Head Coach Bruce Arians inaugural season in Tampa didn’t live up to expectations. The Buccaneers finished 7-9 and for the 12th season in a row missed out on the postseason.
The season was filled with emotional chaos, one week this Tampa Bay Buccaneers team looked unbeatable,the next they beat themselves.
Throughout the year, a few players stood out and deserved to be named as ‘Players of the Year.’
Here’s a look our selections for the honors.
Defensive Player of the Year
First, we will start with the easy choice, Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY). This award has to go to the NFL leader in sacks Defensive End Shaq Barrett.
Barrett finished the 2019 campaign with 19.5 sacks and was a consistent force, wreaking havoc in the backfield of every offense that played against the Buccaneers.
Not only is Shaq the clear favorite for the Bucs’ DPOY but he should be named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, as well. He did something no Buccaneer has ever been able to do before as 19.5 sacks were good enough to take sole possession of the franchise-record previously held by Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.
Barrett bet on himself signing a 1-year contract in Tampa and this offseason we will see him be rewarded for a historic season. The cost to keep him in Tampa is expected to be in the neighborhood of $15-20 million a year. Most likely making him one of the highest-paid defensive ends in the league and he deserves every cent of it.
Offensive Player of the Year
Picking the player of the year for the offensive side of the ball isn’t as simple.
Quarterback Jameis Winston threw for over 5000 yards and 33 touchdowns but he paired that with 30 interceptions making him the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 30 touchdowns and at least 30 interceptions. Not the ideal 30 for 30 club you want to be a part of.
Is it possible to look past the interceptions and name Winston as the Bucs’ Offensive Player of the Year? Or should it go to either Mike Evans or Chris Godwin? Both of the wideouts had more than 1,000 yards and at least eight touchdowns each. (Godwin had nine).
However, when you have a QB set franchise records in almost every category, lead the league in passing yards and prove he can still produce when both star WRs are injured, he deserves the award.
Winston was the player of the year for Tampa. The ironic thing about this is we aren’t sure he will even be a Buccaneer next season. The debate on Jameis being the answer for Tampa has been going on all year and it’s not over yet.
Does head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht think they can get his turnovers under control or do they want to start fresh while they still have elite-level talent all over the offense?
While it is possible that both the OPOY and DPOY for Tampa aren’t even Bucs next season I think it’s unlikely. The Bucs know they need Shaq back and with the 14th pick in the draft, this year getting one of the top rookie QB’s is likely out of reach. At the same time, this is the NFL and this is the Bucs we are talking about so you never know what’s going to happen.