Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rumors & News

NFC Mailbags: Cardinals, Bucs, Vikings, Saints

We checked out ESPN.com’s AFC mailbags earlier this morning. Let’s now shift focus to the NFC…

  • Josh Weinfuss believes Cardinals offensive lineman Ted Larsen, Earl Watford, Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie could be moved because of the depth at their positions.
  • The Buccaneers have been active in their spot atop the waiver wire, claiming Tim Wright and D.J. Swearinger. Pat Yasinskas says the team could make five or six more claims before the start of the season.
  • If running back Doug Martin has a big season, Yasinskas thinks there’s a good chance he’d re-sign with the Buccaneers.
  • 2018 is the earliest the Vikings would have to invest a longterm contract into a quarterback, writes Ben Goessling. That means that team shouldn’t have an issue signing their younger core players, including Harrison Smith, Matt Kalil and Xavier Rhodes. The one player that the writer could see the organization move on from is wideout Cordarrelle Patterson.
  • Mike Triplett says it’s “safe to assume” that Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan can’t survive another bad season. If the defense continues to struggle, defensive assistant Dennis Allen could also receive part of the blame.

Extra Points: Chiefs, Collins, Winston

Here are some items to round out the work week across the NFL.

  • With the Justin Houston standoff still in motion, the Chiefs have other looming financial decisions, which Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star examines as the team enters the pre-minicamp evaluation period. Paylor points out how Jeremy Maclin‘s backloaded contract, which will features a $3.4MM cap number this year before escalating to $12.4MM in 2016, makes this season’s wide receiver payments particularly minuscule, as no other Kansas City outside target is set to make more than $700K. Both Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson are playing for future deals this season, but as Scott Pioli-selected players coming off injuries, they may be playing for future jobs elsewhere. The John DorseyAndy Reid power structure has yet to re-up a previous regime’s offensive lineman, as Paylor notes.
  • Jameis Winston wants to drop down to the playing weight of his redshirt freshman, Heisman Trophy-winning year of 2013 (230 pounds) after ballooning to nearly 250 in the offseason, reports Kevin Patra of NFL.com. The Buccaneers‘ presumptive starter’s at around 238 presently. The No. 1 overall pick also doesn’t believe he’s on a redemption tour of sorts after the legal and other negative off-field issues that mounted during his three years at Florida State, notes Tom Withers of the Associated Press. “I have nothing to prove,” Winston said. “I believe that people make mistakes but I also believe that you bounce back from those and I’m just moving forward.”
  • With the Giants lacking much depth at safety, Landon Collins will certainly receive enough reps in an attempt to make good on his aspirations at becoming the defensive rookie of the year. But so far in the less-consequential, padless practice portion, the Alabama product is pretty raw in terms of playmaking instincts, writes Nick Powell of NJ.com.
  • Tom Compton is still a good bet to make Washington‘s 53-man roster despite the team using the No. 5 pick on Brandon Scherff and relocating the ex-Iowa left tackle to the right side, writes Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com. A 2012 sixth-round pick, Compton (six sacks ceded) rated as Washington’s worst offensive lineman in 2014, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Extra Points: Titans, Beckham, Raiders, Bucs

Following the Titans announcement today of their 20-year agreement with Nissan, CEO/president Steve Underwood reiterated that the team is not for sale.

“The team is not for sale,” Underwood told John Glennon of the Tennessean. “We have not had any discussions with anyone about selling the team. Our owners are committed to continuing to maintain the team just as it is in their family, and we couldn’t be happier about that.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Following reports that Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was peeved at his teammates’ teasing, the second-year player told Paul Schwartz of the New York Post that he gets along fine with the other players. “I have no problem with anybody on the team or inside or anything,” he said.
  • ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson took a look at the Raiders cap situation. The NFL requires teams to spend at least 89 percent of their cap between 2013 and 2016. The Raiders entered the offseason having spent just over 80 percent, and Williamson surmises that the team will need to spend nearly “all of their cap room” in the next two years.
  • Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht recognizes that it takes time to build a contender. However, as he told Steven Ruiz of USA Today, he believes his roster has improved drastically in his year-plus on the job. “This wasn’t a rebuild, this was a little bit of a retool,” he said. “When you have players like Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David and Mark Barron and Vincent Jackson and the list goes on and on, you can’t call it a rebuild. We just had a little retooling to do.”

NFC Notes: Martin, 49ers, Saints, Bears

Let’s round up a few Tuesday notes from around the NFC….

  • Having struggled since his massive rookie season, Buccaneers running back Doug Martin had his best offseason in three years, writes Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. The upswing in Martin’s play couldn’t come at a better time for the running back, who had his 2016 option declined in the spring, meaning he’s eligible for free agency at season’s end.
  • The 49ers expect to lose some players due to free agency this year, but several early retirements have left San Francisco’s roster more depleted than anticipated. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com takes a look at how those retirements will affect the franchise going forward.
  • The Saints‘ “walk on a salary cap tightrope” caught up to them this offseason, says Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap in a piece for The Sporting News. The team began confronting its cap issues by trading and releasing some high-priced players, and renegotiating multiple contract, but more moves will be necessary to get New Orleans’ cap into better shape, according to Fitzgerald.
  • With the Bears transitioning from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 look under a new coaching staff, the club made a handful of changes on the defensive line over the last few months. John Mullin of CSNChicago.com takes stock of the results, examining what the Bears’ reworked line will look like this season.

NFC Mailbags: Newman, Norman, Bucs, Reed, Cowboys

Our own Sam Robinson took you through some of the AFC Mailbags earlier today. Now to give the NFC some love, here are a few of the mailbags from that other conference:

  • The Vikings have been going with youth across the roster, and the secondary has been no exception with Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes slated to start on the outside. However, the team also signed 37-year-old corner Terence Newman to bring a veteran presence in the secondary, according to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com. Newman should take a little pressure of Waynes to be effective from day one.
  • The Panthers will definitely put a lot of focus into extending Luke Kuechly, but David Newton of ESPN.com expects that to come next offseason. Josh Norman is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and after performing well for the team he should be a priority for an extension.
  • Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com is guessing starters in his latest Buccaneers mailbag. He picks George Johnson and Jacquies Smith, Danny Lansanah as their third linebacker, and D.J. Swearinger over Chris Conte at safety.
  • Kyle Van Noy and Theo Riddick are a pair of players that have uncertain roles for the Lions in 2015. Van Noy could earn a starting job at linebacker, but won’t see starter’s snaps due to the likely reliance on nickel and dime packages, according to Mike Rothstein of ESPN.com. Riddick will also likely be an afterthough at running back, but should have ample opportunities to catch passes out of the backfield and in the slot.
  • With Jordan Reed‘s injuries, Washington could have used help at tight end either in free agency or the draft, writes John Keim of ESPN.com. While it is surprising, it means the team has confidence in Niles Paul, and believes contributions from the receivers and running backs catching passes could help them survive without Reed for some time.
  • In our lone entry from a non-ESPN writer, Bob Sturm of the Dallas Morning News writes that with the versatility of Byron Jones and Corey White in the secondary, the Cowboys defense could give some very creative looks in 2015. Both players are nominally corners, but each has the ability to play safety as well, and that could let the team mix and match in the defensive backfield.

Extra Points: Moffitt, Irvin, Wilson, Bills

Free agent offensive guard John Moffitt could have suitors in the Eagles, Dolphins, Buccaneers, Jets and Texans, tweets Ross Jones of FoxSports.com. Moffitt announced earlier this week that he was coming out of a two-year retirement. The Broncos subsequently cut the 28-year-old and he cleared waivers on Thursday, per Jones (Twitter link), making him available to sign anywhere.

Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the NFL….

  • Talking to the media on Thursday, Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin insisted that he wants to remain in Seattle and that his comments about wanting to go to Atlanta were “misinterpreted,” tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. According to Condotta (Twitter links), Irvin added that he’ll be extra motivated in 2015 after the team chose not to exercise his 2016 option, and that his contract situation will take care of itself.
  • Speaking of Seahawks players entering contract years, the team’s most notable extension candidate, Russell Wilson, was fairly noncommittal when addressing his situation on Thursday, indicating that he remains optimistic about getting something done. Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune has the details and the quotes.
  • The Bills formally announced a number of changes within their player personnel department, most notably promoting Rob Hanrahan to director of pro peronnel and Kevin Meganck to director of football operations.
  • Browns rookie Cameron Erving will likely begin his career at right guard and compete with John Greco for the starting job, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo told Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Erving, the 19th pick in this year’s draft, played offensive tackle and center during his career at Florida State. He’s expected to be a long-term option at center for Cleveland, which could lose starter Alex Mack to free agency next offseason.
  • Second-year Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson is looking to build on a rookie campaign that saw him total an impressive 48 receptions in 10 games. So far, so good, says Jags quarterback Blake Bortles. “He’s been unbelievable,” Bortles said of Robinson’s showing at minicamp, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press. “He’s definitely a threat now in the red zone. … He’s physical. He can run and do everything out in the open field, so he’s been fun to throw to.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

NFC South Notes: Falcons, Jones, Oher

Buccaneers running back Doug Martin has a lot of goals for the 2015 season, including one that might surprise you.

The name ‘Muscle Hamster’ is the worst nickname possibly ever given to somebody,” Martin told Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports. “I hope it changes, and I hope that I play to a level where my nickname changes. That’s what my goals are.”

As Martin gets to work on that, let’s check out more from the NFC South..

  • Falcons star Julio Jones says he won’t be holding out to get a better deal like Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas, ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure writes. “[Agent] Jimmy Sexton, he’s going to negotiate that with [general manager] Thomas [Dimitroff] and [Falcons owner] Mr. [Arthur] Blank. That’s the side they handle. My side, I’ve got to handle on the football field. I’ve got to keep showing up every day and putting in work,” Jones said. Atlanta picked up Jones’ fifth-year option, meaning that he’ll earn $10.2MM for 2015. The Falcons will have the option of slapping him with the franchise tag in 2016 if they don’t work out a new deal. If that happens, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Jones’ position change a bit.
  • The movie “The Blind Side” made Michael Oher a household name but the Panthers offensive tackle believes that the film has had an adverse affect on his career, ESPN.com’s David Newton writes. “I’m not trying to prove anything,” Oher said. “People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie. They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That’s why I get downgraded so much, because of something off the field. This stuff, calling me a bust, people saying if I can play or not … that has nothing to do with football. It’s something else off the field. That’s why I don’t like that movie.” Unable to live up to his first round billing, the Ravens released Oher this offseason, leading him to hook on with Carolina.
  • Kevin Williams will earn a base salary of $1MM with a $500K signing bonus on his deal with the Saints, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter). He can earn another $600K through playing time incentives. In 2014, the former first-round pick ranked in the middle of the pack among defensive tackles, according to Pro Football Focus’ data (subscription required). PFF’s grades placed Williams 40th out of 81 qualified DTs, as he finished the season with 38 tackles and three sacks.

NFC South Notes: Colston, Dotson, Green

While longtime Saints like Jimmy Graham, Ben Grubbs, Curtis Lofton, and Pierre Thomas were traded or released by New Orleans this offseason, wide receiver Marques Colston was able to work out an agreement to stay with the team on a reworked contract. As Colston tells Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, staying with the Saints was more important than trying to max out his value.

“At this point in my career, it’s not necessarily about maximizing every penny of every contract,” Colston said. “For me it came down to, ‘What’s my priority?’ I probably could have went somewhere else and maybe got a little bit more money. But the priority for me was to come back to an organization that I really enjoy playing for. I enjoy coming to work every day and being in this locker room.”

Colston, who added that he didn’t want to leave a “Hall of Fame quarterback” in Drew Brees, is on track to earn $3.8MM in 2015 than the $7MM he was originally set to make. Here’s more from around the NFC South, as we check in with all four teams:

  • “I didn’t want to lose any money,” Demar Dotson answered simply, when asked why he chose to end his holdout and attend the Buccaneers‘ minicamp this week (link via the Tampa Tribune). The veteran right tackle had been seeking a new contract, but staying away from team activities didn’t appear to improve his leverage, since the Bucs broke off negotiations while he was absent.
  • Reserve offensive lineman Tyronne Green tore his Achilles tendon during a practice and will undergo surgery, sidelining him for the 2015 season, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera told the media today (Twitter link). Green wasn’t necessarily guaranteed a regular season roster spot, but his injury should open the door for another lineman to earn a place among Carolina’s final 53.
  • Wide receiver Carlton Mitchell, who played his college ball at South Carolina and spent time with the Browns after being selected in the sixth round of the 2010 draft, has a tryout today with the Falcons, tweets Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.

NFC South Notes: Glennon, Saints, Baker

The Buccaneers grabbed Tim Wright with their No. 1 waiver priority, but they were far from the only team to put a claim in on him. It turns out that nine other teams also submitted claims for the former Patriot. Besides Tampa Bay, the Jets, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Dolphins, Chiefs, Steelers, and Lions all tried to land the Rutgers product. In the end, however, the Bucs were able to add a player who roughly one-third of the league apparently covets. Here’s tonight’s glance at the NFC South..

  • In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Matt Williamson identifies five teams that he thinks should consider trading for Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon, identifying the Cardinals, Bears, Bengals, Browns, and Giants as potential fits.
  • A report from ESPN’s Outside The Lines alleged that Saints outside linebacker Ronald Powell was allowed to skate after two interactions with police, including one where traces of cocaine were found in the car he was driving. Meanwhile, agent Peter Schaffer told Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune that it is absurd to believe that police let Powell go after finding cocaine in his car and trashed the report. “As Ronald Powell‘s agent, I’ve had extensive conversations with him, and the ESPN report is a gross mischaracterization of facts and example of an absolute witch hunt,” Schaffer said.
  • The Falcons corrected one of their biggest contract mistakes when they released Sam Baker, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap writes. While the contract did not carry guarantees, there was an virtual or effective guarantee, which meant that little could be recouped by releasing him. Fitzgerald initially expected Atlanta to try and negotiate Baker’s salary down, but they instead chose to cut him outright.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Ten Teams Placed Claims On Tim Wright

Tim Wright returned to his old team last week, when the tight end, having been cut by New England, landed with the Buccaneers, who have the NFL’s No. 1 waiver priority this offseason. However, Tampa Bay was far from the only club to place a claim on Wright. According to Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter), nine other teams – 10 in total – submitted claims for the former Patriot.

Besides the Buccaneers, the teams that tried to land Wright before he reached free agency were the Jets, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Dolphins, Chiefs, Steelers, and Lions, says Yates. Most of those clubs have somewhat uncertain tight end situations — for instance, the Browns and Saints recently lost Jordan Cameron and Jimmy Graham, respectively, and the Bears aren’t sure when Martellus Bennett will report to the team.

The myriad suitors for Wright makes it even more surprising that the Patriots simply waived him last week. The young tight end just turned 25, and had racked up 80 receptions, including 11 touchdowns, in his first two years in the NFL. With Scott Chandler now in New England, Wright may not have fit into the team’s future plans, but the number of waiver claims placed for him suggests that the Pats might have been able to squeeze at least a late-round pick out of an interested club.

The Bucs have taken advantage of their top waiver priority multiple times so far this offseason, with the addition of Wright simply acting as the latest example. Tampa Bay also added former Browns punter Spencer Lanning via waivers last week, and claimed veteran safety D.J. Swearinger back in May.