Todd Bowles: Picking Final Group Of Receivers Will Be Difficult

August 4th, 2022

Tough calls at receiver.

Good receivers won’t make the Bucs roster.

How tight is the race for reserve receivers after Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage and Julio Jones? Well, every good August play is critical. Every mistake could be fatal.

The race is so tight there really is no margin for error.

For example, Joe knows some Bucs fans want Jerreth Sterns to make the team because he put up ungodly numbers at Western Kentucky that do not seem real. But he’s dropped so many passes in the first seven practices that Joe cannot imagine him making the final-53 unless he goes wild in the controlled scrimmages the Bucs have with the Dolphins and Titans and in the three preseason games.

That’s how crowded the wide receiver room is. Any mistake sticks out like a sore thumb. Several mistakes and you are just about out the door, barring a rash of injuries. God forbid.

Todd Bowles spoke yesterday about what he envisions as some very, very hard decisions in about three weeks concerning the receivers.

“It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough,” Bowles said. “That’s why we have the practices. They’re going to play in the games. We’re going to get to see them, not just once, we’re going to see them twice. We’re going to see them a lot in the practices that we have against [the Dolphins and Titans] and in the preseason games, and we’ll look up and see.

“But there’s a lot of talent at that position, not just the four that we have but all the other guys too, but we have to see how it shakes out.”

Joe figures out of the following group, the Bucs will keep two or three three receivers: Breshad Perriman, the immortal Cyril Grayson, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, Jaelon Darden and Devin Thompkins.

Miller is having an outstanding camp. Tom Brady trusts and has chemistry with Grayson. Johnson has the experience, is in the best shape of his life and is getting a whole bunch of targets. Perriman has been injured for days now but has always played his best with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and comes through in the clutch. Thompkins has shown Joe he belongs in the NFL, somewhere. Darden was just named yesterday by Bowles for having a standout spring and summer.

If two or three of these guys can ball out in special teams, that would help their job security a great deal.

Joe has to wonder if Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht might use a couple of these receivers as trade bait to get an interior offensive lineman? Some background: The Bucs on Aug. 26, 2014, traded a reserve tight end in Tim Wright and a fourth-round pick to the Belicheats for Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins.

The Bucs have ample reserve receivers. So if you are looking at a timeline for a potential trade, three weeks from now might be that time.

24 Responses to “Todd Bowles: Picking Final Group Of Receivers Will Be Difficult”

  1. Beeej Says:

    I’m still trying to understand how Perriman was an unsigned free-agent when we grabbed him last year in the middle of the season

  2. Allbuccedup Says:

    Trade a couple of receivers for a backup center and backup edge rusher.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Perriman has a guaranteed salary of just over 1mil……

    Darden & Johnson picked out by Bowles has having good camps..

    I like Julio Jones but he has to be a Brady selection….his entry bumps a good young WR..

    At this point my guess would be….Evans, Godwin, Gage, Jones, Perriman, Johnson, Darden & Miller….(yes, I think we may go with 8 WRs.

    If not……the competition for Darden & Miller will depend on ST.

    Grayson & Thompkins will be put on the PS.

  4. Dooley Says:


    BP had signed/got claimed with/by the Bears after final cuts last season, but I dont even think they played him in any games. Probably got cut during midseason roster churn, but iirc we had just gotten him back before we played the Bills last year.

  5. Marine Buc Says:

    @ TBBF

    I agree with your list and with Godwin’s knee still a question mark – we probably do go with 7 or 8 WRs…

    Hopefully we can hide Grayson on the PS – perhaps they shelve Perriman on IR until week 8? He will probably be needed by then.

  6. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I agree with the list by TampaBayBucFan
    But I think we cut Thompkins and the Immortal Grayson goes to PS.

  7. ViSyl Says:

    That’s a great problem to have.

  8. Buc4evr Says:

    Darden is gone. Johnson better have his act together in preseason or he could be gone. Grayson to the practice squad. No idea about Tompkins at this point but probably practice squad.

  9. PA Buc Fan Says:

    I really like this Thompkins kid and truly hope we hang onto him even if it is the practice squad. From reading Joe’s reports and watching him ball put at Utah State I think his future is bright!

  10. Maniac Buc Says:

    My unbiased view

    1-4 is clear as day. No debate there at all.

    Out of Darden, Johnson and Miller, Darden has the largest margin for error and Miller has the least, considering Darden has 3 years of control vs Miller with 1. Johnson is in the middle with 2. So in order to keep Miller over Darden, Miller has to not only perform at a equal level than Darden, but at a quite of bit superior level. Johnson is kind of in middle, slightly more margin than Miller, slightly less than Darden. Add in that what Darden contributes to special teams is more important than what Scotty offers and that margin increases.

    Perriman and Grayson will be evaluated against those 3, plus how superior they will be this year, especially in Perriman case as a vet. As a fan, I would prefer Grayson as a coach I would prefer Perriman.

    Considering all that, and the fact I think we keep 7, the list is

    1) Evans
    2) Godwin
    3) Gage
    4) Jones
    5) Perriman
    6) Johnson
    7) Darden

    I prefer Grayson over Perriman, but I think the team would prefer Perriman, and Grayson can go on the practice squad. Miller will be traded for a late round pick.

  11. SB~LV Says:

    My 2022 TC Underdog is Devin Thompkins , similar to Darden but from a more competitive program.

  12. geno711 Says:

    Marine Buc

    Good point about IR. Could Perriman be an IR guy and then come back after week 8 when someone else is injured and his fresh legs (speed) will make that much more of a difference. He was inactive 1st 8 games last year.

    From NFL Media:
    “For injured reserve, teams are permitted to return eight players from the IR list or reserve/non-football injury/illness list in 2022” and “A player designated to return is eligible to return to practice or the active/inactive list after four games have elapsed since he was placed on the reserve list.”

  13. sasquatch Says:

    SO, Joe thinks you can bundle up bottom of the roster receivers and trade for a quality offensive lineman? ANd your example is Tim Wright for Logan Mankins 8 years ago? This is friggin’ dumb. (1) Tim Wright actually had production for us and had value. (2) We also gave up a 4th round pick. (3) We don’t have a 4th round pick next year. (4) We don’t need to trade for interior OL. We good. Other than that, great suggestion. It surprises me sometimes just how dumb some of these takes are.

  14. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Good call Marine, Perriman to IR for a few weeks. Then TBBF’s list, which I agree with (but I think we will only keep 7), is:

    Evans, Godwin, Gage, Jones, then…
    Johnson (great blocking),
    Darden (HOPEFULLy big impact as return man on special teams) &
    Miller (good gunner on special teams).

  15. Mike Says:

    If Licht can trade one of the receivers we have in surplus, even for draft picks, that would ideal. Otherwise, yes, we are going to cut receivers that are going to be playing on other teams this season. Hopefully we can stash the rookie WR’s though and develop them on the PS.

  16. Big slick Says:

    Based on last years performance Darden looks to be a bust. Grayson showed us a lot in limited action. Very interested to see how Grayson’s camp progresses.

  17. Just Saying Says:

    Trade Julio. He has the most name recognition & would probably yield the most in return. We owe him nothing, all he’s ever done is abuse us. Back when he still had legs and wasn’t washed out, as Joe likes to say about others who probably have more left than Julio.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Tyler and Scotty

  19. Marine Buc Says:

    @ geno/Harry

    Agreed. Perriman has missed 30 games since 2017… It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if this turned out to be the case (IR).

    I don’t believe we will be cutting Miller or Darden.

    It is rare for GM Licht to give up on one of his 4th round draft picks after only one season…

  20. SB~LV Says:

    Highly doubt a trade can be worked out for the bottom of our WR camp depth chart . That tactic is brought up every TC for one position or another all across the league. Everyone is waiting for the proven veterans to get cut on the last day.

  21. MadMax Says:

    Miller and Perriman….like I said in a previous post….

    Gas those Dbacks with the scooter/perriman special….one on each side sent like theyre doing a 50 yard dash fast as possible (call this play fast as a shark), Evans one side, Gage the other 2 TE set to help block….Gas that backfield, if one gets open over that top, hit him…if not, all good, come back with normal plays with Jones and Godwin next…D will be starting to get winded…then do it again a few plays later.

  22. Defy9Ordinary Says:

    think there are fans that still don’t realize, the NFL RULES have totally changed in favor of the OFFENSE. I’m NOT saying DEFENSE isn’t as important. I love hard nose/HARD HITTING ‘D’ but it’s not allowed anymore in today’s NFL (Players safety takes precedence). So, when it comes to how many wideouts to keep on the ROSTER, based on NFL Rules favoring Offenses & how the Bucs run their Offense, strategically keeping as many viable WR’s as they can, which will greatly improve the Bucs chances to WIN, is the smart thing to do!! Let’s not forget that Brady threw for the most yds & TD’s last Season out of any other QB. He was able to do that w/AB & GRONK missing substantial time throughout the year (early on + several games thereafter; of course we all know about the unfortunate demise of AB). Then Godwin dealt w/Bountygate II where the Aints secondary took out his knee (they were going for all offensive players knees in that game; tried taking Gronk & others out; the Aints celebrated their appalling behavior). Even Evans had hamstring issues towards the end of the regular Season, which affected his availability & play… It’s still somewhat early in camp, but pre-season games are basically here. Anything could happen from now until September 8th 2022. Damn, we’re already missing our All-Pro Center, whom brought a helluvalot more than outstanding play, at the Center position! I hope Licht n’ Bowles (The GLAZERS) do right by all the PLAYERS & the GOAT. #LFG

  23. Brady Fan Says:

    Darden is a horrible kick returner and punt returner. Put him on the practice squad. Scotty is better.

  24. unbelievable Says:

    Tim Wright also had a lot more regular season experience than someone like Darden or Thompkins does though.

    Is everyone in agreement that Julio is a lock? Still seems like TJ could have more more upside… though maybe this will be the year Julio finally stays healthy again?