It’s a tenuous situation in Tampa Bay, as the Buccaneers must improve for the future of head coach Dirk Koetter, GM Jason Licht and even, quarterback Jameis Winston.
Well, hold that for a second.
If reports coming Wednesday out of Bucs camp are correct, then Licht may have been given a shot at being around longer, even if it’s a bad 2018 season on the field.
Former longtime NFL writer from the Tampa Tribune, Ira Kaufman, who hosts a podcast and writes occasional columns for Joe Bucs Fan.com, was the first to put the news out there Wednesday morning:
Bucs GM Jason Licht, who brought in an influx of young talent through five drafts, has been rewarded with a new contract.https://t.co/BG4x6vrJDa
— Ira Kaufman (@IKaufman76) August 1, 2018
And since then, several media outlets are reporting that Licht has been given an extension of one season (2019) on his current deal.
The Bucs have had no comment on the reporting, as of Wednesday afternoon.
The timing and the length of contract are both interesting points.
One, Licht, who’s entering his fifth season as GM after coming from the Cardinals in 2014, has been in the cross hairs of critics after the Bucs suffered their third 10 loss season in his four years (5-11) in 2017.
Two, head coach Dirk Koetter is in a shaky situation, as well. Having never been an NFL head coach before, when the Buccaneers bottomed out last year, there was speculation that he might be gone after the season. Alas, the Bucs announced prior to their week 16 game with Carolina that Koetter would be coming back for 2018.
However, Koetter has been given no assurances beyond this season. His contract is believed to be through 2019 with a team option for future years.
So, it most observers and analysts have thought that the team success or failure would be tied to both Koetter and Licht.
Well, Licht scored several significant off season moves with free agent signings of center Ryan Jensen of the Ravens and defensive end Vinny Curry of the Eagles and a trade for the Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
And the Bucs received positive reviews on their 2018 draft after Licht and his staff, brought Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, USC running back Ronald Jones and defensive backs M.J. Stewart of North Carolina and Carlton Davis of Auburn in the first two rounds.
So, that apparently impressed the Glazer family, who own the Bucs, enough to give Licht some security.
However, if recent history with the Glazers teaches anything, it’s that they will get rid of coaches and GM’s in tandem, even it they have time left on their contracts and owe them significant money.
This did that in 2009, when they fired coach Jon Gruden and GM Bruce Allen, both with three years remaining on their deals. And again in 2014, when the fired coach Greg Schiano and GM Mark Dominik with time remaining on their deals, as well.
So, the fact that Licht has been given at least another year, looks and sounds positive for he and the Bucs, for now.
However, there’s never truly job security in the NFL.
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