Breaking down Licht’s comments and state of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jason Licht, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Jason Licht, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ general manager met with the media at the Combine today and covered a plethora of topics. So what are we to gain from his appearance?

Today is officially the first day at the NFL Scouting Combine as the offensive lineman and running backs partook in the weigh-in and measurement process in Indianapolis. Along with that, every team was allotted time with the media as well, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ general manager Jason Licht covered a lot of ground during his session.

Last week reports surfaced that Gerald McCoy would be back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the media was not shy about asking Licht is thoughts. He replied, “we’d love it if Gerald McCoy would continue to be a Buc” (via Mark Sessler). It seems as though there is a common understanding that McCoy is a player that the Bucs envision having on their roster moving forward.

The next topic addressed was in regards to having the fifth overall pick in the draft and what his plans for that pick are. Licht was very candid about his plans (via Rick Stroud), saying that the fifth pick, “is a nice place to be if anyone wants it.” He went on to add that they expect a haul back in return, because they too see the pick as valuable and adding that, “there are five players that [he] would like to pick right now.”

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Although brief, Licht was also asked about the possibilities of Antonio Brown joining the Buccaneers, and he stated that there have been zero discussions (via Jenna Laine ESPN) of adding the All-Pro receiver. This amount of straightforwardness would seem to point to the idea that Tampa Bay has no interest in adding Brown to their locker room. He must have read our article.

Then in more of a morbid note, the general manager was asked his thoughts on Kendell Beckwith, who missed all of 2018 with an ankle injury that was caused by a car accident. Licht was asked if he thought Beckwith’s injury was career threatening, and to the shock of many, he replied, “We’ll know more in a month” (via Rick Stroud). Many expected Beckwith back this season, and if he cannot play again, and the team is unable to re-sign Kwon Alexander, then a massive hole has been created at the linebacking core.

Speaking of Alexander, Licht was questioned on the progress that the Bucs have made in an effort to re-sign the 24-year-old linebacker. The general manager started out by saying, “I can’t say enough of good things about him… he’s the heartbeat of that defense.” It is evident that the Bucs want to re-sign him, but have not had much luck to this point.

Licht went on to say that the two sides had talked, but a value could not be agreed on. “Now we’ll have to see what the market is… we do value him though… hopefully we can get something done” (via PewterReport). It will be interesting indeed to see what Alexander will demand on the open market and to see if it is a number that the Bucs will be willing to match.

The next topic was on second-year running back Ronald Jones, who had a less than stellar rookie season. “Ronald needs a confidence boost… I know he’s going to get that” (via PewterReport). Licht stated his belief that Arians and company will give Jones what he needs to thrive. He closed the topic with a strong statement: “Nobody has given up on Ronald Jones… I expect Ronald Jones to have a big jump this year.”

Licht was asked about his quarterback Jameis Winston and what to expect from him under Arians. “He seems like a new man right now… He’s energized.” Winston enters a pivotal year of his career; a good year and he will see a payday of over $25 million, while if he bottoms out he will likely be headed for a short-term “prove it” deal somewhere other than Tampa Bay.

In regards to the relationship he hopes that new head coach and Winston develop, Licht had to say, “Bruce has always liked Jameis.” Licht states that Arians has been a fan of Winston’s since he was in college at Florida State and that the head coach has a long standing relationship with the quarterback saying, “…he’s known him since he was 10 or 11 years old.” If Arians cannot get the best out of the fifth-year signal caller, then there may not be anyone who can.

Finally, on a radio show with Sirius XM, Licht was asked about the impending free agency of Donovan Smith. He said, “We’ll talk with him while he’s here…I don’t envision Donovan Smith being anywhere but with the Bucs, at least for next year.” The radio host went on to ask if that meant the franchise tag would be applied to Smith if something long-term could not be worked out, to which Licht replied, “More than likely yes” (via SiriusXM NFL Radio).

Next. 5 players for Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans to watch at the Combine. dark

So many topics were covered in a small amount of time, but today shed a bit more light into what is going on inside the Tampa Bay front office. As the week progresses, Licht will probably have more to say and hopefully some of these deals can be arranged over steak at St. Elmos in Indianapolis.