“I’m Done Defending Him”

February 21st, 2023

Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith.

A longtime Donovan Smith defender has thrown his hands in the air and yelled, ‘No mas!’

Joe is referring to bleed-red-and-pewter for Bucs guard Ian Beckles (1990-1996), who talks all things Bucs on his In The Trenches podcast. In his recent bellowing about all things Buccaneers, Beckles let Smith know that he’ll have a new team next season.

“Donovan Smith? I’ve defended him in the past. He should be cut,” Beckles said.

“I’m ok. [I understand], ‘Watch what you ask for; because you could bring in somebody here that can’t block.’ I’m done defending him. Donovan Smith you’re not good anymore. I’m sorry. I’ve defended you for years. They would put [Josh] Wells and some other clown in there [last season] and they were just as bad or just as good, or whatever you want to say. But Donovan Smith, you are not a difference-maker anymore. You will be released.”

Smith is eight years into his strong Bucs career. What a pick by general manager Jason Licht in 2015. Licht found a reliable second-round left tackle to anchor a Super Bowl team, a guy who often was among the top 10 or 15 left tackles in the league.

But where is Smith’s game now as he approaches 30 years old with 131 starts on his legs?

Joe’s not sure. Smith can still play and he was banged up most of last season. However, Smith is set to earn more than $15 million this season and the Bucs have a salary cap crisis.

59 Responses to ““I’m Done Defending Him””

  1. Beej Says:


  2. Bucanero Says:

    Reasonable cap casualty based on salary and performance.

  3. Cho Says:

    Look at Trent Williams or Andrew Whitworth . Tackles can play deep into their 30s. I say keep Smith and draft another OT high. Maybe move Smith to guard. I don’t think this team needs a new LT. But it has a deep urge for a strong, reliable backup swing tackle.

  4. Redeemer Says:

    He’s not worth close to the money he’ll make, if they keep him. Lazy getting into his set and a veritable penalty machine. If you wanna give Trask or whoever the QB will be a fair shake, go draft or promote from within. If they want to clean up the books, IMO this is the best option.

  5. Smooth Bay Rider Says:

    I’ve been a staunch defender of Highway76 , but his time has passed him by. He started 31 games at Penn St, and 124 in the NFL. He has a lot of miles on his body. Hopefully the Bucs can do at LT what they did with Shaq Barrett a few years ago, and find a Pro Bowl caliber player that hasn’t yet gotten an opportunity to shine.

  6. Tony1775 Says:

    Joe is the only one still defending him.

  7. Beej Says:

    This guy makes something like 16 million a year and he’s not even in top 50% of tackles

  8. SKBucsFan Says:

    Smith is still an average LT, but he was the weakest link on our O-Line last year. Getting rid of his salary given the Bucs cap situation is a good move.

  9. Dick LeBeau Jr. Says:

    I thnk it’s time to move on, unless he’s willing to take a pay cut. Oh, and I see we possibly have grabbed the Cowgirls RB coach Skip Peete. I think he did a pretty decent job with Elliott and Pollard.

  10. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    He was garbage last year but wasn’t he going through a personal situation like Tahmmy last year? If the guy was going through marital problems does he not get some leeway? I could be wrong and if I am then 76 is just garbage and did a disgrace to the great Dave Pear and David Logan by stinking up the great #76

  11. SlyPirate Says:

    Last year Smith was a basket case with, “off the field distractions.” He didn’t handle it like a pro so he shouldn’t be treated like one.

  12. Darin Says:

    Simple decision based on the numbers. And every gm needs to base it off the numbers.

  13. JN Says:

    Dump Smith and continue to rebuild OL. See if No doubt in my mind he would be first cap casualty. See if Wirfs can play LT. I agree with Beckles. Smith is toast

  14. Goatfarmer Says:

    Time for the Dongster to graze in new pastures.

  15. Bubby Says:

    I just looked up the 2015 draft class and almost puked.

    Kenny Bell
    Kaelan Clay
    Joey Iosefa

  16. Dooley Says:

    Replace him and the depth we had to spell him in Josh Wells, then let Donny go.

  17. Beej Says:

    We have several options, but none of them can be having Josh Wells started left tackle

  18. Letsbucinggo Says:

    Cut or trade Smith, Kelvin Beachum is a FA left tackle or anywhere on the line for about 3 mil hes 34 but would a low good bridge tackle if we can draft one in the 2nd or 3rd round get the line ready for Caleb in 2024.

  19. DoooshLaRue Says:

    He was NEVER good.

  20. Max Says:

    Average player that rose to the occasion but has the ego of a diva receiver. Goodbye!

  21. Beej Says:

    Is it a given we are going to move Wirfs to left tackle if we get rid of DS?

  22. Redeemer Says:

    Bubby, what makes it worse is the fact they picked first in every round, barring trades and whatnot. Only three active NFL qbs drafted in 2015 still left. Winsto

  23. HC Grover Says:

    Bye Bye

  24. BucsfanFred Says:

    Donovan was pretty good in ’20 and ’21.
    He’s always been at least average, till now.
    Time to retire.

  25. Greg Says:

    They’ll move Wirfs to Left Tackle try Goedeke at right with a capable veteran to push at right.

  26. Craig Says:

    Donnie was so incredibly durable for so many years, it had to be a shock when he started to get hurt.

    If he adapts I don’t know who to replace him with. FAs are there for a reason, as we saw with Hicks.

    Maybe keep him but keep his reps down; there is a lot of other chaff that can be removed to let the Bucs get right with the cap; unless they spend 30 mil for an almost QB.

  27. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Players we might need to replace with draft picks are adding up.

    Brady, Smith, LVD, Dean, Hicks/Gholston,

    But….there’s a ton of money there….and some age….if you can get younger & cheaper….do it….

  28. DoooshLaRue Says:

    BucsfanFred Says:
    February 21st, 2023 at 2:47 pm
    Donovan was pretty good in ’20 and ’21.
    He’s always been at least average, till now.
    Time to retire.


    Brady’s quick/scared release made him look better than he was.

  29. ElioT Says:

    He just doesn’t have that “Want to” mindset or fire in his belly. Strikes me as a dude who doesn’t love football.

    Thanks for the service Donnie, best of luck to you.

  30. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Bubby Says:
    February 21st, 2023 at 2:10 pm
    I just looked up the 2015 draft class and almost puked.

    Kenny Bell
    Kaelan Clay
    Joey Iosefa
    Look up 2016, even worse.

  31. Beej Says:

    That dude represents nearly 1/3 of our cap problem

  32. D-Rome Says:

    I defended Donovan Smith for years. Not anymore. He’s either regressed or he’s played like a man who feels he has great job security.

  33. Bobby M. Says:

    Probably time to move on, age isn’t on his side and his technique has always been a bit suspect. Brady was getting the ball out faster than ever and Smith somehow managed to look worse.

  34. Bucamania Says:

    Donovan has gone from durable and decent to a total liability with his penalties and poor technique. Time to go.

  35. doolnutts Says:

    Smith has been decent. It’s important to remember LT is a premier position you don’t just draft dominant LT’s in the 2nd round usually so we have gotten value but he’s simply not living up to his cap number. We can draft another guy or get a decent vet for half the price.

    With some luck someone will trade for Smith so we can get even more value not sure what the trade would look like but Licht has been money in later rounds so it wouldn’t hurt to get late round picks for him.

  36. Pewter Power Says:

    Please let him go, we probably won’t have a future hall of gamer at quarterback back so now is the time to move on from an average player

  37. Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    He wont be very motivated to work hard with Tommy gone.

  38. Ken_from_Canada Says:

    This seems very similar to when we thought Donald Penn was washed up. Spent 3 years playing great for Raiders, while Bucs struggled until Smith was starter.

  39. Mike C Says:

    HE gone!

  40. Rand Says:

    Thanks for your participation …sometimes

  41. Duane Says:

    If Smith is to be cut the Bucs will have to wait until after June 1 when the cap savings balloons from $2,650,000 to $15,250,000.

  42. TonyD Says:

    I’ve been saying for some time now, Smith would make a better right tackle than left tackle. I just don’t see the foot speed needed to play left tackle on a consistent basis.

  43. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Duane

    I agree.

    The Bucs are going to need the extra $15M this off season.

    However – now we need to replace him…

  44. firethecannons Says:

    I hope he gets cut, this is the year perhaps trade him early in the season either way he is not mentally reliable, physically he is solid but he zones out and applies head lock holds and any version of holding possible, I would rather have a rookie learning getting penalties then D Smith mailing it in while in the redzone and getting touchdowns reversed. No More!!!!!

  45. firethecannons Says:

    Duane Says:
    February 21st, 2023 at 4:38 pm
    If Smith is to be cut the Bucs will have to wait until after June 1 when the cap savings balloons from $2,650,000 to $15,250,000.

    perfect trade this zoned out useless touchdown negater for any pick and use the rookie you picked up in the draft or swap Wirfs and use Goedeke at RT no more of this penalty magnet with personal problems

  46. Rod Munch Says:

    What a hot take from the local shock jock sports hack!

  47. Rod Munch Says:

    Also you’re freeing $15m, you’re freeing $10m with $5m dead cap space.

    Also you don’t cut him, you trade him. If you don’t think Smith is going to be snatched the second he’s cut, you’re an idiot.

  48. DCBUCSFAN Says:

    First off, I really don’t listen to anything Ian Beckles says after the sh** he said about Warren Saap years ago. Somebody need to remind him that he aint no radio personality like the late Steve Dueming! lets be reasonable here since LTs don’t just grow on trees so lets see what QB they gonna roll with first since that dictates the schemes for that position.

  49. DCBUCSFAN Says:

    bty the freaking NFL SALARY CAP is just going to increase for every team so its irrelevant!

  50. chark Says:

    I remember the knock on him out of college was that he was academically smart but not football smart and questioned his love for the game. He has definately been boom or bust. He is a huge guy with decent athleticism for size and when he is on” he can block the best of them. But when he loses focus concentration whatever it may be, he can hurt your team

  51. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    D Smith, thank you for your service, AMF!

  52. Defense Rules Says:

    This appears to be one of those ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situations.

    No question that Donnie had a terrible 2022 season. Second in the NFL with 12 accepted penalties costing 100 yards & negating 2 TDs. Also allowed a team-high 6 sacks & ranked 69th out of 84 tackles by PFF. Smith suffered a hyperextended elbow early in the season & there’s a very good chance that affected his strength & ability to extend his arms to block. BUT … he will be 30 in June & I doubt he’ll be getting another contract from the Bucs.

    We can save $10 mil by releasing him (his $17.9 mil salary CAP hit for 2023 minus his $7.95 mil Dead CAP). Of course finding someone to replace him COULD eat up most if not all of that ‘savings’. We’ve got the option of moving Wirfs to LT & plugging in Goedeke at RT, but there’s no guarantee that’ll work.

    This is one of those situations where the Bucs’ hierarchy surely knows a LOT more about what was going on than any of us fans do, plus a lot more about what options are available. I still remember all too well how Lovie screwed mightily with our OLine in 2014 … and we promptly went 2-14.

  53. Dooley Says:


    The folks inside 1Buc always know more. Perfect example, a lot of us were wondering where Dean was in the playoff game. Following the Bucs news cycle today I saw a reporter who covers the Bucs say today, Dean was dealing with a broken toe for that playoff game and before the Falcons game where he was listed with “toe”.

  54. Destinjohnny Says:

    Dude has sucked from day 1

  55. gotbbucs Says:

    Smith did no favors for himself by subscribing to the Donald Penn map for physical fitness.
    An injured right elbow has nothing to do with zero knee bend in your pass set and horrible overall technique.
    Truth is he has always been a liability in pass pro, Brady was just better at manipulating the pocket than any other QB, so Smith’s lazy pass sets weren’t as obvious.

  56. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Smith could always become a good matador in Barcelona. He’s got that ole move down pat I tell you, a real natural!

  57. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Coming from a loud mouth that won no more then 6 games in any season he played in nfl but yeah his opinion matters some how

  58. Rob Hamada Says:

    Bucs should absolutely give Smith a chance to return to this team. With that being said, he needs to take a huge pay cut to around 4-5 million per season on a two year contract with the understanding that the Bucs will draft a LT and he will be taking some snaps at LG as well. I’d rather see him move inside instead of being cut. If you can get a 3rd round pick for him, I’d take it. Moving him inside, allows Goedeke to be moved back to the right side, which is his natural position. He can compete for a starting spot at RG and also be the backup RT.

  59. Stringer Bell Says:

    I’ve never seen a guy say so little with so many words. Wtf is he talking about? Beckles is a clown.