Buccaneers’ Off-Season Graded Poorly by ESPN
ESPN recently published its off-season grades for all 32 NFL teams. They gave the Buccaneers quite the mediocre review.
It hasn’t been an outstanding relationship between ESPN and the Buccaneers so far this off-season. As James Yarcho reported, the most recent power rankings were unkind, ranking the Bucs 29th. Understandably, the fan base was not thrilled, fueling their hatred of the network in Bristol.
Well, Bill Barnwell wrote his off-season grades for the teams, and in his NFC South focus, he gave the Bucs a very mediocre review, grading them at a “C”. He took a very dim view of some of the moves made this off-season.
Here are a couple of things we are going to take him to task on. Barnwell questioned the idea of paying a premium for Doug Martin. Here is a portion of what he had to say:
"A year after deciding that Martin wasn’t worth a fifth-year option at $5.6 million, the Buccaneers shelled out five years and $35.8 million to keep Martin around, including $21.8 million over the next three years. It’s reactionary and short-sighted on its face; you pay free agents for what they’re going to do as opposed to what they’ve done, and pretty clearly, the only reason the Buccaneers paid this sort of premium for Martin is because of what he did in 2015."
No Bill, sorry. The Bucs were absolutely right here.
More from The Pewter Plank
- Devin White posts cryptic message to Lavonte David on Twitter
- ESPN predicts surprising outcome to Devin White trade saga
- Updated Buccaneers depth chart after signing two players from rookie minicamp
- Todd Bowles sends clear message about Baker Mayfield’s role with Bucs
- The Athletic is wrong about Bucs one ‘must-watch’ game in 2023
They decided not to pay Doug, and give him the chance to show the team what he had in the tank, and whether he could return to the form of his rookie season. He did exactly that, finishing second in the NFL in rushing. The Bucs said, “show me”. That is exactly what Martin did.
You pay your stars when they prove they are stars. Doug Martin wanted to stay in town, and the Bucs needed to keep him around to lead the ground game and help Jameis Winston. They had to pay him.
He also takes aim at the firing of Lovie Smith. Now, you have heard me in the past call it into question as well, but the numbers don’t lie. As Barnwell pointed out in the article, despite the increase from two to six wins, the defense fell backwards. Smith is supposed to be a defensive specialist. It’s hard to excuse a defensive specialist when his defense gets progressively worse.
Next: Are the Bucs a Most Improved Defense?
Has the off-season been perfect? No, far from it. I have questioned some of the moves myself, especially at the cornerback position. But, the moves that Barnwell questioned are just silly. ESPN is not a beloved network anymore, and it is the actual sports analysis that comes into question.