Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht made a pretty big move this week, when he made a trade with the New York Giants to add defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to the roster.
Pass rush help was obviously needed entering the 2018 off-season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and has be covered to exhaustion. What hadn’t been covered much to date, was improvement in the area.
Vinny Curry was brought on from the Philadelphia Eagles, but in exchange the team dropped veteran Robert Ayers. Not exactly breaking even, but some thought bringing in Philadelphia’s cast-away was a bad decision.
It’s all to be seen, but now with the addition of Pierre-Paul, the Bucs have shown they aren’t messing around this year when it comes to trying to find pieces to improve their dismal sack numbers from a season ago.
But every move has multiple layers and effects not the team. Let’s evaluate what this move might mean for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
1. It means Bradley Chubb isn’t coming to Tampa.
Now, I don’t mean this in the sense that Licht and the coaching staff wouldn’t still be thrilled to have him. I mean this in the sense that Chubb won’t be available when the seventh pick of the 2018 NFL Draft goes on the clock.
If you listen to the Locked on Bucs podcast, I already had this truth in my mind. Now, more than ever, it seems more of an inevitability the NC State pass rusher will be drafted earlier than Tampa gets to pick.
Some speculate the Giants themselves are actually signaling Chubb as their target by trading Pierre-Paul in the first place. If not him, the Browns and Colts both represent teams which could significantly benefit from his presence as well.
Either way, it’s highly unlikely Chubb makes it over all three hurdles on his way to Tampa.
2. Noah Spence is getting a developmental year.
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For the record, a ‘developmental year’ is just what I’m calling this. Basically, he’s going to be a back-up. A rotational player. Situational. Whatever.
After having both of his two seasons as a pro hindered and/or ended by a shoulder injury, the promise Spence showed in 2016 is still real, but it’s in jeopardy.
This move, along with the addition of Curry, and the non-release of William Gholston means the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can bring Spence back to full contact football as slowly as needed and as quickly as possible.
So if Spence has some pain, the team can afford to let him rest. If he feels great and is flying around the field again, they can put him in without a whole lot of roster drama.
For a young pass rusher who looked like the beginning of the future of the Bucs’ pass rush, it’s important the team and player not rush to failure.
Pierre-Paul allows them to do so.
3. Licht could turn this into a two’fer.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave up a third-round pick for JPP.
An underrated part of this trade is the fourth round swap though. The switch gives Tampa the 102nd pick overall, and New York gets the 108th.
Since 2013, a few solid NFL players have been drafted between picks 102 and 108.
Most of those players not already on the roster, are guys Bucs fans would like to see on the squad. Even Cousins.
4. 2019’s cap space just got smaller.
So, this is a very situational statement. James Yarcho and I discussed the Buccaneers’ salary cap situation for the future on a Cameron Brate focused episode of the podcast earlier this off-season.
Spotrac estimates the team has just under $23 Million remaining for the 2018 cap, and this is an estimate I’m sure as the dust hasn’t quite had time to settle around the league on cap numbers.
Pierre-Paul himself accounts for the use of $12.5 Million of it. For 2019, he’s projected to earn $14.5 Million. But, in typical fashion, the team has an out. A $14.5 Million out.
Yep. Licht can rid himself of the veteran defensive end prior to the 2019 season and incur zero dead cap space. Or, if they keep him, well fellow fans we can all assume he tallied a solid sack total in 2018.
Even in that case, for Pierre-Paul to remain in pewter beyond 2018, he may need to allow the team to restructure his current contract which employs him through the 2020 season, where he is currently slated to make another $12.5 million.
These are just four ways trading for Jason Pierre-Paul may impact the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beyond simply adding pass rush help.
What are your thoughts on the trade?
"Don’t forget to catch the Locked on Bucs Podcast where James and David had their own discussion about the trade."
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