In the view of quite a few Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, the team can do no right. Even with the new regime under Bruce Arians. The sticking point this time was the imminent departure of Kwon Alexander, Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson.
Keep in mind, the team in the current decade alone, has gone 42-86 since 2011. Both Alexander and Humphries spent their last four seasons with the team and Jackson the last two.
Humphries emerged with his best season in 2018. Catching 76 of the 105 balls thrown to him for a career high 816 yards and five touchdowns. Considering in prior years he didn’t reach 650 yards in previous seasons, do the Bucs want to pay him No. 2 money?
There are plenty of other teams, like the Titans, who will gamble that he’s not a flash in a pan and could vault himself to be as reliable as a Wes Welker. As much as people would love to see Humphries get paid, free agency and the draft have no such shortage of options to lock up that position. And could fulfill similar or superior production.
I accept this as a simple business move. Like running back, wide receiver is one of the most expendable positions in the league, and it’s rare beyond a true No. 1 receiver where anyone below will always stay with just one team.
When it comes to DeSean Jackson, there was no qualms about him being a rental. He aired his frustrations on more than one occasion. He never got in sync with Jameis Winston on routes. Even if Winston fixes his long ball, the damage has already been done and it’s not likely that Winston has the confidence to reliably get him the ball with any consistency.
Jackson showed he’s still got it when thrown to from back up Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the lack of efficient play calling led to poor execution when teams easily took away the threat Jackson posed. While Arians was trying to be diplomatic, he has to go with what works with his quarterback. With Chris Godwin on his way up, it could just be the time to promote him to No. 2 since he’s more potential with regards to upside than Jackson at this point in his career.
Kwon Alexander was part of the core of the Bucs defense as he became one of the most reliable in a very shaky group. He’s hardly to blame for the unit’s underperforming nature. Until 2018, he’s averaged over 100 tackles a season and was a Pro-Bowl selection in 2017. Whether if it’s Jason Licht and/or Arians decision to let Alexander walk is up in the air, because of what the Niners rewarded him with a long-term deal.
Was there something in his torn-ACL that they didn’t like that provided too much of a risk to further commit to him with a better offer? There are many linebackers available in free agency and in the draft who can have that closing speed to produce effectively. Given the team’s record in the past four years, you can consider him a cap casualty for others who aren’t just coming off a serious injury.
It’s always harder to let go of ones who are producing, but we have to trust the process on why they weren’t resigned. It’s a clean slate with Arians even if it’s not so much with Licht. There’s no doubt Licht is in the hot seat and Arians is going to dictate who and what he wants to build the Bucs into a winner. I know Andre Ellington doesn’t suddenly become a fantasy option, but let’s see who the team can snag so we can get a better picture on who they will prioritize in the draft.