The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will roll out one of the NFL’s most expensive offensive lines in 2019. To be exact, the Buccaneers offensive line is the 4th highest paid line in the NFL behind the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers. For a team with so much volatility up front when it comes to protecting the quarterback and getting the run game going, it just seems a bit crazy to sit back and look at the numbers.
Before getting too overwhelmed, this high cap dollar amount has a lot to do with having to go out and get a free agent center (Ryan Jensen), paying Ali Marpet with an extension and bringing back Donovan Smith on a new deal. Again though, how was there so much inconsistency from a group that this front office has deemed worthy of the contracts?
As our own Jon Marchant has written before, the scheme Dirk Koetter and company utilized on offense didn’t exactly put the quarterback or offensvie line in an easy spot with so many downfield throws and long developing plays. With a new staff surely that will change. Or will it? Bruce Arians will undoubtedbly do a better job with the flow of the game and playing to strengths, but this offensive line will still be asked to block for extended periods of time as Arians and his staff love to push the ball downfield.
By the numbers, Ryan Jensen was the leagues 30th ranked center and Caleb Benenoch was the leagues 84th ranked guard according to Pro Football Focus. Jensen is back at center and will have to do better. But what about right guard? Earl Watford could compete with Benenoch and last years draft pick Alex Cappa for that spot and given the play fans witnessed, that spot is for sure up for grabs going into this years Pre-Season games.
Demar Dotson is another name that could be an X-Factor for this line should he be able to maintain his health for 16 games. Dotson hasn’t played a full 16 game season since 2014 and while he managed to play 15 this past year, nagging injuries did him no favor as he fought through it.
The staff and front office showed this line some love by not going out and getting immediate upgrades. The investements have been made and those investments are in charge of keeping Jameis Winston protected. Those investments are in charge of turning around one of the leagues most disappointing rush attacks over the last few seasons. Those investments may very well be what keeps this team back in 2019 or what allows this group to excel. All eyes on the big men up front this season. Time to show the world why you guys are worth that money.