Ask the Expert: Jerry Angelo

by Gary Shelton on March 4, 2016 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Jerry Angelo is a former personnel director for the Bucs and former general manager of the Bears. Each week, Angelo answers your questions regarding the NFL. Send your questions to with "ask the expert'' in the subject line. The most interesting question will be selected.

Friday, 6 a.m.

What did you think of the free agents who were tagged by their teams? Any surprises?

Not really. Teams can designate any player on their roster with the tag. Teams and agents of franchise players have a difficult time finding that common ground (comparable contracts that have been done for other players at their perspective positions) where the team and agent have to agree upon in order to start negotiating.

The only player I would struggle to agree with is Kirk Cousins. It’s a lot of money for one year. To me, you either pay him or let him go out into the market place and compete for him, knowing in all likelihood you will be the team with money

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bidding for him. Takes some guts, but the money you’ll potentially spend by keeping him and then signing him after next season can make you choke.

Richie Incognito, the bully, says he won’t give Buffalo a cut-rate deal to stay in town. How vital is he to the Bills?

If the Bills are a hostage to Incognito in any way, they should revisit how they run their personnel department. I doubt very seriously they will lose any sleep of the possibility of losing him. In fact I’d sleep better knowing he’s gone!

Noah Spence, the prospect from Eastern Kentucky, is one of the best pass-rushers in the draft. But he’s twice tested positive for Ecstasy. Would those tests, and the lack of judgment that came with them, scare you off?

It would be a red flag. Players who test positive twice for anything have a problem. Too what degree and in what, is impossible to say. That’s why it’s a major red flag. As a team executive his Ecstasy may be your tragedy. Buyer beware!

Of all the players you drafted while with the Bucs, which one do you look back and think “He should have been a star.’’ What happened?

Man, that’s a you tough one. I can’t come up with one, but there was a situation where we could have signed John Randle as a college free agent and chose not too.

At the time we had his brother on our roster, Ervin, and he wanted to sign with us. Our coaches felt we didn’t have a position for him. They thought he was too small to play as a down lineman and not athletic enough to play linebacker. We all loved the player, particularly our scouts. We pushed hard to sign him, but we didn't push hard enough. It was a injustice to scouting not to sign him. That one is on me.

The Eagles seemed determined to bring back Sam Bradford at quarterback all along. Is his new contract a mistake? Should the Eagles draft a guy and start over?

I’m not a big fan of Bradford, but he is better than any alternative the Eagles have. Who are they going to draft? How do we know he’s going to be the guy.

Most draft picks, irrelevant of where they are picked, fail at the positions. It’s the value of what he does that is the impetous of why they opted to sign him. If it were Nick Foles they would have done the same. Finding a quarterback that you can win with is one of the most daunting challenges any organization faces.

They say a player improves the most from being a rookie to his second season. With that in mind, how important is this off-season for Jameis Winston, and what should he be working on improving?

Jamis is going to take a big step next season. The familiarity with the system and his receivers will pay big dividends.

The one area I’d emphasize is not forcing the ball downfield when there is nothing there. Sometimes an incompletion or sack is better than the alternative. Turnovers are killers on game day, particularly when your defense is a bend and break one, as the Bucs defenses have been in the past.

The Bucs have the sixth most salary cap room in the NFL. Does that have implications in free agency?

Absolutely, but they should choose wisely. All that glitters may not be gold.

I think they learned their lesson from two years ago. There will be some good players that can help them. The Bucs don’t need a handful, just a few. The key to free agency is to fill your needs and pay a player in accordance to his value and abilities.

The worst thing you can do is overpay average. In real life, that's easier said than done, because the teams you’re potentially competing with for these players are willing to overpay for mediocrity.

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