Buccaneers Rumors

Latest On Bucs, Shaq Barrett

The Buccaneers are still up in the air as to what they want to do with Jameis Winston, but pass rusher Shaq Barrett is another story. Tampa Bay gave Barrett a one-year, $4MM deal shortly after free agency opened last March, but it’s fair to say he’s going to make a lot more than that in 2020 and beyond.

Barrett exploded with an incredible 19.5 sacks in 2019, dwarfing his previous career-high of 5.5, set in 2015. The former UDFA out of Colorado State displayed flashes of pass rushing talent during his five-year tenure in Denver, but only the Bengals and Bucs extended him a contract offer last offseason. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was obviously thrilled with Barrett’s performance, and Arians recently indicated the team would not let Barrett get away.

Speaking at Pro Bowl practice on Wednesday, Barrett echoed Arians’ sentiments. “I don’t know where it’s going to end up at but I’m confident that I’m going to be where I should be, which I think is Tampa,” Barrett told reporters, including Scott Smith of the team’s official website (Twitter link).

Of course, it’s going to take a highly-lucrative deal to keep Barrett around. He’s in line for a contract paying him upwards of $15MM per season with $30MM or so in full guarantees, though the Bucs could buy themselves some more negotiation time by hitting Barrett with the franchise tag (depending, perhaps, on what the club elects to do with Winston). The fact that Barrett is also no slouch against the run could drive his price up even further.

Luckily, Tampa Bay will have plenty of cap space to work with, so it would be a shock to see Barrett hit the open market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Potential Landing Spot For Philip Rivers?

Yesterday we heard word that Philip Rivers was moving his family from the San Diego area to Florida, another indication he’s headed for a split with the Chargers. Rivers has said he isn’t retiring, so he’ll be suiting up somewhere next season even if he isn’t in Los Angeles. 

There has been some speculation that Rivers could end up with the Colts, as he used to play under Indy head coach Frank Reich with the Chargers. There are a number of teams that could be interested in a veteran quarterback this offseason though, including the Buccaneers if they opt not to retain Jameis Winston. To that end, Jason La Canfora tweets that he’s “hearing a lot of buzz” about Tampa as a potential landing spot for Rivers.

La Canfora was one of the first to report back in November that a divorce from the Chargers might be in the cards. If Rivers does end up signing with the Bucs, he’ll be paired with the most accomplished offensive coach of his career in Bruce Arians. When Arians was with the Cardinals he brought in an aging Carson Palmer and rejuvenated his career, so there’s an obvious parallel there.

Rivers had a down 2019 due to a lot of turnovers, but the Chargers’ passing game was still very efficient yardage-wise, and in 2018 he was one of the best passers in the league. He led the Chargers to a 12-4 record that year while tossing 32 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions, averaging a robust 8.5 yards per attempt. Of course, all of this is predicated on the Bucs moving on from Winston, which is still very much up in the air.

It’s been hard to get a read on how they feel about Winston, and the last we heard was that members of the front office were split on bringing him back and that there hadn’t been any contract discussions between the two sides. With all of the high-profile signal-callers set to become free agents, this is shaping up to be the most interesting quarterback carousel in years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Okung, Trubisky, Bucs

Chargers left tackle Russell Okung intends to run for NFLPA president, sources tell Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. This development is notable because, while CBA negotiations between the owners and the union have been progressing smoothly thus far, Okung is said to be vehemently opposed to a 17-game schedule and is open to a work stoppage in order to get the best possible deal for the league’s players.

The 17-game schedule may be the last major sticking point holding up a new CBA, but if a new agreement is not in place by the time current union president Eric Winston’s term expires in March, and if Okung were to be elected, negotiations could stall. Winston cannot be re-elected because he hasn’t played for the past two seasons.

A recent NFLPA investigation revealed that Okung gathered and disseminated confidential information in violation of the union’s constitutions and by-laws, but Okung denies those allegations.

Now for more news and notes from around the league:

  • On Monday, the Fritz Pollard Alliance issued what Florio calls the strongest statement it has made since the Rooney Rule was promulgated. The statement reads in part, “[w]e were painfully reminded through this past hiring cycle that attaining diverse leadership in the NFL can only happen through the willful actions of the team owners and decision makers. The abysmal record of hiring people of color in high ranking levels of NFL management is a reminder of the dark periods of civil rights history. The League has only one African-American General Manager. There are no African-American club presidents.” The Redskins hired a minority when they tabbed Ron Rivera as their new head coach, but the Fritz Pollard Alliance believes worthy minority candidates like Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy continue to get overlooked.
  • Mike Sando of The Athletic takes a look into the upcoming fifth-year option decisions that teams will have to make on their 2017 first-rounders. The entire piece is worth a read, and it’s notable that most of Sando’s sources believe the Bears will exercise the $25MM option on QB Mitchell Trubisky.
  • The Buccaneers worked out cornerback Tre Roberson, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Roberson, who played quarterback in college and who was last with an NFL team in September 2017, recorded seven interceptions for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders this year. Recent reports suggested that Roberson would be back in the NFL in 2020 and that over 10 teams were interested in the converted signal-caller.

Updated 2020 NFL Draft Order

The stage has been set for the conference championships. The Titans, Chiefs, 49ers, and Packers are moving on to the semifinals, while the Texans, Seahawks, Ravens, and Vikings will begin planning for the offseason ahead. Unfortunately for the Texans, their first round pick belongs to the Dolphins.

Here’s an updated look at the 2020 NFL Draft order from Nos. 1-28:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5 Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

25. Vikings (10-6)

26. Dolphins (via Texans 10-6)

27. Seahawks (11-5)

28. Ravens (14-2)

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/7/20

The latest reserve/futures signings from around the NFL:

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Updated 2020 NFL Draft Order

After a weekend full of drama and upsets, four more spots have been determined in this year’s NFL Draft order. Most notably – the Patriots will pick No. 23 overall, their highest original pick since 2006.

Here’s the updated rundown, from Nos. 1-24:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5. Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

Jameis Winston Wearing Thumb Cast

  • Jameis Winston may have been playing through a more significant thumb injury than initially believed. The Buccaneers quarterback is now wearing a cast, per Rapoport (on Twitter). Winston threw his usual variety of interceptions before the thumb injury surfaced but tossed four in Week 16 against the Texans after being on the Bucs’ injury report with the malady. The soon-to-be 26-year-old passer will be a free agent in March.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 12/31/19

Here are the reserve/futures deals handed out on New Year’s Eve:

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC South Notes: JPP, Panthers, Falcons

Bruce Arians has understandably asserted Shaquil Barrett‘s all-time contract year will keep him with the Buccaneers but added the team wants to keep its other high-profile front-seven starters as well. Both Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh‘s contracts are up, but Arians said keeping both will be a top priority (Twitter link via Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com). The veteran HC may have indicated JPP resides slightly higher on the priority list as well, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (on Twitter). Pierre-Paul returned from another scary injury this season and has registered 8.5 sacks in 10 games, giving him 21 in two Bucs seasons. The Bucs hold a great deal of cap space, at $88.9MM, but will likely need to devote a chunk of that amount to Jameis Winston.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • If Greg Olsen opts to put off his broadcasting career for another year, he will likely need to relocate. The veteran tight end indicated recently he did not want to take part in a potential Panthers rebuild. While the franchise has not committed to charting that path, Joe Person of The Athletic expects Olsen to be elsewhere in 2020. “I just think sometimes the writing’s on the wall,” Olsen said, via Joe Person of The Athletic (subscription required). “There hasn’t been anything officially. But I wanted to make sure if that was my last time that I made sure I told the people that I needed to how much they meant on my career.” One year (at a $6.6MM base salary) remains on the 34-year-old tight end’s contract. Carolina would save $8.1MM by cutting Olsen, its top tight end for the past nine years.
  • Moving to a younger NFC South tight end, Austin Hooper acknowledged the Falcons have not yet made him an offer to stay, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Hooper, however, would like to return, and Thomas Dimitroff appeared to indicate the breakout tight end will be a priority (Twitter link via Ledbetter). We heard this earlier this season as well.
  • A Hooper return may lead De’Vondre Campbell elsewhere. The Falcons already gave a top-market contract to Deion Jones and are up against the salary cap. While noting he wants to stay in Atlanta, the Falcons’ top 2019 tackler acknowledged (via ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure) he may need to change teams. Although the Falcons will consider re-signing Campbell and Vic Beasley, Dimitroff did not commit to either’s return (via McClure, on Twitter).
  • Despite Breshad Perriman‘s end-of-season stretch potentially raising his free agency price, the Buccaneers‘ No. 3 wideout would like to stay in this high-octane offense. Perriman signed a one-year, $4MM deal with Tampa Bay, doing so after backing out of a Cleveland commitment following the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. The Bucs have Mike Evans on a high-end deal and will see Chris Godwin enter a contract year in 2020, perhaps pushing Perriman to another team.
  • A player the Panthers do not want on another team: James Bradberry. Carolina’s top cornerback met with GM Marty Hurney, and David Newton of ESPN.com notes the fourth-year corner received a “be patient” message from this summit. The Panthers want Bradberry back, Newton adds, but the former Round 2 pick would obviously prefer an upper-echelon deal to stay.