antithesis of diva wide receivers throughout the league who demand more money and more targets.

It’s not a stretch to suggest Vita Vea would like more snaps, but he’s not going to complain in public. It’s obvious there’s an unwritten code around these parts — all for one and one for all.

Who wrote the rule? Who else?

Instead of stretching the salary cap to the limit, Tom Brady takes less and asks his teammates for more. Instead of sailing through camp at half-speed, Brady is on a full spring toward an eighth championship.

Underpaid (?) Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith.

Let’s also look at the No. 2 position in importance behind quarterback. At left tackle, the Bucs have Donovan Smith, who has missed only two games in seven seasons. He has improved significantly in recent years, allowing only one sack during the 2021 regular season.

Smith’s base salary for the next two seasons — $15,750 million and $15,250 million — represents middle-of-the-pack money for the position. Smith, who could be an unrestricted free agent in 2024, is no longer a middle-of-the-pack player.

He’s a very good player. In fact, he’s a better left tackle than Chiefs malcontent Orlando Brown Jr., who hasn’t signed his franchise tag and won’t be reporting to KC camp.

The Chiefs sent a first-round draft pick to the Ravens to acquire Brown, who struggled in pass protection last season. He allowed four sacks to Smith’s one while blocking for a far more mobile quarterback than Brady.

Trent Williams is the NFL’s highest-paid left tackle, agreeing to a 6-year deal with an average salary of $23 million.  While Williams is better than Smith, no argument there, he’s a lot better than Brown. The Chiefs made Brown a lucrative long-term offer, but he declined. He wants Trent Williams money and he thinks he has all the leverage because protecting Patrick Mahomes is a priority that can’t be overstated.

Let’s say it again — Brown isn’t as good as Donovan Smith but he wants to be paid 150 percent of Smith’s salary.

Stable Winners

The Bucs don’t have those kinds of distractions. If Rob Gronkowski decides to play, he’ll be welcomed back to Tampa, no questions asked. If Gronk remains retired, Kyle Rudolph and Cam Brate can get the job done … not as well as No. 87, but adequately.

Dealt quite a hand.

Todd Bowles will have every chance to run this camp his own way, without holdouts or whack jobs like Antonio Brown. Should anyone drift out of bounds, Brady’s there to demand toes on the line.

After a long stretch marked by volatility and losing, this is one of the NFL’s most stable franchises. Brady deserves much of the credit, but Jason Licht’s emphasis on character in the draft has paid dividends.

If you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Ira loves that lifetime warranty on new and used vehicles!

Enjoy last weekend’s Ira Kaufman Podcast. Ira talks Kyle Rudolph, training camp changes and a lot more.

17 Responses to “Unselfish Times”

  1. Goatfarmer Says:

    Excellent article.

    The stability evaporates when Brady decides to hang them up, though.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    This is what happens when you make character a top priority in the draft and free agency…..
    Players like Wirfs, Winfield, Evans, Godwin, Brate, LVD….the list goes on.

    On draft day some wonder “Why did we pick that guy? He wasn’t at the top of ESPN or NFL Network’s board.” The reason is character.

    Makes a difference……is contageous.

  3. Hodad Says:


  4. SB Says:

    I think that if they are looking for trouble they came to the Right place.

  5. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    For long time Buc Fans, many of us think we have died, and gone to heaven.
    Not only are the Bucs good now, but we will be good for a long time!
    But this is the NFL, and soon other teams will come after Jason Licht and John Spytek, the same way they came after us before.
    LOL, NFL stands for Not For Long

  6. D-Rome Says:

    As Tampa Bay prepares for the 2022 season, this franchise has every right to pat itself across the shoulder pads for a lack of drama heading into training camp.

    That’s a relief.

    As for Donovan Smith the knuckle-dragging mouth breathers will never be convinced but he’s a quality starter that is currently on a team friendly deal.

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    Now if no injuries follow no drama, all will be well & good with a bright future for Bucville…

  8. Bird Says:

    Is julio signing reAl?

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    Just head the Bucs are in fact signing Julio… I love it. If he has anything, he’s a huge bonus. If he doesn’t – you cut him. Easy enough.

  10. gbobucsfan Says:

    45 year old throwing to a 33 year old….whodda thunk it?

  11. Lt. Dan Says:

    Just heard the same Rod M. Dang!!

  12. Drebucsfan Says:

    Julio Jones is here!!!!! LFG

  13. Elita Vita Says:

    Chris Godwin cleared for training camp! Yes!

  14. Crickett Baker Says:

    Great article! Jason Licht’s best pick of all was BA. Ariana had already started changing the culture before he got Brady. Then we skipped over players that had any bad actions off the field. (I was happy when Cine didn’t come here). Then Brady started recruiting and the puzzle just seemed to fall into place. IDK what Jones has left but I bet Brady inspires the hell out of him. GO BUCS

  15. ClwJB Says:

    Drafting character guys had paid huge dividends – no more fatty baker types- or thugs, sex offenders, domestic violence offenders, dudes that burn mattresses in their front yard etc

    As a life long fan that is 50+ it is like a dream come true

  16. Long John Says:

    Crickett well said

  17. Esteban85 Says:

    TBBF I couldn’t agree more! Character from top to bottom. I think we got some high quality cats in this past draft as well, Otton, a coaches son, Goedeke, a small school beast who has overcome and Hall who is the son of a military mother and father. High quality picks from Licht