As they sit right now at 1-3, struggling to keep their heads above water, the Bucs chances of making the playoffs (Playoffs? Did you say playoffs? Playoffs?) are already pretty slim.
Since 1990 only 14 percent of the NFL team’s that started out 1-3 have gone on to reach the postseason. Those chances will obviously slide to virtually none should the Buccaneers fall to 1-4.
That makes Monday’s game against the Panthers the most pivotal of the season so far, and we say pivotal because the outcome could force the Bucs to change course on a couple of key matters.
The first involves the short-term future of backup quarterback Mike Glennon. At 1-4 the Bucs would probably open up the phone lines and start listening to trade offers for Glennon, and well they should.
The biggest reason the Bucs have kept Glennon, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, around is to ensure they have a competent quarterback ready to win games for them should they lose starter Jameis Winston in the middle of a playoff run.
At 1-4 and likely out of the playoff race, there’s little need to keep Glennon around, so even if it means getting pennies on the dollar (a 6th- or 7th-round draft pick) it would probably make sense to move him.
The same may hold true for “free agent to be” cornerback Johnthan Banks. Before he rallied during the preseason the Bucs were on the verge of cutting Banks anyway. That’s how disappointed they were with him during training camp.
Despite the rally, though, Banks still has not played well enough to earn any defensive playing time. All of his 38 snaps so far this year have come in special teams situations.
Thrown in the fact that the Bucs are now playing rookie Vernon Hargreaves III at right corner and Jude Adjei-Barimah in the slot and it seems Banks has little or no future with this team.
Now, it’s possible the Bucs have a plan to eventually slide him into Brent Grimes spot, but Grimes doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon so it might make sense to deal Banks, too.
The fact Glennon and Banks are both slated to become free agents at the end of the year could be a roadblock, and compromise any attempt the Bucs might want to make to move them. However, teams might like the “rent a player,” aspect of getting either of them.
Still, come the trade deadline, there’s likely to be a playoff contender somewhere in need of either a backup quarterback or a spare corner and if the Bucs can make a deal, even for a low-round pick, it might prove beneficial in the long term.
Then again, a win to be 2-3 would be very beneficial to the Bucs in the short term-headed to the bye.