Tim Wright, in a lot of ways, was the only good thing about watching Buccaneer football in 2013. Bursting onto the scene about midway through the season, this wideout-turned-tight-end became on of the team’s primary targets down the stretch, and provided some positive moments in a time where there weren’t many to see.
One offseason later, and Tim Wright was the wrong piece for the new-look Buccaneers.
During the 2014 NFL Draft, Tampa Bay selected Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins during the second round. They also had signed veteran tight end Brandon Myers in free agency. And with Luke Stocker somehow holding on to a roster spot, the team had a surplus at the tight end position.
That surplus was used to address a weakness earlier this week when the Bucs decided to trade Wright and a fourth round pick to the New England Patriots for six time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins. It was the right decision.
There seems to be a few fans that despise this move; getting rid of a young player with potential for a veteran that is past his prime. To those people I say this: get real.
The Buccaneers do not need Tim Wright.
Wright, in fact, was likely on the verge of being cut. ASJ is going to be starter, and was basically anointed as such the moment he was drafted. Brandon Myers, after receiving a pay day from Tampa Bay, is clearly second in command. Believe it or not, Luke Stocker has more of a role on this Buccaneer team than Tim Wright would have had in 2014. Why? Because he can block. He’s probably the best blocking tight end the team has at this point, and blocking is a skill that Tim Wright does not possess.
The Buccaneers were smart. You don’t just cut a young player that other teams might covet because you can’t find a role for him. You trade him. And with the Bucs short at guard, the Patriots being unwilling to pay Mankins the money he deserves, and Bill Belichick seeing some potential in Wright (with a little whisper from his buddy Greg Schiano), and boom! It was the perfect storm that developed at the perfect time for Tampa Bay.
This is not the Bucs abandoning a young player.
This is not the Bucs reaching for a player past his prime.
This is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, after hearing all of the critics bash their offensive line and watching the tape for themselves, trading a player who might have been cut otherwise, packaging him with a mid-round pick, and getting a Pro Bowler, and possible future Hall of Famer at a position of need in return.
Tim Wright was an essential part of the 2013 Buccaneers. He was never going to be that guy in 2014. The coaching staff had a plan, and it didn’t include the former Scarlet Knight.
You know what the Buccaneers got in return? A leader. The entire Patriots locker room is stunned about the deal, because they just lost their team captain. Tampa Bay, we should be ecstatic about this deal. Having a veteran leader to help sure up that offensive line is priceless. If we hadn’t made this move, we would have extremely young players who are not ready for regular season football starting at both guard positions.
Tampa Bay made the right move. Tim Wright was expendable, and now they have the right guy for the team.