The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made two big moves this offseason: they signed DeSean Jackson to a three-year, $33.5 million contract, and they drafted Alabama tight end O.J. Howard with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft.
Both of those moves were widely hailed as excellent, so it shouldn’t be surprising that SB Nation names both of those moves the team’s best decisions of the offseason, in an NFL-wide bit of analysis.
The Bucs brought in DeSean Jackson in free agency and then used their first-round pick to add the best tight end this draft had to offer, O.J. Howard. Winston has to be happy about that.
It’s hard to call picking O.J. Howard the best move this offseason, because the Bucs didn’t really have to do muich for that except wait and do the super obvious thing. Still, that is likely to have a massive impact on the Bucs’ offense in the long term—the short-term consequences remain to be determined.
DeSean Jackson is more a move they really had to go to some effort to complete. Signing him was a somewhat obvious move given the team’s stated desire to add speed—but there’s still a lot of work that has to be done to come to that decision.
For one, Jackson was expensive. You don’t spend $11 million per year lightly. For two, Jackson has a reputation of being a diva—granted, that hasn’t come out in recent years at all, but there’s a bit of a character risk there anyway.
Jackson is also likely to transform the Bucs’ offense from day one. Mike Evans has some value as a deep threat, but Jackson has to be accounted for before the snap in a way Evans does not: he forces safeties to line up deeper—and that opens up the entire offense underneath that deep threat.
Hopefully that’s how it plays out, anyway. We won’t know until Jackson actually takes the field—it wouldn’t be the first time a free agent has disappointed in a Bucs uniform—but early signs are good, and there’s no concrete reason to doubt his impact. So signing him probably was the Bucs’ best offseason move.
What was the Bucs’ best move this offseason?
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Signing DeSean Jackson
Drafting O.J. Howard