With the sudden news that the Jacksonville Jaguars are closing in a deal to trade cornerback C.J. Henderson to the Carolina Panthers in return for tight end Dan Arnold and a fifth round pick in next year’s draft, the Buccaneers have lost out on one potential fix to their defensive secondary issues.
Throughout the season so far, it’s been widely believed that the Bucs should explore the possibility of a trade for Henderson. This looked to be the case even more so with how well Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski has been playing, leaving tight end O.J. Howard as perfect trade material for the Jacksonville corner.
Now with the deal all but finished between Jacksonville and Carolina, the Bucs have had their options narrowed for filling the void in their secondary.
Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht and a bevy of other GMs have made overtures to free agent cornerback Richard Sherman, which should only get more intense now without Henderson as an option. The 5-time All-Pro cornerback appears keen to get back on the field, and with the restructuring of Ali Marpet’s contract to free up $4 million of cap space for the Bucs this season, the price may be right as well.
While their rush defense remains at elite levels this season, the Bucs’ secondary was 30th entering Week 3, and after their abysmal performance against the Rams, they would be foolish to not make a move sooner rather than later. With corner Sean Murphy-Bunting out for an undisclosed amount of time and morale looking low, the Buccaneers are in desperate need of a big signing, and Sherman is just the name and talent to do it.
With Carolina off the market after taking Henderson, Sherman’s options for contending teams has shrunk to make the Buccaneers the best of the bunch.
Assuming Tampa can make the money work, Sherman should see Tampa as a great option, even if they aren’t 3-0.