WIth the NFL Trade Deadline just days away, teams around the league are starting to decide how aggressive they'll be in either buying or selling.
Two teams -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans -- have been linked for a few weeks now, specifically when it comes to the future of running back Derrick Henry. As the Bucs run game continues its downward spiral, experts around the NFL believe the team might try to trade its way to a solution.
King Henry has been mentioned more than once as a possible trade target.
Tennessee is in sell mode as the deadline approaches, but the Buccaneers aren't guaranteed to be buyers. The team is still dealing with a tight salary cap situation that prevented the front office from making splashy moves over the offseason.
A Henry trade is surprisingly affordable from an assets standpoint, but if a deal were to happen the Bucs would need to figure out how to get his contract to fit on the books.
Ex-NFL agent details how Bucs can make a Derrick Henry trade work
Former NFL agent Joel Correy took a look at the Bucs salary cap situation and the prospect of trading for Henry. As he detailed, it's not something that can be done without making a corresponding move but it's not hard for Jason Licht to make things work.
Correy's solution centers on restructuring Mike Evans $13 million salary to create about $8 million in cap space.
"Evans has a $13 million base salary this season. He will have earned $5,777,778 (or 8/18ths) of his 2023 salary after Thursday night's game against the Bills. There will be $7,222,222 left for him to earn. Buccaneers would use their discretionary right to convert a portion of base salary into signing bonus, which was built into his contract. Most lucrative contracts around the league contain a clause similar to this one," Corry said.
It's not a bad idea, and is cleary doable. There's a flip side to the coin, though, that might dispell any notion of the Bucs making a deal for Henry.
Restructuring Evans deal sounds good but it creates over $12 million in dead cap. Tampa Bay already dealt with ,more than $35 million in dead cap this offseason after Tom Brady retired, and every move was made with the intention of not adding to that total.
There are ways to make a deal happen without the Bucs restructuring deals, but it would require the Titans to eat part of Henry's salary which would cost Tampa Bay more in trade capital.
Essentially, the Bucs took their medicine this past offseason so that they wouldn't have to spread the pain out over multiple years and impact moves in the future. The team could have restructured Evans deal to create cap space back in March and chose not to, which seems to suggest they wouldn't suddenly change course.
Adding Henry makes the team better, there's no doubt about that. The question is whether the Bucs are willing to make a midseason gamble and mortgage a piece of the future to compete this year. If the front office believe Henry makes the Bucs a Super Bowl contender then the deal is a no-brainer, but anything short of that isn't worth it.