Buccaneers trade safety J.J. Wilcox

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1: Fans watch a military jet flyover during the opening ceremonies of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers on January 1, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1: Fans watch a military jet flyover during the opening ceremonies of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers on January 1, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made room for their prized new safety by trading J.J. Wilcox.

If you were wondering why Buccaneers fans were so quick to forgive general manager Jason Licht for the Roberto Aguayo pick, just look at the last two days. Knowing that his team had a weakness at safety, Licht acquired former all-pro T.J. Ward, who was recently cut by the Denver Broncos. To make room for Ward, the front office has agreed to trade J.J. Wilcox to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Buccaneers will acquire a 2018 6th-round pick for Wilcox and a 2018 7th-round pick. After the acquisition of Ward it was clear that there would be an odd man out between Chris Conte and Wilcox in the Bucs safety group. Though many assumed it would be Conte, the move to trade Wilcox makes a ton of sense.

He was set to make more guaranteed money than Conte this season, so from a financial perspective it was great for Licht to move that cap burden to another team. From a football point of view, Conte has more experience with the Bucs’ defense, and can make more plays down the field in coverage than Wilcox. With Ward’s skill-set primarily being as an enforcer it was important for the Bucs to balance out their safety group with a player like Conte.

It’s still not clear whether this means Conte will start alongside Ward, or if the team will instead let Ward learn the system for a few weeks while Keith Tandy and Conte hold things down as starters. Either way, the Buccaneers safety group is much, much better today than it was yesterday, and will likely get better as the season progresses.

Next: Buccaneers to sign T.J. Ward

What do you think about the move to trade Wilcox, Buccaneer fans? Were you hoping to see Conte moved instead? Let us know in the comments below!