The NFL trade deadline is quickly approaching. At this point in the year the buyers and the sellers have begun to separate themselves. This includes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While many predicted the Bucs to be sellers at the deadline, they currently sit in second place in the NFC South and are firmly in the race. This could lead them to being buyers in an attempt to take back first place in the division.
However, it will have to be bargain bin shopping for the Bucs. Their current salary cap situation is one of the worst in the NFL as they are paying off a lot of dead money from their last three seasons of playoff runs. This makes it hard to bolster this year’s roster.
With that said, there are moves that could be made that could help solidify another playoff push. Here are three players the Bucs should be targeting at the trade deadline.
In 2020, Robert Tonyan broke out with 11 touchdowns and nearly 600 receiving yards. In fact, he even caught a touchdown for the Packers against the Buccaneers in the 2020 NFC Championship game. He made a name for himself as a sure handed pass catcher with blocking ability.
Now he is playing in a backup role with the Chicago Bears. His production so far this season is extremely modest with just 39 receiving yards, but at 29 his skill set is still the same as it was in Green Bay. This is something that would bring value to Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers are extremely young in their tight end room. Cade Otton is the starter in just his second season along with Ko Kieft who is also in year two in the NFL. A veteran presence like Tonyan could bring untold value.
However, the most important thing he can bring to this tear is his blocking ability. While Otton looks like the better pass catching option with his smooth route running and athletic ability, he leaves something to be desired as a blocker. And unlike Kieft, Tonyan can catch the ball and bring some legitimate pass catching ability.
It’s no secret that the Buccaneers running game is the worst in the NFL. And while there are several reasons for that, part of it is a lack of talent in the running back room. The likes of Ke’Shawn Vaughn getting playing time is an obvious sign that this team doesn’t have enough options in the backfield.
Starter Rachaad White does bring value with his skill set. He is a well rounded back who does some of everything, but really shines as a pass catcher. Unfortunately, he doesn’t bring the physical imposing physical profile that the Bucs need to pick up short yards and punish defenses in the red zone.
Enter all 6’0 feet and 240+ lbs of AJ Dillon. The Packers backup running back is in the final year of his contract and could be available at the deadline. This is the powerful rotational running back that will add some crash to go along with White’s flash.
It’s been reported that the Broncos are ready and willing to make some deals as their season is essentially over. One name the Bucs should be looking at is center Lloyd Cushenberry. After a rocky start to his career, Cushenberry seems to have finally put it all together.
The fourth year starter from LSU’s great national championship team has become one of the best pass blockers at his position in the NFL. He also has the power and athletic ability to be a positive factor in the running game. And in the last year of his contract, this is one of the most enticing players on the Broncos roster.
This is particularly true for the Buccaneers. As mentioned before, the Bucs running game hasn’t been good. A big part of that is inconsistent play from the interior of the Buccaneers offensive line.
Cushenberry brings an upgrade in talent and experience from current starter Robert Hainsey. This will not only be an upgrade at center, but playing next to rookie Cody Mauch could be very helpful in his development as well.