The past few days, one rumor was ever-present: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wanted Trent Richardson, and they wanted to trade up for him. This rumor was obviously floated by the Minnesota Vikings to bait someone into actually moving up, but that doesn't mean there wasn't any truth to that rumor. Indeed, all indications suggest that the Buccaneers did love Trent Richardson. The question is whether they wanted to trade up for him.
Both the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Peter King are convinced the Bucs did want to trade up for him, and the Browns made the smart move by beating the Bucs' asking price. But they all base their reading on Cleveland GM Tom Heckert and Minnesota GM Rick Spielman. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Heckert said his friend Rick Spielman, the Vikings GM, told him the competing offer he had for Richardson "and I beat it. We were pretty fired up."
Was there really a competing offer from Tampa Bay? I don't think we'll ever know. But realistically, the Buccaneers couldn't possibly beat the Browns' offer of a fourth-round, a fifth-round and a seventh-round pick as compensation for trading down one spot. The Bucs were one spot farther back and would have had to give up more than that. In addition, the Bucs didn't have a fourth-round pick, which would mean either trading future picks, or their third-rounder - and both of those prices would be pretty hefty for a team with as many pressing needs as the Bucs had.
Ultimately, the Buccaneers did not trade up for Richardson. Instead, they traded down, gathering a fourth-round pick in the process, and selected another Alabama product: safety Mark Barron.