Mock drafts from sea to shining sea have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers going a plethora of places when it finally comes to be their turn to finish out the first round. Such is custom for defending Super Bowl champions. They’ve been linked to everything from defensive line help, runningback, and yes when quarterback. One option that hasn’t been near as explored, however, is the Buccaneers trading back and out of the first round. It’s an option that is absolutely worth exploring.
It’s no secret that the Buccaneers are absolutely loaded across the board. They literally have no needs. Zero. Entering this upcoming draft, the Bucs are literally drafting for depth at this point. Thanks to a magical offseason in which they were able to return all 22 starters in an attempt to run it back as Super Bowl champions, the first team since 1977 to do so, the Buccaneers will have as stress-free a war room as any team could possibly dream of having.
The thing is, a big reason the Bucs were able to bring all these key pieces back was the restructuring of deals and the signing of team-friendly deals that have salary implications down the line. While it’s great in the short term because let’s face it, we don’t know how long Tom Brady actually has, it isn’t the best for the long term. This salary cap strategy can be described as “kicking the can down the road” when it comes to future cap hits.
This brings us to the draft. First-round draft picks command the most money out of the gate, and since the Buccaneers don’t have any pressing needs, they really don’t need to break the bank just yet on a first-round rookie deal. They will, however, have needs in a couple of years. When Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and other veterans eventually retire or sign elsewhere after (hopefully) a dynasty of rings in Tampa, the Buccaneers will have a lot of needs. Should they choose to trade out of the first round, it will give them valuable draft assets and capital to utilize in the years to come when they aren’t as fortunate as to draft for depth, rather plug holes.
At the end of the day, the Buccaneers are in a fantastic spot. Their championship window still remains wide open, but it won’t be that way forever. While Jason Licht and company have masterfully spent this offseason perfecting their position to thrive in the short term, trading out of the first round could be the first step in benefiting the long-term.