The Buccaneers have a big fan of their initial free agent signings, and that fan is Pro Football Focus.
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The Buccaneers don’t often receive love from Pro Football Focus. If anyone is still unfamiliar, Pro Football Focus is the site that takes advanced statistics and has created a grading system that we see all over the league. How accurate is it? That depends upon who you talk to, including the writers on this site.
We do know that the Bucs have been quite active in free agency, signing the big names that we are all excited about. DeSean Jackson will make a huge difference on offense, in the box score and with intangibles. Chris Baker adds another talented body to the rotation on the defensive line. J.J. Wilcox is a hard-hitting safety. The Bucs are a better team now than they were at the end of the 2016 season.
Pro Football Focus recently released an article, grading the free agent moves around the league. They graded the signing of Baker and Jackson, and frankly, they loved the moves. Here is what they had to say on Baker:
"Actual: Three years, $15.8 million, $9 million guaranteedGrade: APFF play-earned contract: Three years, $22.9 million, $7 million guaranteedChris Baker has developed into a fine interior defender, grading well against both the run and pass over the past two seasons. He tweeted that Washington didn’t want him, but the Buccaneers—at that price—have secured themselves a bargain."
How about that? Baker will play well, and at a bargain, according to PFF. As we talked about, he is a starting caliber player that will help keep everybody’s legs fresh at the ends of games. Don’t forget he has notched 10.5 sacks over the last two year as well.
Let’s see what the thoughts were on DeSean Jackson:
"Actual: Three years, $35 million, $20 million guaranteedPFF play-earned contract: Three years, $19.4 million, $5.6 million guaranteedGrade: BBeing a deep threat in this league will always get you paid, and DeSean Jackson remains a player capable of taking the top off a defense, which fits well with Mike Evans in Tampa Bay. Last year, Jackson recorded 579 receiving yards on deep (20-plus air yards) attempts, the most in the league."
This is where the system can come into question for some. A “B” still constitutes love from PFF, no doubt. But they are bringing down the number based on the “play-earned” contract number that they came up with. That truly is their own system so it’s different than any standard anyone else would use, and that could be viewed as arbitrary. When you look at the contract via Spotrac, you see that the numbers are very team friendly.
They like the deal but they grade it lower based on their contract system. The commentary is dead on, however. Jackson will open things up for this offense in ways we haven’t seen for quite some time.
So, not bad huh? Even PFF can show some love. I guess the Bucs really are making some good moves so far.