clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How good is Jason Licht really?

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans seem overwhelmingly pleased with Jason Licht's work. He's been the Bucs general manager for two years, and has done well in the draft, finding six starters in two years -- including apparent future stars in Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, Ali Marpet and Kwon Alexander.

Rotoworld's Patrick Daugherty isn't all that impressed, though. He ranks Licht as the 22nd-best general manager in the NFL, just behind Jerry Reese of the New York Giants.

Licht has taken sure-things Mike Evans and Jameis Winston in the first round, but otherwise struggled to stock the roster with talent. His drafts have been shaky and his free agency track record spotty. In 2014, Licht spent big to sign Josh McCown, Michael Johnson, Alterraun Verner and Anthony Collins. Only Verner remains on the roster, with "remaining" being about all he's doing. To his credit, Licht has since seemed to learn that one rarely "wins" free agency, but the bottom line is, the Bucs' roster is scarcely better than the one Licht inherited in 2014.

That's an overly-pessimistic view of Licht's drafts. Austin Seferian-Jenkins may be a bit of a disappointment so far (and could still turn that around), but Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith and Kwon Alexander have been very promising so far. Daugherty's spot on when it comes to Licht's free agency record, though. I'd be a little harsher than him and call it terrible, the only good signings having been cheap, older veterans who have been more depth players than key contributors.

Having fired Lovie Smith this year, it seems unlikely the Glazers will fire Jason Licht next season. But in some ways, this is a make-or-break year for the general manager. The Bucs have a pretty talented roster with some holes. A good draft could turn that roster into one strong enough to win games for years -- while a poor draft could undo a lot of the progress that has been made by eating away at future depth.

Of course, a good draft will see Licht recognized as one of the best general managers in the NFL. Such is life: the NFL is all about the short-term.