Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rumors & News

Will Buccaneers Go Defense With Their First Pick?

While some scouts believe the 2017 quarterbacks class is “one of the worst in recent memory,” Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com believes one prospect has the potential and skill to be the first pick in the draft.

DeShone Kizer, I went to see his first game against Texas, and this looked like a potential first-overall pick,” Jeremiah said of the Notre Dame quarterback. “He’s big, he’s physical, he can make every throw. He can move around, he’s got 18 rushing touchdowns over the last couple of years. His play, along with Notre Dame’s, kind of tailed off at the end of the year.”

Ultimately, Jeremiah had Kizer going to the Jets at the sixth pick.

Let’s take a look at some other rumblings pertaining to the NFL draft…

  • Several draft analysists have the Buccaneers taking a defensive player with their first-round pick, and Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com generally agrees with that logic. Prolific pass rushers like Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton and Missouri defensive end Charles Harris would only be available in the first round. While the team could certainly use some reinforcement on offense, Cummings points out that the team could snag a wide receiver or running back in the later rounds.
  • The Dolphins could use some depth at tight end, and head coach Adam Gase has had success when featuring tight ends in his offense (like Martellus Bennett in Chicago and Julius Thomas in Denver). Fortunately, this year’s draft will be particularly deep at that position, and ESPN.com’s James Walker notes that the Dolphins could snag a tight end in the second round or later.
  • Walker also passes along quotes from draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., who explains the types of tight ends the team could expect to take in the later rounds. “You got to take advantage of the depth at that spot,” Kiper said. “A kid I think can be really good is Cole Hikutini out of Louisville. If you can get Hikutini in the third or fourth round, I think that will make a lot of sense… They can get the linebacking help and they can get the tight-end help in this draft.”

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/20/17

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Cincinnati Bengals

  • K Jon Brown

Seattle Seahawks

  • G Robert Myers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers Aim To Retain Key Free Agents

  • With $65MM-plus in cap space, the Buccaneers will prioritize re-signing their own soon-to-be free agents before the market opens, general manager Jason Licht revealed Friday (via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). “We have a track record of rewarding our players that produce, keeping key players that thrive in the system and we have the salary cap flexibility to make it happen,” said Licht. In light of Licht’s statement, Stroud expects the Bucs to make an effort to retain defensive end William Gholston and Jacquies Smith, wide receiver Russell Shepard and cornerback Josh Robinson.

A. Peterson Interested In Texans, Bucs, Giants

With his tenure in Minnesota potentially set to end this offseason, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson already has a few potential employers on his radar. The seven-time Pro Bowler revealed Thursday on ESPN that he’s interested in the Texans, Buccaneers and Giants.

Adrian Peterson (vertical)

Of course, in order for Peterson to join another team, the Vikings are going to have to part with him first. The soon-to-be 32-year-old stated that he’d like to remain a Viking. That would require a construct restructuring, though, as Peterson’s slated for an $11.75MM salary and $18MM cap number in 2017. Those are each unpalatable figures given his age and injury-truncated 2016, which saw him tear his meniscus in Week 2 and rack up a meager 72 yards on 37 carries.

With a $6MM roster bonus due March 11, an answer on Peterson’s future is coming soon, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Considering Peterson isn’t a fan of going through the offseason program and training camp, he could force his release and sign with a club closer to the start of the regular season, Florio observes.

Of the franchises Peterson is targeting, Houston stands out as the one that clearly isn’t a fit. While the Texans play in Peterson’s home state, they already have a starting running back in Lamar Miller, whom they gave $14MM in guarantees on a four-year, $26MM deal in free agency last winter.

The Bucs also doled out big money to a back a year ago in re-signing Doug Martin, but his future with the team is in question as a result of a late-2016 suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. In addition to costing him one game this season and three in 2017, the ban voided Martin’s $7MM in guarantees for next season. Theoretically, then, Tampa Bay could jettison him for Peterson if it wants.

The Giants, meanwhile, have a slew of rushers, though there might not be a bell cow among them. Paul Perkins, who had a decent rookie year, stands out as the most promising back New York has. Veterans Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen could end up on the chopping block this offseason. Even if they don’t, neither is a No. 1-caliber rusher.

Peterson, on the other hand, is one of the premier backs in NFL history. Although his 2016 was nightmarish, he isn’t far removed from winning the league’s rushing title in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFLPA Announces Cap Carryover Amounts

The NFL Players Association has announced all 32 teams’ salary cap carryover amounts for the 2017 season (Twitter link). Next season’s cap figure isn’t yet known, but it’s likely to be in the $165MM range. When that becomes official, it can be added to each team’s carryover amount to determine that club’s official spending room for 2017.

Here are this year’s carryover totals:

  1. Cleveland Browns: $50,123,269
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars: $39,314,310
  3. San Francisco 49ers: $38,708,916
  4. Tennessee Titans: $24,046,522
  5. Washington Redskins: $15,055,131
  6. Carolina Panthers: $13,208,020
  7. Miami Dolphins: $8,363,708
  8. Chicago Bears: $8,103,197
  9. Oakland Raiders: $8,000,000
  10. Green Bay Packers: $7,984,687
  11. Philadelphia Eagles: $7,933,869
  12. Denver Broncos: $7,243,248
  13. Indianapolis Colts: $6,614,106
  14. Cincinnati Bengals: $6,578,866
  15. New Orleans Saints: $5,754,000
  16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $5,330,779
  17. New England Patriots: $5,292,335
  18. Kansas City Chiefs: $5,002,168
  19. Houston Texans: $4,935,924
  20. Detroit Lions: $4,725,644
  21. Arizona Cardinals: $4,405,068
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers: $3,269,367
  23. Buffalo Bills: $2,837,222
  24. Baltimore Ravens: $2,553,126
  25. Dallas Cowboys: $2,401,553
  26. Seattle Seahawks: $2,065,865
  27. New York Giants: $1,800,000
  28. Atlanta Falcons: $926,541
  29. Minnesota Vikings: $400,184
  30. New York Jets: $371,487
  31. Los Angeles Rams: $304,311
  32. Los Angeles Chargers: $113,693

Jets Interested In QB Mike Glennon?

The Jets quarterback situation figures to be one of the more noteworthy positional quandaries in the league this offseason, but the club may already have their eyes on one potential target. The “word on the street” is that Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon will receive interest from New York when free agency opens in March, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com.Mike Glennon

[RELATED: Jets Extend Brian Winters]

Gang Green will likely be searching for a new signal-caller this spring, as the Jets front office reportedly has little to no faith in young quarterbacks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, each of whom was drafted relatively early in recent years. General manager Mike Maccagnan and staff view Petty as a long-term backup, while one Jets source told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that Hackenberg “will never make it.” Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw 17 interceptions in 11 starts last year, is unlikely to be asked back.

Glennon, 27, hasn’t managed regular playing time since his rookie season in 2013, when he started 13 games and threw 19 touchdowns against nine picks. Since that time, Glennon has acted as a No. 2 to Josh McCown and Jameis Winston, starting five games (all in 2014) and attempting 214 passes. Still, Glennon will enter free agency as one of the few youthful quarterbacks with significant playing time under his belt, and could command as much as $13-15MM on the open market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs Sign RB Blake Sims To Three-Year Deal

  • About two weeks ago, the Buccaneers signed running back Blake Sims to a reserve/futures contract. Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter) that the league disapproved the player’s original two-year contract. The team ultimately inked the running back to a three-year contract, and Auman notes that the change is purely “semantics.”


Buccaneers Sign LB Jeff Knox

The Buccaneers have added an intriguing talent to their offseason roster. Greg Auman of TampaBay.com reports that the team has signed linebacker Jeff Knox to a reserve/futures contract.

Jason LichtKnox has been a standout for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL over the past two seasons. As a rookie in 2015, the linebacker compiled 112 tackles, breaking a team-record set by current Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman. Knox finished 2016 with 84 tackles, including 19 on special teams.

The 24-year-old started his collegiate career at Pittsburgh, but he was dismissed from the team following an arrest for assault. As Auman notes, the linebacker later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor simple assault. Knox then caught on with Division II California University of Pennsylvania, where he compiled 7.5 sacks as a senior in 2014.

Auman notes that Knox will certainly have an uphill battle when it comes to making the roster. However, the Buccaneers are rather thin at linebacker, which could bode well for his chances. As Roster Resource shows, the Bucs ended the season with only four linebackers on their roster in Daryl Smith, Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David, and Adarius Glanton.

This is the second CFL player the Buccaneers have signed this month. The organization signed wideout Derel Walker to a reserve/futures contract in early January.

Buccaneers Extend DC Mike Smith

The Chargers’ coaching search will no longer include Mike Smith, who signed an extension to remain the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Smith also withdrew his name from the Chargers’ HC search earlier today, per Schefter (via Twitter).

Smith will now coach a second season with the Bucs, who hired the former Falcons coach to replace Leslie Frazier last year. The newly branded Los Angeles Chargers will continue to go through their options after Smith, Vance Joseph and Sean McDermott removed their names from consideration due to respective job offers elsewhere.

Anthony Lynn remains a strong candidate for the Bolts’ HC gig, with the former Bills interim head coach entering his interview today as the frontrunner to become the relocating franchise’s next sideline leader, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Lynn remains at his Chargers interview, Tom Pelissero of USA Today tweets. The Chargers have interviewed six coaches for their HC vacancy, with Lynn being the only one to do so after news of the team’s relocation to Los Angeles became public.

Smith interviewed for the Chargers’ job last week, becoming the first candidate to do so. The 57-year-old coach also interviewed for the Jaguars’ HC job. His initial Tampa Bay defense ranked 23rd, with the unit falling off its top-10 perch from 2015. Frazier’s defense slotted 10th in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.