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Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds solutions your questions from the @PewterReport Twitter account every week within the Bucs Monday Mailbag. Submit your query to the Bucs Monday Mailbag every week by way of Twitter utilizing the hashtag #PRMailbag. Listed below are the questions we selected to reply for this week’s version.
QUESTION: Who sees extra work because the RB2 on the crew – Rachaad White, Ke’Shawn Vaughn or Giovani Bernard?
ANSWER: The guess right here is rookie Rachaad White as a result of he’s the Bucs’ shiny new toy. I didn’t imagine for a second that the crew thought Ke’Shawn Vaughn was “lead again” materials regardless of assertions from former head coach Bruce Arians and basic supervisor Jason Licht. If Tampa Bay thought Vaughn was “lead again” caliber, the crew wouldn’t have spent a third-round choose on White simply two years after drafting Vaughn within the third spherical.
Now, White has but to play a down within the NFL, whereas Vaughn is getting into his third season within the league. However White has gotten rave critiques from coaches and scouts throughout the OTAs. The truth that he’s sooner, extra athletic and higher within the passing sport makes White a extra engaging possibility at RB2 – until Vaughn actually steps up his sport in coaching camp, which might occur.
Vaughn had a breakthrough sport at Carolina final December with 70 yards and a landing on seven carries with Leonard Fournette out of the lineup. However within the subsequent three video games, Vaughn carried the ball 35 instances for simply 110 yards and two touchdowns for a pedestrian 3.2 yards per carry. Whereas he did a greater job of catching the ball down the stretch, he solely had six catches for 35 yards. That’s a sub-par 5.8-yard receiving common.
I believe what Vaughn did – or didn’t do – in these previous few video games with out Fournette prompted the Bucs to draft White. Tampa Bay wants a sooner again with extra elusiveness, and somebody who could make issues occurs out of the backfield within the passing sport. White caught 43 passes for 456 yards (10.6 avg.) and a landing final yr at Arizona State.
As for Giovani Bernard, he’s flashed a few instances when wholesome, and he does deliver veteran expertise again to Tampa Bay. However the way forward for the place seems to be White – first as RB2 and presumably as RB1 down the highway, ultimately changing Fournette, who turned 27 this yr. However first, White might want to beat out Vaughn, and he’ll have to proceed his offseason momentum into coaching camp and the preseason to perform that feat.
QUESTION: How’s Tristan Wirfs’ leg?
ANSWER: Bucs All-Professional proper sort out Tristan Wirfs didn’t want surgical procedure on his severely sprained ankle. Wirfs injured his ankle towards Philadelphia within the Wild Card spherical of the 2022 NFL playoffs. He missed the Rams sport the next week. There was some hypothesis that Wirfs might not be able to take part in on-field practices till the necessary mini-camp in June.
However Wirfs has been a full participant on the voluntary OTAs and is doing all the pieces from particular person unit drills to full 11-on-11 durations with no ailing results. If Wirfs isn’t at 100%, he’s awfully shut. And he’ll have shut to 2 months off earlier than coaching camp begins in late July.
QUESTION: What sort of QB pressures can we count on with Shaq Barrett, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Vita Vea and Will Gholston? And what concerning the linebackers and defensive backs?
ANSWER: Pewter Report’s Josh Queipo really did an article on this over the weekend. The quartet of defenders you talked about recorded 27.5 sacks final yr. Queipo predicts a mixed improve to 38.5 this season for these gamers. Tampa Bay had 47 sacks final yr. That was one lower than the crew recorded in 2020 en path to successful Tremendous Bowl LV.
Contemplating that the Bucs acquired 8.5 sacks from the crew’s inside linebackers and blitzing defensive backs, that may put the crew at 47 sacks once more. The wild card may very well be rookie defensive sort out Logan Corridor, who’s changing Ndamukong Suh. In a current look on the Pewter Report Podcast, Bucs defensive finish Will Gholston mentioned he might see Corridor getting six sacks or extra in 2022. Suh notched six sacks final yr, so that may put Tampa Bay’s projected sack whole at 53.
But, even the good Warren Sapp solely recorded three sacks as a part-time starter throughout his rookie season. It’s all the time laborious for rookie defensive tackles to return in and have speedy success. Though, Santana Dotson set the rookie report for sacks in Tampa Bay throughout the 1992 season with 10. If Corridor has six sacks throughout his rookie season, that may be thought-about an amazing begin to his Bucs profession.
QUESTION: How a lot are the Bucs mortgaging their future with prorated bonuses being given in 2021/2022? It looks like there’s a mountain of useless cap cash coming that may go away us noncompetitive for a number of years.
ANSWER: There isn’t a doubt that Tom Brady’s return has stored the crew’s Tremendous Bowl window open yet another season. And sure, the Bucs have mortgaged their future to a level. Because it stands proper now the Bucs are projected to be $47 million over subsequent yr’s wage cap. Brady’s useless cap hit of simply over $35 million is the largest cause. If Rob Gronkowski returns, he’ll doubtless have at the very least $5 million value of useless cap room hitting subsequent yr as nicely.
However there are many methods basic supervisor Jason Licht and vp of soccer administration Mike Greenberg can create extra cap room. Eight Bucs will make $11 million or extra subsequent yr. And a few of that cash could be allotted into the longer term to create aid in 2023. Subsequent yr’s wage cap is predicted to rise as much as $220 million-$225 million.
With quarterbacks historically taking over a lot cap area, having a yr – presumably 2023 – with cheaper QB choices would assist. Having Kyle Trask on his rookie deal and presumably re-signing Blaine Gabbert for a number of million would vastly assist. That situation, though not perfect, might go a great distance towards righting the ship with regards to the cap.
QUESTION: If Rob Gronkowski doesn’t return, are the Bucs pleased with Cameron Brate as a starter?
ANSWER: If Rob Gronkowski retires this offseason, the crew would doubtless signal one other veteran tight finish. The Bucs like their younger assortment of expertise on the tight finish place. However having 4 rookies together with veteran Cameron Brate isn’t perfect. Tampa Bay has excessive hopes for Cade Otton, its fourth-round choose. However he’s nonetheless recovering from ankle surgical procedure and certain received’t be capable to go till coaching camp.
To reply your query extra immediately, I believe the Bucs could be reluctantly snug with Brate, who might be 31 in July, as a starter. Tampa Bay’s offense is large receiver-driven in any case. So, it might characteristic extra 4 receiver units and fewer two tight finish units with out Gronkowski. That’s one solution to method it.
Gronkowski is more likely to return, although. He’s not going to depart the Bucs hanging this offseason. If he really was going to retire, he would have signaled that to basic supervisor Jason Licht and definitely his good pal, quarterback Tom Brady. The Bucs would have been extra aggressive addressing tight finish within the offseason if Gronk wasn’t coming again. Tampa Bay wouldn’t have waited till the fourth spherical to draft a decent finish, for instance. Search for him to re-sign both earlier than necessary mini-camp or the beginning of coaching camp.