February 25, 2021

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Jason Licht becoming a much better than average General Manager (part 1 of 2)

6 min read

[Image Credit: Cliff Welch | Pewter Report]


Gather around folks. There is plenty of room. Just keep moving towards the front. We will see if we can get all of you in here. I know there are a bunch of you. Slide in towards the middle front row. My intent is not to convince you or to strongarm anyone into seeing things the way that I do. I know it takes different thought processes, and opinions to make the World go around. I also know they say opinions are like lower-level exits, we all got’ em. In this first part, I will discuss what I believe is his biggest mistakes and analyze them a bit. I do believe that making mistakes in judgment, and in the way players, and situations are viewed, evaluated, and collectively brought together, are all open for error. We all make mistakes on the job, in most cases, they don’t affect your employer for the next three to five years. Costing millions of dollars. That is a good thing, as I’m sure we all can agree on that.

What have you done for me lately?

Being an NFL General Manager is a hot seat that most never get to feel cool off to a comfortable place. You are only as good as your last draft. If that draft contains a kicker that you select, especially in the second round, and he bombs, you are not going to get many favorable evaluations of that draft as well as a G.M. overall. If you take a kicker, say in the fifth round, and he bombs, not as much ire will come to you. It does still show a glaring hole in the way you decide that kickers should be obtained and the price you pay for them. (If you would like to see who was taken after the Bucs picked Aguayo in 2016, it’s here.)

Lichts top three worst picks (rounds 1-2)

If you look back with 20/20, it’s easy to see that Jason Licht’s worst draft choice since becoming a G.M. has to be Jameis Winston. It’s the highest draft choice that any G.M. can have. As far as what Winston did for this franchise on the field, no matter how many fans he had/has here in Tampa, it all adds up to zero. Winston also didn’t have the team around him that he needed either for all, but one, maybe two seasons, that he was here. History will view him as a failure in Tampa. It doesn’t matter all the side issues, plain and simple, he was a bust here. So, it must be viewed as a number-one overall failure. The second worst, I would think would be Aguayo with a second-round waste of a pick. One more wasted pick, in my opinion, was also a second-rounder in Donovan Smith, who was taken right after Mr. Winston in 2015. Smith has been durable for sure, during his time, so in that way, he has been very reliable. Beyond that, his play has been streaky at best, costly and deplorable at worst. When his contract is up, and if not before, he will be shown the door, just like Winston. As in both, their good doesn’t outweigh their bad.

Licht dealt a hand in hindsight that nobody would have wanted in 2015

The Bucs needed a franchise quarterback. There were two considered worthy of the top choice at the time that seemed like a good thing. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota both appeared headed for greatness like so many players taken at numbers one and two are regarded. The Bucs Jason Licht and Head Coach Lovie Smith were both enamored with Jameis Winston, and that’s who’s name was read in the opening of the 2015 NFL Draft. Nobody could have known for a fact at the time that neither one of the top two taken that year would not be a starting entering their 6th NFL Season. Just a side note: No quarterback taken in 2015 is starting anywhere in 2020. There were only seven quarterbacks even drafted that season. It was by no fault of Licht a terrible year to have to draft a franchise signal-caller. It’s not like Licht, and the Bucs, made the wrong choice that year. Looking back, there were no right choices. Well, there was one. Draft Dante Fowler or Amari Cooper, but the Bucs had their sights set on a quarterback, and a quarterback it would be. It could be said that two of his worst picks were back to back in 2015. Winston, followed by D. Smith.

2020 Draft night losing of the mind is all I can figure

Leading up to NFL Draft night 2020, it was known to Jason Licht that John Lynch, and the Niners, were probably losing their starting offensive left tackle, Joe Staley, to retirement. San Francisco also owned the pick just before us. It was thought by Licht that Lynch had his sights on Tristan Wirfs. This wasn’t true, though. But Lynch certainly wasn’t going to show his hand to the Bucs Brass. Then when it came time for the Niners pick, it was announced that Lynch and Licht had struck a deal to switch places to assure the Bucs got Wirfs. Tampa would give it’s 1, and a 4th for the Niner’s 1, and their 7th. Here’s my point: If Licht thought Lynch wanted Wirfs, then why would Lynch make the trade with us to allow the Bucs to get Wirfs? He should have known at that point that Lynch didn’t actually want the big Iowa offensive tackle. Yet, Licht still traded away our 4th round pick to get a guy he then knew Lynch didn’t actually want. During the ensuing broadcast, the Dolphins were mentioned as a team that was wanting to move up to get Wirfs ahead of us by trading with the Niners. From the research I’ve done on this, I’ve found no evidence at all that the Dolphin-angle was legit. A detailed minute to minute account of what happened in the Bucs Draft room is provided by Peter King of NBC Sports, who was there with Licht and Arians on draft night. There is no mention of any other team being involved. After reviewing all the facts that I could find about the matter, I’m convinced that Lynch pulled one over on Licht and his old team. Without a speck of remorse, Lynch took that pick from us and played the Bucs like an XBOX straight out of the package on Christmas morning. It appears that Jason Licht was so hell-bent on getting Wirfs that he threw all his good sense to the wind. So much so that he took steps that never needed taking. He over-reacted, said more than one NFL analyst. The only saving grace here for Licht is that the steps were not taken in order to secure a kicker. – That’s funny. I don’t care who you are. Where exactly was Bruce Arians when these antics were being perpetrated upon us? I did an article at the time about this a day or so after the draft, and you can find it here.

Wrapping up

So there you have it. In my opinion, the biggest errors that Licht has committed. In part two, I’ll move on to the great things that Licht has accomplished, in my opinion. Check back and catch the follow up to this one if you enjoyed part 1. Go Bucs!!


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