After his price dropped since first hitting the trade market, could the Tampa Bay Buccaneers consider buying low on acquiring DeAndre Hopkins?
It’s already been a pretty wild offseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one full of plot twists and oddly uplifting hope. Things started with a playoff loss to the Cowboys, Tom Brady retiring, and a massive salary cap bill that finally came due after chasing a Super Bowl each of the last three seasons.
Tampa Bay succeeded in winning a title, so it’s useless to try and argue that the current situation wasn’t worth the price paid. But despite the team being $55 million on the wrong side of the salary cap, Jason Licht and the front office managed to turn things around in a hurry and have prevented the Bucs from missing a beat.
Jamel Dean was brought back on a team-friendly deal, Lavonte David was retained as well, and the team added Baker Mayfield and Chase Edmonds — all without seemingly much money to spend.
Magicians everywhere are blushing at the sleight of hand the Bucs pulled off.
As the offseason wears on, the question is whether the team can keep the magic going. In the spirit of leaning into the craziness, let’s consider for a moment just how wild things could get.
If the Bucs truly want to compete this year, and are making crazy value deals to make it happen, let’s imagine a world where a buy-low trade for DeAndre Hopkins is on the table in Tampa Bay.
Should Buccaneers try to buy low on a DeAndre Hopkins trade?
According to MMQB’s Albert Breer, the price on Hopkins has dropped — or normalized, depending on who you ask. The bottom line is that the Cardinals are not expected to get their original asking price for Hopkins met, and it’s now believed that he can be had for a 5th or 6th-round pick.
This is similar to what Brandin Cooks was acquired for when Dallas traded for him last week.
Before you get all up in arms, this is more of a thought exercise than anything else, but the Bucs have surprised us before with moves that we didn’t see coming so let’s check the pulse on how logical this might be.
Competition and Fit
One of the biggest hurdles standing in the way of a potential Hopkins trade is the rest of the market. Tampa Bay pairing him with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans would need to be broadcast behind a paywall, but it’s not necessarily his best fit.
Buffalo seems to be the frontrunner to make a trade, and at the price Hopkins can apparently be had at, it’s insane value for the Bills. Giving Josh Allen a weapon like Hopkins is almost unfair, and it sets the team up nicely to potentially replace Stefon Diggs.
Diggs to Tampa Bay? Okay, okay, we’ll contain ourselves to one wickedly wild take at a time.
Allen vs. Baker Mayfield could also factor into the decision, as Nuke might prefer to play for an immediate Super Bowl contender with an MVP quarterback rather than try and help out in Tampa.
Here lies the greatest hangup in a deal. It’s not the price the Bucs would have to pay in trade capital, rather the price of Hopkins’ contract might be rich for the Bucs blood.
Way too rich, if we’re being honest.
Hopkins is owed nearly $20 million next season and carries a whopping $30 million cap hit. The Bucs have been able to get creative with the salary cap to afford moves like re-signing Dean and David, but the type of magic needed to fit Hopkins is way too advanced.
Hogwarts doesn’t even teach that stuff.
There could be a way the Bucs make it work but it would require mortgaging the future for a wide receiver on the wrong side of 30 years old and with just one year of control after this season. It’s a risk, and the Bucs won a Super Bowl gambling big, but one that doesn’t make enough sense to try and pull off.