So, you know how I’ve been talking about how the Bucs need to clear cap space, and cutting left tackle Donovan Smith would be a great way to do so?
Well, the Bucs are not only going to keep him on the roster, they’re actually extending his contract through 2023 and including an additional $30 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Bucs also made news by re-signing defensive tackle Ndamokung Suh to a one-year, $10 million deal, eliminating talk of the former Defensive Rookie of the Year and five-time All-Pro retiring. But the big news was certainly the Smith extension, both because of the money and because of what it likely means for the Bucs’ draft choice.
Don’t get me wrong, Smith is probably the best available option for the Bucs at left tackle, as his play improved greatly in the playoffs, especially with his performance against superstar defensive end Chase Young and the Washington Football Team. But is Smith worth the huge cap hit? His regular season performances say no.
Going into 2020 he wasn’t even on PFF’s Top-25 list of offensive tackles, and now he’s being paid like he was Top-5. Given, he’s an incredibly durable player, which is a skill itself, but compared to the rest of the Bucs’ offensive line, Smith is the weak link. The point could be made that that’s more of a reflection on how good the offensive line is, but looking at this upcoming draft class, Tampa Bay could have easily replaced Smith with a quality tackle at the end of the first round.
Tackle is probably the deepest position in the draft this year, so even with the 32nd pick, the Bucs could have snagged a quality replacement for the former Penn State man. Then again, the Bucs want to ensure that Brady stays protected.
And now, with both Smith and Suh returning, the Bucs can use that first round pick on any number of positions. A pass rusher (like Azeez Ojulari), defensive tackle, or running back are now all possibilities with these signings.
The Smith extension is another move that sacrifices the future for the now, but with the way the Bucs have been hitting on seemingly every roster decision, who am I to start questioning them now?
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