NFL AM: Buccaneers GM Says Draft is Biggest in Team History


Bucs GM proclaims upcoming draft biggest in team history

Hey, no pressure, Jameis.

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht went deep into the hyperbole barrel – or did he? – when he proclaimed on Monday that the upcoming draft is the most significant in franchise history.

“Personally, I think it’s probably the biggest draft in the history of the organization,” Licht said in his pre-draft media conference. “We’ve got a real chance to really put us over the top and get us to the level that we think we’re going to be at this year, which we think is competing for a championship. It’s a great draft, and it’s a great draft to have the No. 1 pick.”

The Bucs are going to need a lot more than eight picks to go from 2-14 to competing for a championship, but we digress.

Licht did not come out and say the team is going to take Jameis Winston with its first pick, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or even a burger flipper, to figure out whom the Bucs GM was referring to when asked if Tampa had already made a decision.

“Going back all the way to the combine, we said we had a leader in the clubhouse, and we still do,” Licht said. “If we had to pick today, we’d feel very comfortable making the pick.

“That said, we’ll wait and use the majority of our allotted time. There’s always something that could pop up that you wish you would’ve waited. I’m talking about a scenario where somebody offers you something that you can’t refuse. So we’ll use our allotted time, but everybody in the organization feels very comfortable with where we’re at.”

Translation: We’re just giving Chris Berman more time to talk about what we’ll do with our pick.

Tomlinson expects Rivers to leave San Diego

Philip Rivers’ most prominent former teammate believes the quarterback’s time with the Chargers is about to be done.

In an appearance on the NFL Network, LaDanian Tomlinson said he believes Rivers has lost faith in the organization.

“You never want to trade your franchise quarterback. You know that’s never the case. However, in this situation, they might have no choice but to do so,” Tomlinson said. “Because I don’t know if Philip (Rivers) wants to be there anymore. I think he has lost confidence in the organization. He’s seen a lot of changes going on and the L.A. thing is valid. Him not wanting to go to L.A. is very valid.”

But Tomlinson went further than that, saying there is more behind Rivers’ erosion of faith than the team’s potential move to Los Angeles.

“The parts around him keep on moving. The receiver corps keeps on changing. Eddie Royal is now gone,” Tomlinson noted. “We talked about this before with Vincent Jackson years ago. There are so many parts that are leaving. When Philip is looking around in that locker room and he doesn’t see anyone that he’s familiar with other than Antonio Gates.

“Now to that point, Antonio Gates next year is a free agent, Eric Weddle is gonna be up. Next year the Chargers have a lot of decisions to make with a lot of key guys. So Philip could be looking at the situation and thinking ‘we’re not close to winning a championship anytime soon.’”

It should be noted that Tomlinson himself left the organization on less than ideal terms, so there could be some lingering resentment on his part. But it is equally likely he’s still close enough to Rivers to know what is on his ex-teammate’s mind. The rumor of San Diego getting involved in some sort of draft day trade involving Rivers is gaining more and more validity.

Eric Weddle, Antonio Brown skip team workouts

The Rivers situation is not the only drama brewing in San Diego.

Chargers defensive captain Eric Weddle is not participating in the team’s offseason activities as he angles for a new contract extension. It’s the same story in Pittsburgh, where wide receiver Antonio Brown is also skipping the team’s workouts as he hopes to get a new deal.

Weddle is attempting to get a long-term, cap-friendly deal with the Chargers, the team with whom he said he would like to retire. His contract is up after this season.

For the second straight offseason he has heard nothing back, so now he’s making his displeasure more public.

“I feel highly, highly disrespected,” Weddle told U-T San Diego. “We’ve come to them numerous times and said we want to be part of the team, we want to retire as a Charger. We’ve completely gotten pushed aside.”

Brown may be sitting out more than just the OTAs. Fox Sports reported that Brown will also hold out of minicamp and training camp if a deal is not struck.

Brown has been one of the league’s most productive receivers since signing a six-year, $42 million contract in 2012, and wants to be paid among the NFL’s elite receivers

About Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey can vividly recall most significant NFL events going back to Walter Payton's final game in 1987, including the ones that didn't make him cry. Since 2008, his full-time job has been covering college football, specifically McNeese State, for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. Free time is spent informing, amusing or annoying you for Football Insiders.