The NFL trade deadline has passed and the Buccaneers really don’t look any different post deadline than they did pre deadline.
Sure, they added running back Mike James off waivers, but James has been with the Bucs for the better part of the past two years and was only let go prior to the start of the season because of a lingering groin injury.
And while they also let go of cornerback Johnthan Banks, officially trading him Tuesday afternoon to the Lions for a conditional seventh-round draft pick, it’s not like Banks was playing much.
In fact, the Bucs first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft had been a healthy scratch each of the last two games and he hadn’t played a single snap on defense at the time of his dismissal.
So what the Bucs have done in essence is tell the rest of the league and their fans “We’re good,’’ despite their 3-4 record.
OK, that may be a bit harsh. It’s likely Bucs general manager Jason Licht spent a good part of the past few days looking for a deal that made the Bucs better but simply couldn’t find one that made sense.
The fallout, of course, is that the Bucs are left with what they have, which may not seem like much at a couple of positions, wide receiver in particular.
The Bucs have lost second receiver Vincent Jackson for the season to a knee injury and come Monday they may have to place fellow wideout Louis Murphy on injured reserve as well.
That’s left them with Russell Shepard, Cecil Shorts and Donteea Dye vying for the second spot between Mike Evans and slot receiver Adam Humphries, which most see as a rather thin group.
You really have to wonder, though, just what kind of a deal for a wide receiver was out there for Licht to make. After all, the two receivers most rumored to have been on the trade block stayed put.
Torrey Smith, who confirmed he was the subject of a trade talks between the 49ers and Eagles, not the Bucs, is staying in San Francisco, and Alshon Jeffrey is staying in Chicago.
We shouldn’t be surprised. The NFL trade deadline is not like the trade deadline in any other sport. Because teams are usually unwilling to give up their previous draft picks few deals ever get done. That’s just reality.
Another reality is that the Bucs have already won one game without Jackson and Murphy and they were in position to win another until cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah was called for defensive holding on a fourth-down play with 1:43 to play against the Raiders last Sunday.
This is not say the Bucs are in great shape at the wide receiver position. As it stands now it’s probably one of two positions (the other being safety) that they’ll be looking to shore up the most come the 2017 Draft.
That’s not meant as a shot at Adjei-Barimah. It’s simply a fact. Here’s another: the Bucs have won two of their last three games with at least half their starting defensive linemen watching from the sidelines and with third-string running back Jacquizz Rodgers playing a role he’s never played before.
There’s nothing to suggest then that they can’t continue to put themselves in a position to win the rest of the way with the likes of Shepard, Shorts and Dye filling out their receiving corps.
Sure, it would have been nice if the Bucs could have added a premier pass catcher at the deadline. But think about this for a second: with the exception of Cleveland, which benefitted from the Patriots’ decision to unload rather than pay linebacker Jamie Collins, what other team landed an impact player at the trade deadline?