Buccaneers Rumors

Jason Pierre-Paul Undergoes Surgery

Jason Pierre-Paul will be on the mend for a bit. The Buccaneers edge defender underwent knee surgery recently, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.

This was an arthroscopic procedure, and while it may sideline JPP for the start of Bucs training camp — should camps begin later this month as scheduled — he should be expected to recover in around a month.

The 31-year-old edge rusher has dealt with extensive injury trouble but has persisted to play 10 NFL seasons. He managed to rebound from the 2015 fireworks accident, which left permanent damage to his right hand, to record 15.5 sacks between the 2016-17 seasons. Despite playing just 10 games last season due to a fractured neck sustained in May 2019, JPP returned to post 8.5 sacks. He has 21 in two Tampa Bay slates.

The Bucs re-signed Pierre-Paul in March, giving him a two-year, $25MM deal to return alongside the franchise-tagged Shaquil Barrett. Tampa Bay is scheduled to begin camp July 28.

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Buccaneers Remain Out On Antonio Brown?

Some Antonio Brown-to-Tampa Bay rumblings resurfaced Tuesday morning, but Bruce Arians‘ March stance on his former charge may still stand.

The Buccaneers remain uninterested in adding the former perennial All-Pro wideout, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com tweets. With Tampa Bay arming for an all-in window behind Tom Brady for two years, Brown would certainly make sense from a football perspective and give the Bucs a historically loaded pass-catching corps.

The move would be risky, though, and Arians said months ago the team would not pursue Brown. Despite Arians having coached Brown in Pittsburgh, he is not interested in a reunion. Nothing has changed on this front, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets.

Brown remains under NFL investigation for multiple incidents — including two alleged acts of sexual misconduct — and is expected to face a suspension this season. Given the superstar receiver’s volatile run over the past 1 1/2 years, teams will be hesitant to give him another chance immediately. But Brown’s talent points to him receiving at least one more opportunity at some point.

The soon-to-be 32-year-old weapon has been linked to the Ravens and Seahawks, though Baltimore is believed to also be uninterested in adding Brown to its pass-catching stable. Russell Wilson is believed to have lobbied for the mercurial talent at multiple junctures.

The Bucs already employ Pro Bowlers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and scant precedent exists for a tight end trio as deep as Tampa’s Rob GronkowskiO.J. HowardCameron Brate group. But Brady was believed to be against the Patriots cutting Brown last year and has been rumored to support the Bucs bringing him in. For now, however, that does not appear to be a front-burner matter for the team.

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Buccaneers Open To Antonio Brown?

In March, we heard that new Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady wants to reunite with Antonio Brown. Meanwhile, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said that a Brown signing is “not going to happen.” Here in June, the Bucs are starting to open up to the idea of adding AB, according to Michael Lombardi of The Athletic (Twitter link via Barstool Sports’ Pat McAfee).

[RELATED: Bucs’ Shaq Barrett Will Sign By July 15]

From a football perspective, it would be a huge win for the Buccaneers. With Brown, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin at wide receiver, they’d be impossible to guard for opposing defenses.

Yeah, it’s not going to happen,” Arians said earlier this year. “It’s just not going to happen. There’s no room and probably not enough money. But it’s just not going to happen. It’s not a fit here.”

When pressed on whether he’d consider Brown on a minimum salary deal, Arians again demurred.

“No. I just know him and it’s not a fit in our locker room.”

Brown’s status with the league office remains under review, so it’s not a given that he’ll be cleared to play in 2020. Beyond that, there’s the matter of Brown’s fit in the locker room, as Arians noted. Even before all of the ugly accusations and disturbing social media videos, Brown clashed with coaches and teammates in Pittsburgh and Oakland.

Brady, meanwhile, is likely rooting for a change of heart in the front office.

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Bucs’ Shaquil Barrett Will Sign By July 15

Shaquil Barrett wants a long-term deal, but, if that doesn’t materialize, he won’t drag things out. The Buccaneers edge rusher says he’ll sign his one-year tender if the two sides can’t agree to an extension before the July 15th deadline.

[RELATED: Bucs’ Barrett Talks Franchise Tag]

Last week, Barrett said he was about “50-50” on signing the one-year franchise tender and indicated that he would have an update on that front by Friday. Friday has come and gone, but Barrett now appears to be saying that he won’t hold out from the Bucs. Of course, signing the one-year tender today would not preclude the two sides from working out an extension before 7/15, so the delay is a bit of a head-scratcher given his comments. When asked about that, Barrett said the two sides are “still trying to work something out.”

That “something” could be a compromise on Barrett’s 2020 salary. It’s believed that Barrett was tagged as a linebacker, rather than a defensive end, so the one-year placeholder would pay him $15.8MM. Defensive ends, meanwhile, are marked at $17.8MM for the franchise tag this year. In the past, we’ve seen teams meet their edge rushers in the middle – a one-year, $16.8MM arrangement could be satisfactory for both sides if a longer deal doesn’t come together.

Last year, Barrett led the league with 19.5 sacks and registered 37 quarterback hits in total. No matter what happens in the coming days, Barrett says he’ll be aiming for a repeat in Tampa Bay. He’ll “most definitely” stay put in 2020, so Bucs fans can rest easy on that front.

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Five Franchise Tagged Players Have Yet To Sign Tenders

Teams have until July 15th to hammer out long-term deals with franchise tagged players. As of this writing, there are five players who have not signed their one-year tenders: Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, Broncos safety Justin Simmons, Buccaneers edge rusher Shaquil Barrett, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, and Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue

[RELATED: Dak Prescott Still Wants Four-Year Deal; Cowboys Want Five-Year Deal]

The franchise tag is a sore spot for players, because it prohibits them from realizing their true value on the open market. Sometimes, players begrudgingly sign on the dotted line after skipping out on a portion of offseason activities. There have also been some notable holdouts to extend into the regular season – Le’Veon Bell, for example.

You can put Green in the former camp. The Bengals superstar wants long-term security from the only team he’s ever known, but he says he’ll sign the one-year tender if they can’t come to terms.

In the past, Simmons has indicated that he won’t skip Broncos activities, but Mike Klis of 9News speculates that agent Todd France could talk him into playing some hardball. Offers have been exchanged between the two sides, but, for now, the safety is looking at a one-year, $12.7MM proposition.

Jones – currently in line for a $16.1MM deal – has expressed frustration with the slow pace of negotiations with the Chiefs. The Chiefs, meanwhile, already have a $20MM defensive lineman in Frank Clark. Barrett, who said he’d be a good sport about signing the tender, says he’s expecting to have some movement by tomorrow, though it’s not clear if that means receiving an extension offer or putting pen to paper.

Ngakoue, of course, is prepared to go to war with the Jaguars. The two sides have been locked in a heated stalemate for a long time and the Jags say they won’t cave to the defensive end’s trade demand.

Buccaneers’ Shaquil Barrett Unsure About Signing Franchise Tag

Buccaneers defensive end Shaquil Barrett isn’t making any promises when it comes to the franchise tag. Before he was cuffed in mid-March, Barrett indicated that he would sign the tender. Now, that’s “up in the air.” 

[RELATED: Jets’ Jamal Adams Has Bucs On Trade Destination List]

It’s still up in the air right now, about 50-50,” Barrett told NFL Network’s Colleen Wolfe. “We’ll find out a little more information on Friday.”

It’s not clear if Barrett is expecting an extension offer by Friday, or if he’s hinting at signing his tender by the end of the week. It’s believed that Barrett was tagged as a linebacker, rather than a defensive end, so the one-year placeholder would pay him $15.8MM. Defensive ends, meanwhile, are marked at $17.8MM for the franchise tag this year.

After spending four seasons in Von Miller‘s shadow, Barrett broke out with the Bucs. Last year, he shattered Bucs’ single-season record and led the league with 19.5 sacks, plus 37 total quarterback hits. After that performance, Barrett rightfully wants some long-term financial security.

“I’m gonna play off the tag [if] I got to but I do want that long-term deal,” Barrett said in March. “It’s all about security for me and my family; that’s all I’ve been fighting for my whole time in the NFL. Even a franchise tag, I’m still getting the security too but I just want a long contract and long-term security.”

The two sides will have until July 15 to finalize an extension. If they can’t come to terms, they’ll have to wait until next year to resume negotiations.

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Multiple Buccaneers Players Test Positive For COVID-19

At least two Buccaneers players have tested positive for COVID-19, sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). In keeping with privacy laws, the team has not disclosed the identities of the positive players.

One Bucs assistant also tested positive earlier in the week, raising concerns about viral spread in the organization. The list of positive cases in the NFL seems to be growing larger and larger. COVID-19 has struck one 49ers player, Broncos safety Kareem Jackson, Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott, and many more – most of whom have remained anonymous.

The growing number of cases has the NFL considering an expansion of its contagious disease containment policy. Roster changes are also likely on the way – the league may move practice squads from 12 to 16 players because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci is pushing for a “bubble” strategy, one that would isolate players and NFL personnel from the community at large during the season.

For now, the NFL says it will test players three times per week in advance of training camp and possibly test more during the season. A single-location for games – like what the NBA is doing – is not currently being considered.

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Jets’ Jamal Adams Has Bucs On Trade Destination List

Jamal Adams wants out. The Jets Pro Bowl safety has a few preferred spots in mind and he tells ex-NFL safety Ryan Clark that the Buccaneers are among the teams on his list (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). 

[RELATED: Adams Has Chiefs, 49ers, Cowboys On His List]

A trade to the Buccaneers would reunite Adams with Todd Bowles, his former head coach with the Jets. Bowles currently serves as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator and he’d surely love to add Adams to his secondary. And, even though they’re on the other side of the ball, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski would likely love to welcome their old divisional foe to Tampa Bay.

Adams is also said to have the Cowboys, Ravens, Texans, Chiefs, Eagles, 49ers, and Seahawks on his not-so-short list. And, depending on where he lands, he’d reportedly be willing to wait on a contract extension. Still, teams taking the long view may be warded off by the sticker price. Ultimately, Adams is seeking a deal worth about $20MM/year – far beyond the ~$15MM/year it would take to make him the NFL’s all-time highest-paid safety.

The Jets, for now, are sticking to their position – they want to keep Adams for the long haul. But, in order to do that, they’ll have to pony up some serious cash, and get that offer in front of him quickly.

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Bucs Assistant Coach Tests Positive For COVID-19

A Buccaneers assistant coach has tested positive for COVID-19, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Pursuant to the club’s safety protocols, two other assistants have been quarantined.

Fortunately, the coach that tested positive was asymptomatic, but as we creep closer to training camp and as more people return to team facilities, reports like these may become more common. The continued refinement of protocols and the expected increase of testing will be key in determining whether the league will be able to push forward with training camp and the regular season as it hopes.

The NFL permitted coaches to return to their respective facilities on June 5, though as Greg Auman of The Athletic points out, Tampa Bay’s coaches did not return until Monday, June 15. Auman also notes that positive tests are especially troublesome for the Bucs’ staff, which features a number of older coaches (including HC Bruce Arians, 67).

Of course, with training camp still over a month away, there is no cause for alarm just yet. Still, Tampa Bay is now the seventh team to have a player or coach diagnosed with COVID-19, which is not surprising, but it does underscore the difficulties that the league and its medical staff are facing.

Devonta Freeman: “A Number” Of Teams Have Interest In Signing Me

Devonta Freeman‘s free agency has dragged into June and could continue deep into the summer. For what it’s worth, the running back isn’t too concerned. On Twitter, Freeman let his fans know that “a number of teams are interested” in signing him. 

[RELATED: Devonta Freeman’s Asking Price Too High For Bucs]

I read in the media that Tampa Bay Buccaneers are interested. A number of teams are interested, but we can’t negotiate through the media, the Buccaneers can reach out to me directly,” Freeman tweeted.

The Bucs – Freeman’s longtime divisional rival – do indeed have interest in Freeman, as conveyed by head coach Bruce Arians. However, Arians says that Freeman’s current sticker price is too rich for their blood. Previous reports indicated that the Bucs put an offer on the table for Freeman, but based on what the running back is saying, it sounds like the conversations came to a hard stop.

Freeman also received, and rejected a one-year, $3MM offer from the Seahawks. It’s not clear what the longtime Falcons star is demanding, but it’ll take more in the way of base compensation and probably an achievable incentives package to get him to sign right now. As we get closer to September, Freeman may or may not ease up on his stance. No matter what, Freeman says retirement is not on the table.

Freeman’s last deal was set to pay him about $8MM in 2020. There’s no way he’ll come close to that salary in base pay, but it stands to reason that he could find middle ground with the Bucs. The Bucs have upgraded much of their roster around Tom Brady, but RB remains a problem area. As of this writing, they’re set to roll out the promising yet inconsistent Ronald Jones as their top rusher with support from rookies Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Raymond Calais.

The Eagles are also interested in Freeman, though they may prefer the familiarity and price tag of LeSean McCoy. However, they have yet to make an offer to Shady.

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