The Buccaneers have not had a good off-season. The first blow came when linebacker Kwon Alexander, the heart and soul of the defense signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
Then we received the news that linebacker Kendall Beckwith may not be able to play football at all in 2019 as he continues to recover from his broken ankle suffered in a car accident last spring.
Then the free agency period opens and the Bucs have no money to being in any significant free agents as they have no money to spend. They are in salary cap hell and still have some difficult decisions to make about this roster in the weeks to come.
The Bucs also may not be able to bring back defensive tackle Gerald McCoy at his $13 million dollar salary. McCoy has been a very good defensive tackle in Tampa. Not great, but good.
The Bucs also need to trim a little over $11 million dollars in salary to sign the 2019 draft class.
Then last weekend we heard the news about Jason Pierre Paul being involved in an auto accident.
No one seems to know the exact details of the accident. It has been five days and the details are still trickling in slowly.
What we do know is that Pierre-Paul and a male passenger where driving north on I-95 when Pierre-Paul’s Ferrari did a 360 and spun out of control into the median.
Pierre-Paul was able to call 911 and report the accident and was then transported to a local hospital where he was released.
Tuesday morning word began circulating that Pierre-Paul suffered a fractured neck in the accident and could potentially miss the 2019 season.
It appears that this is just an unfortunate accident. Pierre-Paul was wearing a seatbelt, Speed was not a factor in the accident, but it was raining and the road was wet causing the car to hydro plane.
So why the conflicting medical report?
As is protocol for any NFL team, when something like this happens, the teams like to have their own medical staff check out the player a bit more thoroughly.
The Bucs are no different and wanted Pierre-Paul checked out by the team doctors. In the words of Jason Licht speaking about Pierre-Paul,“Jason was treated and released in South Florida the same day of the accident. We wanted to ensure that our medical team had an opportunity to perform a thorough evaluation here in Tampa, and that process is currently ongoing.”
That is where the alleged neck fracture was discovered. I am saying alleged because this story seems to change every five minutes.
Right now Pierre-Paul is getting a second opinion on his neck to see if surgery is required.
Anytime you have a neck injury, its a tough thing to recuperate from just doing everyday normal activities let alone trying to play professional football. So this is a very dicey situation.
Who do the Bucs have to take the place of Pierre-Paul? No one. The Bucs were one of the worst defenses in the league last season with Pierre-Paul getting 12.5 sacks and having 20 quarterback hits.
You don’t replace that kind of production.
Carl Nassib who the Bucs signed in week two last season and 6.5 sacks is one candidate, as is Noah Spence if he can stay healthy for any length of time.
How this will affect the Bucs financially has yet to be determined. Right now it looks as if Pierre Paul has $7.5 million of his $14 million dollar contract guaranteed.
So if the Bucs cut him they would only save around seven million dollars, still not enough to sign the 2019 draft picks.
What do you do with McCoy? Keep him at $13 million? Try to get him to take a pay cut? Or release him?
The Bucs are in a tight spot right now, and whatever decisions they make will have huge ramifications on the 2019 season.