The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a chance to land former All-Pro safety Landon Collins at the deadline, but general manager Jason Licht didn’t pull the trigger.
What a move this could have been. Collins is a 24-year-old All-Pro safety who could have provided a significant boost to one of the league’s worst secondaries.
Vacchiano reported that the Giants were asking for a 2019 second-round pick and a low-round pick in 2020. However, no team offered more than a 2019 third-round pick.
That is more than a reasonable price for a talent like Collins.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Finding a player in the second round that can play at his level would be a miracle. Already, Collins has developed into New York’s best defensive player and isn’t even close to entering his prime yet.
He currently leads New York with 62 combined tackles. Collins also forced a fumble and had three tackles for loss on the year.
Even with Collins’ contract up at the end of the season, Tampa Bay does have cap flexibility. Signing the Alabama product to a long-term extension would have been manageable. At worst he would have received the franchise tag this offseason.
If the Bucs pulled the trade off, Collins would have filled the crater at the strong safety position. Tampa could never find a solution at that position and Collins could have been the answer for the next decade.
Replacement level veterans like Chris Conte won’t cut it next season. Even rookie Jordan Whitehead has struggled at strong safety this season. Adding a potential star into the mix can mask a lot of the issues the Tampa secondary has faced this season.
It would even benefit talented safety Justin Evans. The 2017 second-round pick has shown flashes, but he can’t do it alone. Placing him next to Collins would have allowed him to take on a smaller workload.
Whether the Bucs saw themselves as contenders or building for the future, Collins fit with either timeline.
Believe it or not, the Bucs are still in playoff contention, at least on paper. A top-tier safety like Collins can at least turn the Tampa secondary into a decent unit. That alone could have been the difference for some the of shootout losses that have held the Bucs back so far this year.
In the long-term, he could have been the foundational piece of the secondary. Young talent like Evans and rookie cornerback Carlton Davis could have benefitted next to a player of Collins’ caliber.
The Buccaneers had a chance to land one of the league’s best defensive backs for pennies on the dollar. Unfortunately, they walked away from one of the best deals of the deadline, and it will haunt them.