Tampa Bay Buccaneers Crash, Burn, Cut Big Checks

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IDecember 28, 2012

Vincent Jackson will be running to the bank after Sunday.
Vincent Jackson will be running to the bank after Sunday.J. Meric/Getty Images

It all comes to a merciful end on Sunday.

It looked so good after 10 weeks, and now it looks so very, very bad.

These Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a depleted football team and they look every bit of that. Looked that way in New Orleans, looked that way last week against St. Louis and there's not much to indicate that things will be any better come Sunday in Atlanta.

Of course, there's all the mumbo jumbo about wanting to finish out the year on a high note, giving the fans something to wash the bad taste of the past two weeks out of their collective mouths. But really, there simply isn't anything going for this team.

If you want to know what rock-bottom looks like, you've seen it the past two games.

If you wanted to know what ugly looks like, well, that's been the defense for most of the season.

If you want inconsistent, you simply have to take a look at Josh Freeman, who has tantalized us, teased us, then let us down this year.

This season is ending with more questions than there are answers.

The Bucs made a big-money move on Friday. They cut monster checks to Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks. Jackson will pocket about $12.16 million and Nicks $11.785 million between now and the end of this year.

How's that for a season-ending bonus?

Nothing takes the sting out of losing like a fat eight-figure check.

What the move does is free up nearly $18 million in cap space for 2013, and if the team does the right thing and sends Eric Wright packing, well, add another $7.5 million.

You wonder if the Glazers will try and make a big splash in March, as they did last year. Actually, they made two big splashes with Jackson and Nicks and a face-splat with Wright.

Right now, there's not much to be excited about.

Sure, Doug Martin can run, V-Jax can catch and Lavonte David can tackle people. Yes, somehow Gerald McCoy made the Pro Bowl with 30 tackles and five sacks. Talk about setting the Pro Bowl bar low.

If nothing else, it will be interesting to see if the Falcons go all out to win on Sunday. They can beat the Bucs if they want to. Heck, right now, just about anybody can beat the Bucs if they want to.

You wonder how long the Atlanta starters will be in. You wonder if the Bucs will indeed give up 252 yards through the air and become the worst passing defense in NFL history. Let's say that again. The Bucs could become the worst pass defense in NFL history.

And that's something they might want to start working on this coming Monday.