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Bucs neither winners nor losers in free agency

FL: Free Agent Press Conference

Our Monday 10-pack specifying the winners and losers in free agency omitted the Buccaneers.  Plenty of Buccaneers fans didn’t like that very much.

Which means that the spending spree in which the team engaged last week had its intended effect.

But let’s be realistic.  Giving $26 million fully guaranteed to a 29-year-old receiver was a bit much.  Ditto as to the decision to give $25 million fully guaranteed to a guard.  Throw in $15 million guaranteed for a good-not-great cornerback, and it looks like the Bucs overspent in order to get the attention of the fan base.

That didn’t make the Bucs one of our five losers.  But it wasn’t enough to make Tampa one of the five winners.

Then again, winning and losing ultimately will be determined in an entirely different way.  And if the new arrivals help the Bucs win games, then in hindsight they’ll fairly be described as winners in free agency.

(Photo credit:  Buccaneers.com)

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39 Responses to “Bucs neither winners nor losers in free agency”
  1. bearsrulepackdrool says: Mar 20, 2012 10:26 AM

    I’m still wondering why the Bears didn’t make the list…Good or Bad…or, in the ‘Skins case, both.

  2. milkmandanimal says: Mar 20, 2012 10:27 AM

    The reason I consider them winners is how they allocated that money; Jackson got a huge payout in guaranteed money, but that payout isn’t in the form of a signing bonus of any sort. If this deal doesn’t work out, they can cut Jackson after two years with no cap implications. That, to me, is very smart cap management, because you aren’t mortgaging the future for a short-term gain.

    Same with Nicks and Wright; these are bonus-free contracts, so, while it’s costing the team money, it’s money they have free on their cap. If these deals don’t work, the players get cut after a couple years, and the cap space is instantly free.

    They’re big winners because of how these contracts are structured; there’s no long-term implications if these deals don’t work out.

  3. terraj35 says: Mar 20, 2012 10:29 AM

    So it’s not okay to overpay the best guard in football but it’s ok to overpay an injury prone d-lineman (mario williams)? ….and 29 isnt that old for a receiver. esp one that basically took a year off for a contract dispute. I agree Wright was overpaid

  4. clinttaurus says: Mar 20, 2012 10:30 AM

    you sound like Cris Carter making excuses when he forgot to include Calvin Johnson on his list of best receivers…

    its OK, just admit it: you forgot ‘em…

  5. AlanSaysYo says: Mar 20, 2012 10:31 AM

    I think you just forgot them when you were making the list, and now you’re taking a page out of the Cris Carter Manual for Covering Your Behind.

  6. kacapaco says: Mar 20, 2012 10:31 AM

    No matter what, the Bucs spend money on quality players. Their team is better now than before the FA. Good for them.

  7. krycek84 says: Mar 20, 2012 10:32 AM

    You listed Buffalo among the winners with Mario Williams contract of 100 millions with 50 guaranteed.

    “It wasn’t cheap, and it may prove to be a mistake. But it was a risk the Bills needed to make if they ever hope to become relevant again.”

    So money spending is great with Buffalo but not with Tampa.

    If to be a winner in free agency, it’s all about spending low on second-tier, Tampa is definitely not a winner.

  8. turbodog1027 says: Mar 20, 2012 10:32 AM

    Overpaid for a headcase WR that’s used to being in a pass happy offense. Watch how he acts when they continue to run the ball and Nicks got his payday. Now he can eat himself into oblivion. You’ll never get the output the saints got from him.
    6-10 and bottom of the NFC SOUTH again.

  9. derrico2 says: Mar 20, 2012 10:33 AM

    The bucs had a HUGE amount of cap space. If the cheap Glaziers finally want to pay some players than let them! The deals are structured so as to utilize the roll over cap money. Heck, these are three of the top 30 free agents ON YOUR LIST and you leave them off as winners. Joke.

  10. duanethomas says: Mar 20, 2012 10:33 AM

    Why question Jackson age and contract when you had him #3 in your Top 100?

  11. dasboat says: Mar 20, 2012 10:37 AM

    Can’t say I really care about PFT’s opinion on anything. It is a great news aggregation site (its original purpose) but I’m not sure what qualifies the writers’ opinions more than any other media member. Whether the Bucs won or lost in free agency will be determined on the field in the coming years. For the first time in a long time (ever?) they are trying very hard.

  12. shaggyjeff says: Mar 20, 2012 10:40 AM

    so you complain when they don’t spend money.Then you complain when they do spend money ! what a joke you are. 3 of the top 30 free agents is a great job by the Glazers !

  13. homelanddefense says: Mar 20, 2012 10:41 AM

    I agree with dasboat. I come here for all the NFL news in one place. Its quick and easy. The opinions of the writers are often baseless and get in the way

  14. thegregwitul says: Mar 20, 2012 10:42 AM

    Let’s get serious, Mike. The Bucs were ‘winners’ so far this offseason because they accomplished their goal of filling need positions with impact players.

    Vincent Jackson: PFT’s third ranked free agent, with only Mario Williams (who received the largest deal for a defensive player in league history) and Peyton Manning (who is likely to receive a $90 million dollar deal) ranked higher. Jackson fills a need, he’s very fast, tall and will spread the field, something the Bucs lacked last season. He may be 29, but what’s to say that he doesn’t have five productive seasons under his belt, and even if he only has two or three, the contracts are setup so the Bucs can move on in three years if it doesn’t work out without taking on a major cap hit, this being reported by your very own site.

    Carl Nicks: The best guard in all of football in his prime filling a spot on the offensive line that was formally held by Ted Larsen and Jeremy Zuttah, allowing Zuttah to slide to center where he is better suited, which in turn allowed the Bucs to shed the overpaid Jeff Faine. Again the deal is structured in a similar fashion to Jackson, which won’t cripple the Bucs longterm, as reported by your site.

    Eric Wright: A good corner with potential who may have been a bit overpaid, but CB is a premium position and the Bucs may not have a chance to draft Morris Claiborne. This move allows them to consider other options in the first round of the draft, such as drafting Trent Richardson to pair with LeGarrette Blount or to trade down and acquire additional picks to further boost the linebacker and secondary positions.

    You got it wrong this time, Mike, but I’d rather the Bucs be forgotten about and overlooked as they have potential to surprise in the division, especially with New Orleans under fire and Atlanta without a first round pick, especially if Tampa can land a LB like Curtis Lofton. These moves don’t mortgage the future of the team, they provide impact players in areas of need and it fires up a fanbase that watched the Bucs sign a good punter outside of their own guys last season and take heat for it from websites like your own. As it stands today, the Bucs have to be considered offseason winners, but I’ll take winning this fall over being the toast of the summer.

  15. afc22 says: Mar 20, 2012 10:46 AM

    if this was some team that is perennially up against the cap and gambling with the future I’d agree with you. But the Bucs must have been $40 million under the cap every year for the past 5 (I’m making this sh!t up, but you get the point).

    for them, just like with Buffalo, there is no overspending on a key player or two. They got some serious talent. give them a W for it

  16. youngry says: Mar 20, 2012 10:51 AM

    Good grief, the response is even worse then the oversight.

  17. waitingguilty says: Mar 20, 2012 10:53 AM

    So it’s a tie?

  18. bucforever says: Mar 20, 2012 10:58 AM

    I hope they are not done yet! We need help on the front seven . We need some run stoppers! Go get’em please. Go Bucs!

  19. bearsrulepackdrool says: Mar 20, 2012 11:02 AM

    Only move I question was the Eric Wright deal. All the rest seemed fine to me. VJ boost a young inexperienced receiving corps. Nicks gives the Bucs (arguably) one of the best O-lines in the league. Wright (overpaid or not) gives the Bucs a good replacement for Ronde Barber. I still believe they should have been on the list though.

  20. daysend564 says: Mar 20, 2012 11:04 AM

    You guys have to admit that your winners list was comprised of garbage. I wouldn’t want my team to be on that list.

  21. xxwhodatxx says: Mar 20, 2012 11:12 AM

    Funny you say that now but a week ago it was all oh they stole Nicks from the Saints and hurt em bad. Then VJ ohh now freeman has a great WO and the new corner is an awesome addition. But now they over spent on everybody,Man you guys can’t make up your mind.

  22. quizguy66 says: Mar 20, 2012 11:21 AM

    I still think the whole winner/losers thing was prematurely done and not well thought out. Shifting criteria were even used from team to team. The liked teams by this site get praised for doing little or nothing but those that are not liked get kicked if they try to emulate that approach.

    I’ll tip my cap to them for having it generate comments, though. So from a business standpoint I guess you can call the article a success.

    -QG

  23. Richard Dickson says: Mar 20, 2012 11:24 AM

    T.O. was 29 when he went to Philadelphia. Randy Moss was 30 when he went to New England. Quibble about the amount of money, but 29 is far from over-the-hill for a wide receiver.

  24. jaltreality says: Mar 20, 2012 11:31 AM

    I’m a Saints fan, but I still have to say I think they’re winners in the off-season, at least. VJax doesn’t have that much wear-or-tear on him for a 29 year old receiver, especially because he took a year off. And not only did they sign one of the best guards in the game, but they lifted them off of a division rival.

  25. schmitty2 says: Mar 20, 2012 12:03 PM

    Got to agree with the posters Mike..can’t believe you wouldnt have listed the Bucs as winners in FA. I’m sure the team would love to have you attend a game. They will sit you right next to the cannon

  26. rabidbillsfan says: Mar 20, 2012 12:03 PM

    I don’t think the Bucs were winners, nor losers for that matter. Nicks was the only non-headscratcher. Sure, you got Jackson, a big play guy to help your offense, but, Freeman and Williams is the primary connection in Tampa. Don’t think for a min. that Freeman will be looking for Jackson on the “Hot” reads right off the bat. Also, Jackson seems to be money motivated, now he has it, let’s see what happens. Don’t forget Tampa has a “10th” choice coach who had a heck of a time filling out his staff, cna they pull a solid gameplan together to get these guys involved and happy? I would have preferred the Bucs to stick to their guns and draft playmakers. Robert Meacham would have been a better sign then Jackson, simialr player except the phsicality. They are winners for getting big names, but losers for looking desperate to attract fans. Tampa, If you don’t win this season, you could truely alienate your entire fanbase.

  27. vegaskid21 says: Mar 20, 2012 12:05 PM

    I don’t know Mike. I think I would rather have Mr. Jackson and Mr. Nicks than Brady Quinn and Peyton Hillis..

  28. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins says: Mar 20, 2012 12:15 PM

    This logic is just awful. For starters, the contracts are bonus free, as someone else pointed out. So if one of the players busts, we can easily cut our losses and move on.

    Furthermore, overpaying? Jackson was reportedly asking for 17 million per at one point, and we all know he isn’t afraid to hold out to get paid. He was easily the top free agent on the market, and to get him for what we did, especially after Garcon WAS overpaid and set the market high, was quite a relief to me. Meanwhile, Nicks was the best lineman available and is a top 5 guard in this league, not to mention still pretty young. Wright I would agree was overpaid, but so was the entire CB market. To be honest, I was expecting the contracts to be a lot worse as Doninik overpaid virtually every free agent prior to this season.

    That’s not to say there aren’t some risks here. Jackson has some character and injury issues, and if he doesn’t get the ball as often as he did in San Diego it’s possible that problems could arise. Nicks is great, but it often takes new lineman a while to gel with new teammates. Wright was very solid with the Browns but was bad with the Lions, so that’s a big question mark. I’m being realistic and realizing that these moves have the potential to not work out.

    But the bottom line is, that’s free agency in general. No one knows for sure until we see the product on the field. But on paper, to say the Bucs weren’t at least top 5 is to essentially say “I didn’t do my homework or just flat out forgot.”

  29. kinguga says: Mar 20, 2012 12:15 PM

    The Bucs are winners in free agency because they brought in good players who are productive. I don’t think they’ll be any good next season, but they certainly did a lot to try to get better. Fans can’t ask for much more than that.

  30. trollhammer20 says: Mar 20, 2012 12:18 PM

    One commentator on another board said the Wright deal was the worst free-agent signing he’d ever seen. On his grade scale, A, B, C, D, F, he gave it a ranking of “Millen on acid”.

  31. ron69 says: Mar 20, 2012 12:19 PM

    They got 2 impact starters with no future cap issues in case they don’t work out. To me that’s good enough to consider them a “winners”

  32. bucfandango says: Mar 20, 2012 12:36 PM

    How’s that for sucking up?

  33. tropboi11 says: Mar 20, 2012 12:39 PM

    #winning

  34. kevinb73 says: Mar 20, 2012 12:51 PM

    Now we just need to bag Tebow to put a crown on the Bucs FA aquisitions. I think he would work well in a run oriented offense that Schiano would like to have.

    Go BUCS!!

  35. jeff d. says: Mar 20, 2012 1:04 PM

    I thought the Eagles were the big winners last year. (Sorry, what did that get them?) What about the Redskins a few years ago? (And that got them what?)

    Teams continually overspend in Free Agency and it gets them nowhere. The big winners in FA need to be the teams that didn’t overspend to get players, but filled positions of need. I’ll give the Broncos a win based on Manning’s contract and its supposed lack of guaranteed money.

    Media is enthralled by the big names moving around and teams spending money – its a joke. How good will Mario be in Buffalo if there is not a threat opposite him on the DL?

  36. wrdking says: Mar 20, 2012 1:25 PM

    Mike; what is going on in that head of yours? Are they over working you? You are just flip flopping left and right.

  37. cjpunk15 says: Mar 20, 2012 6:18 PM

    How get the best G in the NFL and a top 5 WR in FA which filled holes on your team and not be a winner… I agree the Bucs overpaid for Wright but if any other team in the league gave Jackson and Nicks the same guaranteed money they would be instant “winners” in FA… Bucs never win with the media regardless of what they do.

  38. dunno1234 says: Mar 20, 2012 10:10 PM

    Wow! The Bucs can’t win in the media. If they don’t spend they are cheap losers. If they do spend and get players that fill definite needs. They are losers because they are the Bucs! I was on another site. And they professed that if a free agent leaves a team that is considered better than the team they go too. Then they are only playing for the money. Hence they will play poorly. What a crock! That mantra could be said for many Free Agent acquisitions. And many teams. But they only used that theory for the Bucs. Actually it was used for all the Bucs acquisitions.

    I laugh to myself when I watch sports shows that say they cover all 32 teams. Only to hear them talk about 4 or 5 teams for the majority of the show. Then usually say one or two sentences about Tampa. At the end of the show like they had to say something but they didn’t really want too. Usually less than 15 to 20 seconds of coverage. In a one hour show.

    While I understand they are a small market team. The level of media coverage for Tampa is a joke. It’s either nothing at all or all bad no matter if they play well or play poorly.

    Some people are trying to compare Tampa to the Eagles! Really! Tampa signed 4 good Free agents to be starters over two years? They are far from the “dream team” signings.

    As others have said before the way they structured these contracts gives them lots of flexibility in the future if one or more don’t work out.

    For years even in the late 90’s and early 2000’s they got little if any respect from the media.

  39. bueller101 says: Mar 20, 2012 10:52 PM

    Mike…I can’t disagree with your reasoning. But if these moves were made by the Cowboys, Eagles, Jets, etc., they would either be on your winner or loser list. Am I wrong?

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