As the Buccaneers ready on Sunday to play the Bengals in Cincinnati, they have another big challenge apparently, and that’s convincing star wide receiver DeSean Jackson to not only stay on the roster but stay focused on helping the team win.
This is after an NFL Network report form insider Ian Rapoport early Sunday morning that Jackson has, in fact, asked the Bucs to trade him before Tuesday’s deadline:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 28, 2018
This is the latest info and what has been an ongoing saga since last season, when the free-agent signed a three-year deal to come to Tampa Bay. However, he was completely underutilized, especially in the long pass game in 2017.
Jackson was repeatedly under or over thrown on deep balls last year by quarterback Jameis Winston, who was trying to play for much of the season with an injured shoulder. Winston was in and out of the lineup missing parts or all of five different games.
Still, Jackson looked at 2018 as a chance to start over, especially in the relationship with the fourth your quarterback and throwing the ball down the field to him. He worked extensively in Los Angeles, College Station Texas (where Winston’s former FSU coach Jimbo Fisher is now the head coach) and in Tampa in the off season trying to get on the same page, as Winston.
Then, came the NFL sitting down Winston with a three game suspension for violation of the player conduct policy in March of 2016. That meant that veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick would be thrust into the starting role to begin the year.
Further complicating things, but in a good way in terms of success, Fitzpatrick was nothing short of outstanding in the first two games of the season throwing for 400 or more yards and four or more touchdowns in both wins over the Saints and the Eagles. And DeSean Jackson was a huge weapon in both catching long passes for touchdowns in each.
As we wrote recently, Jackson was dominating several NFL receiving categories including yards-per-catch, plays of 20 or more yards, ratio of first downs or touchdowns per catch, etc.
Fitzpatrick has since gone to the bench and Winston has started the last two games. And, in both of those games against the Falcons and the Browns, Winston has missed an open Jackson down the field for what would have been an almost certain big play touchdowns.
Jackson did score on a second quarter reverse last week against Cleveland, as the Bucs escaped with a wild 26 – 23 overtime win to push their record back to 3 – 3.
There had been an online report earlier last week that Jackson was looking to get out of Tampa Bay and perhaps return to the team that drafted him, the Eagles. They are in London on Sunday playing the Jaguars and do have a bye week coming up after that game.
Jackson is making 11 million in salary, and a team trading for him would assume they were the last nine games of his money. Jackson’s money for 2019 ($10 million) is not guaranteed, so he would have essentially become a rent-a-player for a team acquiring him for the stretch run this season.
There has been online speculation that the Bucs might try to acquire Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, who has been holding out the entire season in Pittsburgh seeking a long-term contract. While a straight-up Bell for Jackson trade comes right out of fantasy football, it probably isn’t very realistic.
This is because, Bell cannot be given a new long-term contract during this season by any team other than the Steelers due to the NFL “franchise tag” free agency rules.
So, that makes trading Bell even more difficult to a team that would want to sign him long-term as part of the agreement.
The NFL trade deadline is 4 p.m. eastern time on Tuesday, and while there’s no indication that Buccaneers GM Jason Licht is interested in moving the veteran Pro Bowl receiver, that could change.
If the Bucs are dismal Sunday in Cincinnati and Winston is once again misfiring trying to hit Jackson downfield, and if a team, the Eagles or someone else, is offering a second or better round draft pick, Licht may be willing to listen.
All of that is hypothetical for now, and now we stay tuned to see if Winston makes some big plays involving Jackson Sunday and calms everything back down with the speedy wideout.
Fantasy Football “Start/Sit” for Florida players Week 14
Everyone’s favorite time of year has arrived, that is if you had a good season. The fantasy playoffs are here, and if you made it, chances are some Florida players helped get there.
This week the Buccaneers will host the reeling Colts. The Jaguars will host the under-performing Chargers, and the Dolphins travel to play the ever-disappointing Jets.
The Buccaneers will entertain the Colts, who have the 13th overall defense. The Colts are 1-4 in their last five games and desperately need a win. Last week, they were torched on the ground by Titans RB Derick Henry. However, this was the first 100-yard rusher against the Colts this season.
The Bucs again surprised fantasy players last week, when Ronald Jones was benched in the first half for not picking up a blitz. This led to Peyton Barber scoring two touchdowns, while Jones had zero points. The Colts have surrendered two passing touchdowns in each of their last three games. Last week the Tampa Bay offense didn’t have to do nearly as much as usual.
This week, expect the Bucs vertical passing to be back throwing the ball at least 35 times. With a stout run defense, Jameis Winston will need to be at the top of his game in a big test for this Bucs team.
The Jaguars offense has been rough through the air with Nick Foles back. Now, Foles is back on the bench in favor of rookie, Gardner Minshew. The Chargers come into town with the 4th ranked pass defense, but let Drew Lock and Cortland Sutton connect for 74 yards and two touchdowns. The Chargers own the 18th ranked rush defense, and that is music to the ears of Leonard Fournette.
It has been a rough couple of weeks for the running back facing some stout run defenses. This weekend look for Fournette to get back on track. With the return of Minshew means the D.J. Chark becomes even more attractive. Chark was still the top guy with Foles in, but he and Minshew have a good connection.
The Dolphins are coming off one of the stunners of the year beating the Eagles in a 37-31 shootout. This week they set their sights on the Jets, who just gave the Bengals their first win. The Jets have the leagues’ best-run defense, which is usually significant. However, the Dolphins can’t run the ball effectively at all.
That means Ryan Fitzpatrick will be throwing a lot against the 19th ranked pass defense.
Last week Fitzpatrick and Devante Parker destroyed the Eagles secondary. This week they will have all the opportunities to do the same thing to the Jets. With the tight end position a mess, Mike Gesicki is an option again, who has scored in two straight games.
Colts Kicker Adam Vinateri out for Bucs game
The Colts are traveling to Tampa Bay but will likely take on the Bucs without their future Hall of Fame Kicker, Adam Vinatieri.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2019
Before the matchup last week against the Titans, Vinatieri had began to experience a bit of pain in his left knee, the leg he plants to kick with his right leg. He told reporters that the pain began to increase through the week which led him to be placed on the Colt’s injury report for the first time this season.
Later Friday afternoon, Indy made Vinatieri’s “out” status official:
Per Coach Reich, RB Marlon Mack and WR Parris Campbell are expected to play Sunday.
More on who's in and who's out for #INDvsTB:
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 6, 2019
Vinatieri who is currently the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, has struggled to be consistent this season and has made a career-low 68% of his field goal attempts. He’s cost the Colt’s a couple of games in his missed eight field goals and six extra points.
Colts head coach Frank Reich said Wednesday that Vinatieri saw some doctors and got scans to figure out the severity of the problem. From there, they’ll consult with doctors and make a decision, which could potentially end his career. He’s currently sitting at 599 made FGs in his 24 seasons, just one shy of the 600 mark.
Earlier this week, Indianapolis secured rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers and the 45 year old Pro Bowler had said on Thursday that if he got the go ahead from everyone, he’d take the field on Sunday.
“Docs and trainers and everybody will put their two cents in and we’ll see if we can go,” Vinatieri said. “If I can go, I’ll go.”
Obviously, he did not get good news, and that means the rookie McLaughlin is in to kick at Raymond James Stadium.
The Colts are looking to stay in the race for the AFC wild card spot, in a similar situation as the Bucs, so this Sunday (and really every Sunday from here on out) is a do or die for both teams.