Buccaneers Stay Busy Dealing Davis To Detroit


In a bit of a surprising move in a day full of player movement for the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded long-time starting corner Carlton Davis III and a sixth-round draft pick to the Detroit Lions for a third-round pick.

The Bucs—who are bringing back a starting quarterbackall-time wideout, and one of the best kickers in team history—have racked up some expensive, long-term deals in the past week or so and were likely looking to shed a bit of salary.

Enter the former Super Bowl-winning corner and his $14 million salary (although with his dead cap hit the move only saves around $6 million in cap space for 2024).

There’s still no official word on how much salary cap room the Bucs have following all of the extensions, this trade, the minor and unsurprising team option decline for wide receiver Russell Gage, and the team re-signing interior defensive lineman Greg Gaines to a one-year deal, but one has to assume the roster in general, but especially the cornerback room, is nowhere close to a finished product.

Expect the Bucs to spend a first or second rounder on the position, as well as sign a safety or interior offensive lineman to shore up other needs that would’ve been addressed with one of those early draft picks.

Davis III has been a quality corner when healthy, but unfortunately that’s been a bit less often than anyone would like.

The 27-year-old hovered around 13 games played per season, never hitting over 14 games for his career, but a bit of a top-heavy draft class combined with the Lions desperately needing secondary help allowed the Bucs to cash in some value for the former Auburn Tiger.

Without Davis III in the mix, the Bucs’ starting secondary now looks like Jamel Dean and former sixth rounder Zyon McCollum on the outside, undrafted free agent Christian Izien in the slot, and franchise-tagged Antoine Winfield, Jr. as the lone safety up top.

Clearly there’s some work to be done, but Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht and this Bucs front office have proven to be nothing if not flexible and able to identify quality talent on the margins in the secondary.

Both Davis III and Winfield, Jr. were second rounders, Dean was a third rounder, and Super Bowl safeties Jordan Whitehead and Mike Edwards (either or both of whom could wind up back in Tampa Bay this offseason) were drafted in the fourth and rounds rounds, respectively.

That’s a whole lot of value and not a large amount of heavy draft capital.

So let’s take a deep breath.

Yes, Davis III was a good player and the Buccaneers are currently worse off without him.

But there’s a whole lot of offseason left, and Licht has given fans plenty of reason to trust in his ability to make some savvy decisions in this market.

Around the division in a frenzied free agent Monday, the Panthers dealt star pass rusher Brian Burns to the New York Giants for a second and fifth-round pick.

The Atlanta Falcons signed veteran QB Kirk Cousins to a monster four-year, $180 million deal that turns Atlanta into some slightly scary competition. Then again, it’s still the Falcons.

With all of the moves made, it should make for an intriguing next few weeks leading up to the draft; what do the Bears do with Justin Fields and the no. 1 pick? Which teams go QB in round one? When do the Buccaneers finally pick (26th in round one)?

Guess we just have to wait and see what happens.

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This article originally appeared on CLTAMPA.COM and is used with permission.

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