Could Buccaneers be among DeAndre Hopkins landing spots?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Arizona Cardinals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Arizona Cardinals / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

In any of the three previous offseasons,, DeAndre Hopkins getting released by the Arizona Cardinals would have everyone instantly connecting him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady.

The main rationale would be Brady adding another weapon in his pursuit of another Super Bowl ring, but other factors would include how great the defense is and how easily the NFC South can be won by a competent team.

Outside of Brady no longer being in Tampa Bay, not a lot has changed. Yet, after the Cardinals stunningly released Hopkins, the Bucs are nowhere to be found on most exerts lists of possible landing spots.

This isn’t totally surprising, but it’s nonetheless baffling that not a single person sees potential gold in linking Hopkins with the Bucs.

To be fair, Brady leaving Tampa Bay is a pretty massive factor to consider. However, despite what you may have heard the Buccaneers still have pieces in place to be serous contenders to win the division and make a run in the playoffs.

Even with Brady gone, the Bucs still boast a roster with guys like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Vita Vea, Antoine Winfield Jr., Devin White, Lavonte David, and Tristan Wirfs. There is immense talent scattered all over the depth chart, and adding Hopkins would potentially take the Bucs into favorites territory in the division.

The Bucs also offer any ring chasing mercenary a unique legacy situation. Joining a team like the Bills, Chiefs, or even the Patriots is a transparent attempt to win a title with a pre-packaged ready-made contender. Joining the Bucs, however, would mean winning a ring with a sleeper and therefore enhancing the power of the ring.

It’s a risk, to be sure, but the Bucs aren’t that far away from being contenders if everything falls into place. Baker Mayfield is on a revenge tour, the Bucs defense remains mostly intact and one of the best units in the league, and the path the playoffs is pretty clear. Winning the NFC South is not particularly challenging and it’s not as though the division got significantly better this offseason.

Buccaneers cap space is a huge road block

For all of the roster reasons some might argue as reasons the Bucs aren’t a logical destination for Hopkins, there’s a much larger thing standing in the way.

Hopkins probably won’t come to Tampa Bay, either because of better situations elsewhere or the Bucs financial situation. Jason Licht would likely find a way to fit Hopkins into the books if he expressed a desire to play for the Bucs, but the team would have to lift up every couch cushion in the building to find enough money to make a deal happen.

According to OverTheCap, the Bucs have less than half-a-million dollars in cap space as OTAs begin.

That’s not an ideal situation. It’s the cost of doing business this offseason, though, as the team managed to re-sign Jamel Dean and Lavonte David and bring in guys like Baker. There will be other moves, but the Bucs pretty much have their hands tied when it comes to finding money to make anyt splashy additions before the season starts.