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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs avoid Franchise Tag- give LT Donovan Smith extension

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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It came down to the wire for the Buccaneers potentially having to place a Franchise Tag on left tackle Donovan Smith, but in the end, the two sides agreed to an extension and a deal that has to make both very happy.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter had the info first on Tuesday afternoon that Tampa Bay and their former second-round pick out of Penn State had agreed to a new deal:

As we wrote yesterday, the looming deadline for “tagging” a player would have guaranteed that Smith would be owed approximately $14 million for 2019. While the full contract specifics are not available, yet, as Schefter tweeted, the 3-year 41 million-dollar average is right at that same $14 million.

However, with the use of a signing bonus for Smith, the Bucs may have lowered Smith’s 2019 cap number to considerably less than $14 million and back-loaded the cap money in years two and three.

The Bucs confirmed the move a short time later Tuesday:

Bucs GM Jason Licht said in the team released item about Smith:

“Donovan has been a valuable player and a model of durability since we drafted him four years ago. We always aim to develop our players and reward them for their productivity and reliability, so keeping Donovan as a Buccaneer was a major priority for us this offseason. Donovan’s presence ensures continuity at one of our most crucial positions on the offensive line and I know our coaching staff is eager to begin working with him.”

Smith has been an iron man for the Buccaneers line, as he hasn’t missed a game in his four years in the NFL and last season didn’t miss a single snap in the 16 games.

The biggest debate of the situation has been: has Smith lived up to getting a massive contract from Tampa Bay or anyone else? There has been a lot of debate about what his worth would have been on the open market.

This as, Tampa Bay shuffled Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston in and out of the lineup, Sand mith continued to struggle consistently with pass blocking.

So much so, that when a Tampa Bay fan, who has regularly been breaking down game tape and putting video criticism on Twitter for the past few years, begin to criticize Smith, he chose to respond through social media.

Tampa Bay had already committed to Smith’s 2015 fellow second round pick draft mate, Ali Marpet. Marpet, has shown versatility in his four years, including playing right guard his first two years center in year three and then, left guard next to Smith last year. The Bucs gave him a lucrative contract extension with a hefty raise in the middle of last season.

It’s also well known that Smith and Marpet are good friends off the field, and also have hosted radio and TV shows together the last two seasons in Tampa Bay.

Now, all of that can continue for the foreseeable future.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Giants name top pick QB Jones starter for Bucs game Sunday

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It only took two lackluster games and losses for the New York Giants to decide to go with the youth movement at quarterback and start number one pick, Daniel Jones this week against the Bucs.

The Giants made it official Tuesday morning that Eli Manning is headed to the bench:

The Giants were beaten decisively for the second consecutive week 28 – 14 Sunday in their home opener to the Bills at MetLife Stadium. Manning had an up and down game going 26-45 for 250 yards 1TD but 2 INTs.

In their week one loss to the Cowboys in Dallas, Jones actually replaced Manning in the second half during an 35-17 defeat. Jones was 3-4 for 17 yards with one carry for 5 yards in “mop up duty” in the fourth quarter. Jones did play extensively and at times well, in the preseason.

There is already great speculation that if/when this move would inevitably made, it would signal the end of Manning’s time in New York. The younger brother of Peyton Manning has won two Super bowls with the Giants but his and New York’s play has been awful on offense with back-to-back losing seasons of 2017 – 18.

The 38 year old Manning is in the final year of latest contract with New York paying him $17 million, with a dead cap hit of $11.7 million if the Giants release him. So, that is not likely at this time. However, there are numerous teams like the Steelers and crosstown Jets who are in desperate need of quarterback help, immediately. It remains to be seen what New York will elect to do with their former hero QB.

Meanwhile, the Bucs come off a hard-fought Thursday night Road win over Carolina and will have extra rest going into this contest with the team that they are very familiar with in the NFC East. This is the third year in a row that they are meeting the Giants. New York having won the November match up a year ago with Manning performing well hitting 17 of 18 passes and throwing 2 TDs in a 38-35 victory.

Jones comes out of the Duke football program coached by David Cutcliffe, who was also Manning’s college coach at Ole Miss. So,  it was almost as if the handwriting was on the wall to pass the torch to Jones at whatever point the Giants felt they needed to move on from Eli.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brees out with thumb injury for Bucs and Jaguars games

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The expected bad news on Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ injured thumb has come on Monday. And, it means the New Orleans quarterback will miss upcoming October games with the Bucs and the Jaguars.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday morning that Brees will be sidelined up to 6 weeks with the injured ligament in the thumb on his throwing hand:

Brees was injured in the second quarter of Sunday’s 30 – 9 loss to the L.A. Rams at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. He was shown on the sideline with his thumb in a splint (above), as the game worn on and did not return to action.

Brees, who will be a certain first-ballot Hall-of-Famer and who led the Saints to their only Super Bowl appearance/win in franchise history in 2009, has been one of the 2-3 top quarterbacks in the NFL for over a decade. Brees, in his 19th season, currently has the NFL’s all time record for completions and passing yards that he accomplished a year ago. He has a staggering 115 games with 300 or more passing yards and another remarkable 12 straight seasons with 4,000 passing yards that is now in jeopardy with the injured thumb.

The Saints will now turn to veteran back up Teddy Bridgewater who filled in Sunday but did not have much success against the stout Rams defense in the loss. Bridgewater, the former Vikings QB, was 17-30 for 165 yards, as New Orleans never found the endzone in the game.

The Sains also have young third QB Taysom Hill, and he’s also been used as a receiver and a special teams ace by New Orleans.

The Bucs, who were winners Thursday night at Carolina, will travel to play the Saints at the Superdome on October 6th in the first of their two NFC South meetings. The following week, New Orleans will be at TIAA Bank Field to take on the Jaguars in their first appearance in North Florida in eight years.

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