Talking Wide Outs

Published: February 28th, 2012
By Bucstats.com

Pass.

There was a report on CBS over the weekend that Mario Manningham would not be re-signed by the Giants and that Tampa Bay could pick him up.

While New York Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese refused to speculate on the future of Super Bowl hero and soon-to-be-free-agent Mario Manningham, sources at this weekend’s NFL scouting combine said there is virtually no chance he is back with the Giants.

Instead, they said, Manningham is expected to follow former Giants assistant Mike Sullivan to Tampa Bay. Sullivan, who was the Giants quarterbacks coach, took a job as Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator.

While Manningham may not stay in New York, him as a Buccaneer is redundant at best. I had all my reasons lined up all pretty to tell you why I feel that way, but Stephen Holder beat me to it. His reasons are pretty much the same as mine, especially this one:

Another issue here is whether Manningham is the best fit for Tampa Bay. The Bucs already have receivers with similar skill sets in Mike Williams, Dez Briscoe and, to a lesser extent, Arrelious Benn. Most observers, including me, seem to think what they lack is a player whose strength is getting vertical. If the likes of DeSean Jackson or Vincent Jackson become free agents, they seem like more sensible choices for the Bucs. Both are consistent deep threats who will make the Bucs’ remaining receivers more dangerous.

I think Briscoe is more of a threat than people give him credit for, but he’s still not the real burner the Bucs need. Manningham has been mediocre for his entire career until he got both Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz to take attention off of him this season and even still, he’s known for a single (albeit awesome) catch. But no DeSean Jackson, please. I was a fan of his coming out of college but he’s shown himself to be a pain in the ass, and with a new head coach trying to create an atmosphere of discipline in the locker room, he doesn’t need a perpetual malcontent corrupting that from the start. Marques Colston, Robert Meachem or Dwayne Bowe would also be worth considering.

On another note, there are so many free agent wide receivers this season that have had some success at some point in their careers. Eddie Royal, Pierre Garcon, Steve Smith (the other one), Ted Ginn, Early Doucet, Plaxico Burress, Patrick Crayton and a ton more. Now take a look at the current Bucs roster:

Benn, Briscoe, Ed Gant, Sammie Stroughter, Raymond Webber, Williams. Micheal Spurlock is an unrestricted free agent.

How much improvement could the Bucs make on that roster just with the free agents listed above? I’m not advocating any of them specifically; only pointing out that the talent level available in free agency is really high this season and most of them could probably be had at a really good price. Now doesn’t Manningham look a little silly?

Oh, and let’s give Gant a chance to make the roster. One preseason game isn’t enough to make a career, but it should be worth a good look at training camp.