Tampa Bay Buccaneers News & Rumors

Extra Points: Glennon, Pats, Panthers, S. Moss

As soon as the 2015 NFL concludes, there will be a flurry of news related to undrafted free agent signings. Each team will add 10-12 extra players in the coming days, and while we’ll cover each transaction, we won’t rush to get all the information out as quickly as possible. As we did last year at this time, we’ll wait until a club confirms its UDFA moves before we post them — it’s a policy that will make the information a bit more palatable for readers (and surely, for us as well).

With that said, let’s take a look at some notes as the draft wraps up:

  • Despite their selection of Jameis Winston with the first overall pick, the Buccaneers did not receive any calls about backup quarterback Mike Glennon, according to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune (via Twitter). As Cummings notes, Tampa has made it clear that Glennon isn’t on the trade block, so it’s not a total surprise that no other clubs expressed interest.
  • The Patriots selected Navy long snapper Joe Cardona with their fifth-round pick, but might not have the four-year starter when they open up the regular season in September, Cardona has a pending military service commitment, and is required to serve five years as a Naval Officer following his graduation and commission in May, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Cardona will apply for an exemption that will allow him to postpone his service in order to pursue an NFL career.
  • The Panthers selected linebacker/safety hybrid Shaq Thompson with their first-round pick, but drew some criticism about not trading down and selecting him where he was likely to be available early in round two. General manager David Gettleman defended the pick, noting the value of having the fifth-year option on a first-round pick, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer (via Twitter).
  • Washington drafted a pair of receivers in Jamison Crowder and Evan Spencer, but that doesn’t mean the end of the line for Santana Moss, writes John Keim of ESPN (via Twitter). Crowder specifically poses a threat to Moss, at 5’8″ and with speed and value returning punts and kicks. Moss caught only 10 passes for 116 yards in 2014, all in the last five games of the season.
  • The Saints were prepared to trade up to select linebacker Davis Tull, said head coach Sean Payton, according to Katherine Terrell of NOLA.com (Twitter link). The Chattanooga product ultimately fell to New Orleans in the fifth round.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Buccaneers Acquire No. 124 Pick From Raiders

For the second time today, the Raiders have moved down in the fourth round. Oakland will trade the No. 124 pick acquired from the Panthers to the Buccaneers, the Raiders announced on Twitter. In return, Oakland will receive a fourth round (No. 128) and seventh round (No. 218) selection.

With the pick, the Bucs will select LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander. The 20-year-old is the first defensive player selected by the Buccaneers since 2013, and it’s the first defender taken during Jason Licht and Lovie Smith‘s tenure.

Extra Points: Gregory, Texans, Bengals

Here’s a look at the latest from around the NFL as the 2015 draft continues:

  • Representatives for Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, whom the Cowboys chose 60th overall, made it clear before the draft that he’d need significant support from his NFL team, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That support is expected to include a security person and personal handler for Gregory, whose draft stock plummeted because of off-field concerns – notably marijuana use and potential mental health issues.
  • The Texans aren’t going to trade cornerback Johnathan Joseph, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). The nine-year veteran is entering the final season of his contract, but McClain reports that his place on the team is safe.
  • The Bengals filled a need along their offensive line Thursday when they used their first-round pick on Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. Had Ogbuehi been gone before then, the Bengals would’ve selected Oregon’s Jake Fisher, tweets ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. As luck would have it, Fisher was still available at No. 53, the Bengals’ second-rounder, so they were also able to land him.
  • Before drafting Mississippi cornerback Senqeuz Golson with the 56th pick, the Steelers attempted to move up and grab LSU’s Jalen Collins, who went 42nd to the Falcons, reports Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (via Twitter). They also liked Utah’s Eric Rowe, whom the Eagles selected at No. 47.
  • Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said he traded up for Hobart guard Ali Marpet because offensive line depth in the draft was shrinking, Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com tweeted. The Bucs selected Marpet in the second round after sending the 65th and 109th picks to the Colts for Nos. 61 and 128.
  • Michigan defensive end Frank Clark, whom the Seahawks chose with the 63rd pick, said he had a lot of pre-draft contact with the team, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Clark’s agent told him that the Seahawks “had a man crush on [Clark],” according to Condotta.

Buccaneers Acquire 61st Pick From Colts

The Buccaneers have acquired the 61st pick from the Colts in exchange for No. 65, according to Mike Chappell of Fox59 (Twitter link), and Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the Bucs will select Hobart guard Ali Marpet. Stroud also reports (Twitter) that the teams will swap fourth-round picks, Indy receiving the 109th choice and Tampa getting No. 128.

Top Teams In Round Two Taking Calls

3:54pm: Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) adds the Seahawks and Falcons to the list of teams that may want to move up to the early part of the second round.

3:36pm: There were only two trades completed during the first round of the NFL draft last night, but it sounds like the action could pick up tonight when the second round gets underway. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter), both the Titans and Buccaneers, picking 33rd and 34th respectively, have fielded calls for their picks. Breer adds that clubs interested in moving up may be targeting wide receivers and/or offensive linemen.

Meanwhile, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link) confirms that the Titans and other teams at the top of the second round are indeed receiving trade inquiries. According to Schefter, one team with interest in moving up is the Steelers.

It’s not clear which player the Steelers would be targeting if they were to move up in the second round, but Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets that the team has its eye on a particular cornerback, and may have to move up to land him. If Pittsburgh doesn’t get that player, the team may wait until the third round to take a corner, according to Dulac.

There’s no shortage of teams that may have interest in moving up in the second round. Earlier today, Marc Sessler of NFL.com identified the Cowboys, Browns, Cardinals, Lions, and Saints as candidates to trade up; other clubs that have an excess of picks and may not want to use them all include the Colts, Texans, 49ers, Chiefs, and Broncos.

Buccaneers Sign Jameis Winston

3:09pm: Winston’s rookie contract is worth $25.35MM, including a $16.7MM signing bonus, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

3:07pm: The first player selected in last night’s draft is also the first member of 2015’s draft class to sign his rookie contract. Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht told reporters today, including Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter link), that quarterback Jameis Winston has already officially signed with the team.

While the exact value of Winston’s four-year rookie contract isn’t yet known, it figures to be a little bigger than the deal signed by last year’s first overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney’s four-year, $22.273MM pact was fully guaranteed and featured a signing bonus worth about $14.519MM. Like Clowney’s deal, Winston’s will include a fifth-year option, which would apply to the 2019 season.

Winston is the clearly the biggest piece of Tampa’s offseason rebuild, following the club’s signing of free agents Henry Melton, Chris Conte, and Bruce Carter, and acquisition of George Johnson. Winston figures to immediately slot in as the Bucs’ starting quarterback, ahead of 2013 draftee Mike Glennon.

NFC Draft Notes: 49ers, Thompson, Bucs, Gregory

NFL.com’s Marc Sessler explores which teams could move up during Friday’s portion of the draft. The Cowboys and Cardinals top the list, as the writer believes the teams could make a move for a targeted running back. The Lions are a candidate to move up and grab a defensive lineman, while the Saints could target a young quarterback.

Let’s take a look at some more draft notes from the NFC…

  • 49ers GM Trent Baalke told reporters (video link on 49ers’ website) that he didn’t draft defensive end Arik Armstead as insurance against Justin Smith‘s possible retirement. Smith’s status for 2015 and beyond is still up in the air but Baalke has said all along that his uncertain status wouldn’t affect the team’s draft plans.
  • If linebacker Shaq Thompson hadn’t been selected by the Panthers at pick No. 25, Adam Jude of The Seattle Times says (via Twitter) the Cowboys were ready to “pounce” at No. 27.
  • Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times says (via Twitter) the Buccaneers are “thrilled” that offensive tackles Jake Fisher (Oregon) and T.J. Clemmings (Pittsburgh) are still one the board. The writer notes that the team will target one of the lineman with pick No. 34.
  • Meanwhile, ESPN’s Ed Werder says Randy Gregory is on the Buccaneers draft board, which indicates that the embattled linebacker is also being considered at pick No. 34 (Twitter link).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Eagles Rumors: Bradford, Kelly, Mariota

Chip Kelly did not trade up for Marcus Mariota, but he did manage to make himself one of the most talked about people last night. The latest from Philly..

  • The Eagles are backpedaling publicly, but they were offering up Sam Bradford to the Titans and Buccaneers “like he was a slice of pizza,” Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • The Titans communicated to the Eagles last night that they’d have to top the Robert Griffin III deal to get Mariota, Albert Breer of NFL.com tweets. Despite denials from both Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt and Kelly, Breer hears (link) that one concept discussed would have had the Eagles sending first-round picks in ’15, ’16, and ’17, plus a second-round pick, but that still wasn’t enough. He adds that players were not seriously discussed in those talks.
  • After the Eagles tried to trade Bradford and failed, the quarterback now has the upper hand in contract talks, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes.

King On Rivers, Eagles, Mariota

Philip Rivers was never in serious play for the Titans, Peter King of The MMQB writes. The Chargers made it clear they were not trading him from the get-go and that proved to be the truth. Here’s the latest from King..

  • The Eagles never offered players as part of a package to obtain Marcus Mariota. In fact, King says that Chip Kelly never offered the widely rumored packages of either three first-round picks or two first-round picks and Sam Bradford, in an attempt to obtain the No. 2 pick from the Titans. The Titans basically scared off suitors because they continually told teams they wanted to take Mariota and that would it would take a king’s ransom to obtain the pick. [It should be noted that King’s report doesn’t address the mammoth offer reportedly made to the Bucs for the No. 1 pick. Kelly has denied that story but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (on Twitter) stands by it.]
  • The Bears expressed some interest in moving up from No. 7 to No. 2 to pick Mariota, but the Bears weren’t all that desperate for him and the Titans had no interest in Jay Cutler.
  • Ken Whisenhunt, meanwhile, told King that he always wanted Mariota and any talk to the contrary was untrue. “I said it all along—he excited me. I really wanted him. In the end, it wasn’t a difficult decision to stay at two and pick Marcus,” the coach said.
  • King gets the sense that if Kelly had gone crazy and offered three ones and a couple of starting defensive players, the Titans brass would have had to sit down and consider it. However, that still probably wouldn’t have gotten it done as the Titans really wanted their quarterback of the future.
  • The Mariota pick might have been made possible in part by a conversation between Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Whisenhunt in which the ex-Eagles coach explained how he was glad that he took Donovan McNabb in 1999 rather than trading that pick to Mike Ditka‘s Saints, who were gunning for Ricky Williams.

Bucs Draft Jameis Winston First Overall

The Buccaneers have selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the first overall pick. The 2013 Heisman winner has long been cemented as Tampa Bay’s probable choice with the top selection, with Oregon QB Marcus Mariota also having generated consideration.Jameis Winston

Winston emerged as a national name during the 2013 season, during which he passed for more than 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns en route to leading the Seminoles to the National Championship. During his redshirt sophomore season in 2014, Winton took a bit of step back, throwing for just 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. However, he did take FSU to the semifinals of the College Football Playoff, and finished his career with a 26-1 record.

Of course, Winston has been involved in his share of off-the-field trouble, including a sexual assault allegation and shoplifting incidents. Some in the Bucs’ ownership group were reportedly uncomfortable with tabbing Winston as the club’s face of the franchise, but he apparently alleviated many of those concerns through the predraft process.

Winston is the clearly the biggest piece of Tampa’s offseason rebuild, following the club’s signing of free agents Henry Melton, Chris Conte, and Bruce Carter, and acquisition of George Johnson. Winston will immediately slot in as the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback, ahead of 2013 draftee Mike Glennon.