Is there value in betting Bucs' win total?
Jay Croucher, Drew Dinsick and Brad Spielberger analyze the Bucs' win total and try to determine if it's worth betting on them to win the NFC South.
JAY CROUCHER: We're going to do what no other podcast or content kind of operation has done so far this off season. Let's talk about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
DREW DINSICK: [CHUCKLES]
JAY CROUCHER: Maybe just own this space for the next few months, just talk about Bucs off season. They are plus 500 to win the NFC South. They are the fourth favorite to win, I think pretty fair to say, the worst division in football, with the Jags propping up the AFC South. Do you think there's any hope for this team, Brad? Do you think that there's any chance that, you know, they could be a 9 and 8 team that contends for the division?
BRAD SPIELBERGER: Not really. I think the downgrade from Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask, whoever it may be, is gigantic. I do think going from Byron Leftwich to a somewhat unknown commodity in Dave Canales, that offensive coordinator probably could be an upgrade. i mean, Byron Leftwich was the king of run-run-pass and, just, you know, didn't even try to score last year, frankly.
So, but, no, I don't. I mean, a lot of injuries. Like, you could point to things. They do have talent. They had a ton of injuries last year. But also, like, injuries to older players, like, Ryan Jensen, Shaq Barrett, are those guys are gonna come back and be great football players? History tells us probably not.
So I would say no. I do not have a ton of faith in the Bucs getting back to the playoffs.
DREW DINSICK: Yeah. It's-- the talent is there on defense. There's just the questions swirling about quarterback. And the fact that you even threw, as a toss up between Trask and Baker Mayfield, not a great sign. Yeah, 6 and a ha-- this is another one which is tricky. Because I could see a scenario where the defense is at full strength and, you know, the receiving corps at full strength, that you have a couple of early season performances that may kind of steer the market to adjust these guys aggressively up.
Like, oh, yeah, oh, Brady wasn't even that good last year. Everybody's healthy this year. Like, oh, yeah, these guys should be, you know, power rated as, you know, 2, 3 points better than average. And then, all of a sudden, it all comes crashing down as you realize, oh, wait, we went to war with Baker Mayfield.
But, you know, there's enough talent outside of the quarterback position, that I don't think you can necessarily completely write them off. And I don't-- I think their offensive coordinator, a little bit of an unknown. Dave Canales is replacing Byron Leftwich. Byron Leftwich was a big part of the problem last year, from what I could tell you. And I do think that that, you know, has the potential to be an upgrade.
And for what it's worth, as you're looking at these teams and these very uninspiring rosters in the NFC South, you can take a shot and pick a horse against the Saints here and get a pretty decent price in the NFC South. If not the Bucs for you, Brad, then who?
BRAD SPIELBERGER: I mean, it's weird cause there's not really great value anywhere. But honestly, I think the Saints, ev-- at plus money, even as the favorite. Because you're basically getting the Saints, two rookie quarterbacks, essentially. What, Ridder started 4 games last year. And I'm-- you know, if you're a Ridder guy that also-- you know, I'm not sure I'm the biggest fan. He's a solid player. But-- and then, yeah, we're talking Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask.
So I'm not the hugest Derek Carr guy either. I think their defensive line has issues. But they're plus money in, like you said, the worst division in football. I mean, you just look at the season win totals, theirs is, what, 2 games ahead, at least, of every other team in the division. Yeah, it's not a fun one to bet. But honestly, I think if I had to place a bet, it'd probably be on New Orleans.
JAY CROUCHER: Oh, boy. Oh, boy. I don't mind. I mean, all these other teams are just so uninspiring. And the thought of riding with Desmond Ridder, or a rookie quarterback in Bryce Young, or the great Baker Mayfield. What do you think happened to Baker Mayfield, Brad? Because, I mean, his PFF grades, I think, in his first and third seasons were pretty impressive. And, I mean, he came into his fourth year as, I think, like, a top 10 favorite to win MVP. And then all of a sudden, the wheels have just fallen off. Do you think it's something physical, mentally just falling off a cliff? What's your, kind of, theory on Baker?
BRAD SPIELBERGER: I honestly think he just didn't develop, like, touch passing, like, just doesn't, like-- know how to, you know, just do a lot of, like, the little nuances of quarterback play. He just throws a laser every single time, puts his entire body into every throw. I think it's a little bit transparent in what he's trying to do. And I don't think it's like a mental thing. I think he just, like, that's kind of the skill set you get with him. Yeah, this is probably his last opportunity at a starting gig. And I think it'll be the last one we see him have.
DREW DINSICK: Yeah. I was kind of guilty of getting involved in the Baker hype and the Cleveland hype in that season, after they had-- the season after they win a playoff game in impressive fashion against the mighty Steelers, who ultimately, you know, turned out to be not that great. And then, you know, they pushed the-- they pushed the Chiefs in a game that Patrick Mahomes didn't finish. And then, all of a sudden, it was like they were getting power rated to the degree that was not sustainable.
While at the same time, it does-- I think you nailed it-- the League adapted the defense to take away the one thing that Baker Mayfield was good at naturally. And he never developed the complementary skill set to succeed in an environment where they were, you know, just kind of comp-- do the easy stuff, matriculate the ball, don't-- you know, don't turn it over, don't take the key sack.
And I-- honestly, going full circle, that's-- the back of my head, I worry about Watson not being able to kind of adapt to that environment as well, which is-- which would be wild of the Browns kind of reliving the same experience twice. But, Jay, are you buying into the likes of the Buccaneers at a price like 5 to 1 to win this miserable division?
JAY CROUCHER: No, I don't think so. I can't get involved for the Bucs. I was all-- I was full in on the Baker Mayfield comeback Player of the Year train last season before the season started, just thinking that we hadn't seen enough bad Baker to write him off. And then we saw enough bad Baker last year to pretty comprehensively write him off. So no interest to me and the Bucs at 5 to 1.
I think the Falcons are the most interesting team in the division, in terms of upside to dethrone the Saints. But, listen, I just don't really see the upside in Desmond Ridder either. So maybe they have enough around him, but yet, not a lot of optimism for them either. Drew, what do you--
DREW DINSICK: OK. I got to ask Brad one more question as our resident roster construction maven. If there's a bunch of talented pieces on this roster that are making some serious money, but the Bucs ultimately are going to be the fourth best team in this division this year, you know, which of these pieces are. realistically going to be sought after as, like, parts for a contender? And, you know, do you think we actually see some-- you know, some attrition on this roster before we even get to Week 1?
BRAD SPIELBERGER: Every time I say this, I got yelled at. I understand he is a fan favorite and a, hopefully, lifetime Buccaneer. Mike Evans is the most obvious trade candidate in the entire NFL. He's on the last year of this contract.
DREW DINSICK: [CHUCKLES]
DREW DINSICK: He probably still wants, like, really, you know, top-end money. He deserves it, frankly. And they're just-- like, there's just no reason to keep him around when you can probably get some decent Draft capital. And then I think he turns 30 next year. So I'm sure it doesn't happen. I think he wants to just stay in Tampa for his career. But he's, like, the most obvious trade candidate I've ever seen, from a financial standpoint.