Johnny Football Led Jason Licht To Mike Evans

December 13th, 2023

Almost didn’t come to Bucs.

Very cool story that Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht shared Sunday during the pregame show on the Buccaneers Radio Network.

When Licht began preparing for the 2014 draft, his first as the Bucs’ personnel leader, he initially was hunting for a quarterback, Licht  told Bucs play-by-play man Gene Deckerhoff

Two seasons prior to the 2014 draft, Johnny Football won America’s attention and the focus of red-blooded American football fans as the Texas A&M quarterback. His devil-may-care play and his ability to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat in the tightest of situations won him the Heisman Trophy.

Damn, he was fun to watch! Joe loved Johnny — still does!

Johnny Football was widely regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the 2014 draft. Sadly, Johnny Football brought a bunch of baggage with him thatventually dragged him down and ruined what seemed to be a bright future in the NFL.

(Playing for a meathead like Mike Pettine, who didn’t even want him on the team, sure didn’t help.)

At the same time, Johnny Football’s top receiver his last two years at Texas A&M was Mike Evans. While scouting and studying Johnny Football, Evans kept catching Licht’s eyes.

“Obviously we thought very highly of [Evans], we took him at seven,” Licht told Deckerhoff. “We were also looking for a quarterback that year.

“It really started off looking at [Johnny Football]. Then it became a chicken-or-the-egg, which came first? Who has made who?”

(Ah, nice one Licht. He slipped in an AC/DC song in his response.)

Then, Licht admitted even though he fell in love with Evans, the Bucs almost didn’t draft him. Just before making the pick while on the clock, Licht got a phone call from another team (he didn’t say which team) and Licht nearly swapped the pick.

“We took Mike and I almost traded the pick, too,” Licht said. “We got a pretty good offer for it. I hung up and said, ‘Take Mike.’

“I’m glad we did. He’s been everything we’ve asked and more.”

Indeed, how sick would Licht be knowing he traded away a Hall of Fame receiver? That trade, if executed, may have eventually killed Licht’s career. That near-miss would have haunted Licht.

23 Responses to “Johnny Football Led Jason Licht To Mike Evans”

  1. Tony marks Says:

    “(Playing for a meathead like Mike Pettine, who didn’t even want him on the team, sure didn’t help.)”

    Nah dont even try to give anyone an assist on Johnny flaming out . He trashed his own house and set it on fire all by himself. He was just RIDICULOUSLY reckless and undsicplined as a human being. NO coach would have done any better. or wanted him on their team. I made excuses for him as a young man but sheesh he jsut kept going from crazy to crazier

  2. westernbuc Says:

    Tony marks the Browns are a dysfunctional organization to this very day. Johnny Football had his issues for sure but drafting premium guys your coach doesn’t want is a recipe for disaster. The reason we have Baker is because they’re dysfunctional.

    Had Johnny Football been drafted by a good organization with good coaching and support? Who knows what would’ve been

  3. Tony marks Says:

    Mutiple arrests, domestic abuse, drug use , mental issues, faiure over and over to take responsbility, inddisciplined in regard to team responsbilities

    You are just wrong. NFl coaches are not supposed to be parents and no organizaion would have made his issues disappear.

    Browns dysfunctional? YOU BET! but the two are not mutually exclusive.

  4. '79 Defense Says:

    Yes, it’s fun to think of how all the “what if” scenarios led to the SB win in 2020.

    What if Licht had passed on Evans. What if Jameis played just well enough in ’19 to stick with him a bit longer. Brady would never have arrived to play with Mike and we’d probably still be waiting for that first playoff win since the ’02 SB.

  5. Lets bring the Hammer! Says:

    Taking Johnny like Joe was preaching back then would have been disastrous.

  6. UKBuccaneer Says:

    Johnny football, the guy who didn’t read a playbook? That guy?

    Mike Evans made him. Nobody else.

  7. Hail2dabucs Says:

    Oh you mean run around and chuck it up to your best player mike Evans Johnny football ? That guy ? Yeah he is trash & thanks for saying ” take mike ” meat head. Best decision you ever made .

  8. Salary Cap Hell Says:

    Licht is a good guy …. but the draft is still a crap shoot…. 50/50 . Being a G. M . is about Salary cap management and player developement and upper management developement . The teams that have the highest winning percentages have very low turnover in upper management . Stability at Ownwership and good upper managentment will win out over time.

  9. Leighroy Says:

    I think we all knew this story without Licht (and Joe) having to tell it. It was pretty obvious to anyone with half a football brain that the Bucs went to go look at Johnny and figured out ME13 was the real talent. Still cool nonetheless to see the story validated.

  10. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Potayto, potahto.

    So essentially, we would’ve lost WR Mike Evans and gained DT Aaron Donald. Arguable Top 5 at his position All-Time.

    I definitely can’t see how that would’ve canned his career.

  11. Bubby Says:

    I would love to hear how Austin Sefarious Jenkins caught his eye… now that would be a story!

  12. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Despite a vocal minority advocating for us to trade up for him 🤣, many of us on this blog held the belief that Manziel was an underperforming quarterback, a view we still maintain.

  13. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Johnny = Baker

    This Joe loves his bad QBs with fiery attitudes.

  14. orlbucfan Says:

    Even a fan like me, who knows nothing about college FB, knew about Manziel. Sure glad Licht took ME13. Isn’t he from the Galveston area? What a class act and total team player and quiet leader Mike has been!

  15. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Baker mayfield is a tough, accurate throwing QB. 20-8 in td’s vs. ints is all I need to know. This was a great pick up by the Bucs brass. End of story. It is what it is.

  16. RamblingRhino Says:

    Must have been all those money finger rolling he did when he tossed it up to Evans to bring it in for him.. Glad we didn’t go with the Joe’s mushy feelings about Johnny Football, we would be without Evans….

  17. AtlBuc Says:

    westernbuc Says:
    December 13th, 2023 at 2:15 am
    …The reason we have Baker is because they’re dysfunctional.

    And the Panthers are dysfunctional and the Rams are dysfunctional and when we get a new coaching staff and release him, we’re going to be dysfunctional, too, right?

  18. TF Says:

    Joe how in the world is Mike Pettine a bonehead? The only thing bonehead is you putting a vibe out that there that one of the most respected defensive coaches in football ruined Johnny Footballs opportunity. Johnny was a trainwreck his ENTIRE life both in college and football and EVERYBODY knew it. He was poison and that’s why he slipped draft day. The Browns organization was a dumpster fire and Pettines decades long successful career in other organizations coupled with other Browns head coaches that sent themselves to coaching purgatory because they took that job supports it. I can’t believe you are implying Pettine aided Johnny Football in flushing his “NFL opportunity” down the toilet.

  19. AtlBuc Says:

    Bring back the lawn chairs Says:
    December 13th, 2023 at 8:03 am
    Baker mayfield is a tough, accurate throwing QB. 20-8 in td’s vs. ints is all I need to know. This was a great pick up by the Bucs brass. End of story. It is what it is.

    I truly believe that with Trask’s ability to stand tall in the pocket and SEE and throw accurate passes to receivers and with his accurate long ball we would have three or four more wins and a much more explosive offense. No ones afraid of Baker’s long ball or accuracy so they can stack the box and push up our receivers.

  20. unbelievable Says:

    Thank god we took Evans and nit Johnny.

    Can’t blame it on the Browns either- he would have flamed out everywhere, regardless if he head coach. By his own admission he didn’t even try. And Heck, Tampa has far more distractions than some place like Cleveland does.

  21. Bucsfan951 Says:

    If I do remember right, Joe was beating the drum for the Bucs to draft Johnny 8ball. Especially when he was dropping.

    But I could be wrong.

  22. Tony marks Says:

    realistic-optimistic Says:
    December 13th, 2023 at 7:07 am
    Johnny = Baker

    This Joe loves his bad QBs with fiery attitudes.


    LOL Wow does your hate burns deep Kid. Get a life. Subject had nothing to do with Baker and besides


  23. Big Red Says:

    Watched Mike Evans ball out on Alabama… twice. It was pretty obvious who the best Aggie was.