It’s never a good thing when you pay a free agent a $32.5 million dollar contract and he doesn’t even practice his first year.
That is exactly what happened when the Bucs signed JR Sweezy from the Seattle Seahawks. What was considered to be one of the biggest off-season signings in 2016 for Tampa ended up to be a huge disappointment. JR literally rode the bench while collecting his yearly salary.
Management was aware of his injury when he was first acquired. However, it was not believed to be serious as indicated initially by several doctors. Upon further investigation, Sweezy’s back problem were bigger than expected. He was expected to return potentially by week five, then week eight, then down the stretch of the season.
That never materialized.
Many started to wonder if JR would ever see the field. Back problems for Linemen are a terrible thing. Especially for a 6’5” 298 pound behemoth. What was once considered a prized free-agent addition seemed to be backfiring. PTSD of Carl Nicks was common in the Bay area. Remember, the Guard from New Orleans who developed MRSA and was unable to fulfill his contract with the Bucs?
You can now breathe a sigh of relief, everyone! Sweezy to return to duty!!
I know, I know. Many fans will be quick to determine that it is still early to depend on him. Back injuries can linger and resurface. Being the person that I am, I am going to focus on the optimistic perception of his return.
Whether you know it or believe it, JR Sweezy is an absolute beast in the run game. Just ask Offensive Line coach for the Seahawks, Tom Cable. He successfully transitioned JR to the Offensive Line from the Defensive End position. Sweezy was a big reason the Seahawks won the Super Bowl and a key piece to Marshawn “Beastmode” Lynch’s success. Just imagining him opening up the holes up for Doug, Sims, Quiz or whomever we have at Running Back in 2017 gets me hype!
There is a reason a rumored eleven teams were actively pursuing his services last offseason.
If he is able to return to form, then this Offensive Line unit may instantaneously be upgraded. Buc Nation seems to be extremely concerned with the Line at this point (in which I think is unwarranted/over exaggerated) and his presence should alleviate those concerns. He was meant to replace Logan Mankins whom retired last season and will finally get the opportunity to do so. Remember when Mankins was a part of the team in 2015? That unit was astronomically better.
Now it is still too early to get too excited. He does need some breaking-in. Sweezy also has some deficiencies in the pass-protection. However, Tom Cable is insistent that he has the ability to improve in that area.
With the retention of Mike Smith and the return of JR Sweezy, this offseason is already off to an excellent start. Couple that with what is assumed to be a huge free agency shopping spree and a few players in the draft, and this team should ALREADY be improved from that 9-7 squad.
Now please JR, stay healthy because Jameis needs you.