The Buccaneers contingent arrived for the NFL Scouting Combine Wednesday morning in Indianapolis. And, for new head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht, one of the hot topics remains: what will the team do with disgruntled star receiver DeSean Jackson?
The bottom line on their comments today show that they are still noncommittal on what to do with him.
First, Arians confirmed to the media that he recently had had a lengthy conversation with the speedy veteran, who has been unhappy through both of his two seasons in Tampa Bay:
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) February 27, 2019
“I look forward to working with him. I have a ton of respect for him as a player, and as a person,” Arians (above from Wednesday) relayed.
And, obviously Arians is saying the right things publicly, because Jackson could still end up being in the fold for this season. However, it is mostly up to the owners, the Glazer family and GM Jason Licht as to whether or not they want to pay a large salary for 2019 retain Jackson in the third year of his free-agent contract.
That final year has no guaranteed money in it and a price tag of $10 million. And, that has many wondering, if the Bucs aren’t going to go ahead and release him before free agency begins in a couple of weeks?
Then, Licht also spoke to the media on Wednesday in Indianapolis and used the phrase “time will tell” on Jackson come back to the team. Not exactly, a commitment.
Again, these public comments carry little weight and the actions will be bigger, especially if the Bucs are trying to find a trade partner for Jackson before potentially releasing him. This could include ,hanging on to Jackson until closer to the Draft at the end of April and trying to get at least a decent draft pick for him?
Jackson was inactive for several games at the end of last season for what the Bucs said was a thumb injury. However, it’s no secret he has been unhappy with the inability of quarterback Jameis Winston to find him with any accuracy and consistency downfield on throws in their two years together.
Tampa Bay has already committed to Winston coming back for the fifth year with the option of his rookie contract in 2019. And while Jackson is clearly a great deep threat weapon, it remains to be seen whether he is too big of a headache to retain.
Again, the actions or inaction of releasing him before free agency will be the biggest indicator, and soon.
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