The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a free fall. With a 3-5 record they have lost three games in a row, including a pair of losses to two of the worst teams in the league. Things are starting to get ugly.
Many fans were hoping to see some additional help brought in at the trade deadline and I don’t blame them. This is a Super Bowl or bust season and this team needs to be better. At this point the year looks a lot more like a bust than not.
Names like Dalton Risner to play left guard or TJ Hockenson to be the starting tight end were names connected to the Buccaneers by some. Logical choices who fit the roster and could be affordable. However, the trade deadline has come and gone with the Buccaneers making no trades at all.
That’s right, zero moves were made. Take it in and process that. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Now let me tell you why that’s not a bad thing.
Current Talent Level Is Fine
Despite their record, the Bucs might have the most talented roster in the NFL. They have arguably the best group of wide receivers, pro bowlers all over one of the best defenses in the NFL and a guy named Tom Brady.
Talent has never been the problem with this season. It’s been utilizing the talent that has been the problem. Regardless of who could have been brought in, the coaching situation hasn’t changed.
So yes, I would have loved to see this team acquire a starting caliber left guard. Yes, it would have helped this team to a degree. However, this was never a move that was going to fix this offense.
The Path Hasn’t Changed
Several contenders made big moves at the trade deadline. The Ravens, Bills and even the Dolphins made key acquisitions. There is no doubt that the same path to the Super Bowl just got more difficult.
However, that doesn’t really impact the Buccaneers. Most of the teams that added at the deadline were mostly in the AFC. Tampa Bay wouldn’t see any of these teams until Super Bowl Sunday.
On the other hand, the NFC contenders remained largely quiet this year. In a conference that looks to have no elite teams, that still leaves the door open for the Bucs. If they can sort out their own issues, this team is probably still the best that the NFC has to offer on paper.
Hedging Their Bets
This is a win at all costs season. Tom Brady likely won’t be back next season so capitalizing on this window is the most important thing. The Buccaneers had a chance to make this team better and they should have tried.
However, let’s consider the alternative. The Bucs are 3-5 with a great roster. How much of the future should they mortgage to make this team marginally better? Especially going into next season where this team will have more holes to fill.
You can trade away a pair of second round picks when you don’t have to replace a Pro Bowl linebacker. You can trade away a first round pick when you have a long term answer at quarterback. The Bucs don’t have that luxury.
As disappointing as not making a move today was, it might be better for the long term success of this franchise.