The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to be linked to San Francisco 49ers guard Alex Boone, who has been holding out in hopes of a new contract for this entire offseason. The latest report comes from Bleacher Report's Jason Cole, who says that a source with the Bucs told him they're interested in Boone. Independently, he expects that a team will eventually offer a third-round pick for the veteran guard. He also notes that five or six teams are also interested in trading for Boone, so the Bucs can expect serious competition.
Lovie Smith and Jason Licht have been preaching patience for the past few days, saying that guard play will improve in the second preseason game. That would involve Oniel Cousins suddenly doing things he hasn't ever done, so somehow I doubt that.
As I've noted before, it's unlikely that the Bucs will eventually trade for Boone given their emphasis on value, the need to give up both a draft pick and an expensive contract, and the fact that while Boone is good, he is hardly a transcendental player. While the team may be interested in Boone, that doesn't mean they're interested in him at any price.
The Bucs do have enough cap space to pay Alex Boone this year, but they don't want to commit too much money to too few players going forward given the fact that Gerald McCoy will get a new and very expensive contract soon, Lavonte David will be eligible to sign an extension next year, and Mason Foster and Adrian Clayborn are entering the final year of their contracts, and players like Dashon Goldson and Vincent Jackson are still being paid handsomely.
Handing over both a third-round pick and a large contract will constrict the Bucs going forward, and that's not an ideal situation. Signing away significant cap room opens you up to significant risk and limits you elsewhere, which is what we've seen with the signings of Eric Wright, Dashon Goldson, Darrelle Revis and Carl Nicks over the past years.
Of course, starting Oniel Cousins is far from an ideal situation and Jason Licht and Lovie Smith may just decide that if these guards struggle against the Dolphins on Saturday, the risks be damned, they must find a different starter.