It doesn’t matter whether it’s the draft or the trade deadline, the Buccaneers always seem to get categorized as sellers during the busiest of times on the NFL’s trade market.
The fact the Bucs are often rebuilding under a new head coach during the draft or are down in the standings come the first of November is the reason, of course, and this year is no different.
A lot of speculation heading into Tuesday’s trade deadline circulates around the ongoing belief the Bucs are looking to deal either quarterback Mike Glennon or cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Alterraun Verner.
There’s a good chance, though, that just as they have during the draft in recent years, the Bucs will choose to be buyers should they be active at all ahead of this year’s trade deadline.
One reason, of course, is their place in the standings. At 3-3 the Bucs could lose to the Raiders on Sunday and still maintain their hold on second place in the NFC South.
The other reason is their injury situation, particularly at wide receiver, where Vincent Jackson is done for the year with a knee injury and Louis Murphy is in danger of missing the entire year as well.
Murphy, who has been out since he suffered a season-ending knee injury last November, was just given the go-ahead to return to practice last week but he lasted only two days before suffering a setback.
The setback was not a re-occurrence of the knee injury but it could keep Murphy from being activated off the physically unable to perform list in time to avoid having to be placed on injured reserve.
Add it all up and the Bucs very well may be in the market for a receiver, and judging by what’s been coming out of the rumor mill, several could be had for a modest price come Tuesday.
For example, several reports have suggested the Bears would be willing to move Alshon Jeffrey, possibly for a third- and a sixth-round pick, which could be enticing for the Bucs.
At 26 and only in his fifth season in the league, Jeffrey is just now beginning to enter his prime, which means he would probably prove to be an upgrade on Jackson.
The problem is that Jeffrey will be a free agent at the end of the year and you have to wonder if the Bucs would be willing to give up draft picks simply to rent a player for half a season.
It’s quite possible they would, but then they’d also have to deal with the issue of potentially trying to re-sign Jeffrey at the same time they’d be trying to work an extension for fellow wideout Mike Evans.
Re-signing Evans will almost certainly be one of the Bucs top priorities during the offseason and when you consider the compensation they’ll both demand, signing both could prove to be a bit difficult.
That’s why it might make more sense for the Bucs to target a receiver such as the 49ers Torrey Smith, who is under contract through 2019 and is slated to make less than half of the $14 million per year that Jeffrey may want in his next deal.
Of course, the Bucs could also just stand pat. After all, it’s not like Russell Shepard has let them down, when they’ve had to lean on him (five catches 77 yards and a TD last Sunday) and they still have veteran Cecil Shorts on the roster.
It’s quite possible that between the two of them the Bucs could easily make up for the loss of both Jackson and Murphy all without giving up any players or draft picks.