We have seen this before
Needless to say, If you have been a Bucs fan for many years, you know the stories about players that left and found success elsewhere. Doug Williams, Trent Dilfer, Steve Young all won Super Bowls after departing Tampa. Warrick Dunn also left Tampa Bay, still in his prime, and played well for Rich McKay in Atlanta (Dunn returned to Tampa in 2008 as a free agent). Because of those players’ success after moving on, there is always a small voice in the back of many Buc fan’s minds when a talented player moves on having not seen their best yet.
Godwin is another FA for 2022
That small voice is ringing in Buc fan’s brains this season as Jameis Winston takes over in New Orleans. I personally don’t think there is much to worry about with that situation. He will have his moments because he is a talented player. His ever-present pension for interceptions, though, I don’t see him leading the Saints to the promised land. I digress. The Bucs are set to have to make some decisions before the 2022 season. Chiefly, Chris Godwin and Ronald Jones II are two of the biggest names whose contracts are up. In my opinion, Godwin will get paid and re-up with the pass-happy offense in Tampa; Jones, I don’t think, will be that lucky. The current version of the Bucs offense is, first and foremost, a passing team. They don’t rely on the run to move the chains very often. It’s usually have-to-situations when they run the ball. It’s no secret I’ve been a huge fan of Jones’ talent and abilities. I’ve never been shy when it comes to talking up just how good he is and is going to be. I’ve said several times that if Jones got the kind of carries that Derrick Henry was getting, he would be neck and neck with him for the rushing title. You may shake your head when reading that forecast and wonder what I’ve been smoking. My reply to that would be, “you just watch what I tell you.”
His worth is greater to a different style of offense
I just don’t see the Bucs offering the kind of money that Jones is worth. Not with Fournette and Vaughn in the stable. Both of those backs can give the Bucs what they need in their offense, not to mention the recently signed Giovani Bernard, the receiving specialist on board. Jones is still very young and just entering his prime. His upside is huge. There have to be some GMs around the league that can see what I see. Jones will never get the chance in Tampa to show just how good he can be with a healthy dose of touches. He can carry a team and gets better the more carries he gets. One would think that in order to realize his full potential, he would bolt to a team that relies on the run a lot more than the Bucs.
Ease on down the road
So I see the Bucs moving on from Jones in 2022, and he from them. I’ve heard and read many comments from Buc’s fans that Jones isn’t even as good as Fournette. My reply to that is that those fans just don’t know talent when they see it. Consider that last season; Jones quietly set two records. The first one, Jones, is one of only four backs in NFL history to have a run of 98-yards or more. Average running backs don’t accomplish this feat. Some of the greatest backs that ever played the game never even came close to it. It’s an extremely rare occurrence. The run is almost ten yards longer than any run a Buccaneer has ever had. Second, Jones set the Bucs’ team record for average yards per carry for a season, at 5.1 YPC last season. Those are impressive stats. Pretty good running backs do not accomplish these types of records. It will be sad for me to see him go knowing his full potential was never tapped — those are the times I will think about Tom Brady and Devin White and a guy named Lombardi. Go Bucs!!!