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To say the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a state of flux would be an understatement, but could they be planning for the future before the trade deadline? Who could they part with now who will benefit them in the 2019 offseason?
Take note: the franchise isn’t known for making moves during the season unless there’s a holdout with a problematic player.
Prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday, Jackson was reportedly seeking a trade from the organization. This is not surprising considering he’s been significantly underused since franchise quarterback Jameis Winston took back the reins from backup Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second half of the Chicago Bears debacle.
Fitz returned in a remarkable comeback during the Bengals game to relieve Winston, resulting in a tie before Bengals kicker Randy Bullock dashed the Bucs’ hopes by kicking a 44-yard field goal to win the game. A gassed Bucs defense gave up a 50-yard drive from QB Andy Dalton to set up the FG.
Focusing back on Jackson, nobody but the coaching staff knows who will be starting against the Carolina Panthers in the next game. Provided Fitzpatrick gets the nod again, Jackson’s stance might soften and he’ll more likely want to remain with the team. Make no mistake, Jackson’s been vastly underutilized with Winston favoring other targets in the offense, even on shorter routes. This undermines why Jackson was brought to the team as a deep threat.
Granted, Fitzpatrick wasn’t able to find Jackson nearly as much against Pittsburgh as he could against the Eagles and the Saints. He’s still very much on the radar when he’s on the field, but teams will have to take him far more seriously with Fitz on the field, which in theory opens the lanes up for other receivers.
Chances are 50/50 that Jackson is moved. Far less likely if Fitz gets the nod and more likely if Winston gets the nod. Fact is, the Bucs don’t have to do squat with him if they’re not going to get a worthwhile investment to dump him. Anything fourth round and down isn’t worth it because there’s not much of a shot that late round picks will start.
If they give away Jackson for picks, there’s Dez Bryant, who’s still available if they don’t trust the current corps.
This is not really likely since he’s still a plan B (or plan A if the coaches stay committed to him) for Fitzpatrick in case he gets hurt.
There would have to be a sweetheart deal too good to overlook that greatly overvalues Winston’s current value (*cough* Gruden. *cough*).
Short of a first rounder or combination of high round picks from the Oakland Raiders, Winston will remain a Buc for the remainder of the 2018 season.
Fitz’s trade value will never be as high as it is now short of making the playoffs and/or making the Super Bowl. This is the best-case scenario of selling high on a player on a rental that possibly will take a team over the time. A team like the Jacksonville Jaguars would benefit, but they’re not likely to overpay for Fitz and would probably just sign him in the offseason, provided there’s even interest since incumbent Blake Bortles might be on his way out.
If Winston gets the nod, which would be itself a headscratcher, this would fuel the likelihood of the team moving Fitz. But with Ryan Griffin’s inexperience and playoff chances becoming more of an uphill climb, the team will likely just stick to a starter with experience. There would be a different answer if the team were 2-5, 1-6, or 0-7, but the Bucs are still very much alive at 3-4.
A favorite to discuss in these circles. READ MY LIPS: IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. Steelers are more than happy to let him sit at home since Bell promised but never reported to their facility. With James Connor thriving, it completely undermined Bell’s bargaining chip to get a better deal instead of being franchise-tagged. If the Bucs haven’t followed through on any inquiries with their current struggles on the ground, they will not budge on him.
Sorry, Le’Veon Bell fantasy owners. You’re still screwed unless you have the luxury of having actual depth at running back.
That rounds out the potential moves the Bucs can make. It will likely be another uneventful trade deadline.