March 07, 2015 - The Sports Quotient
Just Win Baby: Why The Bucs Should Become The NFL's Greatest Villain
With NFL Free Agency kicking off, we've reached the point in the offseason where teams really begin taking shape for next year. Between free agency and the draft, a franchise can fill needs, stock up on depth, or create a whole new identity. In the last few years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have taken a lot of big-time swings in free agency that haven't exactly hit. Carl Nicks suffered a toe injury that he never recovered from; Eric Wright was plain terrible; and don't even get me started on the disasters that were Josh McCown (HOW DID YOU GIVE HIM A RAISE CLEVELAND!?), Michael Johnson, and Anthony Collins. That said, to give credit where credit is due, Clinton McDonald and Vincent Jackson have proven to be good signings. But here we are in 2015. The Buccaneers hold the first overall pick in the draft and have a boatload of cap space. They can create more space by making certain moves, or they can also keep cash by cutting Johnson, even though his cap hit remains the same. To say that this team doesn't have an identity would be putting things lightly (I guess they lose a lot, that's an identity). Their lack of identity is why I think the Bucs really should embrace their team name and its pirate ship "yo-ho" lifestyle this off-season and just say, "Screw it, we're going to be the Seahawks East and create an unstoppable force of hate-able awesomeness." Look at the Super Bowl-winning Buccaneers team. I know many fans like to point at Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber as the signs of textbook professionalism, but looking at that team in that regard is kind of missing the point a bit—that team was NASTY. Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Michael Pittman, Keyshawn Johnson, Dwight Smith, John Lynch, and the young fireball that was Jon Gruden (before he moved to TV and decided he loved everyone). If you want to hear some of the most colorful NFL language you can imagine, watch the Buc's Super Bowl video. It's basically three hours of trash talk and bleeped out expletives. I have a plan to bring back the nastiness that defined the 2002 Buccaneers and revive the fire that this team seemed to have lost since placing their trust in the blank expressions of Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon, and Lovie Smith.
- Adrian Peterson – Give the Vikings Doug Martin and then play around with draft picks to make this reasonable. AP may only have a couple years left of real productivity, but the same can be said for Vincent Jackson. Peterson adds a dynamic weapon to the Tampa Bay backfield.
- Greg Hardy* - Try to get him on an incentive-laden deal if he can keep himself out of trouble. I'm sure Hardy would enjoy taking it to the Panthers twice a year and keeping the division crowns out of their hands. Throw this pass rusher next to McCoy and Jacquies Smith, and BOOM CITY!
- Ndamukong Suh - McCoy and Suh were BORN to play with each other. They tore up the Big 12 during their college careers and were drafted one spot apart from each other. Now, I know that you're not supposed to invest so much money in one position, but when you consider the fact that McCoy has only finished two seasons in his career not on injured reserve, the risk might be worth it. Plus, how sick would that D-line be?
- Jameis Winston - You know what a team that has zero fire or in-your-face intensity doesn't need? A quarterback with a soft-spoken demeanor who hasn't led a huddle in four years. Mariota can step aside because it's the Jameis Show in Tampa. Of all the moves I'd like to see, this is the one that I am pretty sure is actually going to happen. The team has already begun to form a PR campaign to handle the potential hit that this could do in the mind of some fans, and allegedly, Winston has been in touch with a local respected religious figure to help integrate himself into the community smoothly. Winston is clearly the best QB in this class for a pro-style system and has the demeanor and tenacity to bring life to a team that desperately needs it.