If there’s a potential 1-to-1 replacement in every way for Gage on the free agent market, it might be Sammy Watkins.
Watkins offers a lot of the skill set that Gage provided in the slot, and would fit naturally as a WR3 at this stage in his career. Not for nothing, but the Bucs would have two of the top wide receivers from the 2014 NFL Draft. Putting Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans in the same offense doesn’t have the punch it might have once had, but it doesn’t lack potential production.
He’s averaged no fewer than 30 yards per game in each of his stints except for the one in Green Bay where he averaged 22.9 YPG. Once he arrived in Baltimore, though, Watkins pumped his numbers up to 39.7 YPG despite not consistently having Lamar Jackson at quarterback.
The downside is that he brings all of the potential downside that Gage provided as well, namely in the form of being injury prone. Watkins has been mostly productive over his career, but he’s also struggled with injuries. He’s only played a full season once, and has missed 28 games over the course of his career for various different ailments.
It’s no doubt a risk to bring him in, but Watkins might benefit from the Bucs narrative of playing with a chip on their shoulder and with something to prove as underdogs who have been written off.