2008 Bucs' Schedule: PNG

Saturday, March 17, 2007

LB Cato June Signs

In another shrewd move by Allen, Cato June, Pro-Bowl LB from Indy, was signed to a deal similar to that of Ian Gold a couple of years ago, allowing the Bucs a chance to see if they can upgrade their LB corps without breaking the bank. If he elevates his tackling, and continues to play with the same speed and tenacity he has for Indy, then the Bucs will have themselves another top notch LB. June will battle it out for the Sam spot. Between him and Winborn, one of the two is likely to become Brooks' successor, while the other will become a dominate force at the Sam spot, should both be deemed valuable enough to keep long term.

This is just another example of why I felt that the Bucs have one of the better front offices in the league. They are making sensible deals for players of solid, or better, talent, and not over-committing themselves long term. The Bucs are simply loading up with talent, and, one way or another, we'll see this team get better.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Candy Man Signs/Grant Next?

Well, the Bucs made a signing, bringing in former first round CB Sammy Davis. This is another solid pick-up of a player who fell out of favor, and who sounds an awful lot like Buchannon did before he earned a starting spot over Bolden last year. Needless to say, the Bucs want to make sure that they have great depth at CB this year, and this signing will, one way or the other, help insure that.

Now comes the fun part. Charles Grant is coming for a visit to One Buc Palace. Now the Saints have already franchised Grant, but a deal hasn't been signed yet. If the Bucs wanted to sign Grant, they could make an offer and see if the Saints match. If they did not, then the Bucs could sign Grant but they would have to give up 2 first round picks for the player. That's not going to happen. What I suspect will happen is that the Bucs will try to work out a trade where the Saints will get a combination of lower round picks, possibly this year, maybe this and next, and/or a player, or some combination thereof. It's hard to tell exactly what the Bucs might give up for Grant, but Kelley is one possibility that the Bucs may be looking at, as the Saints are believed to be weak at corner.

Now, some will argue, based on the last two years, that Grant isn't worthy of the attention that the Bucs appear to be paying him. Unfortunately, that would be a short sighted look at his stats. From '02 to '04 he played at the right defensive end spot, where he recorded 27.5 sacks and 141 tackles. His rookie year, '02, he had 7 sacks and 30 tackles, then had 10 and 10.5 sacks the following two years with 65 tackles in '04. In '05, the Saints switched him to LDE, where he played last year, and he recorded just 2.5 sacks that year, along with 44 tackles, but then improved to 6 sacks last year with 49 tackles. So, yeah, his LDE stats don't look all that hot, but his RDE stats are top 5 DE material, and that's likely to be where he goes if the Bucs pick him up. Quite frankly, I think the Bucs plan to trade Rice, and this move may clear the way, if the Bucs find a reasonable compensation package to get Grant.

It will be very interesting to see how this works out. The Bucs are really trying to address their holes with a combination of young players, and older, stop-gap, veterans that can help them win this year, without breaking the bank for the following years. It will also allow them a lot more flexibility in the draft to go Best Available Player (BAP) as opposed to chasing needs.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Petitgout Signs And Carter Gets No Bonus

First, let's start with Petitgout. He's now signed for three years, and will likely push Davis for the starting LT job. Davis may be moved to LG in place of Buenning, who may not be ready to play at the start of the season. Davis would make an excellent guard and Petitgout is a solid LT. The Bucs still need to address the Center position, but that might not happen until the draft, now that Newberry has signed with the Raiders. In any case, the Bucs now look to be extremely solid on both sides of the offensive line, and that will help the Bucs tremendously by allowing the Tight Ends to go out on routes much more frequently.

Now, as to Carter's contract, Pewter Report has the gory details of his contract, and it appears to be another one of those Bruce Allen specials where the guy really only counts a small portion this year, and has no significant hit next year. There was no signing bonus with a lot less than the $5 million being guaranteed. Duemig stated that his guaranteed was only $2 million, but I have seen reliable reports as high as $3 million. In any case, if you were one of those who thought that this was a break the bank style bad deal, you are quite mistaken and shall be subject to 30 lashes! Carter is a player who brings more size and consistency to the Bucs' defensive line. He'll be an impact player on the field and in the locker room.

So far I have to give Allen two thumbs up on what he's done to date. Nothing harmful had been done to this team, and that's a good thing. I'm starting to get excited about this off-season.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Carter Signs/Plummer Not Retired/Blah!

This has been yet another interesting day. Kevin Carter signs a deal with the Bucs for reportedly $25 million over 4 years. Obviously, this deal is likely to be one of those standard Bruce style one-year trial deals where the Bucs can either cut him after a year, or eat the hit for as long as they are willing to stick with him. Carter is a stop gap that will bring back some pass rushing ability to the Bucs after last year's lack of any QB pressure. It will allow the Bucs to draft some young DL's and not be forced to start them immediately.

Also, it was reported that the NFL did not receive any papers from Jake Plummer, so he's apparently not retired, and now rumors are swirling that a number of teams are pushing hard to trade for him. Needless to say, I'm quite sure the Bruce knew what he was doing when he acquired Plummer's rights. I'm still hoping that either they trade him to Houston for Carr, or that they trade him to the Raiders to swap #1 picks. Either deal would be great for both teams, and would really help the Bucs out tremendously. If they were to trade with the Raiders for a swap of picks, the Bucs would then be in position to take either Joe Thomas or Calvin Johnson, whoever they have higher on their board. I would think it would be Thomas, who would give the Bucs another Paul Gruber and solidify that side for a long time.

Some people are freaking out on the message boards, but I don't think they understand just how shrewd Bruce Allen really is. I think he's had a plan all along, and that the Bucs are really going to come out smelling like roses after everything is said and done. At the very least, he's got people talking about the Bucs, and that's always a good thing.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Signings, Visits, And Bears...Oh My!

The FA period continues to bring people in and out of One Buc Palace. Something I forgot to mention was the FB BJ Askew signed with the Bucs. He's a solid blocking fullback, but not much of a true West Coast type, as he hasn't been much of a receiving FB during his years while blocking in front of Martin for the Jets. He a solid pick-up, nevertheless, and should help us out, especially on those occasions when Gruden wants to run Alstott in a power set and needs another solid blocker to block for him. That was a problem last year when Alstott was the only decent blocking FB we had, which helped Williams and Pittman, but left a bit of a void when Alstott was the ball carrier.

The Bucs also have been apparently bringing in other players with Pewter Report stating C Al Johnson, from the Cowboys, is coming in. He's a solid Center who lost his job to Pro-Bowl Center Gurode. Since the Cowboys have a top flight player in the middle of the line, Johnson was allowed to explore FA. The Bucs were also interested in Petigout, as mentioned before, but now PFT.com is reporting the Redskins have interest in him. Needless to say, the Bucs won't overpay for his services, as there is still some question marks concerning his health and long term value to the Bucs if he were to sign here. The Bucs may opt to stick with Davis, and hope to draft an LT (Thomas would be nice) in the draft.

The pick-ups for defense haven't really taken off yet. With Dewayne White going to the Lions, the Bucs have even more holes on the D-Line. There really isn't a whole lot out there, in terms of FA's, while the draft is deep with DL talent. I expect to see the Bucs wait for the draft to take care of the DL. There are still two top flight safeties available for the Bucs to try and bring in; Doss and Hamlin. I expect the Bucs will probably make a push for one of these guys this week. The safety spot drew in some big bucks early, but now nobody is really willing to sign the guys available. That should cool the pricing a bit, and that's when I expect to see the Bucs really push for one. They still need to address this are, or it could be another long year on defense. I do believe that Phillips and Allen will play much better with Morris coaching them, but I still don't feel comfortable with them long term, especially from a health standpoint, and I can only imagine that the Bucs feel the same way.

And, of course, Plummer apparently retired in an official fashion, though the Bucs have stated that they haven't received the retirement papers. It's an interesting saga. I still expect the team to trade him to Houston or Oakland. Should be interesting to see what they finally get out of this. If they trade him to Oakland for a swap of picks, then the Bucs could get whoever they covet the most and the Raiders would still get a high pick and could likely get one of the two QB's that they need for long term development. We'll see.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I Cant Keep Up!! Bucs Sign Garcia/Own Plummer

The Bucs have really done a number. They signed Jeff Garcia to a 2 year, $5 million per season deal, and then acquired the rights to Plummer for a conditional 2008 pick. Now the Bucs are reportedly looking to trade Plummer to Oakland (this is a PFT.com report) for something in return (not yet disclosed). The Bucs are really making it fun in the QB arena. In the meantime, they are still looking at signing Petigout, but his numbers may be a little high right now. The Bucs still have Newberry coming in (that would be a reunion for Garcia), and may be looking to bring some defensive players in.

Garcia will immediately bring top competition back to the QB spot. Now if Simms wants the job, he's going to have to work for it.

Friday, March 02, 2007

FA...Oh My!!

The Bucs apparently tried to pull a trade for Plummer, who then abruptly retired (either because he wanted to be named the starter or because he wants to be back with Kubiack in Houston). Thankfully, the deal fell through. I don't like seeing the Bucs let go of a fourth round pick for an old QB who's thrown roughly a 1:1 TD to INT ratio. Not good. Now it's back to focusing on Garcia, or trying to trade for Carr (my preference, if you're thinking long term).

The Bucs will have LB Napoleon Harris visit (ironic if they sign him, as he was one of the picks the Raiders got for coughing up Gruden). Steinbach was scheduled to visit, but then signed with the Browns for big time money. SS Lewis is off the board, having gone to the 49ers, so the Bucs will have to go after Hamlin and Doss (Hamlin is, arguably, the best safety out there). The Bucs managed to resign Buchannon and Cox. And may be signing White back. Griffith visited the Bucs (no word yet). And the Bucs appear to have reached an agreement with Chukwurah for a 5 year deal, but he's attending a funeral and won't be officially coming down to sign until next week.

Quite frankly, I think my head is going to explode watching all of this. Some teams have seriously overpaid some players and are throwing cash around like nothing. That's fine. They'll just get into cap trouble while the Bucs keep the dough freed up to sign some big time players the next couple of years. We should see the Bucs start to really get the signings going during the next 3 or 4 days, then it will cool down. In the meantime, we'll all keep glued to every little tid bit that comes out. I have some thoughts late tomorrow on who we've signed and their impact. Until then...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Charge!! FA Coming To Town...

Well, heads are rolling across the NFL with the Bucs releasing Walker, Joey Porter being cut, guys like Brad Johnson and Luke Petigout already released. Gracia looks to be free tomorrow. Mike Williams is rumored to be getting the axe in Detroit. And the list goes on. Smoot, Horn, J. Lewis, McCardell, and more. The Bucs also resigned Alstott to a one year deal, and appear to be on the brink of signing another player.

Should be pretty fun tomorrow. The Trib has the Bucs picking up DE Patrick Chuckwurah from Denver first thing Friday (i.e. the Bucs and the agent may have come to terms if he's released, as expected). I'll try to keep abreast of the impact of FA signings and releases that the Bucs perform. Can't wait to wake up tomorrow and find out who else is whacked and who got signed. Walker's release saves the team around $2 million or so, but Alstott cost us $1.5 (unless some of that doesn't count to the cap).