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Report- Bucs have extended GM Jason Licht’s contract through 2019

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs WR Mike Evans still not practicing

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs were back on the practice field Wednesday morning getting ready for their third preseason game on Friday night with the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium. However, once again, they are without their top receiver, Mike Evans, who remains sidelined with an injury.

Buccaneers beat reporter for The Athletic, Greg Auman, tweeted that Evans was not out on the practice field during the portion that is open to the media:

Evans pulled up during a drill in Sunday’s practice and head coach Bruce Arians made mention of the injury on Monday:

“Mike tweaked yesterday…it’s nothing serious,” Arians told the media.

It is reportedly a leg injury to Evans’ quadriceps that is hampering him.

The Bucs are not required to talk about injuries, much less the severity of them, at this stage. And, it’s not believed that there will be any further updates on Evans this week.

However, it’s easy to conclude the Tampa Bay will not risk playing him in the third preseason game and is Auman tweeted, the starters never play in the fourth preseason game which will be next Thursday in Dallas.

So clearly, Tampa Bay is resting and rehabbing Evans for the season opener with the 49ers.

Evans, a Pro Bowl wide receiver from a year ago, is the top target of QB Jameis Winston. A year ago he caught for a career high 1,524 yards and also career high 17.7 avg with 8 TDs.

Evans had 86 receptions, which were the second most of his five year career, in 2018, and he’s one of three receivers in NFL history to have 1,000+ receiving yards in each of his first five seasons. Hall of Famer, Randy Moss and A.J. Green are the other two.

Evans previously dealt with a hamstring injury in the 2015 preseason and missed the season opener with Tennessee but returned the following week. However, he’s been very durable since then, playing in 47 of the 48 games the last three years, having missed only a 2017 game while suspended for his role in a fight against the Saints.

This info comes on Evans’ birthday, as he turns just 26 today.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs RB Ronald Jones back at Tuesday practice

Florida Football Insiders

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs fans can exhale on the knee injury for running back Ronald Jones, at least for now.

Jones was seen at the portion of practice open to the media Tuesday afternoon with his left knee heavily wrapped but, most importantly, participating in drills in full pads.

Tampa Bay radio host, J.P. Peterson, tweeted the video evidence here:

Jones had not practiced the last two days of Bucs training camp with what was described as a swollen knee suffered after playing in Friday night’s preseason game with the Dolphins.

As we wrote yesterday, coach Bruce Arians provided a brief update after practice into Jones’ situation,

“Ronald’s knee swelled up a little bit and just trying to take it day to day with him.”

Traditionally, the third preseason game is the final time, where starters for the regular season play significantly. The Bucs are set to host the Cleveland Browns Friday night at Raymond James Stadium.

When asked about Jones’ chances to play or whether the team would play it safe, Arians briefly said:

“We’ll see how it is. We still got a few more days. I think Ronald’s gonna be ok.”

Jones appeared to have suffered some kind of left knee hyper-extension returning the opening kickoff on a rain-slicked turf against the Friday night. That’s what can be seen this photo on social media from Tampa Bay sports reporter Kevin O’Donnell showing Jones knee clearly in an awkward spot when he planted:

Jones did carry the ball twice for 7 yards later in the first quarter of the game before being shut down for the night.

Jones has been one of the standouts of the Bucs offseason and training camp with glowing updates repeatedly from Arians about his progress and his chances of seeing significant playing time. He missed three games with a hamstring injury in a disappointing rookie year.

However, he is expected to challenge incumbent starter from last year Peyton Barber for playing time/carries, once the regular season gets underway in two weeks.

Another obvious point, if his knee was sprained or worse, the Bucs would not have had on the field in full uniform trying to run and cut, even at a reduced speed. So, that’s also a positive.

For now, we await Arians’ and the teams plans for using Jones, or not, against the Browns later today and tomorrow.

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