Popular young Buccaneers on the hot seat after recent additions

Scotty Miller, Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Scotty Miller, Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers may have really liked their young receiver depth over the past two seasons, but some big changes are coming to that unit.

The front office for the Buccaneers has made it clear that their main focus for the 2022 season is keeping Tom Brady in a position to win.

Signing Ryan Jensen and trading for Shaq Mason serve an obvious purpose in keeping Brady’s jersey clean, and going after guys like Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman in free agency is meant to address one of Tampa’s bigger issues from last season; wide receiver depth.

It looked like the Bucs had the best receiver room in the league at the start last season. A top trio of three All-Pro-caliber guys and three young receivers that had clear WR3 potential was a major bright spot for an offense that took pride in its passing offense.

Unfortunately, that depth was needed far more than the average viewer would like, and the performances weren’t great.

With Antonio Brown dealing with his own issues and with Chris Godwin hurt, there was a mountain of opportunities for Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller, and Jaelon Darden to show why the team kept them around.

The receiver depth failed the Buccaneers in 2021

Yes, Miller was injured for a decent part of the season, but the opportunity was still there for all of them, and none of the three ever popped.

In fact, the only receivers that really made a case for being on the roster in those key moments were Cyril Grayson and Breshad Perriman. It wasn’t like Miller, Johnson, and Darden were beat out by All-Pros; a practice squad speedster and a veteran that joined late in the season were the only ones the coaching staff trusted in this big moments.

Changes to the receiver room are coming.

Evans, Godwin, Gage, Perriman, and Darden are safe. The Bucs aren’t cutting a young guy that they traded up for like Darden after one season, even if that season was terrible.

Cyril Grayson makes a case to earn a spot too alongside several practice squad players the coaches like, such as Travis Jonsen, and that already brings us to six.

Does anyone believe the Bucs won’t draft a wide receiver with one of their higher picks?

We are nearing a point where the Buccaneers won’t have the roster space for guys like Miller or Johnson anymore, and these two should start to feel their seats heating up.

Miller and Johnson are good players with fun upside and support from the fans, but the coaching staff is showing that they can’t trust two young guys that are streaky at best. If it were a rebuild year, that would be one thing. But this season could be one of the last great chances this franchise has at a Super Bowl for a while. You can’t waste it on guys that you don’t trust.

It’s not easy to accept, but Miller is a very likely out. Miller is good for one thing and one thing only; vertical routes, and guys like Perriman and Grayson do that better while also being bigger and better blockers.

Johnson makes a good case to stay in competition for the fourth role, but the coaching staff has to wonder when he will take those next steps. You can’t hold onto a guy forever because of their potential, and Johnson’s departure is only made more likely by the chance of getting some trade compensation.

Moving on from either player would hurt after their contributions en route to the Super Bowl, but it might be time to start preparing for that as the most likely future.

Trending. Tom Brady needs to bury the hatchet and bring All-Pro to Buccaneers. light

Want to write about the Buccaneers? Apply below!

The Pewter Plank
The Pewter Plank /

Want your voice heard? Join the The Pewter Plank team!

Write for us!