Dec 8, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) is congratulated by outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) after he made a sack against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Indispensable Bucs: Which Players Can the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Least Afford To Lose? Tier 1

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Tier 1 – Players that the team must not lose at any price, and should be seen as pillars of the franchise moving forward.

Gerald McCoy – Gerald garners the top spot for multiple reasons. The biggest is clearly based on his on the field performance over the past few seasons. He has been absolutely dominant and seems to be getting better. Dave Wannstedt, in a recent interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio’s Movin’ The Chains, called Gerald “as good as I’ve been around.”

But it’s not just his dominance between the white lines, it’s what he has become off the field as well. McCoy is the new face of the franchise. He was there to unveil the new helmet/logo, he’ll be at the forefront of the  jersey reveal, and he’s essentially become the go-to guy when it comes to talking Tampa Bay Buccaneers football. Therefore, losing Gerald McCoy is simply not an option.

Lavonte David – In my estimation David is among the top five underrated players in the NFL, along with fellow LB’s Kiko Alonso and Thomas Davis. People tend to forget about how dominant this man has been in his first two seasons.

Part of the problem is that Lavonte hasn’t been part of a winning team so the national focus has been minimal, but the Bucs are not doing much to raise his image in Tampa either. David is the future of the franchise. He’s young, he’s insanely talented, and he does his job without making too much noise. National media took attention to him twice all year. Week 1 when he was flagged, incorrectly (I’m not letting that go) for touching Geno Smith, and then after the year when he was voted as an All Pro.

People in Tampa know how awesome Lavonte is, it’s only a matter of time the rest of the world figures it out as well.

Darrelle Revis – All this talk of trading Revis has made me borderline sick. Let me clear a few things up. First, of course the Bucs are listening to offers. They have a new GM, a new coach, and are trying to move in a new direction. They’ll listen to anything.

But that does not in anyway mean they are going to make a deal just to make a deal.

Next, Revis costs a boatload of money. Yes, this is true. But to simply say, “that money can be spent on two or three replacements” is simply false. The Buccaneers are not strapped for cash. They can pay whoever they want as much as they want this offseason. And Revis’ contract is such that Tampa can get out from under it any time they want.

Finally, Lovie Smith is not an idiot. Greg Schiano… well… never mind. Smith will not only find ways to use Revis, but Darrelle will once again be seen as a top CB in the league (something he statistically was in 2013, but everyone seems to want to ignore). You don’t have the opportunity to have a top three player at every position, so when you have one, you don’t trade him. The Bucs shouldn’t, and won’t, so stop worrying.

Vincent Jackson – Vincent just barely cracks this tier. The reasons why he’s on the list are obvious. It’s why he he could be down a tier that’s more interesting. Jackson is certainly in the top 20 WR’s in the NFL, but definitely not in the top five. Inherently that makes him replaceable by every player above him.

However, in the current state of the NFL, you almost have to have more than one of those guys. Jackson is the perfect top receiver on a roster that has multiple other weapons. The Bucs have Mike Williams, and we’ll talk a little more about Tim Wright in another tier, but they aren’t stocked with dangerous aerial targets. And they also do not have a QB who makes receivers better.

Jackson is crucial to the Bucs because he’s a constant. You know what you are going to get, and that’s a big receiver who simply can’t be consistently guarded by a single player. He makes life easier on the other pass-catchers and he offers a safety valve for the QB. So until the Buccaneers find a QB who can turn Eric Decker into Tim Brown, the Bucs simply can’t afford to lose Vincent Jackson.

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