How many wide receivers do the Buccaneers need?
This question has served as a rallying cry that Buccaneers and Tom Brady haters have used as a way of diminishing all team success over the past few years.
“Any quarterback could succeed with that many options!”
Well, we all saw last season that even a player like Tom Brady on an MVP pace wasn’t enough to overcome that wide receiver corps, and what was looked at as one of Tampa’s biggest strengths is now viewed as a weakness.
Cyril Grayson stepped up in his limited usage as a depth option, but there was very little production from the other depth players outside of him.
Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller never popped, and Jaelon Darden played like a wasted pick. The top three was excellent for the Bucs when they had them, but injuries (and other distractions) happen. Who steps up when a starter goes down? Can you actually trust the depth pieces?
Unfortunately, the Buccaneer front office just made it clear that the depth isn’t cutting it in Tampa.
Going after a third receiver like Russell Gage was always an obvious choice. Gage is great value and a proven option as the third guy with Evans and Godwin, and that leaves Grayson, Darden, Miller, and Johnson as quality depth pieces. If you throw in a rookie from the draft, you have a decent unit of players that look like they have plenty of upside.
The Buccaneers still need more consistency
Instead, the Bucs made their lack of trust in the depth even more clear by re-signing Breshad Perriman.
Perriman was another one of those depth guys that didn’t produce much outside of one huge moment, but he should get the benefit of the doubt considering when he joined the roster.
The Bucs clearly like his upside as a veteran and his athleticism, but this decision does show that changes are coming.
There is a decent chance that the Bucs could part ways with Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller this offseason. Both of these players looked like they could produce in the third role at various points over the past few years, but neither stepped up when it mattered the most.
This failure to take the next step should rightfully concern the front office, and the Bucs could decide that proven options are much better during a Tom Brady season than guys that are streaky.
No one knows exactly what is going to happen just yet, but the one thing we do know is the wide receiver battle in training camp is going to be intense.
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