In what was a somewhat surprising move, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers extended the contract of General Manager Jason Licht for the next four seasons plus an option for a fifth year which will take to Licht to 2023.
In five season with the Bucs, Licht has posted a 27-53 record and has had just one winning season, that coming in 2016 when the Bucs went 9-7.
Under Licht’s leadership, the Bucs have also not made the playoffs which is now a 12 year playoff drought having last made the playoffs in 2007.
Licht has an above average record with his draft picks, with Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, OJ Howard, and Donavan Smith amount his best players drafted.
Licht’s failure to address the defensive side of the ball in the draft until the last few years is one of the reasons the Bucs have been in the bottom third of the NFL defensive rankings the last few years.
Licht has also swung and missed on a few picks including second round pick Roberto Aguayo the kicker from Florida State who flamed out in 2017 with a .710 career field goal percentage.
Licht has also had a less then stellar track record in free agency, Chris Baker, Vinny Curry, JR Sweezy, Mitch Unrein, Robert McClain, and JJ Wilcox all come to mind.
Licht has had a couple of decent free agent signings. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson was ok for a year and a half before he shut it down and became a royal pain in the butt. Center Ryan Jensen was a decent signing, and defensive tackle Beau Allan has been a contributor on defense.
It remains to be seen how this years free agent class will be looked upon through the history lens.
Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer has all the confidence in the world in Jason Licht, “We have great confidence in Jason,” Obviously, the record is the record. And there’s still a story to be told.”
The extending of Licht five years also bodes well for Jameis Winston. Winston is in the last year of his rookie contract and is making north of $20 million dollars. Licht drafted Winston with the number one over all pick in 2015 and the Bucs will need to decide sometime this season wether or not to extend Winston.
With the signing of Licht to the five year deal, the signing of Winston to a new contract just became more of a certainty.
Even though the Bucs may sign Winston to be the guy at quarterback to a second contract, that should not pre-clude them from drafting a top notch quarterback in the upcoming draft.
With Bruce Arians coming to coach the Bucs, there were certain requirements that needed to be met. One was Jason Licht remaining in place as General Manager, and the other piece was Jameis Winston remaining at quarterback, who in the mind of Bruce Arians is a franchise quarterback.
Arians believes that Winston has all the tools to succeed at the NFL level and be an elite quarterback.
Joel Glazer said that the Bucs are looking for consistency in the front office. He felt it important to have consistency versus making wholesale changes.
This extension has been in the works ever since the Bucs hired Bruce Arians to be their head coach.
There is no another franchise in the sports world outside of maybe the Dallas Cowboys and the Cincinnati Bengals that would tolerate this type of performance.
Jason Licht is to General Managers what Marvin Lewis was to coaching the Cincinnati Bengals. Mediocre results. Brown was happy in Cincinnati with Marvin Lewis and his 131-122-3 in the regular season while owning an 0-7 record in the playoffs.
Joel Glazer has settled for mediocre results as an owner of the Buccaneers. Check out the results of the Liverpool soccer club in England and see the how that club has regressed under the Glazers ownership.
At its worst this signing ensures that the Bucs will continue to be mired in mediocrity. At its best, the Licht -Arians due gets the Bucs back to respectability and a team to be respected in the NFC South.