Bucs prepare for the draft and Leonard Fournette will be back in 2021
The Buccaneers are busy preparing for the NFL draft, and according to GM Jason Licht, the Bucs have a luxury this year they have not had in the past.
The Bucs could take a running back with the 32nd pick or add depth to the offensive or defensive line. Arian said this week that the team needs to look at developing a quarterback behind Tom Brady.
It’s not out of the question that the Bucs take a quarterback at 32. The Bucs could also take a quarterback in the later rounds of this year’s draft.
Speaking on a zoom call with reporters this week, Jason Licht said that this is the first year the Bucs may draft the best player on the board instead of looking at a specific need. “It is a really good feeling this year that literally just about any player at any position we could take. Of course, in the perfect world, you’d want to pick players that come in and help and contribute right away.”
Licht also talked about the voided years in the contracts awarded to the Bucs in this year’s free agency blitz. There has been some concern that the Bucs were kicking the salary cap can down the road. They were mortgaging the future at the expense of chasing another Super Bowl in 2021.
Licht disagrees with that assessment. “There are some corrections that are going to have to take place at some point down the road, but we’re not putting ourselves in a position where next year we have to release a lot of good players.”
Many teams, including the Bucs, have implemented those voidable years in a number of its new contracts in the wake of the pandemic and the low salary cap of $182.5 million. This is a way for teams to spread the signing bonus over many years while also increasing the salary cap in future years.
Bucs owner Joel Glazer also addressed this in his zoom call with reporters this week. “It’s all about winning championships, so we want to give it our best shot. But we definitely have an eye for the future. We do not believe that we’re causing terrible problems in the future.”
—With the Bucs signing Leonard Fournette to a one-year $ 4 million contract, It was his turn to talk to the media, and he had talked about the competition in training camp at running back.
“Going to camp, we’re going to have to compete. Nothing’s promised to anyone. I’ve been here before. I understand about competing. It’s like college; you know what I mean? And right now, we’re just training, getting our bodies right, just coming in knowing we’re going to have to start all over and compete for that starting job, and it’s going to be a great one.”
Fournette had other offers on the table more than Tampa offered, but he chose to re-sign with the Bucs.
Arians has promised a physical camp and said that everyone would be competing for a job this summer. “They all know what the system is, and the best players are going to play. Obviously, we have two really, really good ones at that position, and I really like Ke’Shawn Vaughn. I think with an offseason, he’s going to have a breakout year also.”
With Fournette signed, the Bucs return all 22 starters from last year’s Super Bowl-winning team.