The Buccaneers have an excellent opportunity to get better before the trade deadline.
A team like the Buccaneers making a trade at this part of the season is exactly how they stay relevant. Being the best in the NFL as they were last season is very different from staying the best, and Tampa has to get creative in finding ways to remain the best.
This season hasn’t been easy for the Bucs. Some fans may see the team that just won the Super Bowl at 6-1 and think that very little has changed, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Buccaneers have already dealt with more injuries and COVID-19 precautions than the entirety of last season. In any given week, the Bucs have played without some combination of their starting corners, key pass-catchers, defensive stars, and even coaches. The depth has saved Tampa when it mattered but making that depth better at the trade deadline never hurts.
Solak considers and addresses price tag, fit, and compensation in his piece, and every bit of it makes sense on paper and on the field.
Fuller is the type of corner that can easily help in Tampa’s hilariously-depleted secondary. Of the originally-planned starters for the season, only Jamel Dean remains, and the estimates for Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Richard Sherman are uncertain.
The Bucs have been forced to play with practice squad members and special teamers as their starting corners, and while this has worked against teams like the Bears and the Dolphins, the better teams will have a field day against this secondary.
This move is simply to stem the bleeding for a team that needs to do everything in its power to stay in contention for the Super Bowl. The depth guys are actually playing very well, but adding Fuller for what boils down to a third-round pick is obviously the better decision.
On the point of the third-round picks, the Bucs refuse to use Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Robert Hainsey isn’t on track to earn meaningful reps for quite some time, so giving up this selection doesn’t actually hurt Tampa.
If this season truly is Super Bowl or bust for the Buccaneers, the defense needs even more depth at the corner position, and aggressive moves like this at the deadline show that the team is committed to winning now, even if uncertain injuries are in play.
In the worst-case scenario, Fuller can provide the Bucs with necessary snaps to secure the top spot in the NFC and in the playoffs. In the best-case scenario, the Buccaneers can turn their injury luck around, and Fuller becomes the best CB5 in the NFL late in the season as Tampa returns key players.
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