Will Contract Season Help The Bucs? – JoeBucsFan.com – Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News

Sean Murphy-Bunting is focused.

Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht once delivered a famous quote about former Bucs running back Doug “Molly Hamster” Martin.

“He might be one of those guys that needs a carrot. And he’s got a pretty big carrot in front of him right now because there’s no guarantees that he’s going to be here,” Licht said of Martin needing to stay healthy and sharp while he faced a three-game, drug-related suspension in September of 2017.

Martin had a fat contract awaiting for him for the final 13 games of that season, if the Bucs kept him on the roster following the suspension. The cash was the carrot.

Joe remembered Licht’s line and thought about the carrots hanging in front of Lavonte David, Logan Ryan, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, Mike Edwards, Keanu Neal, Will Gholston, Akiem Hicks and Anthony Nelson.

They are all free agents after this season. So that’s a lot of carrots on defense with three regular season games remaining, and seven or eight of those guys will be starters tomorrow night.

How many of those defensive guys are smelling the carrot of a fat contract somewhere in 2023? The Bucs should have plenty of extra motivation on that side of the ball.

Bucco Bruce Arians used to say he loved having quality veterans on one-year contracts because it’s a great way to get players’ best performances. Bucs sacks king Shaq Barrett was in that boat when the Bucs signed him in 2019.

Head coach Todd Bowles said Murphy-Bunting had what might have been his best game of the season last week. And Joe has seen a lot of juice recently from Ryan, Neal and Nelson. And David has bounced back from a minor midseason dip in his play.

Yeah, money matters. Joe thinks that will show up on the field tomorrow, as the entire league watches on NBC.

Dial up today’s Ira Kaufman Podcast!

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