This offseason the Buccaneers signed 27 year old guard J.R. Sweezy from Seattle for a five year 32.5 million dollar contract. Unfortunately they have yet to get him on the practice field with the team. Does that mean his almost certain job could be taken from him?
Jason Licht and the Buccaneers’ staff were thrilled to get this bruiser of guard at the start of the free agency period. When he was signed, he was expected to come in and fill the role of the veteran left guard Logan Mankins who decided to walk away from the game after this past season. Sweezy had a back issue coming into Tampa, but the Bucs had optimism that is was nothing serious.
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Fans across Buc nation have been itching towards news of when their 32 million dollar man was going to take his first reps in Bucs’ gear, but it does not seem like it will be anytime this week. Recently this week, Sweezy headed out to California to see a back specialist. Coach Koetter said after practice in a recent interview,
"“I’m not the doctor and I haven’t talked to the doctor, but we’ll let you know as soon as we know something we can tell you”"
That comment was on behalf of Sweezy’s situation. Judging by this quote, one may sense a bit of uneasiness from Koetter on whether this could be a serious problem. Today is going to be the first pre-season game for the Bucs, and to no surprise Sweezy is unable to play, so who is filling in?
Kevin Pamphile is a third year extremely versatile offensive lineman that was drafted by the Bucs in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft. Pamphile has been molded and sharpened by offensive line Coach George Warhop, and his talents have exceeded expectations. Although Pamphile has not receieved as much playing time as he deserves, he has been featured much in Coach Koetter’sn offensive scheme. With Sweezy gone, Pamphile has been the starting left guard, and he will be starting until further notice. So could Pamphile really hold off Sweezy if he is able to return?
Ali Marpet apparently believes so. Pamphile has truly been a swiss army knife across the offensive line for the past couple years, but to say he can hold off a player who was signed to a contract like Sweezy’s would be quite surprising. Sweezy is guaranteed 14.5 million of that contract he signed, to have him making that on the bench while making that kind of money would be very questionable. If this happened to be due to poor play, it could be another argument, but to lose his spot due to injury is unlikely to happen. To cut Sweezy would create 7.5 million of dead cap space, so expect to see him on the field for the Bucs if he is able to recover from the back issue he has.
What do you think Buc Fans?