Was Russell Gage In Danger Of Getting The Boot?

March 21st, 2023

Russell Gage contract intrigue.

So yesterday was Baker Mayfield’s introduction to the Tampa Bay pen and mic club. Welcome to Tampa Bay!

In answering one of his many questions yesterday, Mayfield may have inadvertently slipped up and raised the curtain shrouding One Buc Palace a little.

Mayfield was asked about his weapons, you know, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Mayfield has never had those kind of targets.

Mayfield, of course, mentioned how stoked he is to get to learn from them and he mentioned fellow Bucs receiver Russell Gage as well in passing.

“I’m excited to get the opportunity to get to play with [Evans and Godwin] and Russell [Gage Jr.] as well – obviously him sticking around was a big decision for him.”

Wait, what? Gage was under a three-year contract. He decided to stay? Hold up!

Then Joe remembered, just a little over a week ago, the Bucs announced they reworked Gage’s contract. The Bucs chopped it down from $10 million a year to $7 million a year, but added incentives where Gage could still pull $10 million each season.

Gage decided to stick around?

So it sure smells like the Bucs gave Gage an ultimatum: Redo your contract or find a new job and good luck finding anything close to $7 million a year after you yakked all over the place and were too often in the tub.

For whatever reason, Gage was hurt just about the entire time he’s been with the Bucs. He blew a hamstring in OTAs and struggled to stay on the field since. When he has played, he’s been, well, meh, before getting injured. Again.

In Joe’s eyes, there wasn’t one Bucs player who underperformed more than Gage last season. Maybe it was a fluke season? But bad timing since he is on a team crunched under the salary cap.

It sure seems as though the Bucs had Gage over a barrel. No team was going to give Gage $7 million a season after his ghost-like showing in 2022.

36 Responses to “Was Russell Gage In Danger Of Getting The Boot?”

  1. Leopold Stotch Says:

    I heard that too. I thought maybe he didn’t realize that he was under a 3 year contract. While it is indeed an eyebrow raising quote, I didn’t think too much into it.

  2. Delusional Intelligence Says:

    In Joe’s eyes, there wasn’t one Bucs player who underperformed more than Gage last season.

    Not even JTS? Or is it more based on Gage’s original contract?

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    Delusional intelligence … I focused on the same quote & came to the same conclusion. Apparently Joe’s standards are very high … for Russell Gage at least.

    Gage got into 13 games (529 offensive snaps) despite having some nagging injuries all year long. Was targeted 70 times, caught 51 for 426 yds & a 72.9% catch rate. And oh ya, 5 TDs, second only to Mike Evans who had 6 TDs (in almost twice as many targets). The kid has game; he wasn’t the only one who was injured last year. but he showed guts in playing through it as well as he did.

    Evans had a respectable year (15 games, 927 offensive snaps, 127 targets, 77 catches (for 60.6%), 1124 yards, 6 TDs) like we’ve come to expect for a future HOFer.

    Godwin also had a respectable year, especially considering that he had to work back from a major injury (15 games, 880 offensive snaps, 142 targets, 104 catches (for 73.2%), 1023 yards, 3 TDs).

    The rest of our receiving corps were meh, at best. That includes Julio (10 games, 55.8% with 2 TDs), Perriman (11 games, 47.4% with 1 TD), Miller (15 games, 57.5% with 0 TDs), Thompkins (5 games, 50.0% with 0 TDs), and the always memorable Jaelon Darden (12 games, 100% with 0 TDs).

    So yes Delusional, I’d say there many more than ‘one Bucs player who underperformed more than Gage last season’. Especially when you throw in non-WRs. The clue is in our 8-9 season.

  4. TheBucsAnthem Says:


    Talk about a non-factor……Gage was supposed to the “Antonio Brown” replacement/ X-Factor……and he has showed that he was FAR from that.

    @ Defense Rules…..and don’t you go posting stupid stats again ……you can take all those stats you’re always posting and shove em up your “Brown-hide-park”…….

    any fool can post stats all day long…..but we can see who’s doing what with our own eyes

  5. SB~LV Says:

    Bake’s first INT !

  6. Letsbucinggo Says:

    They just used him to push more down the road they can release him in 2024 they can release him and save 10 mil thats the plan and that money will go towards Diva Whites 20 mil a year contract.

  7. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    SB~LV Says:
    March 21st, 2023 at 6:51 am
    Bake’s first INT !


    I predict he’ll have atleast 10 INTs before the season is over as he is running for his life every single game if the Bucs don’t get anymore O-Lineman to protect him.

    Brady never had a chance because of how immobile he was….but Baker still has some juice left in those legs of his.

  8. Pewter Power Says:

    L laugh out loud! Feeling real hurt that injuries happen in the nfl. Last season was bad all around. Give dude a chance, he looked good until he got hurt and in training camp everyone was drooling over him

  9. K_bassuka Says:

    Barker is a joke, talking about he didn’t have this weapons before. Didn’t he have OBJ and Landry in their prime and still managed to suck and destroy the team?

    That’s what happens when a team drafts a 3rd round talent 1st overall, and now our amazing HC thinks he can turn it around. This team is doomed!

  10. Duane Says:

    With the non-performing offensive line that forced TB-12 to pass the ball in 2 seconds or less most of the time, there were not going to be a lot of long balls thrown and caught last season, it was inevitable. Consequently, Gage was used as a second or third read receiver on generally shorter routes that were never going to get him a thousand yards receiving. But he did catch the balls that were thrown him, he did get first downs, and he did get touchdowns.

    The underperformance was all on our crappy O line last year, losing three of the five starters from the previous season from traning camp onward, then Smith greatly underperforming (the most sacks allowed of any LT in the league, and the most offensive holding penalties of any LT in the league), and even Wirfs hampered by injury and out of several games. It was a freaking disaster in the offensive trenches.

  11. SB~LV Says:

    His post game interviews are gonna be epic .. rhymes with pick

  12. DJB Says:

    Gage can be an asset for the Bucs – I hope his hamstring issues are not a chronic condition, and that he is diligently working with the training staff on prevention measures.

  13. Beej Says:

    I remember everyone going on about how uncoverable this guy was in camp (before he wrecked his hamstring) was Godwinesque. Like to see what he can do healthy

  14. Cover deuce Says:

    No man Gage just took a $3mm dollar pay cut out of the kindness of his heart. What kind of question is this? That’s how salary negotiations work.

  15. BucU Says:

    Gage was a massive dissapointment along with many others last season.
    If he gets hurt again this season dump him.

  16. geno711 Says:

    I put Gage and Jameis Winston in the same boat. They took less money than their contract was supposed to be to stay with the same team.

    They may want to spin it in some way, but the truth was that if they went on the open market, they knew that they were going to make less money.

    In both cases, it helped the team to save on salary cap numbers and that is why the team chose to keep them instead of cutting them outright.

  17. geno711 Says:


    I appreciate numbers.

    Context matters. I believe that when you look at Gage’s numbers compared to other #3 receivers, they are pretty strong.

    When you look at Gage’s numbers compared to receivers that made between $8 and $12 million per season, I am not sure.

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m cutting Gage some slack because of his chronic hamstring injury last year…..I remember Scotty Miller having one a couple of years ago and it limited him severely.
    I did think Gage performed well when he was in…..and I suspect he was never 100%

    Last year I think there were several that under-performed……JTS, D Smith, Logan Hall…..and even Brady (compared to his normal standards)

  19. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Russell Gage has sustained multiple injuries throughout his career…the one he had this past Jan was I think a neck injury…..who knows if he gets hurt again, that similar to Mike Alstott, that it maybe career ending? Nobody knows for sure….and maybe that’w why he took a pay cut for those possible reasons???

    ….but nobody knows for sure 100% what his medical status is.

    Regardless, the BUCS did not get a return on their investment in 2022 and they are hoping the can in 2023 obviously. If Gage continues with his injuries….he will be released to make room on the roster for another reciever that they desperately need in the passing game. We all know at some point, either Evans or Godwin will get hurt again and we need a filler when they do.

    INFACT……I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they draft a WR…that’s another big need for the Bucs.

  20. SB~LV Says:

    Ryan Leaf
    Part 2

  21. Infomeplease Says:

    I like that Gage is still here. With the new offense coming on line he will have a chance to show what he is capable of hopefully! F is the o-line and things should improve!

  22. Infomeplease Says:

    Fix the oline ooops

  23. LOL Says:


    Bake Baker Headline Maker

  24. geno711 Says:

    Top 10 highest paid receivers last year (2022) according to Spotrac.

    1 Kenny Golladay
    2 Keenan Allen
    3 DeAndre Hopkins
    4 Nelson Agholor
    5 Mike Williams
    6 Corey Davis
    7 Curtis Samuel
    8 Davante Adams
    9 Stefon Diggs
    10 Adam Thielen

    Feel better about Gage’s production. How many of those guys missed time with injuries as well.

  25. 97 bucBaby Says:

    We should have this is one team that will hold on to some ish they should’ve let go. He balled out in Atlanta comes to the bucs and he just forgot how to play receiver and he turns into Anthony Jones and Julio Davis

  26. Beej Says:

    He was hurt? A lot of you guys don’t seem to think that matters. If that conTINues, well….

  27. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Yep….and Ryan Jensen didn’t do too well at center last year……injuries are usually only noticed when players don’t play…..but when they play with injuries, they often under-perform.

  28. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Duane. Thank you for the most honest assessment of last season. The bad OL doomed the entire season. There were a confluence of issues, but it came down to the performance of the OL. The game is won and loss in the trenches. The OL couldn’t hold up for Brady, so he had to get off quicker passes. They also couldn’t run block, so we were often behind the chains. We were in obvious passing downs and it allowed the defense to tee off on the QB. I’m so sick of people talking about the ills of the offense and refusing to mention the historically bad running game.

  29. Mike Johnson Says:

    Baker got superior Targets. Now all he gotta do is hit them consistently

  30. sasquatch Says:

    I think it’s pretty clear it was take a cut or get the axe. You don’t just give up 3 million in salary and convert them to incentives if you’re on solid ground. He’s still grossly overpaid for the production we got last year… so he figured he could take 7 million in Tampa or become a free agent and make 5 million.

  31. Goatfarmer Says:

    For Gage to battle the way he did at 60% or 70%, I was actually impressed with his production. We should all be looking forward to the route trees that Canales is going to devise. There’s a good chance the offense will be significantly better in 2023.

    Oh wait. Todd Bowels.

    Well, at least the defense…..oh wait. Tod Bowels.


  32. Bigz Says:

    Never impressed with him in atl. That was a luxury pick up that was unnecessary. We could have kept Cappa for less than 10 mil per. Never mess with a young experienced productive oline.

  33. ScottyMack Says:

    K_bassuka said – “Didn’t he have OBJ and Landry in their prime and still managed to suck and destroy the team?”

    You must have a really poor definition of “in their prime”.

    OBJ hasn’t been in his prime since 2016. The closest he got to being worth paying any real money to was 2019. He’s averaged only 10 games played per season for his career and that has only gotten worse in the last three years (averaging only 7 games per year).

    Landry is so long in the tooth, his choppers are dragging on the ground. Just ask the Saints how great he was for them last year? 25 catches on 39 targets (39%) for one TD and one fumble. The best year of his career was 2019.

    Huh … 2019 was the last decent year for both receivers. Who was their QB that year again?

  34. ScottyMack Says:

    Oh, and if K_bassuka’s definition of “destroyed the team” is took them to the playoffs and won a playoff game for the first time in 20 years for the franchise, I guess he has a pretty weird definition of “destroy”, too.

    The front office destroyed that team when they signed Deshaun Watson to the ridiculous contract they gave him, which is what pushed Mayfield out of Cleveland and onto another perennial loser with crappy wide receivers – the Panthers.

  35. Mike S Says:

    Geno there are some bums on that list

  36. unbelievable Says:

    Can’t blame him for being hurt. He gutted it out and played a lot of snaps while injured, and even had a few games where he had the most receptions out of anyone.

    Joe being a little unfair to him IMO.

    You wanna talk about under performing? How about JTS? How about Vita Vea? How about Logan Hall? Donovan Smith? Robert Hainsey?