Jason Licht explains why Buccaneers traded Carlton Davis III

At the NFL Owners Meetings, Jason Licht shed some light on why the deal was made.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Most of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason was defined by bringing guys back. Whether it was re-signing Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans or signing Jordan Whitehead in free agency, reunions have been in the air this winter.

That wasn't true for everyone.

Among the first big moves the Bucs made after the legal tampering period opening was the team trading starting cornerback Carlton Davis III to the Detroit Lions. It was a move that netted Tampa Bay an extra third round pick, which is valuable capital given how much more the team needs to add through the draft.

Offensive line and edge rush help are two major needs that still need to be addressed, but both positions are a bit pricey on the open market. Given how well Jason Licht has been able to mine talent in the draft, it seems likely that the team will look in that direction when putting some finishing touches on the roster.

The price paid seems to be Davis, something Licht seemed to confirm when talking about the trade this week.

Jason Licht explains why Buccaneers traded Carlton Davis III

Top NFL brass have convened down in Orlando for the annual Owner's Meetings, which is where Licht was asked about the big offseason trade. While it was a difficult decision to move on from a starter, the Bucs GM noted that the paths it opens up could end up paying off nicely.

"We felt like it was an opportunity for us to get a really good pick and to add some youth," Licht said. "We wish Carlton the best. He's a good player when he's out there on the field."

Even before trading Davis the Bucs needed to find a way to add some secondary help in the draft. Jamel Dean underperformed last season and the rest of the room thinned out pretty fast after guys like Zyon McCollum moved into bigger roles.

Dean has been both an important yet frustrating player for the Bucs. He's an OG -- Original Gravedigger -- responsible for being a big part of a Super Bowl winning defense. Davis has also misse 16 games over the last three seasons due to injuries, which is something that hit the Bucs hard last year when its already thin cornerback depth was tested.

Trading him to Detroit for a third round pick feels like a win-win; Davis has a chance to get back to being the top cornerback we've seen him be and the Bucs netted a premium Day 2 pick. Jason Licht has navigated difficult decisions before, and this one seems like a swing that was worth taking for all involved.

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