Are the Glazers still all-in for the win?

by Gary Shelton on February 25, 2022

in general

The big decision is bigger than Arians./TIM WIRT

Friday, 4 a.m.

There are decisions ahead, as always.  Every NFL off-season is like opening a combination lock, and teams struggle to get the tumblers to align.

But make no mistake as to the biggest one.

No, it won’t be which quarterback Jason Licht pursues. It won't be which player Bruce Arians wants to franchise. It won’t be which draft pick the scouts decide upon. It won’t be which free agents the front office wants to keep, and which ones it wants to let go of.

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The big decision for the Tampa Bay Bucs rests in hands of the Glazer gang, Joel and Bryan and the rest of them, and whether they judge that the team’s window remains open.

Do they open their wallets again?

Or do they take a breath and try to reload?

Sure, Jason LIcht is in the apex of his career with the Bucs, and Bruce Arians has won more regularly than any coach the Bucs have had. But the fundamential question here is bigger than them both. The Glazers have to decide whether the team is all-in once again or if the retirement of Tom Brady was the end of a mini-era.

Ive written it before. The silent enablers of the Bucs’ recent success has been the Glazers, who didn’t blink at bringing in Brady or Gronk or Leonard Fournette. They didn't flinch when it was time to pay Shaq Barrett or Lavonte David. The enabled a deep roster and helped the team to win games.

Ah, but there have been seasons when the Bucs were spectators in free agency, and when they didn’t allow expectations to go through the roof. They never paid the right coach. They never hired the right quarterback.

Hey, we would all agree that going for it is preferable to the other way. The two world titles the Bucs have won game after bold decisions (to trade for John Gruden in 2002 and to sign Tom Brady in 2020.

But suppose the front office doesn’t like the solutions it has available to replace Brady? Do they let their free agents walk? Do they try to reload through the draft, where a team is aided by the worse it is on the field?

Look, replacing Brady won’t be easy. The Packers will want a team’s immediate future to trade Aaron Rodgers. Seattle will want the same for Russell Wilson. Houston will ask for a silly return for Deshaun Watson, who still has legal and league punishments possibly ahead of him. The whole lot of Jimmy Garappolo, Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston and Teddy Bridgewater aren’t going to convince the fans there will be  no backoff.

And for all the praise of Blane Gabbert and Kyle Trask, that’s simply settling for less. That’s playing for a draft pick.

Hey, we all want Chris Godwin back. And Colton Davis. And Ryan Jensen. And Alex Cappa. Jason Pierre-Paul had a tough year, but no one can be sure Joe Tryon-Shoyinka is ready to play full-time.

All of those choices are expensive ones. Winning is pricey in the NFL. A nickel-pinching owner could make a case (a weak one) that the Bucs might be better off to drop back for a couple of years, try to draft the right quarterback and go from there. Hey, it worked for the Bengals, although it took about 30 years to do so.

No, when it comes to football, we all want to see bold and decisive. We want a team that hungers to win. That goes for the Glazers, too.

You want to see them aggressive.  When it comes to their wallets, you want to see them go deep.

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