After winning the offseason championship the last two years it’s time for the Buccaneers to change it’s philosophy regarding player acquisition. In 2012 they broke the bank for guard Carl Nicks, and in 2013 it was a trade for Darrelle Revis and bringing in Dashon Goldson via free agency.
In two seasons with Tampa Bay, Nicks has played a total of 9 games and will carry a cap figure of $9,357,000 in 2014. That is the 4th highest cap number on the team, and averages out to over $1 million per game played.
Coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2012, Dashon Goldson was the hottest name on the free agent market for safeties. He had put up good numbers as part of one of the best defenses in the NFL and Tampa Bay had money to spend. In 2013 ProFootballFocus graded out Goldson as the 81st ranked safety in the league. He carries the 5th highest cap number on the team at $9,000,000.
Coming off a 4 win season the Buccaneers will have only five selections in the 2014 draft, they gave up their third round pick as part of the trade last offseason for Revis. Compare that to the San Francisco 49ers, a team that has been to the conference championship the last three seasons. The 49ers will go into the draft with 12 selections, and will likely get an extra third in compensation for the Buccaneers signing away Goldson.
On draft day when the Buccaneers go on the clock with the seventh pick in the draft they should be looking to trade down. This will allow them to accumulate more picks in the middle rounds which would be a good thing with this being a very deep draft class.
The Buccanneers need to upgrade the linebackers around Lavonte David, upgrade right guard and prepare for a likely release of Nicks in 2015, find a slot cornerback, another wide receiver or two, a defensive tackle, and a defensive end. By my count that is 7-9 new players they need to add.
A big part of the success of the 49ers over the last three seasons has been the depth created by General Manager Trent Baalke. The 49ers philosophy has been to build through the draft while creating competition throughout the roster by signing low cost free agents.
Tampa Bay was a lot closer to being a contender in 2013 than their record suggested. How the new Buccaneers brain trust, Jason Licht and Lovie Smith, approach the free agency period and the draft will be interesting to watch.
What do you think? Should the Buccaneers trade down?