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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs choosing not to better themselves with moves is risky

Florida Football Insiders

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Trading deadline came and went and like many other teams, the Tampa Bay Bucs elected to stay put with the players they had and not add on by making a trade.

Time will tell if this was the right or smart decision. However, you couple not pulling the trigger on a deadline day deal with an earlier decision to pass on a prominent veteran running back-for not a lot of 2018 money and he’s now helping another NFC team? And there are eyebrows that will raise.

More on the running back signing coming up.

First to the trades and what didn’t happen Tuesday:

One, wide receiver DeSean Jackson had reportedly been asking to be traded, however that died down after Jackson caught a long touchdown pass from Jameis Winston in Sunday’s loss at Cincinnati. And, because the Bucs turned back to Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter and he rallied the team and got the game tied at 34, that will help, too. Fitzpatrick had success with Jackson early in the season, especially on deep downfield throws, and will be back starting for this week’s game with the Panthers.

Also, we put out there Sunday night the remote possibility that the Bucs would entertain trading Jameis Winston to another team that would want a quarterback. Whether Bucs GM Jason Licht ever seriously entertained this and/or fielded a legitimate offer phone call, we don’t know. And we may never know.

All we know is that Winston remains on the roster and is now on the bench again for this season.

Next, comes the other factor at trade deadline time: trying to acquire help at one of your needs.

Clearly, the Buccaneers have been in need at defensive back all season, as the inexperienced group that they’re trying to use continues to be riddled against the pass, game after game. This included Andy Dalton lighting them up a week ago in Cincinnati.

Yes, the Bucs were counting on former number 1 pick Vernon Hargreaves to line up opposite veteran and former Pro Bowler Brent Grimes. However, Hargreaves injured his shoulder in the week 1 win over the Saints and is likely going to miss the rest of the season. The Bucs have been mixing in rookie second round picks M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis, but they have struggled with consistency through the first seven games of the year. And they both have been repeatedly beaten in key situations. It happens…especially with rookies.

That leads us to Monday and the Bucs not pulling the trigger on a trade for a defensive back.

Clearly, Green Bay’s HaHa Clinton-Dix was available, and the Redskins grabbed him for only a 4th round pick.

You couple this with division rival New Orleans, also in need of a defensive back, making a trade with the Giants for former first-round pick Eli Apple last week, and you can see why Buccaneer fans are taking to sports radio and the internet to express dismay.

Yes, the Saints gave up  fourth and a seventh round picks for Apple, but clearly they understood they needed to be better in the secondary, now, and we’re willing to pay the price to win this season.

Licht, was either unable to get in on either of those deals above or was unwilling to sacrifice draft picks for the 2019 off-season. In either case, that’s not going to make Buccaneer fans feel any better headed into the critical part of the season on whether they can rally and maybe, make the playoffs.

They particularly won’t feel any better, because two of the teams that they are chasing, the Redskins and the Saints, did do deals to make themselves better in the secondary.

And while we are on the subject, of moves not made, the Bucs will be facing the Redskins at Raymond James Stadium in 10 days. And, that means they will see running back Adrian Peterson.

As the offseason was unfolding, we wondered if the Buccaneers,clearly in need of an established running back with only had third-year undrafted Peyton Barber, rookie second-round pick Ronald Jones and diminutive veteran running back Jacquizz Rodgers in their backfield, would go after Peterson.

Licht and the Bucs could have made the one-year deal for Peterson that Washington ended up making. The Skins signed him for a $600,000 signing bonus and $1 million at the start of the year. Chump change by starting running back money standards.

And, Peterson continues to show durability and flashes of his greatness, including his 26 carry 143 yard performance that included a 64 yard fourth quarter touchdown to help the Skins defeat the rival Giants last Sunday at The Meadowlands.

Meanwhile, Barber has been largely ineffective running the ball for the Bucs, and now the rookie Jones has a hamstring injury and may miss significant time. This is once again an area where critics will say: the Bucs did not act for the immediate season, when they could have or maybe should have, gotten Peterson.

Again, maybe time will determine that the Buccaneers secondary improves, they continue to win and did not need an effective running game to do it. That’s good for Licht, if so.

However, if the secondary continues to get beaten, Peterson continues to look like he does for Washington, including the upcoming game with the Bucs head to head, and the Bucs Run game struggles, it’s not good for the front office in Tampa Bay that they didn’t make moves that could have potentially helped.

Moves that others did make.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Report- Bucs have extended GM Jason Licht’s contract

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hoping to practice some form of continuity, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly extended the contract of GM Jason Licht.

This after a report Saturday morning from Bucs beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times, Rick Stroud, that Licht has been given a five-year contract extension to remain with the team:

A big part of the reason why the Glazer family, which owns the team, wanted to keep Licht is: his ability to lure former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians to come out of retirement and join them this past January.

Further, Stroud reports that Arians made it a condition of his coming out of retirement that Licht remain with the team long-term and that the Bucs keep embattled starting QB Jameis Winston.

Licht had been given a one-year extension for 2019 before this offseason, and the Buccaneers had already committed to keep quarterback Jameis Winston for the fifth year option of his rookie contract. Then, once former coach Dirk Koetter was fired in January, Licht’s previous relationship with Arians helped the Bucs get their new coach.

Licht was the assistant general manager with the Cardinals, when Arians was hired in 2013 and led them eventually to the NFC Championship Game in 2014.

Licht became the Buccaneers general manager at that the start of that same season, but has had a rocky tenure of results. This includes only one winning season out of five and several free agent moves and draft picks that have backfired.

None bigger than when Licht traded up in the 2016 draft for FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round, only to have Aguayo falter and be released the following year in training camp.

Licht has also had free agent busts like former Redskins defensive tackle Chris Baker and last year, Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry. Both of whom we’re paid heavily but did nothing in their one season before being released.

Licht and his staff do deserve some credit for finding unheralded players like tight end Cameron Brate, running back Peyton Barber and former wide receiver Adam Humphries. All of whom were undrafted and have been quality contributors over the last couple of seasons.

The team had no official comment on Stroud’s report of the extension.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs rookie PK Gay likely won job with clutch Friday night boot

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not over, but it’s almost over. For all intents and purposes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicking competition ended Friday night with :06 remaining in their second preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. That’s when rookie Matt Gay hammered a 48-yard game winning field goal that almost certainly confirmed that he will be the Bucs opening-day placekicker.

Relive the moment here, as the Utah rookie put it through the uprights and gave Tampa Bay a 16-14 win over the Dolphins:

“I owe it all to those game situations that we practice every day in practice. Bruce [Arians] does them for a reason and when you get out there in the game, it just feels like the practice situation because you’ve done it. So, you’re able to have the nerves calm to be able to go out there and do what you need to do,” Gay said to the media post game.

The Bucs were seemingly beaten when Dolphins backup quarterback Jake Rudock led Miami into the endzone in the final :45  and the Fins also got the two-point conversion for a 14 – 13 lead.

However, Buccaneers backup quarterback Ryan Griffin returned the favor, moving Tampa Bay into field-goal range quickly with a 27-yard completion to backup tight end Tanner Hudson that set up Gay’s game-winning attempt.

The rookie, who had made a Heinz Field record 55-yarder to end the first half in Pittsburgh in the preseason opener Last Friday Night, responded with a booming kick the curled perfectly down the middle. And, it gave Coach Bruce Arians a victory in his second preseason game as new Bucs head coach.

“We’ve done that 34-second one with two timeouts before and I thought Griff executed it to perfection and obviously Matty hit the field goal so it was a big win,” Arians told the media post game.

Gay, whom the Buccaneers drafted in April with 5th round pick, has been expected to win the kicking job from veteran Cairo Santos, who finished 2018 on the Buccaneers roster. Gay has the much stronger leg and Santos’ best hope to make the team was: if he continued to accurately knock field goals and extra points through and have Gay repeatedly misfire.

That has not happened.

And, it seems at this point academic that the rookie will be the Bucs opening day kicker.

However, what happens after the regular season begins is a whole other discussion.

As we have written repeatedly, the Bucs have been a revolving door of kickers over the course of the last five years. This includes, Tampa Bay infamously picking Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round in 2016 only to have Aguayo falter badly in his rookie year.

And, he was cut after the first preseason game of his second year in 2017.

Gay does not lack for confidence, as he’s talked throughout the build-up to preseason that he embraces the pressure that comes with trying to solidify the Buccaneers kicking woes. Now, it appears that the only thing that would prevent him from having the chance in the regular-season to do that is, if he were to somehow get injured at the start of the year.

But, after Friday night’s finish, Gay looks like everything the Bucs and GM Jason Licht hoped he would be- a stone-cold clutch performer who can deliver, when is team needs him the most.

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