Over the last few months the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been diligent in filling key areas of need while solving their tight cap space predicament. With that said there are still a few important questions still left to be answered. For example, do the Bucs have the personnel to fill Jason Pierre-Paul‘s void till his return? On offense, will Peyton Barber lead a more productive backfield? Or do the Bucs have the right pieces in place on the offensive line?
If the Bucs are to make a move due to the above mentioned, injury or otherwise during the season, they will have to clear up cap space to do so. At the moment the team has only $5.21 million according to Spotrac. And that remaining amount will be used to sign their remaining draft picks. The bulk of which will be used for 1st round pick LB Devin White.
With the lack of cap space heading into the 2019 regular season, it will force the team to either cut or even trade a player away to address an area of need. Which all three areas of need mentioned earlier could be a real cause for concern. And if Bruce Arians inaugural season is to get off on the right foot, it could be addressed sooner rather than later.
In the scenario where the Bucs elected to trade to fill a need, here are three players Tampa Bay could look at moving:
The 7-season linebacker has had an overall respectable career in Tampa Bay, and is sometimes considered to be underrated throughout the NFL. During his career with the Bucs he has put up a respectable 885 tackles, 21.5 sacks, and 10 INT’s. For what it’s worth, YOY David’s overall play has been better than the even recently departed Kwon Alexander. Who wanted to be paid like a top linebacker.
In 2019 David is due to make $8.75 million. All of which is guaranteed. After this season though, the Bucs can release him without any cap hit from the final two years of his contract. The loss of David would sting for sure. If the linebacker Corp progresses under the rookie season of MLB Devin White though, they could take the chance to move on from the veteran. Especially given that David is soon approaching the backside of his career.
If the Bucs are to make a move in-season, and are looking to address a need and free up the most cap room. Then look no further than Lavonte David.
The big pass-catching TE has been a big red zone target for QB Jameis Winston in recent years. That said though he saw steep decline in receptions last season with just 289 receiving yards, but yet still hauled in 6 TDs. A multitude of factors could have contributed to this (ie the many receiving options last season), but the biggest factor was possibly due to the fact he was playing through a big injury. Unbeknownst to most in Tampa Bay, Brate had been playing through a torn labrum in his hip. How is that for grit? While Brate hasn’t been practicing since he has undergone arthroscopic surgery, he is expected to start participating come training camp.
The lack of 100% certainty that he is healed fully surely does not boost the confidence of possible interested teams in a trade scenario right now. That should all quickly change though. As Brate should be able to build upon his reliable reputation for QBs who need a big body in the red zone or maybe even serve as a safety valve.
Brate is due to pull in $7 million this season. All of which became fully guaranteed after he underwent surgery this off-season. With that said though, he contract contains no dead money after this season barring any further injury.
In an offense where Arians hasn’t leaned on too many TE’s too often, this could be the opportunity for the Bucs to leverage this trade chip. Especially given that they still have the blossoming O.J. Howard as their starter. If the Bucs elect to keep Brate, there is no doubt Arians could find a way to insert a package of two TE sets into his new Tampa Bay offense.
Out of the three players here, Barber is the least likely in a trade scenario for a few reasons despite his potential and full support from Arians. First off, in a trade scenario that includes Peyton Barber, the Bucs would likely have to release another player if they were to bring in a player to plug a significant hole. With Barber’s cap hit at $2.12 million this season, it wouldn’t be nearly enough to bring in a valuable enough player via trade.
The scenario that makes a Barber trade more likely is if his production is solid enough while still having a productive running back unit behind him. If the Bucs can get both Barber and Ronald Jones going, Barber could be seen as trade bait for a running back hungry team mid-season. With that said that is a big “if”, and all the proper pieces would have to come into place in order for this to have any real possibility.