Our Tampa Bay Buccaneers are at a crossroads. They’ve got BIG decisions to make in the next couple of weeks that could set them up for a brighter future or doom them once again. As stated before, there needs to be a clear identity made for this Team. There needs to stability. Above all, this Team needs to be moving forward and building for more than just the 2020 season. We’ve seen too many attempts at quick fixes for multiple seasons. The BUCS have seemingly been operating as though they’ve been “one more piece away” for far too long and it’s time to stop.
The latest and biggest alleged move planned to make the BUCS instant contenders is the possible signing of 6-time Super Champion QB Tom Brady. I’ve no doubt a QB of his caliber could help. But for how long and at what cost? That’s the drawback of “win now mode”. Coupled with the BUCS’ history of attempting to overcompensate for past mistakes and/or perceived imperfections, it just doubles down on the inability to move forward and actually build a winning franchise.
It also shouldn’t be lost on anyone that if Brady made his way to Tampa, it would be another piece to validate Arians’ self-proclamation of being a “QB Whisperer”. Is that something worth betting the future for? For Arians, it just may be. Arians isn’t likely to be coaching much longer. Arians is most definitely in “win now” mode.
Pain In Temporary; Victory is Forever….Unless You’re A BUCS Fan
For the past 3 seasons, the BUCS have been supposedly operating in “Win Now” mode. This has proven to be a foolish practice. It’s basically a hope. Wishful thinking in the place of tact. However, it’s rooted in the belief that if it worked before, it could work again.
The first time the BUCS went all in and all out, it resulted in a Super Bowl victory. Most of us won’t ever forget that feeling. However, some of us can look back and see that the move that got us to that feeling have led us to the despair we’ve been suffering for the vast majority of the last 11 seasons. The Team mortgaged the future once. It paid off. However, a team can only call itself the World Champions for one season. And the good franchises can call themselves contenders year after year. And that’s what many of us want. We want to be relevant for more than one season. And we want to look forward to not thinking about rebuilding every other season.
The 2017 season was the 2nd iteration of the “Win Now” mentality the Team adapted. After going 9-7 and barely missing the playoffs in 2016, the Team believed they were just on brink of something big happening. Well, that big thing never happened. We saw a 5-11 disappointment after that “one more piece” which turned out to be veteran free agent DeSean Jackson, deep threat specialist didn’t mesh well with QBs that weren’t adept at throwing the deep ball.
And since the beginning of 2017, the BUCS have won a grand total of 17 games. All while making “win now” moves.
Complacency Is The Forerunner Of Mediocrity
Both GM Jason Licht and Heach Coach Bruce Arians have been talking about retaining most of the defensive front seven. That front seven includes DE Jason Pierre-Paul and DT Ndamakong Suh. Two players over the age of 30 that carried cap hits of $10M+ and $9.25M respectively. Re-signing both players would be yet another “win now” move. One could make a case for keeping one or the other. But retaining both would be setting the Team back more than than anything. Tampa should be looking to build on last year’s defense; not just replicate it at any cost.
Re-signing both would be delaying the inevitable as the Team would likely not draft at either position. At least, not with a premium pick. You don’t pay the amount of money these guys are likely to make for a backup role. And with the both positions being ripe with talent at the top of the draft, we’d probably be missing out if any of them were available. With Suh being the oldest of the two, it would make sense he’d be the odd man out. And if we revisit last offseason’s saga when age was allegedly a factor in determining value, it becomes even more clear that bring both back should be in question.
Stalling on the decision to get Vita Vea a longterm running mate could bring the same fate the the former #93 suffered. Gerald McCoy was constantly placed next to free agent veterans and others that couldn’t match his talent or his impact. He got surrounded by rotational players that were paid to become starters. Vea deserves better than that. Fans deserve better than that. We saw it with Gruden and his drafting. There’s no real upside to waiting to get younger on the defensive line. Especially with a strong draft class coming in.
Licht At The End Of This Tunnel ?
And at the head of this movement is our general manager who has had the final roster approval since 2016. Whether he’s just the figurehead or the architect responsible for building the Team, he’s fallen short. Although, there’s been a good collection of individual talent, especially as of late, the team hasn’t been constructed in a way to give one reason to believe there’s been a plan for the future beyond the first year. Everything has been reactionary.
The BUCS front office and ownership have been playing defense for too damn long. And because we’ve seen it often on the field, we know bad things happen when we continually played on the defensive. Fatigue. Disappointment. Constant turnover. So, I’m looking to Licht or whoever holds the reigns to this Team to actually start building something that can actually last.