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Trading Away Players

Here's something the Patriots do year-to-year: they trade away players in the last year of their contract and when their stock is higher than ever. They do this so that they can maximize the value they get for each player, and they're not bashful about trading away good players. Richard Seymour and Randy Moss were traded in the last year of their contract, and this is something the Bucs need to start doing as well. Trading away players in their last year of a contract makes perfect sense, if it's not a player you want to re-sign. You give up a year of productivity to get a draft pick, a player who could be with the team for many years on end. Unfortunately the Bucs can't trade anyone right now because of the labor situation, but that could change quickly. And when it does, the Bucs need to be ready. So let's take a look at the players in the last year of their contract, and see whether they should be trade bait or re-signed. 

CB Ronde Barber: Not tradebait at all. It's likely Ronde will continue to play under one-year contracts as long as he and the Bucs want, and it looks like he'll retire as a Buccaneer. He shouldn't be traded away, at all. Besides, the market for a 35-year-old cornerback isn't going to be all that good anyway.

RB/FB Earnest Graham: Graham is very useful for the Bucs as a running back and fullback, and he's unlikely to be the subject of significant offers. The Bucs could use a versatile player like Graham on offense, he's been a good player on offense for years, and I don't think the Bucs could get more than a 6th-round pick for him. 

LB Geno Hayes: Now here's an interesting prospect. Hayes has been a decent but inconsistent linebacker for the past two years. He's a bit undersized, but makes up for it with his speed. He's not big enough to fit in many schemes, and the main suitors would be Tampa 2 teams like the Bucs. There aren't a lot of those teams round anymore, so it's unlikely the Bucs get a good offer. Still, Geno Hayes certainly isn't irreplaceable, but is one year of Geno Hayes better than say a 4th or 5th-rounder? I'd say yes. 

FS Tanard Jackson: Tanard Jackson is a terrific free safety with gigantic off-field problems. For that reason alone he won't gather much on the trade market, but if the Bucs don't plan on keeping him anyway they might as well trade him - if they find any suitors.

QB Josh Johnson This player seems to be the most likely trade object. He's been linked to the 49ers because of the presence of his old college coach Jim Harbaugh there. That's all though, just rumors. But it would make sense for the Buccaneers to get something for Johnson and draft a developmental QB again somewhere in the draft. It's a strategy the Packers carried out multiple times through the '90s and '00s, drafting QBs late to back up Favre, then trading them away for high draft picks. Johnson isn't likely to garner a high draft pick, but he certainly could get a 4th- or 5th-rounder, and that would be more useful than having him around as a backup for a year, in my opinion. 

SS Sean JonesAnother useful player who won't gather much on the open market. Again the question is whether Sean Jones for a year is worth more than a 5th-round draft pick. He probably is. 

G Jeremy Zuttah: This is a player the Bucs should re-sign, if possible. he's a solid and versatile interior lineman who can fill in at a number of different positions. A player like that is very useful as it allows the offensive line to continue to function despite injuries. Besides that, he too won't get much on the open market either. 


All in all, there's not a lot for the Bucs to start trading away. The most likely trade subjects seem to be Josh Johnson and Geno Hayes, but neither of them would get the Bucs more than a 4th-round pick. So it's unlikely we see the Bucs trading away players, but it is a strategy the Bucs need to keep in mind for the future.