With a rapidly-depleting secondary, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers must trade for a talented cornerback — and soon — before the Nov. 2 trade deadline.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers stunned with their all-22 signing this offseason, and they did it again when they plucked Richard Sherman out of free agency this week.
Tom Brady has proven to be quite the recruiter, bringing in offensive weapons like Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown, but he’s now moved on to recruiting defensive players like Sherman.
To dash Buccaneers hopes of “running it back” is the ultimate obstacle in 2021: the Buccaneers do not have any semblance of a secondary. While Sherman joined the Bucs on-field after just a few days with the playbook, cornerback Carlton Davis III was sidelined with a worrying quad injury in the first quarter of “The Return”. Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. sat out the last two drives with a possible concussion.
Cam Gill, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Curtis Riley are all on IR, while Winfield is listed as “doubtful” and Davis remains “questionable.” Jamel Dean is simply listed as “out” with a Week 3 knee injury.
Simply put, the Buccaneers barely have enough players to cobble together a nickel defense, let alone a dime or a dollar. But if Bucs general manager Jason Licht can pull of a few cornerback trades before the Nov. 2 deadline, the Bucs still have a shot at a back-to-back playoff run.
Buccaneers: 3 cornerbacks to trade for
Cornerback, Pittsburgh Steelers
Like Tom Brady, Joe Haden has put in time in the NFL: this is his 12th NFL season, and he’s still starting for an NFL team with a hefty salary.
Haden opened his career with the Browns with impressive play, but disappointments followed a hefty 2015 contract. Because of injuries and declining play, the Browns endeavored to trade him until Haden was finally cut in 2017.
Mere hours after the cut, the Steelers swept Haden up and signed him to a 3-year, $27 million contract.
Haden is now in the final year of that contract, and it would make sense for the Steelers to trade him for draft capital. As Steve Young made perfectly clear on ‘Monday Night Countdown’, the Steelers are in a dark place if they don’t move on from Roethlisberger soon. Whether they ride along for Ben’s last year or not, the Steelers need to rebuild immediately, and that’s going to take some draft picks.
The Buccaneers could trade for Haden, have him ride along for their own season as an NFC playoff contender, and give the Steelers something to build their future upon. It’s a move that works for everyone — both teams need something to work with right away, and this deal could do it.