It’s the reality of free agency in the NFL. You’re just not going to be able to keep all the players that you want to retain. And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers experienced this in the early stages of free agency Monday. Specifically, one of their hard-working popular players simply cost too much for the to keep, as Adam Humphries got his money from somewhere else.
Humphries got his massive contract raise from the Tennessee Titans, who have former Buccaneers executive John Robinson, as their general manager:
Source says four years, $36 million for Adam Humphries in Tennessee.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) March 11, 2019
While on the surface it seems as though the Bucs should have been able to make a similar deal with Humphreys to keep him as a go-to guy for quarterback Jameis Winston to move the chains and score in the red zone, there simply isn’t an wasn’t enough money to go around.
Consider that the Bucs began Monday worst in the NFL at $2 million over the salary cap. And, it was understood that Humphries was going to get a contract of at least $7-8 million dollars per season. Humphries had at least 50 catches for an 11 yard average and eight total TDs over the last three seasons.
And, at the same time Tampa Bay was trying to trade (and eventually did find a deal with the Eagles) for DeSean Jackson. That freed up $10 million off the 2019 cap.
However, they couldn’t just give that money to Humphries, as they were also try to negotiate to keep free agent linebacker Kwon Alexander. Alexander ended up agreeing to a huge raise himself at $12 million per season with the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers are obviously taking a risk with Alexander having suffered a torn ACL last season and not expected to be fully recovered until the start of 2019. Still, Bucs fans were filling up the sports radio airwaves and social media with complaints that those two popular players couldn’t be kept.
Yet, the Bucs are no different than the Dolphins having to release players like receiver Danny Amendola or the Jaguars having to cut loose defensive starters and popular players Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson for salary cap reasons, too.
You simply cannot keep them all, especially if you have several high price players demanding much of your salary cap. The Buccaneers have that for 2019 with Winston now making over $20 million on the 5th year option of his rookie deal.
You add to that the massive deal receiverMike Evans got last year in free agency and players like Jason Pierre-Paul and Gerald McCoy on the defensive line making around $13 million each, and there simply isn’t enough to go around.
Now, the Bucs drafted speedy Ivy league receiver Justin Watson a year ago, and he was active and saw some playing time throughout the season. They believe that Watson can develop into being that underneath or slot receiver that Humphries has been the last four years.
Tampa Bay probably has the bigger question mark at linebacker without Alexander and with the possibility the 2017 rookie Kendell Beckwith may not be able to play again, because of the broken ankle he suffered in a car accident in April of 2018 that kept him out all of last season.
Yes, the Buccaneers will have time to address all of that in the upcoming NFL Draft or with another modest free agent or two coming soon.
That is unless ,they make a surprising large salary cap release move in the next couple of days. And that could still happen.
For now, it’s still a fresh wound losing the popular players like Monday.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.