The Tampa Bay Buccaneers best offseason move: It’s hard to call picking O.J. Howard the best move this offseason, because the Bucs didn’t really have to do muich for that except wait and do the super obvious thing. Still, that is likely to have a massive impact on the Bucs’ offense in the long term—the short-term consequences remain to be determined.
DeSean Jackson is more a move they really had to go to some effort to complete. Signing him was a somewhat obvious move given the team’s stated desire to add speed—but there’s still a lot of work that has to be done to come to that decision.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers best offseason move
For one, Jackson was expensive. You don’t spend $11 million per year lightly. For two, Jackson has a reputation of being a diva—granted, that hasn’t come out in recent years at all, but there’s a bit of a character risk there anyway.
Jackson is also likely to transform the Bucs’ offense from day one. Mike Evans has some value as a deep threat, but Jackson has to be accounted for before the snap in a way Evans does not: he forces safeties to line up deeper—and that opens up the entire offense underneath that deep threat.
Hopefully that’s how it plays out, anyway. We won’t know until Jackson actually takes the field—it wouldn’t be the first time a free agent has disappointed in a Bucs uniform—but early signs are good, and there’s no concrete reason to doubt his impact. So signing him probably was the Bucs’ best offseason move.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
GM Jason Licht had a clear off-season directive: give Jameis Winston as many weapons as possible. Winston is only 23, with two 4,000-yard seasons. However the Bucs are wary of the quarterback’s turnover problem. Winston threw 18 interceptions in 2016, with 10 fumbles (six lost). Many times, it feels like Winston tries to do too much himself. To remedy that, Licht surrounded Winston with playmakers who can relieve some of that pressure.
It began in free agency with wideout DeSean Jackson (three years, $35 million). The 30-year-old speedster has built a reputation over nine seasons as the best friend to a quarterback. Paired with budding superstar Mike Evans (three straight 1,000 yard seasons) and the Bucs may have the best 1-2 receiver punch in the league. Actually make that 1-2-3, as Buccaneers NFL found a gem in the third round by drafting Penn State’s Chris Godwin. Most evaluators pegged Godwin as a second-round talent. The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Godwin is deceptively fast, averaged 16.6 yards per catch last year while possessing many of the same traits (separation on routes, ability to win contested catches) that made his Nittany Lion predecessor, Allen Robinson, successful in Jacksonville.