“Trying To Keep That Core”

February 7th, 2023

Inside the mind of Bucs GM Jason Licht.

The Buccaneers’ next moves — and loads are coming — will be driven by general manager Jason Licht and, if you believe Sage Ira Kaufman, Team Glazer.

So how will Licht lean with a looming quarterback question and negative salary cap room in the tens of millions of dollars and many in-house free agents?

Perhaps the answer is in front of Bucs fans faces. Licht’s right-hand man, cap guru and respected front office honcho Mike Greenberg, offered insight during his recent visit to the Buccaneers Radio Network.

Greenberg talked about the Licht way and what has Greenberg glowing with pride.

“Just being able to keep your own core because that’s really the goal — is to draft well and develop and keep your own homegrown talent. And if that’s the case, you would never have to necessarily go into free agency … ” Greenberg said. “So that’s probably the thing I’m most proud of because it’s a reflection of how Jason really wants to do it here and how he wants to build a team.”

Well, if Licht wants to roll like that, then perhaps a different light is shining on the futures of defensive backs free agents Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Mike Edwards, all part of Licht’s heralded 2019 draft class.

Licht probably wants to find a way to keep them, and surely Todd Bowles doesn’t want to toss four years of development. Also, it feels illogical to gut the defense of your defensive-guru head coach. Still, Licht and Greenberg are somewhat handcuffed by the salary cap.

Joe suspects Licht is strong enough to not let ego get in the way when it comes to his desires to keep homegrown players. But Greenberg did say “trying to keep that core” is a priority.

30 Responses to ““Trying To Keep That Core””

  1. SufferingSince76 Says:

    At least this off season won’t be boring. I’m excited to see how they draft.

  2. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Edwards showed me absolutely no reason to be retained. All those “Ball Hawk,” skills never really appeared and he still takes bad angles and looks scared to stick his face looks in the fan. I would retain the other two if their contract demands are reasonable.

  3. Joe Says:

    All those “Ball Hawk,” skills never really appeared

    Edwards was the only guy last year with a defensive touchdown. The Bucs overall stunk at forcing turnovers. If he’s cheap (reasonable to expect), he’s worth another flyer.

  4. Marine Buc Says:

    SportTrac has the Bucs salary cap at @ $45M IF they decide to restructure every single available contract…

    The only problem is – Are you really going to restructure every players contract?

    – D. Smith?
    – S. Barrett?
    – M. Evans?
    – R. Gage?
    – C. Brate?
    – S. Mason?
    – L. Fournette?
    – R. Jenson?

    No way!!!

    Maybe we will restructure

    – C. Davis
    – C. Godwin
    – D. White (if we plan on keeping him)
    – V. Vea

    That is 4 contracts we have to restructure. I could maybe see adding Mike Evans to the restructure list. But the rest of the contracts are players who probably won’t be here in 2024.

    Why would you restructure a players contract if you know they are gone after 2023?

    Fans need to be more realistic when discussing these things.

  5. zzbucs Says:

    ¨Edwards was the only guy last year with a defensive touchdown¨

    With al due respect Joe, that doesn´t make you a Ball hawk…..

    In this case I am 100% with what BA’s Red Pen says…

    Regarding Dean and SMB is just a matter of money, I wouldn´t pay big money for any of them, I see incosistency all over the place….Of course they made good plays, but a lot of bad ones too…..

    Again , at the right price br¡nging them back, we have a history of overpaying for nothing (Brent Grimes?) Just to name one…

    I listen to uour podcast and I am with Ira, go one step back to move ahead

  6. sasquatch Says:

    It might be a priority to keep the core, but that doesn’t mean sacrifices won’t be made. Some of his drafted players will be allowed to walk, and others could be cut or traded. I don’t think there’s any way around it.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The problem with keeping your core players is….if they were very good picks…you have to pay them after 4 years…
    Preferably, you would give them a raise in year 4 and cheaply extend their contracts…….unfortunately, we spent too much money on FAs to do that.

    It cost us dearly with Godwin.

    The good news is we won a SB and it has all been worth it.

    The bad news…..the SB window has been slammed shut…..I’m hopeful that Licht sees that and acts accordingly.


    The reality is Smith has to go. This isn’t rocket science folks.

  9. Pryda sec 147 Says:

    Trade Smith!

  10. Hodad Says:

    SMB not worth bringing back. Always injured will never be great. Edwards isn’t a difference maker either, will never be great. He’s been on the team for years how much more tou need to see Joe? Cut bait with both. You don’t get better by staying with the same failed players.

  11. Davenport Says:

    Anyone 30+ needs to go
    Anyone 28+ in final year of their deal needs to go
    Anyone with an injury history needs to go

    Go young and build to be competitive in 2024 and a SB contender in 2025

  12. Joe Swanson Says:

    Devin White is not a 20 mil a year mlb. I just hope Licht doesn’t keep pushing millions down the road and we continue to lose that would defeat the purpose.

  13. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Smith is not an asset , but is a liability.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Wow, lots of ideas but no one ever answered what should be Question #1: WHO are the core players that Greenberg was talking about? It’s not EVERY player JL ever drafted by any means. To me, a core player is someone who provides BOTH Performance AND Leadership for the Bucs (we saw the effect of lack of leadership last last year IMO when Jensen went down & the Bucs failed to re-sign Suh & JPP; no one stepped up to fill the void).

    On offense, Brady was obviously a core player, because he ‘set the tone’ & made everyone around him better. I see Jensen as a core player, even though he’s 30 AND wasn’t drafted by the Bucs. Personally I think that CG14 & Wirfs are also, but for different reasons. On defense I see Winfield as a core player, but that’s about it right now, although Jamel Dean could be in the future. We’ve got a lot of high-priced players, but very few who are absolutely essential to the core of this team.

  15. SB~LV Says:

    Jason looks like he could be working on his own core 😉

  16. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    5 players making @ 50% of the entire cap… And no franchise QB…

    Almost $50M on (2) WRs – one with a rebuilt knee and the other is aging fast.
    $18M on the worst LT in the NFL.
    $21M on a 30 yr old pass rusher with a blown achilles heal.
    $18.2M on a pretty mediocre Corner Back.

    We are spending $104M for the above list.

    That is pretty lackluster value for the money being spent…

  17. Crickett Baker Says:

    Brady can help our cap problems tremendously if he holds off on retirement papers until June.

  18. Goatfarmer Says:

    “Defensive guru head coach” —


    Can’t cover Cooper Kupp or Cee Dee Lamb when it counts in crunch time. DBs frequently busting coverages leaving scrubs running wide open. A mega-talented LB Diva regressing before our eyes, who’s never learned to cover a TE or RB. Blitzes that the opponent picks up with ease, exposing the secondary even more than their genius coich who can’t teach them their assignments.


  19. Biff Barker Says:

    Bowles demeanor is just like Lovie.

    Not screwed just doomed.

  20. Jimbo BB Says:

    HOLD ON A SEC. this guy said the way to go was draft players and keep them. Homegrown talent. Didn’t every single point scored in the syper bowl 2 years ago come from free agents????
    Sounds like this is more misdirection. JL has messed up the salary so bad that he thinks we all forgot that last few years.

  21. Lakeland Steve Says:

    They can’t pay Smith and keep some of their defensive talent. It may be time to let Donovan Smith walk or do a serious restructuring of his contract. I certainly hope they can find a way to keep Lavonte and Jamel Dean. Wonder boy White better show something this year, like he knows how to get off a block or he actually hustles every play or he doesn’t get bored.

  22. Goatfarmer Says:

    Trade the Diva now to get some value for him. Under Toad’s Bowels, he’s only going to regress more and then go somewhere else for his “$100 million” while the Bucs get nothing in return other than to stare at 2020 playoff footage and then stare at Blowes and ask “Why?”

  23. unbelievable Says:

    @DR – I think ‘core players’ would extend to Mike Evans as well, and maybe even extend to guys who were drafted before Licht (LVD, Gholston)… if the price is reasonable of course.

    Licht has always seemed really big on retaining draft picks if they’re productive (as are many GMs).

    I was a bit disappointed with Edwards this year when he finally started full time. He seemed to make a lot more splash plays as a part-timer, but maybe our defense was just better those years? That said, he can probably be had for a reasonable price.

    Dean will command more $ than SMB, but IMO he’s worth it. SMB is too inconsistent and even more injury prone.

    I agree about Winfield being a core player, but if we’re being honest, he was not the same player this year after those early season injuries. I’m worried about his concussion history at this point.

  24. HC Grover Says:

    Rotten to the core.

  25. ClwJB Says:

    Greenberg has a rep as a genius at working the cap, and it’s gonna take a miracle this offseason

    Dean over SMB, Edwards over Neal or Ryan, have to resign LVD and Dean

    The D line has to be rebuilt and I don’t like any of our FA’s there – sorry WillG, and Nacho – Hicks was a BUST – Suh was way better – we have 1 player on the DLine and not even talking about how thin we are at DE/OLB –

    Ugh, get a headache just thinking about how ugly it’s gonna be in 23

  26. chickster Says:

    Hicks was a Bust do not know why they went off Suh and the big pitcure we need a qb and i mean not gabbert i do not think i could take that guy .

  27. chickster Says:

    Hate to say it also but our beloved GM was saved bye Brady Now were left with the Winston era

  28. chickster Says:

    My god he hired DIRK

  29. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Smith could easily go for $ reasons. There is no reason to think he cannot play as well he did a couple of years ago. He was playing injured this past season.

    I’m guessing we will try to keep Dean and Edwards if possible. Sean Murphy-Bunting would be the odd man out.

  30. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    The problem with this team is some of the players need to go. Licht has to figure out which guys are core and which guys they need to move on from.

    Outside QB we can start at LT. Need new blood at the T. I like moving Wirfs to LT and getting a guy to compete with Goedeke at RT. Draft a G in the mid rounds. They need to draft RB, CB, DT and DE. There a lot of holes to fill.