What’s The Plan At Running Back?

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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 here are the questions we selected to reply for this week’s version.

QUESTION: Thanks for all the nice contributions. What’s the plan at working again? Looks as if an afterthought nearly. Worth on the place appears to be as essential as match and flexibility.

ANSWER: Bringing again Leonard Fournette is just not out of the query. Tom Brady desires Fournette again, and there’s no doubt that his expertise within the Bucs offense is a plus. Fournette had a strong 12 months in 2021. He rushed for 812 yards and eight touchdowns whereas averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Fournette additionally caught 69 passes for 454 yards and a career-high two touchdowns. He missed 4 video games attributable to a hamstring damage, together with the first-round playoff recreation.

There are some throughout the group that really feel the necessity to improve the working again place and discover a cheaper different. Fournette signed an inexpensive, one-year deal value $3.25 million in 2021 and needs a big pay enhance in 2022. The edges are far aside. The Bucs are enjoying the ready recreation, as there doesn’t appear to be a lot of a marketplace for the 27-year previous again.

Arizona State RB Rachaad White

Arizona State RB Rachaad White – Photograph by: USA At present

The staff will draft no less than one working again this 12 months, as was reported in final Friday’s SR’s Fab 5. That a lot appears sure. Being an element within the passing recreation is paramount for working backs in Tampa Bay. The Bucs put a premium on catching the ball and go safety.

Denver’s Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles’ Sony Michel and Kansas Metropolis’ Darrel Williams can be found suits in free company that groups hope can do each. Gordon and Michel will doubtless value considerably extra – doubtless north of $4.5 million per season. Williams, who turns 27 in April, was Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s backup final season and could be cheaper. He ran for a career-high 558 yards and 6 touchdowns whereas averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Williams additionally had a private greatest 47 catches for 452 yards and two touchdowns. At 5-foot-11, 219 kilos, Williams resembles Peyton Barber when it comes to dimension and working type.

Gordon and Michel have higher pedigree, however each are unimpressive within the passing recreation. In reality, PFF ranks Gordon within the 0th percentile in receiving grade amongst working backs. Michel is a good go protector, however has didn’t make an affect as a receiver in his profession. Williams, who dealt with third down alternatives in Kansas Metropolis, is by far the most effective passing downs possibility of the three.

There’s a probability that the Bucs might re-sign veteran Giovani Bernard, who turns 31 later this 12 months. Veteran Latavius Murray is 32, however he’s a greater runner and nonetheless a very good receiver. Each Bernard and Murray may very well be had for league-minimum offers.

The Bucs will add three extra working backs this offseason as they solely have Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Kenjon Barner at present below contract. No less than a type of new additions will probably be a rookie.

QUESTION: If Leonard Fournette is just too costly, who’re practical free agent targets at working again?

ANSWER: If the Bucs wish to search for some bargains at working again in free company, a couple of may very well be had. However there’s a large motive why these backs will probably be out there for an inexpensive worth: accidents.

Kansas Metropolis’s Jerick McKinnon is a participant Tampa Bay preferred in free company in 2018. He opted for the 49ers moderately than the Bucs after which noticed his profession derailed by two knee accidents, together with a torn ACL. These accidents prompted him to overlook two seasons.

He was a reserve in San Francisco in 2020 and likewise in Kansas Metropolis final 12 months. After not doing a lot within the common season with the Chiefs, McKinnon ran for 150 yards in three playoff video games. He averaged a wholesome 4.7 yards per carry. McKinnon additionally caught 14 passes for 165 yards (11.8 avg.) and a landing within the postseason. He turns 30 in Might and will doubtless be had for the league minimal on a one-year deal.

Colts RB Marlon Mack

Colts RB Marlon Mack – Photograph by: USA At present

A whole lot of Bucs followers within the Tampa Bay space are eager about former USF rusher Marlon Mack, who is barely 26 years previous. However after speeding for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019 with the Colts, Mack has totaled 127 yards speeding over the previous two seasons. And solely 5 catches for 38 yards.

Mack suffered an Achilles tendon damage within the 2020 season opener and has by no means been the identical. Maybe he’s value taking a flier on for the league minimal and bringing him to camp to compete. The issue is that there simply isn’t a lot good tape to overview over the previous two seasons.

Former Bears Tarik Cohen will flip 27 later this 12 months, however he’s nonetheless recovering from a torn ACL in 2020 and has but to go a bodily. Cohen doesn’t deliver a lot as a runner, however he is an efficient receiver out of the backfield along with bringing worth as a return specialist. He was a Professional Bowler as an all-around weapon in 2018.

Ball safety has been a problem for Cohen, who expects to be prepared by coaching camp. Like Mack, Cohen could need to signal an inexpensive one-year, prove-it deal someplace in 2022.

QUESTION: I count on to see the Bucs add one other O-lineman. How doubtless are they to commerce for an additional one? What positions are they most certainly to handle by a commerce?

ANSWER: Including one other offensive lineman by the draft is feasible. If Boston School guard Zion Johnson or Texas A&M’s Kenyon Inexperienced is out there with the No. 27 decide, take into account the Bucs . I wouldn’t rule out the Bucs deciding on a guard someplace within the 2022 NFL Draft.

Bucs G Aaron Stinnie and Giants DT Leonard Hamilton

Bucs G Aaron Stinnie and Giants DT Leonard Hamilton – Photograph by: USA At present

But on the identical time, the Bucs traded for Patriots proper guard Shaq Mason to exchange Alex Cappa. Tampa Bay has some in-house developmental candidates to exchange Ali Marpet at left guard. Aaron Stinnie signed a one-year deal and has essentially the most expertise. The Bucs are additionally excessive on Nick Leverett, who performed sparingly in 2021. John Molchon has been on the apply squad for years and also will compete, as will Sadarius Hutcherson, who’s coming off a knee damage.

As for different trades, Bucs normal supervisor Jason Licht doesn’t make trades for gamers usually. However when he does these trades have been impactful, as famous in Friday’s SR’s Fab 5 column. Licht has traded for the likes of out of doors linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul, tight finish Rob Gronkowski and reserve defensive sort out Steve McLendon in recent times. All three helped the Bucs win Tremendous Bowl LV in 2020.

It’s onerous to find out when Licht will pull the set off on his subsequent commerce and at what place. The commerce for Mason was out of the blue and it was spectacular. It value Tampa Bay only a fifth-round decide.

QUESTION: With Ryan Jensen again, and for probably three years, and Shaq Mason right here no less than two seasons, is there any probability Robert Hainsey is within the competitors for the left guard spot? Or do Bucs simply preserve him as depth at middle and proper guard? The Bucs ought to attempt to get one thing out of their third-rounder from final 12 months.

ANSWER: Bucs middle Ryan Jensen spoke extremely of Robert Hainsey’s growth behind the scenes final 12 months. However he acknowledged the plain in that Hainsey must get larger and stronger. He’s a really fast, explosive athlete, however might want to add some mass and energy to his decrease physique to have the ability to anchor higher in opposition to NFL defensive tackles.

Bucs OL Robert Hainsey

Bucs OL Robert Hainsey – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

There’s a good probability that Hainsey will probably be cross-trained at guard this 12 months to extend his versatility. He spent his rookie season primarily studying middle. It will not be out of the query to see Tampa Bay give him a shot on the open left guard place. Veteran Aaron Stinnie is taken into account to be the favourite with Nick Leverett an in depth second. However placing Hainsey within the combine would solely help in his growth and enhance the competitors on the left guard spot.

Despite the fact that Jensen is again he turns 31 this 12 months and was dinged up on a couple of events final season. Jensen is a warrior, however there’s worth in having a gifted and succesful backup middle with Hainsey.

QUESTION: With the Bucs saying they wish to get faster on the inside D-line, who’re some free brokers or potential commerce targets to fill that position?

ANSWER: That’s a very good query, and one which doesn’t have an amazing reply. There actually aren’t any high quality defensive tackles that match that profile left in free company. Cincinnati’s Larry Ogunjobi is fast and athletic, however is a legal responsibility in opposition to the run, which wouldn’t make him an amazing slot in Tampa Bay. Plus, Ogunjobi was set to signal with Chicago, however failed his bodily attributable to a foot damage that occurred within the playoffs.

UConn DT Travis Jones

UConn DT Travis Jones – Photograph by: USA At present

I believe the Bucs will make a run at re-signing Ndamukong Suh as a result of he is aware of Todd Bowles’ scheme and is a good match. Suh has had back-to-back years with six sacks in the course of the common season. Not unhealthy for a 35-year previous defensive sort out.

The Bucs could flip to defensive sort out within the 2022 NFL Draft, however it’s very skinny on the place. UCONN’s Travis Jones might really be an possibility at No. 27. Jones is a giant defensive sort out at 6-foot-4, 326 kilos. However he did run a powerful 4.92 on the NFL Scouting Mix. One other candidate may very well be Oklahoma’s Perrion Winfrey, who ran a 4.89 at 6-foot-4, 291 kilos. He’s a Day 2 possibility.

Georgia’s Devonte Wyatt is the quickest three-technique sort out on this 12 months’s draft class. However he blew up on the Mix with an electrical 4.77 time within the 40-yard sprint at 6-foot-3, 304 kilos. Wyatt will probably be a High 20 decide together with fellow Georgia defensive sort out Jordan Davis, who wowed with 4.78 time at 6-foot-4, 341 kilos.


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