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Could Leftwich Be A Buccaneer Smokescreen?

The contract given by the Bucs to quarterback Byron Leftwich reportedly includes a $2 million base salary in 2009.
Unless there’s a signing bonus (and no published report suggests that there is), the Buccaneers could later choose to dump Leftwich with no financial consequence.
And so we’re not prepared to agree with Stephen Holder’s take in the St. Petersburg Times that the arrival of Leftwich is “the strongest indication yet that quarterback is not a consideration for the Bucs’ first-round pick in the draft.”
We think that the Bucs are still potentially in play for a guy like Josh Freeman at No. 19, and that signing Leftwich less than two weeks before the picks start to fly might persuade some of the folks who might otherwise be inclined to leapfrog Tampa to assume that the Bucs would pass on Freeman if he’s still on the market when they go on the clock.

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40 Responses to “Could Leftwich Be A Buccaneer Smokescreen?”
  1. adammwilson says: Apr 13, 2009 11:05 PM

    Freeman won’t be there at 19

  2. arosen36 says: Apr 13, 2009 11:18 PM

    thats alot of money for a smokescreen, but i think a year on the bench would be good for freeman

  3. bumblyjack says: Apr 13, 2009 11:25 PM

    Astute deduction, Mr. Florio. I believe you are on the right track here.

  4. jayhawk says: Apr 13, 2009 11:36 PM

    “thats alot of money for a smokescreen, but i think a year on the bench would be good for freeman”
    If you re-read the article, you’ll see it says they can cut Leftwich with 0 cost…so, unless you consider free “a lot of money”…

  5. myopinionisrighterthanyours says: Apr 13, 2009 11:40 PM

    Please God, no. Do you fans even watch football. Freeman is not worth a first round pick. He has second rounder written all over him. He locks in on receivers and can’t read defenses. He was at best the 5th or 6th best QB IN HIS CONFERENCE!!!!

  6. titans_fan says: Apr 14, 2009 12:07 AM

    Wouldn’t that be quite expensive and require an extensive amount of effort just for a smoke screen that may or may not affect whether or not Freeman is available at that slot? I mean if a team in front of them wants Freeman wouldn’t they take him regardless of what the Bucs are thinking, as that is the advantage of having an earlier pick. You have an active imagination, Florio.

  7. *Legion* says: Apr 14, 2009 12:12 AM

    In case you haven’t noticed, Josh Freeman isn’t, you know…. GOOD.
    He’s set to join Patrick Ramsey and J.P. Losman in the brotherhood of “late 1st round QBs who had no business being taken that high, but were because the draft had no other QBs to take”.
    Or, in terms you can understand, “late 1st round slapdick QBs”.

  8. djerseyguy says: Apr 14, 2009 12:37 AM

    The lack of good depth at the position leads me to believe that Freeman won’t be around for the Bucs at 19. I think they’ll have to trade up. It’s possible they get him with an earlier pick. Lots of teams want to trade down this year

  9. HowBoutThemTexans says: Apr 14, 2009 12:38 AM

    Florio is like the NFL Hall Monitor.
    It’s good to see people ignoring the crucial point of this article: that as far as we know, Leftwich has no guaranteed money, and though it’d be a d–k move, they could dump him and not pay him a penny after they draft a QB.
    Anyone who doesn’t think the Buccs are looking QB after seeing Matt Ryan in division last year is out of their damn mind.
    Also, I’d be surprised if Freeman isn’t there at 19. If Josh Freeman goes before that, well, he just robbed someone. I don’t know where people got the idea this guy has a chance in the NFL. I think teams to forget about a little something called GAME TAPE. You want to draft a franchise QB (which you do, if you’re spending a first rounder), you draft a guy who JUMPS off the tape and punches you in the nose. Freeman did anything but. He was great against the likes of the Big12 trash, i.e. Baylor, but disappeared or worse in big games.

  10. Larry David says: Apr 14, 2009 12:45 AM

    Freeman=HUGE BUST!!!

  11. J Buc says: Apr 14, 2009 12:50 AM

    I hope is not a smokescreen, they need defensive help and hope that’s what they are going to address in this draft, Leftwich contract is essentially a one year contract, something to work until next year draft where they are going to find better talent in the qb position.

  12. speedy1383 says: Apr 14, 2009 12:51 AM

    I just don’t see them taking Freeman in the first round. They have so many needs on the defense. I would love to see them take a DB or a good pass rushing DE to take some pressure off Mr. Invisible.

  13. Osterhouse says: Apr 14, 2009 12:53 AM

    Or is Leftwich going to help groom Freeman?

  14. Southernboi727 says: Apr 14, 2009 1:09 AM

    Bucs should go for either a WR or a CB. Luke is the answer at QB.

  15. Hosstyle in Tampa says: Apr 14, 2009 1:16 AM

    Hey Florio,
    One minute, you claim Raheem Morris is “completely in-over-his-head” because he moved his training camp from Orlando to Tampa and now he’s signing players with the intention of cutting them in order to improve his draft status? Come on, try to stay loyal to ONE of your illogical conclusions…
    “It will be 5 years before the falcons are competitive” -Mike “Nostradamus” Florio

  16. 4theloveofthegame says: Apr 14, 2009 1:30 AM

    Interesting points Florio… I really have no idea what direction the bucs are going in the draft…guess thats the point, though.

  17. iletmyselfin says: Apr 14, 2009 2:08 AM

    “thats alot of money for a smokescreen, but i think a year on the bench would be good for freeman”
    The smokescreen is that, since there is no signing bonus, that they could draft a quarterback and cut Lefty before the season starts without any financial liability.

  18. Vincepb3 says: Apr 14, 2009 2:09 AM

    Florio, I am still trying to figure out if you are crazy, or crazy like a fox. I think I am going to go with crazy.
    The Bucs, who are sans a second round pick, want to trade down. Thus, the Bucs want people to think they will take Freeman, not the other way around. This is precisely why the timing of the Leftwich deal was odd. Leftwich a smokescreen? C’mon.

  19. replica says: Apr 14, 2009 2:13 AM

    the bucs want 4 QB’s in training camp. bye bye griese?

  20. efftwofiddy says: Apr 14, 2009 2:21 AM

    If it truly is a smokescreen, and the Bucs draft a qb in the first round AND release Leftwich prior to week 1, it won’t cost them a dime (assuming there was no signing bonus) and will be a brilliant move, if it allowed them to draft a guy that otherwise would not have been there. Hard saying on that last part…
    Lefty would probably disagree re: the brilliance…

  21. bigvinnyinjax says: Apr 14, 2009 6:28 AM

    Some smokescreen. Leftwich is not qualified to be a starting quarterback in this, or any other league. Maybe they can resign Ryan Leaf – that’d fool everyone, huh?

  22. realityonetwo says: Apr 14, 2009 6:57 AM

    Of course he’s on the right track. Why would Byron Leftwich be anything but a smokescreen? Last time I checked, he sucked. Career passer rating of 80. Although that’s better than McCown’s 75.

  23. DailyRich says: Apr 14, 2009 6:58 AM

    Yeah, sign and dump a proven starter to draft a QB that everyone agrees is a project. I don’t think so.
    The only people certain the Bucs are going to draft Freeman have been the mock drafters, not the Bucs.

  24. tssjj2000 says: Apr 14, 2009 7:20 AM

    Bucs are not that smart

  25. the420bucsfan says: Apr 14, 2009 7:41 AM

    didn’t you read aerosen it says NO SIGNING BONUS so tampa can release him next week and not pay a dime !!

  26. brasho says: Apr 14, 2009 7:42 AM

    Except one problem, the Bucs have serious issues at DT and DE. They said they wanted to add a 4th QB, Leftwich is a serious step up over Freeman (and Brian Griese for that matter) and the Bucs have no 2nd round pick. They’ve already seen what Luke McCown and Josh Johnson can do in mini-camp, which means when Freeman visits they’ll be that much more impressed with the two they already have.
    No way the Bucs take a project QB at 19, their defensive line is in shambles.
    DT Evander Hood or DE Michael Johnson or a reach or trade-down for Connor Barwin are the most likely choices.

  27. RobJH says: Apr 14, 2009 7:52 AM

    Do you really believe that the Bucs, who released a slew of solid veterans earlier this year in cost cutting moves, are spending $2 million on a smokescreen which would likely result in loads of negative publicity?
    C’mon Florio, not everyone is as devious as you…

  28. Asanine Comment says: Apr 14, 2009 7:58 AM

    Slimey sh*t if true. Take a player off the market with no compensation? I doubt it. Tampa would have a hard time with FA signings after that.

  29. bigvinnyinjax says: Apr 14, 2009 8:05 AM

    Hope the Bucs don’t ask him to do anything he sees as below him (like improve his catapult throwing motion, or learn to speak the English language) because he refused to do both in Jacksonville.

  30. JagF@n4Life says: Apr 14, 2009 8:24 AM

    If that is the case, then I think Tampa just got them a starting QB for probably the lowest starting QB salary in the league. There’s no way any of the QB’s on Tampa’s roster can beat out a healthy, fresh, and trim BLeftwich. He had a chance to study the game for the last 2 seasons and not to mention that he got a SB ring in the process.
    He’ll get paid crumbs this year, have a great season, and they’ll be renegotiating his contract around this time next year.

  31. kappa08 says: Apr 14, 2009 8:38 AM

    GET OVER IT! The Bucs are not taking a quarterback in the first round. ESPECIALLY a very mediocre Josh Freeman.
    If you are from Tampa, If you follow the Bucs if you have mild football pulse. You would KNOW this team needs defensive help…PERIOD. If a tackle is there they will take him. If not then a linebacker.
    Quit chasing the shiny object….

  32. TheDPR says: Apr 14, 2009 8:44 AM

    Signed as insurance and stopgap is more likely than as smokescreen. Occam’s Razor.

  33. sethb22 says: Apr 14, 2009 8:57 AM

    I don’t know how you can just speculate on a team you obviously no nothing about, Raheem Morris has said repeatedly that Tampa will be the most competitive environment in football. He was the same way with the DB’s in Tampa, he tells the guys every year, “your the best I got until I can replace ya.” I really think he’s willing to let them battle it out and all 4 QB’s have a shot. Is that a smart way to handle QB’s…….. I dunno! But they sure arent running a smokescreen.

  34. empty13 says: Apr 14, 2009 10:19 AM

    he isnt going to have a great season. he telegraphs his throws and cant move. not a defense reader. and he never could move when young so he sure cant move now.

  35. SaintsBucsPanthersSUKK says: Apr 14, 2009 10:26 AM

    DE John Abraham will break into the backfield, take a cigar break, and resume his pass rush while Leftwich is winding up his throw.

  36. ericfay81 says: Apr 14, 2009 10:56 AM

    GD… either Leftwich or Freeman? I wouldn’t be excited about either…
    I’m glad I’m not a Bucs fan. Let Garcia go, the only one even worth a shit in the whole QB carousel, and then sign Leftwich? There’s a reason why they COULD sign Leftwich for 2 mil and no bonus. It’s because no one else gave him a better offer. He would have taken ANY bonus from ANY OTHER TEAM if it was offered. Unless it’s in his contract to be the day 1 starter? I don’t know, and I don’t understand this team. They need help to replenish a dying defense and that’s who they should draft. There are 20-30 players better for the Bucs (or any team for that matter) than Freeman at that pick.

  37. jlinnell98 says: Apr 14, 2009 11:15 AM

    I see Leftwich replacing Griese so the 4th QB (that they want in camp) would probably come from the draft. They might use Griese to trade (along with picks) for Quinn if they get the chance but that would just add to the confusion of the QB situation. Either way I like the Leftwich signing if is is to replace Griese, it gives the Bucs the option of a deep threat to help the run.

  38. Pea Tear Griffin says: Apr 14, 2009 11:34 AM

    IMO the Jets grab Freeman before the Bucs have a chance to.

  39. 4theloveofthegame says: Apr 14, 2009 4:03 PM

    ericfay81… Leftwich DID get another offer… in fact, a slightly better offer with the Steelers. They really wanted to keep him. And this is why i don’t think this is a smokescreen at all. in fact it may have purposely planned to LOOK like a smoke screen.
    Pitt offered Leftwich a two year deal with a signing bonus, only reason he chose Tampa’s two year, no signing bonus deal is most likely because he will be given the chance to compete for the starting job. That’s kind of like his signing bonus, a chance to do what no other team nor your current team was going to let you get. A chance to compet for the starting job.
    The Bucs will not draft Freeman. they wont draft a QB at all. They have four, they said they would take four to camp. And Morris is right. Tampa is going to be a very openly competative football team this offseason; which only allows those who want it the most to make it to the top of the depth chart, and those are the guys that you want there. you guys just take a closer look before you predict doom onto this team.

  40. samit23 says: Apr 14, 2009 9:43 PM

    Can you name another instance where a team signed a player for 2 weeks, just to smokescreen a draft pick, and then abruptly cut the player immediately thereafter? I would think this would be a frowned upon practice and something the NFLPA would file a grievance over (regardless of chances of success). Too much conspiracy here. I don’t think Raheem wants to watse time with a project, especially with Tebow looming next year.

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