Demar Dotson

Bruce Arians Addresses Several Bucs Issues

Coming out of retirement after one year off, Bruce Arians took on an interesting challenge in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers own the NFC’s longest playoff drought at 11 seasons and have a quarterback in Jameis Winston who has not lived up to expectations.

The 66-year-old coach, the oldest to ever be hired, expressed optimism on several fronts recently. He broke down several aspects of the team, including Winston, in an expansive interview with the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud.

The team did not draft an offensive lineman this offseason and signed only likely backup Earl Watford, but the team did reach an extension with left tackle Donovan Smith and pick up right tackle Demar Dotson‘s 2019 option. Dotson is the longest-tenured Buccaneer at 10 seasons. Dotson is in the final year of his contract — one that pays the 33-year-old right tackle just $3.975MM in base salary this season.

I’m comfortable. I think when we get those guys healthy, when those five guys are out there or four of the five, we’ve been pretty good,” Arians said, via Stroud, of the Bucs’ offensive front. “… “I’ll tell you the guy that probably did better than anybody is Demar Dotson. I mean, he’s competed harder. He’s a pleasant, pleasant surprise.

As for what the Bucs still need, Arians said edge rusher and offensive line swing men remain possibilities for outside pickups. Tampa Bay added Shaquil Barrett earlier this offseason but have Jason Pierre-Paul set to miss at least the first month of the season (and probably more time). The Bucs ranked 32nd in defensive DVOA last season.

There might be a free agent out there. Right now, I don’t know,” Arians said. “We’re always looking on the edge. I mean, defensively, we’re fine. … Offensively, we could use help in the offensive line for depth. You cannot have enough. So we’ll be looking probably around preseason (Game) 3 to see what is available, if we feel that need is still there.”

Pierre-Paul will not undergo surgery for the neck injury he sustained in a May car accident. Considering he registered 12.5 sacks in his first year as a Buccaneer, this obviously leaves a gaping hole on the team’s defense. Arians said recently a five- to six-month recovery may be in the cards for the 30-year-old edge player, which puts his 2019 season in question. In this latest round of comments, however, Arians said that while September is out of the question, he did not want to firmly indicate October would be as well.

I would think so,” Arians told Stroud when asked about if October will be the earliest the edge defender could return. “Just to be safe and not rush it. And knowing him, he’s one of those fast healers. So I hate to put a time limit on him but the earlier the better. As long as he’s healthy.”

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Buccaneers Pick Up Demar Dotson’s Option

The Buccaneers picked up the 2019 option on Demar Dotson‘s contract, according to a team announcement. With that, the right tackle will remain in the fold this season with a $4.8MM cap number. 

Per the terms of Dotson’s deal, the Bucs had until March 12 to trigger the additional year. However, the Bucs did not feel the need to wait until the eve of free agency to make the decision. Given the inflation of this year’s tackle market, it was an easy choice for Tampa to keep the 6’9″ starter on a relatively cheap deal.

Last year, Dotson missed 18 regular season games between 2015-2017, but missed only one contest in 2018. Playing opposite of Donovan Smith – who inked a lucrative new deal with the club on Tuesday – Dotson graded out as the 44th best tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

Dotson, 34 in October, has been with the Bucs since joining the club as an undrafted free agent in 2009.

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Demar Dotson Undergoes Meniscus Surgery

The Buccaneers’ starting right tackle for the past six seasons, Demar Dotson‘s run into more knee trouble. And he will not be partaking in any of the team’s offseason activities as a result.

Dotson underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus this week, Ian Rapoport of reports (on Twitter). While he’ll be out for months, the Bucs’ current belief is the 32-year-old blocker will be ready in time for training camp.

This is the latest batch of knee trouble for Dotson, who saw a knee malady send him to IR in November of last year. He also missed much of the 2015 season with an MCL injury. This coming season stands to be his 10th — all with Tampa Bay. The Bucs picked up his option in March, signalling the plan will be to keep him at his current post. Dotson’s team-friendly contract (just less than $10MM remains on it) runs through the 2019 season.

Dotson enjoyed another strong season in 2017, grading as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 overall tackle. He’s missed 18 games over the past three seasons, with this stretch following a healthy run of three straight 16-game campaigns for the former UDFA.

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Bucs Exercise Options For Dotson, Conte

The Buccaneers will pick up the one-year option for 2018 on the contracts for tackle Demar Dotson, safety Chris Conte, and defensive back Josh Robinson, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). 

Dotson played nearly every offensive snap (97.1%) for Tampa last year until he was placed on IR in late November. He had a tremendous year, grading out as the league’s No. 7 ranked tackle, per Pro Football Focus. A former undrafted free agent, Dotson has been with the Bucs since the 2009 season but didn’t become a starter until 2012. He has come on strong in recent years and he’s well worth the $4.6MM cap hit for Tampa Bay. The team also has him under control for 2019 when he is slated to carry a $4.85MM cap hit.

Conte played in all 16 games last year, starting 14. He didn’t set the world on fire as he was ranked No. 57 at his position by PFF, but his option also wasn’t pricey. The Bucs will pay $125K to keep him on board to go along with his $2.25MM base, giving him a total of $2.375MM for the coming year.

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Buccaneers Place OL Marpet, Dotson On IR

The Buccaneers have lost two starting offensive lineman for the remainder of the season, as the club announced today that they’ve placed tackle Demar Dotson and center Ali Marpet on injured reserve. In addition to the previously announced promotions of tight end Alan Cross, defensive end Pat O’Connor, and wide receiver Bobo Wilson, Tampa Bay has also signed cornerback Deji Olatoye.Ali Marpet (vertical)

Marpet has been a full-time starter along the Buccaneers’ offensive line ever since being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft. A guard during his first two years in the league, the 24-year-old Marpet transitioned to center prior to the 2017 campaign. He’s mastered the position switch, as Pro Football Focus grades Marpet as the NFL’s No. 6 pivot. Marpet, who has one year remaining on his rookie contract, is eligible for an extension this offseason.

Dotson, too, has played nearly every offensive snap (97.1%) for Tampa this year, and he’s also been excellent (No. 4 tackle, per PFF). A former undrafted free agent, Dotson has been with the Bucs since the 2009 season but didn’t become a starter until 2012. He’s signed through 2019, although the fact that he’ll be entering his age-33 campaign next year could render him a cap casualty.

The Buccaneers will turn to replacements along its offensive line just as quarterback Jameis Winston returns from a shoulder injury. With top reserve Evan Smith in the concussion protocol, Tampa Bay will likely turn to Joe Hawley at center and Caleb Benenoch at right tackle.

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South Notes: Jaguars, Breaux, Buccaneers

Formerly a Dolphins second-rounder given the chance to start for multiple seasons with two teams, Chad Henne is in position to reclaim the Jaguars‘ starting job after Doug Marrone‘s postgame announcement. By opening the competition, Marrone is giving it to Henne, Ryan O’Halloran of notes. Regarding Henne’s competitor in this renewed competition, O’Halloran notes the Jags should be ready to cut Blake Bortles soon rather than risk an injury in a game or practice that could potentially put them on the hook for the $19MM fifth-year option come 2018. Bortles’ 2017 money ($6.571MM) is guaranteed at this point, so the Jags would carry that amount on their cap regardless of the fourth-year quarterback’s employment, but the team could afford it in carrying more than $44MM in cap space currently. This would be an even more aggressive move than the 2015 Redskins used with Robert Griffin III. Washington benched Griffin for the season and cut him after an injury-free campaign of practices.

Here’s more from Jacksonville and some other southern-headquartered franchises.

  • While O’Halloran categorizes the Jags’ decision to pick up Bortles’ option as careless, Michael DiRocco of argues the team should have drafted or signed competition to join Bortles and Henne. O’Halloran suggests the Jags should have drafted a quarterback, while DiRocco points to players like Brian Hoyer, Jay Cutler or Nick Foles as UFA options that could have pushed Bortles.
  • The handling of Bortles and Branden Albert have not looked good for Tom Coughlin, Gene Frenette of writes. Cutting Bortles now and bringing in a third passer would put that quarterback too far behind, and Frenette looks at the decision not to add an outside arm to learn Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense looks bad now that Bortles could be on the way to a demotion or out of Jacksonville.
  • Delvin Breaux underwent successful surgery to repair a broken fibula that was initially misdiagnosed, Joel Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate reports. The Saints cornerback went to Green Bay for the surgery — one that removed the old plate in the his leg and replaced it with a longer one. Sean Payton tentatively put the timetable at six weeks, which Erickson estimates will shelve the third-year corner for four games and place him on course to return after New Orleans’ Week 5 bye. “He’ll be back in New Orleans, and when we get back, we’ll have a chance to sit down,” Payton said. “I don’t want to call him up over the phone; I know it went well.”
  • Demar Dotson will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, and Dirk Koetter said (via Jenna Laine of Caleb Benenoch and Kevin Pamphile would be the next men up. Both are fifth-round picks, Pamphile in 2014, Benenoch in ’16. Koetter added he’s more content with the Bucs’ guard depth than he is at tackle presently.

South Notes: Saints, Moore, Dotson, Kuhn

Given that the Saints first-round rookie Sheldon Rankins will be out for six-to-eight weeks after suffering a broken fibula, New Orleans could look to the free agent market to augment a defensive line interior that currently includes John Jenkins, Nick Fairley, C.J. Wilson, and Tyeler Davison. One potential replacement — Tony McDaniel — came off the board this weekend when he signed a deal with the Seahawks, but Cullen Jenkins, Henry Melton, C.J. Mosley, and Sammie Lee Hill are among the veteran options that could be on the Saints’ radar, as Josh Katzenstein of suggests. One other candidate, from my vantage point, might be former Brown Randy Starks, whom Pro Football Focus assigned the highest grade among unsigned interior defenders.

Here’s more from the NFL’s South divisions:

  • Colts linebacker Sio Moore has a “pretty significant” hamstring injury, according to head coach Chuck Pagano, the fourth-year pro figures to be sidelined for a meaningful amount of time, writes Kevin Bowen of As such, D’Qwell Jackson and Nate Irving will probably serve as Indy’s starting inside linebackers in the club’s 3-4 scheme. As Roster Resource shows, the Colts have several other options on their depth chart, including Josh McNary, Antonio Morrison, and Junior Sylvestre.
  • As part of his three-year extension, Buccaneers right tackle Demar Dotson scored $4.25MM in full guarantees, according to Adam Caplan of (Twitter links). Another $4.25MM, presumably guaranteed for injury only, becomes fully guaranteed on March 13 of 2017. Dotson’s new pact has a total value of $16.5MM, and will keep the 30-year-old in Tampa through 2019.
  • Titans offensive lineman Josue Matias will require season-ending knee surgery and will be placed on injured reserve, head coach Mike Mularkey told reporters (link via the Associated Press). Matias, a 2015 undrafted free agent who spent last year on Tennessee’s practice squad, is facing a six-month recovery.
  • John Kuhn‘s one-year deal with the Saints is worth $985K with no signing bonus, Nick Underhill of the Advocate tweets. As such, the veteran fullback is eligible for the minimum salary benefit, meaning he’ll only count for $600K on New Orleans’ cap.

Buccaneers Sign Demar Dotson To Extension

The Buccaneers have signed offensive tackle Demar Dotson to a three-year deal, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). The pact is worth $16.5MM, according to Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). The new deal will give the 30-year-old some security, keeping him under contract through 2019. The Bucs have confirmed the deal via press release. Demar Dotson (vertical)

Dotson, 31 in October, joined the Bucs as a UDFA out of Souther Mississippi in 2009. Eventually, Dotson found his way into the Bucs’ starting lineup, becoming their primary right tackle in 2012. Dotson appeared in every regular season game for them from 2012-2014 but injuries limited him to six games last year. Prior to this deal, Dotson was scheduled to hit the open market after earning $1.75MM in the 2016 season.

In other Bucs news, defensive end George Johnson has been ruled out for the season after suffering a hip fracture. Also, despite trade rumors surrounding backup quarterback Mike Glennon, the Buccaneers are reportedly not shopping him.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 11/9/15

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves from around the NFL:

  • The Buccaneers activated Demar Dotson from IR-DTR, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. He’ll be taking the place of cornerback Tim Jennings, who has been waived, as Ian Rapoport of tweets.
  • The Lions were awarded defensive end C.J. Wilson off waivers from Raiders, as Wilson tweets. He’ll have a place on the roster now that the Lions have placed Andre Fluellen on injured reserve, Wilson tweets.
  • The Eagles (on Twitter) announced that they have officially re-signed linebacker Emmanuel Acho.
  • The Browns waived linebacker Jayson DiManche and defensive back De’Ante Saunders, Wilson Post tweets. DiManche, 25, was signed by Cleveland off of the Chiefs’ taxi squad in October. For his career, DiManche has appeared in 29 total games, mostly with the Bengals.
  • In need of a third reserve offensive lineman for Monday night, the Chargers placed center Chris Watt (shoulder) on IR while promoting guard Craig Watts from the taxi squad, as Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego tweets. Watt, a third-round pick in 2014, has yet to really produce at the NFL level thanks to various injuries.
  • The Chiefs cut wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Wilson tweets.

Bucs Place Clinton McDonald On IR

The Buccaneers have placed defensive tackle Clinton McDonald on their injured reserve list, ending his season, the team announced today in a press release. McDonald suffered a pectoral injury last month, and won’t be able to play through it.

McDonald, who joined the Buccaneers prior to the 2014 season, has started 19 games for the team since then, recording 46 tackles and five sacks last year. In just six games this year, the 28-year-old had racked up 31 tackles for Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers now have an opening on their 53-man roster which figures to be filled within the next 24 hours. As Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times observes (via Twitter), that open spot could be taken by tackle Demar Dotson, who is eligible to come off IR-DTR this week.