Anyone hoping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would make a move at the NFL Trade Deadline were left out in the cold. The deadline came and went without the Bucs making a single move outside of elevating John Wolford from the practice squad after the Rams tried to steal him away.
Wolford's signing also indicates that Baker Mayfield might not be as healthy as advertised. He's dealing with a knee injury that he's reportedly planning on playing through, but the Bucs are taking extra precaution in case something happens.
It's the only move the Bucs made to try and keep the team's playoff hopes alive.
At 3-4, the Bucs are free falling after an otherwise fantastic start to the season. Three straight losses since their bye week essentially nixed the idea that the team could be buyers at the deadline, but the losing streak didn't prompt any selling either.
That didn't stop some teams from asking the Bucs about a trade.
Jets 'inquired' about Mike Evans trade prior to deadline passing
Before the trade deadline, head coach Todd Bowles said that the team would simply be listening to offers and wouldn't be actively seeking out deals. That ended up being true in every aspect, as the Bucs neither bought nor sold, and also listened to an inquiry from the New York Jets about a potential Mike Evans trade.
According to the New York Post, Jets GM Joe Douglas talked to the Bucs about acquiring Mike Evans but the team wasn't interested in trading their star receiver.
There are a few interesting threads to pick at from this, not the least of which is there is clearly interest in Evans around the league. That's a potential precursor to what awaits this March when the future Hall of Famer enters free agency for the first time in his career.
It also shows that the Bucs are committed to two causes: continuing to compete this season and finding a way to ensure Evans is part of the future.
There's a solid chance the Bucs lose the best offensive player in franchise history this offseason, and the Jets inquiring now likely means they're going to circle back in March when a healthy Aaron Rodgers can be used as a selling point. It's hard to not see teams like the Chiefs, Bills, Cowboys, and Eagles not pursuing him to add to their Super Bowl chances next season.
If the Bucs are facing that sort of competition in re-signing Evans but passed on getting something back for him, that seems to indicate a level of confidence in getting a deal done. Competing this year is one aspect of this, but the Bucs would not get anything if Evans walks and passing up guaranteed return is a sign the team plans to make an attempt to bring him back in the offseason.