Purchasing Power

May 30th, 2024

“Patience, Glazer, let’s see what the pass rush looks like early.”

Some subjects unite Bucs fans.

One is a burning desire for a consistent edge rush.

The Bucs haven’t shown one since the recent glory years of the Bucco Bruce Arians era.

Yes, the Bucs sack the quarterback. Todd Bowles is great at finding ways. As Joe has written many times, sacks are game-changers and drive-killers, and the Bucs are damn good at generating sacks. In the 2022 and 2023 seasons, the Bucs ranked tied for seventh in the NFL in total sacks.

However, every team craves rushing the passer successfully with only four guys. That’s not a Bucs strength, and it can be an important one in the postseason.

The Lions had a miserable pass rush last season, ranking near the bottom of the NFL in sacks. After beastly Aiden Hutchinson, they had nothing. Would the Lions have been in the Super Bowl with a more consistent edge rush? Most likely.

Joe brings this up today after hearing veteran edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue on SiriusXM NFL Radio yesterday. The former Pro Bowl edge rusher (69 career sacks) is waiting for his next team at 29 years old.

Someone will pay Ngakoue because, well, guys who can rush the passer always find work and good money. Ngakoue has earned more than $50 million in his career, so he can afford to be patient, even if he might be washed up. Ngakoue has 23 1/2 sacks and 46 quarterback hits over the past three seasons with three different teams.

In a similar boat is 30-year-old Emmanuel Ogbah. He was a Dolphins salary cap casualty and is sitting on the street after 5 1/2 sacks last season when he was a bad fit for Miami’s new defense.

Still, as a very part-time player, Obgah opened the 2023 season through 11 games with 10 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble and an interception in only 153 snaps. That’s production!

Ogbah sits on the street much like Ngakoue is, an accomplished player unwilling to play for the NFL version of peanuts for an edger rusher, aka Randy Gregory money.

Joe wonders if the Bucs-Lions game in Week 2 could be a crossroads for the Tampa Bay front office when it comes to guys like Ngakoue and Ogbah.

If the pass rush is struggling against Detroit and the Bucs lose, then maybe the Bucs are sparked to pay for a veteran edge rusher if one remains available. If the Bucs win and the pass rush is decent, then maybe Bucs general manager Jason Licht feels like he’s close enough to a Super Bowl run to invest in an expensive situational pass rusher.

And the Bucs likely would have the salary cap room if Tristan Wirfs’ contract extension is worked out this summer.

19 Responses to “Purchasing Power”

  1. Irishmist Says:

    I have hopes that either Watts or Braswell will step up, and Ya Ya should improve. I’m not expecting anything from Gregory.

  2. SB Says:

    I am thinking Braswell has a stellar first yr and Diaby makes the jump this yr!
    GO BUCS!!!!

  3. Dude Says:

    Wouldn’t expect an impulsive/unplanned move like that from Licht and our front office w/o a major injury being involved. Not with the mantra being build through the draft and supplement through FA. If there were somebody out there who could help us, I’d like to think we would’ve gotten him already.

  4. WillieG Says:

    I’m thinking Bowles is going to rush 4 most of the time but the 4th guy could be anyone. It would not surprise me if Winfield gets 10 or more sacks.

  5. BillyBucco Says:

    What we need is a good rotation. If every player has speed to power and that’s it, the Tackles job is pretty simple, it just becomes a freshness and rest thing. If Gregory and Watts and JTS bring something different than YaYa and Braswell, that equates to a good rotation. Hopefully they have a good mesh of guys that can play fresh and cause havoc. Only time will tell. I doubt they invest on someone at edge at this point. There are still too many unknowns with young and upcomers. I think they like the competition they have now and it won’t be until several weeks through training camp that they either suffer an injury or identify a real weakness.

  6. Jeff Says:

    Gregory was their lotto ticket. Bucs can’t afford anymore, unfortunately.

  7. LANshark Says:

    Either one of those guys would have been a better choice than Randy Gregory….

  8. PowerOfPewter Says:

    I think Braswell has the starting job before the bye week. Bucs didn’t draft him to be a backup, and the young guys need reps to realize their potential.

  9. Dude Says:

    “There are still too many unknowns with young and upcomers.”

    Watts & Ramirez are the returning guys we barely evaluated last year in live-action, but probably gave our offense a look the whole season in practice.

    The we’ve got new faces like Shaun Peterson Jr from FIU-UCF to eval along with Daniel Grzesiak

  10. JustVisiting Says:

    I’m pulling hard for a breakout by Gregory. Just because it seems so unlikely, and I love me an underdog.

  11. JimBobBuc Says:

    A pass rush doesn’t have to come from the edge. With a leaner Vita and experienced Kancey, a push up the middle will flush out the QB to the edge guys. That’s what Aaron Donald did last year for the Rams.

  12. Dave Pear Says:

    Todd does generate some sacks for the weak pressure his scheme applies. Too often his cover 3 bust defense then promptly gives up the 3rd and 14, or gives up 12 yards and then the opponent converts the 4th and 2.

    The genius needs to stop trying to be known as the masturmind and just call schemes his guys actually know how to execute.

  13. White Tiger Says:

    The scenario @joe lays out is the only way I see the Bucs adding free agent pass-rusher. I think they feel confident in their roster – at least enough to take a chance on starting the season with the current roster… they have a plan, they’ll have to be punched in the mouth to make adjustments.

  14. Hodad Says:

    Sorry Joe, the table is already set at edge rusher.

  15. teacherman1983 Says:

    Sign them both?

    Another practice squad year for Watts and Ramirez.

  16. Dave Pear Says:

    Where’s Mark Dumbonik when you need him?

    “DuhQuan Bowers is ready to roll.” Releases Michael Bennett.

    What a maroon.

  17. Dude Says:

    David Pear,

    We didn’t release Bennett, free agency started and to my knowledge we didn’t even offer him a deal. That’s stretch from 2011-2014/15 was the sh*ts.

  18. Dave Pear Says:

    I stand corrected , Dude. Same result, a completely typical Dumfuknik move.

  19. unbelievable Says:

    I would be shocked if either of those guys are still available come week 2… They’ll most likely get signed during training camp, IMHO.

    Yup, not resigning Bennet was moronic. Everyone knew it at the time too, except the pop star. He was the only real edge rusher to ever play next to GMC during his career here…

    Well him Jacque Smith, who was blossoming as a sack artist until The Godfather kept forcing him to play Special Teams, where he predictably got injured and ended his career.

    Here’s my 1 finger salute to the lost decade! LOL