Buccaneers should ‘definitely’ trade for Jonathan Taylor after run game struggles

It’s a rumor that keeps popping up, but it still makes as little sense as it did the last time.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Indianapolis Colts
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Indianapolis Colts / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

We’re still a month away from the NFL Trade Deadline, which only means the rumor mill is going to start turning faster and faster.

It’s already churning at a pretty rapid rate, with some big names getting floated as potential trade chips. The biggest and most notable player is Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, specifically because it’s very realistic that he gets dealt.

Taylor requested a trade over the offseason amid the ongoing battle between running backs and team owners about fair pay. While most owners stayed out of things, Jim Irsay called Taylor out for wanting to get a new contract which prompted the running back to request a trade.

Someone will trade for Taylor and pay him what he wants if the Colts don’t, and the list of potential suitors hasn’t really shrunk since the rumors started a few months ago. Despite how badly they were talked about this offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem to have residency in the Taylor rumors and come up every time a trade gets talked about.

Already this week, in the aftermath of the Monday night loss, the Bucs have come up twice in two different conversations about where Taylor might land as the date looms for when he’s activated from the PUP list.

Buccaneers Rumors: Jonathan Taylor continues to be named a trade target

On SiriusXM Radio, former NFL player Max Starks dove into the Jonathan Taylor discourse and brought up the Buccaneers as a potential landing spot that makes sense. Much like what Dan Graziano said earlier in the week, the rationale revolves around the way the run game has gotten off to a slow start.

“If I’m the Bucs, I would most definitely [pursue a trade for Taylor] because you can’t have this,” Starks said. “You can’t have 2.7 yards per rush for a guy that you’re really banking on being more productive regardless of the circumstances.”

It’s a really nice idea to think about the Bucs trading for one of the best young running backs in the league, but the fact remains that it just doesn’t make any practical sense.

Taylor no doubt makes the Bucs a much better team and he’s adds a dynamic to the offense that it’s currently missing. It’s not anything on the field that doesn’t make sense in terms of the Bucs trading for Taylor, it’s all about how the team would pay for him.

Irsay burned the bridge with Taylor after he called him out, but the crux of why he wants out is the fact that the Colts don’t want to pay him. That would mean th Bucs trading for him would come with the understanding that Tampa Bay would be paying him a big contract which is something the team can’t afford to do.

Tampa Bay has upcoming extensions due for Tristan Wirfs, Antoine Winfield Jr., and Devin White — key pieces of the team’s core. Mike Evans also needs a new contract and the Bucs would be wise to find a way to make sure he stays in Tampa Bay.

All of this should be prioritized over an extension for Taylor, but it has nothing to do with his position or any of that drama. The Bucs wiggled out of a $55 million salary cap pinch after having gone all-in on paying Tom Brady and free agent mercenaries who wanted to chase a ring. One reason that happened was thanks to how careful Jason Licht was with spending in the years leading up to 2020; it would be both unwise and uncharacteristic to see him splurge on a deal for Taylor when it so clearly sets the team back in other key areas.

It’s pretty clear the Bucs are going to remain in this conversation until Taylor is either traded or re-signs in Indy, but each time it comes up it still makes as little sense as it did before.

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