With the NFL Draft approaching, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been pegged as a team who might move a superstar to pave a path for the future.
We’ve made it through the first stretch of the NFL offseason, and it’s been a surprisingly active one for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The question is will the activity continue or die down as the NFL Draft approaches?
Entering the offseason Tampa Bay was juggling the retirement of Tom Brady with a $55 million salary cap knot it needed to untangle. Players like Leonard Fournette, Donovan Smith, and Cameron Brate were all released as a result, but things went much better than anticipated.
Rather than roll over, as some expected, the Bucs came out of nowhere to re-sign Jamel Dean — the top cornerback on the market — and brought back Lavonte David as well. In addition, the team went out and added Baker Mayfield to compete with Kyle Trask and signed Chase Edmonds to fill out the backfield.
It was a pleasant surprise for fans, and the offseason outlook has rapidly changed as a result. Tampa Bay no longer needs to think about using the No. 19 pick to replace anyone and can instead reload for a season that everyone in the building is approaching with high hopes.
That hasn’t stopped the team from being linked to having a sort of fire sale with offseason trades.
Buccaneers rumors: Devin White named potential trade candidate by CBS Sports
In a recent piece on CBS Sports, a handful of NFL players are tossed out as potential trade candidates ahead of the NFL Draft. We’ve seen big-name players get dealt before or during the draft as Randy Moss was traded back in 2006 from Oakland to New England thus setting up one of the best seasons a team has ever had. A.J. Brown was dealt from Tennessee to Philadelphia and he ended up playing in the Super Bowl this year.
Not every big-name trade works out like that, but blockbuster deals can happen during the draft.
In that vein, it was recently suggested that the Buccaneers could trade Devin White before or during the draft to gain picks to rebuild with and avoid a potential contract situation next offseason.
Here’s what CBS Sports wrote:
"A polarizing four-year starter for Tampa Bay, White is an athletic freak who’s drawn high marks from coach Todd Bowles and posted gaudy numbers for the position. But he’s entering a contract year and could command near-record money despite middling grades as a coverage man. Selling him would rob the club of a defensive leader, but save an immediate $11.7M as the team prepares for potentially sweeping transitions post-Tom Brady."
It’s a fair talking point, as some Bucs fans jumped right into the depths of trade waters when White posted some cryptic Instagram photos that ended up not meaning what everyone thought they did. So the bridge has already been crossed, in a way, but that doesn’t mean the team is going to roll over the planks.
This line says it all: “Selling him would rob the club of a defensive leader.”
Once again this is a premise involving the Buccaneers that’s built largely on the idea that the team is okay with failing this year. That could not be further from the truth; everyone in Tampa Bay is hoping to win a Super Bowl this season and all other results will be dealt with as they happen.
White is a critical piece of the Bucs defense and taking him out now to save money later makes absolutely zero sense. There’s the surface-level argument that White could be turned into draft picks, but nothing it’s incredibly hard to see the team making up the difference in what they’d lose.
Tampa Bay won’t get a first-round pick for White, and a second-round pick might be wishful thinking. That right there ends any conversation about trading White and even if the team could get one of those two picks it’s still an uphill battle to make it all make sense.
White is a team captain, a load-bearing member of the defense, and one of Tampa Bay’s best players. Nobody is approaching the upcoming season with a defeatist attitude, and selling off one of the stars of the team goes against all of that.