On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached an agreement with offensive tackle Donovan Smith on a three year contract extension.
TAMPA, FL – With a deal needing to be reached by 4:00 PM to avoid using the Bucs using the franchise tag on Donovan Smith, the two sides have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $41.25 million extension that guarantees $27 million over the first 2 years. Smith is entering his 5th season in Tampa Bay and has not missed a start in 64 games, providing consistency at a crucial left tackle position.
Smith, a second round pick out of Penn State in 2015, signed a 4 year, $6.068 million deal as a rookie. While at times he has shown signs of reliability and strength protecting the blind side of QB Jameis Winston, he has also been plagued by inconsistencies. Penalties and missed blocks have followed Smith from year to year and at times have proven costly in close games. However, with a new coaching staff responsible for developing talent, Smith has the size and all the intangibles to take his game to the next level, clean up the mistakes, and become a reliable staple of the Tampa Bay offensive line.
Smith will have a chance at a new start under offensive line coach Joe Gilbert.
Gilbert comes to the Bucs from the University of Arizona where his offensive line lead the Wildcats to a PAC-12 best rushing attack while allowing the 4th fewest sacks in the conference. Prior to his stint in college, Gilbert spent 6 season on the Indianapolis Colts coaching staff and pieced together an injury prone unit to help the Colts offense set several franchise records in 2014. This could present a perfect opportunity for Donovan Smith to learn from a new, proven position coach with a different style and elevate his game in both pass and run blocking. Now that the distraction of the contract status is over, it is time for Smith develop into the player he was drafted to be. The Bucs could very well have their long term solution at left tackle and with Donovan Smith’s potential, a new contract and a new coaching staff could be exactly what he needs to reach new heights.
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