The key to success? Draft players and resign them. The Packers did it, the Patriots did it, and the Steelers did it. What do they all have in common? Well they’re each one of the few powerhouse teams in the NFL. Which I’m sure all of you reading this already know, unless you think I’m talking about Fútbol and not the good stuff I like to call American Football.
Now what does this have to do with the Buccaneers? Well, The Buccaneers are involved in the same process that the teams I listed above did to perfection. They’re doing a dang good job at it too, if you ask me. We cashed in on a franchise QB in Josh Freeman, we got him some weapons in Mike Williams and LeGarrette Blount, we got the core of our defense in Gerald McCoy who regardless what ANYONE says, WILL be a stud after I saw what he could do right before he got injured last year. We also have the old trusty veteran drafted fifteen seasons ago in Ronde Barber, and last but not least we have a shutdown corner in Aqib Ta—what…wait a minute. Oh yes that’s right, our shutdown corner currently got charged with a felony for shooting a gun at someone. A FELONY! That’s 5-20 years, ladies and gentleman. And despite him denying all the allegations, the Buccaneers simply cannot rely on him anymore. Even if he is telling the truth and gets off with no jail time, Roger Goodell will be there at the end of the lockout waiting to punish Mr. Talib. What the hell is that guy doing around guns to begin with? Did he not see what happened to Plaxico!?
Many of you are more than likely wondering where I’m going with this. What I’m trying to say is, I agree with “the key to success”. I do, really. Although, in circumstances like this, free agency can’t be too much of a stretch now, can it? How many times have all of you reading this heard someone say “The Bucs aren’t big players in free agency.” because I’ve heard it a ridiculous amount of times. And I can see why no big names have shown up on the Buccaneer roster from free agency. But Chucky and Bruce Allen aren’t running the show anymore. It’s the Morris and Dominik show. And their show is way more entertaining.
If you go back to their first year together, right after the Glazers made the best move they possibly could have in firing those boring idiots called Gruden and Allen, they traded for this guy named, Kellen Winslow Jr. He’s doing pretty good right? After all, he did lead the team with receptions two years in a row. Then they went and got a 1,000 yard rusher named Derrick Ward after the buccaneers were unsure of Carnell Williams’ health. After that, they attempted but failed (thank god) to get Albert Haynesworth due to the lack of starting caliber DTs on the Buccaneer roster before the 2010 draft. Skip to last year during the season and they went after Shawne Merriman after he was released since Quincy Black was riddled with injuries, but failed to pick him up off wire waivers because the Bills got to him first. Although Ward, Haynesworth, and Merriman have all been disappointments to either the Buccaneers or other teams, it means the Bucs aren’t afraid to look into Free Agency if they see someone who they think will make them better, and aren’t nearly as laid back in FA as many so called “experts” and “analysts” say they are.
Now I’m not saying we’re all going to suffer by losing Talib, or am I saying we need to scrap up our youth movement plans to start dabbing into big name free agents. That’s far from the truth. What I am saying is, Ronde Barber is still the man at the age of 35, E.J. Biggers is a starting corner in the NFL (in my opinion), Myron Lewis just came out of his rookie season, but really came on strong towards the end of last season and has great upside. And Elbert Mack doesn’t get much playing time, but four years ago when the Bucs picked him up after he wasn’t drafted, his DB coach, Raheem (the guy who turned this franchise around) Morris picked him over veteran Eugene Wilson for a spot on the Buccaneer roster and if Raheem believes in this guy, then I sure as hell do. So what’s the problem? Although very reliable, Ronde isn’t that playmaker he used to be. E.J. Biggers hasn’t shown me enough to be able to replace a guy with Talib’s talents. Myron Lewis may have great upside, but isn’t even close to being ready. And Elbert Mack? This guy went undrafted for the exact opposite reason Talib did get drafted. God given talent.
Why not take a CB in the draft you might ask? Well, I would have absolutely no problem if the Buccaneers trade up to get Prince Amukamara out of Nebraska if he slides down the draft, or if they take CB Jimmy Smith out of Colorado (often compared to Talib). But DE is still the most glaring need I would like to see filled by the Buccaneers. Ryan Kerrigan or Justin Houston can just as easily be there for the Buccaneers at number twenty. If it were any other year, those two would be top 15 type talents. And if an Aldon Smith out of Missouri, or maybe even Da’Quan Bowers out of Clemson (after a bad pro day and health issues) slides to the Bucs, I would hope it’s a clear cut choice for who they would take a chance on with the twentieth overall selection in the 2011 draft.
So here we are. In a lockout with one less playmaker to rely on. I suggest that when/if the season gets rolling and Free Agency happens, both Dominik and Morris show up at Unrestricted Free Agent Nnamdi Asomugha’s doorstep with a pen and a fat contract. And If not Asomugha, they have a handful of other top tier corners on the market such as Johnathan Joseph, Antonio Cromartie, Ike Taylor, Fabian Washington, and Carlos Rogers that they can look at. With having wonderful weather all year round and no state tax to cut into their multi-million dollar deals, it shouldn’t be too hard convincing any of them to play for this up and coming team. The Packers brought in Charles Woodson didn’t they? Look how that worked out for them. The Pats got Rodney Harrison a few years back and he helped give them a couple rings. They also acquired Randy Moss, and then traded him three years later…I’m pretty sure they still got a few legit seasons out of him. And let’s not forget our Super Bowl winning Buccaneers team that got Simeon Rice and Keyshawn Johnson, just to name a few, that helped us get to that ultimate level.
The key to success? Draft players and resign them. Something the Bucs already do, and I have all the faith in the world that Dominik and his staff will have another outstanding draft this year to make the Bucs even better than last year. I also believe the Buccaneers will resign those who they feel are important to keep.
But again, Aqib Talib screwed up. This time, with a felony charge above his head.
It’s okay to bend the rules under the right circumstances. It’s not like Free Agency is evil or anything. Especially with the lockout already hurting this young Buc team. You never know, Raheem is a genius at coordinator, he can make anyone fit into his system. But getting a shutdown corner to replace another shutdown corner would be an ideal solution.
Let’s hope they don’t skip a beat.