The Buccaneers have some issues in the wide receiver department and are reportedly attempting to remedy the problem via trades. Who are some potential targets?
For the second straight season the Buccaneers are having dire issues with their pass catchers. Before the season started the team had hoped that Vincent Jackson, Adam Humphries, Kenny Bell and eventually Louis Murphy would be able to alleviate some pressure from Mike Evans, and allow them to wait another year before investing big in another receiver. Before long it became clear that their leap of faith was going to end in a concrete splatter instead of a bed of feathers.
With Vincent Jackson on the I.R., Louis Murphy suffering a set-back, and no receiver opposite Mike Evans that can win consistently, it should come as no surprise that the Buccaneers are now reportedly looking at potential trades for veteran receivers.
As always, reports like these should be taken with a grain of salt in case they are simply the machinations of teams or agents looking to drum up interest. With that said, these reports are still pretty interesting and make sense for a number of reasons. First, the puzzle pieces fit well together. Both the 49ers and Bears have dire need of corner back help and while Verner and Banks have been less than helpful for the Bucs, they still have talent that could attract needy teams.
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Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery have both been mentioned as trade targets recently, so it’d make sense for a team like the Bucs to inquire. As is usually the case with trades, the contracts of both players are big hurdles to overcome. Smith is in year two of a five year contract – worth $40 million with $22 million guaranteed – and due to make eight million dollars next season. Is that something the Bucs are prepared to deal with? Jeffery is currently playing on the franchise tag and would be a rental until the Bucs worked out what would be a massive contract. Do the Bucs trust Jeffery’s health history enough to do that?
Both players would immediately bring much needed skill sets to the Bucs. Both are young field stretchers that can pick up 50 yards in a flash; one getting it done with speed (Smith), and the other getting it done with size (Jeffery). Jeffery is the obviously superior option, and it’s quite exciting to imagine he and Mike Evans tormenting defensive backs together.
Jeffery and Smith aren’t the only potential targets out there for the Bucs to look at. Arizona has a prime candidate in Michael Floyd who – like Jeffrey – will be a free agent after the season. Floyd has been wildly inconsistent this season and throughout his five year career, but his three touchdowns this season would be the second most on the Bucs offense right now. Floyd excels on deep passes down the side-line and contested catches and would instantly boost the Bucs deep passing game. As an extra caveat, Bucs GM Jason Licht is familiar with Floyd from his time spent in Arizona, so perhaps he has some extra knowledge on the player.
The cold water here is that trades in the NFL rarely happen, and especially those involving the contract hurdles that Smith and Jeffery have. In any potential trade the Bucs must be prepared to give up at least one of their seven draft picks in the upcoming draft, and perhaps even two. We know that the Bucs cherish their draft picks, though we also know that they’re prepared to move them for a player they deem worthy. With the November 1st trade deadline quickly approaching we will see just how desperate the Bucs are for a receiver.