Shark Bites

Bucs GM Jason Licht singled out RB Ronald Jones as the player who's most impressed the coaching staff this offseason. "His attitude, his willingness to do extra," Licht continued. "You can just see the confidence rising in him." Jones is coming off a brutal rookie campaign that saw him fail to pass Peyton Barber on the depth chart and average just 1.9 yards on 23 carries. Licht might be simply covering his butt after spending a 2nd-round pick on Jones last year. But it's also too soon to write off a guy who turns just 22 in August. Jones still has every chance to win Tampa's starting job in 2019.

Bucs GM Jason Licht expects WR Chris Godwin to play more in the slot under HC Bruce Arians. Licht compared Godwin's potential role to the one Larry Fitzgerald played in Arians' offense. Fitz averaged 94 catches, 1,026 yards and 6.6 TDs in 5 seasons under Arians. Godwin, of course, will remain behind Mike Evans on the totem pole. But the departures of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries free up 179 targets. Everything is in place for a breakout 2019 for Godwin.

The Buccaneers have signed QB Blaine Gabbert, according to The Athletic. He'll now back up QB Jameis Winston after playing the same role with the 49ers, Cardinals and Titans previously. Tennessee's trade for Ryan Tannehill replaced Gabbert there. Gabbert previously played under new Bucs HC Bruce Arians with the 2017 Cardinals, where he went 2-3 in 5 starts.

The Buccaneers have re-signed RB Peyton Barber on a 1-year deal. It's not a surprising move, given that Barber was a restricted free agent. He should face more of a fight for touches in a backfield that will at least include a more experience Ronald Jones. We'll see what else the Bucs add (besides free-agent addition Andre Ellington).

The Browns initially agreed to a 1-year deal with WR Breshad Perriman but let him out after they traded for WR Odell Beckham. The Tampa Tribune reports that Perriman has instead reached a 1-year, $4 million deal with the Bucs. That sends Perriman to an offense that has shed WR DeSean Jackson and WR Adam Humphries over the past few days. There's room for Perriman to gain the WR3 role, but we'll see how things sort out.

The Buccaneers have reached a 1-year deal with LB Deone Bucannon, according to multiple reports. That's not the kind of contract that will guarantee Bucannon a starting job, but he rejoins the HC (Bruce Arians) who led the team that drafted him back in 2014. Bucannon also joins a Bucs D that's about to lose MLB Kwon Alexander to the 49ers. Bucannon's likely headed to that spot, barring some other addition to the corps this offseason. He might have to compete with 2018 rookie Adarius Taylor for that job. It'll be an interesting LB corps to watch this offseason.

The Buccaneers have reached a deal with RB Andre Ellington. The 30-year-old started his career in Arizona under new Bucs HC Bruce Arians. They showed us then that Ellington's not a workhorse. There's room for him to work into a Tampa committee, however. Last year's 2nd-round pick, Ronald Jones, returns, and Peyton Barber (a restricted free agent) will likely remain in the mix. Signing Ellington certainly shouldn't keep the Bucs from making any other backfield moves this offseason. We'll see what this depth chart looks like after the NFL Draft and early free agency.

Bucs TE Cameron Brate underwent surgery last week to repair a torn labrum in his hip, ESPN's Jenna Laine reports. Brate played the "majority" of the season with the injury, according to Laine. That helps explain a disappointing 2018 campaign that saw him finish with 3-year lows in catches (30), yards (289) and yards per catch (9.6). Brate is expected to be sidelined for a few months, and the Bucs are hoping he'll be a full-go by June minicamp.

The Bucs have hired Bruce Arians as their new HC. Byron Leftwich will serve as the OC, but it'll be Arians running the show. He was out of coaching this past year but spent the previous 5 seasons as the Cardinals' HC and also has 9 years of experience as an NFL OC. After struggling early in his career, Arians has landed 7 of his last 9 offenses inside the top 14 in total yards. He tends to lean toward the pass, with just 1 of those last 9 offenses ranking higher in rush attempts than pass attempts. All 9 of those units finished top 15 in pass yards, with 5 cracking the top 10. We'd expect a pass-leaning attack in Tampa Bay -- good news for QB Jameis Winston and WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin

Bucs GM Jason Licht said at his end-of-season press conference on Monday that QB Jameis Winston will be the team's starter in 2019. "There’s a lot to like about Jamies and he’ll be here next year," Licht said. Winston's 2018 got off to a rough start. He was suspended for the first 2 games and then got benched in his 3rd start. But he took back over in Week 12 and completed 63.3% of his passes with 11 TDs vs. just 3 INTs over the final 6 games. Winston was 12th among QBs in fantasy points over that span. Returning Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard, Winston should be in the QB1 mix again next year.

The Bucs have fired HC Dirk Koetter, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. After going 9-7 in his 1st season at the helm, Koetter's Bucs went 5-11 in each of the last 2. We'll see who Tampa tabs as his replacement -- and whether they keep OC Todd Monken.

Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee, shoulder) is active for today's game against the Falcons after arriving questionable. DE Carl Nassib is inactive, as expected. A shoulder injury rendered him doubtful.

Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Falcons. He has played through multiple questionable tags this season, and we'd bet on him playing in the finale. DE Carl Nassib, on the other hand, is doubtful for Sunday because of a shoulder injury.

Bucs HC Dirk Koetter said QB Ryan Griffin could get some snaps in Sunday's finale against the Falcons. "The guy's been here for three years," Koetter said. "He's worked his tail off ... I think Ryan Griffin is a really good quarterback. He tears it up in practice everyday, but he's never had the chance to prove it in a real game." Griffin has never appeared in a regular season game but completed 68% of his passes with 4 TDs and 0 INTs this preseason. He's not a Week 17 fantasy option, but this news obviously adds risk to QB Jameis Winston's profile.

The Buccaneers have placed S Justin Evans on IR with the toe injury that cost him the past 2 games, plus a pair before that. That leaves the safety spots primarily to Andrew Adams and Jordan Whitehead, though neither guy reached 80% playing time last week. Neither makes for a strong IDP option vs. Dallas in Week 16.

Buccaneers LB Adarius Taylor is inactive for today's game at Baltimore for personal reasons. That leaves an already depleted Bucs LB corps even thinner. Tampa will, at least, have DE Jason Pierre-Paul. He's active despite another questionable tag and is OK for normal IDP usage. S Isaiah Johnson (concussion) is also active after hitting the weekend questionable. He'll start in place of Justin Evans.

The Buccaneers have ruled S Justin Evans (toe) out for the 2nd straight game. S Isaiah Johnson (concussion) would fill in, if he can play. He's questionable, though, after missing Week 14. Johnson progressed from missing practice Wednesday to limited Thursday and then a full Friday workout. DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee, hip) is also questionable but has been playing through questionable tags for weeks. LB Adarius Taylor is also suddenly questionable for the game. He has a personal matter that may draw him away from the game. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted Friday that it is "likely related" to the impending birth of Taylor's child (though he oddly did so without confirmation). We'll check on the status of all these questionable players Sunday morning.

Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) is active for today's game against the Saints. He put in just a limited practice Friday and carries some extra risk into an already low-floor matchup. Consider other options for your IDP lineup today.

The Buccaneers have ruled S Justin Evans (toe) out for Sunday's game against the Saints. DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) is questionable. He missed practice Wednesday and Thursday before returning to a limited Friday workout. That marked a downgrade from his participation level last week with the same injury. We'll check JPP's status Sunday morning. The issue plus the poor sack matchup with New Orleans make him much more of a "sit" candidate than usual.

Buccaneers S Justin Evans left Sunday's game against the Panthers early after aggravating the injury to his right big toe. Evans missed Wednesday's practice and was seen in a walking boot. That bodes ill for Evans' Sunday availability -- and durability even if he plays. Evans practiced every day last week, including a full workout Friday. We've removed him from the Week 14 DB rankings (for now, at least).

 
 
 

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