The NFL has been filled with trade rumors recently, though not that many trades actually materialized. That always happens when roster cuts approach: general managers are desperate to get any kind of value for players that are surplus to the requirements.
Other general managers know that, too, and will wait for those teams to cut some players—as happened with Kony Ealy, who was claimed by seven different teams after being released, even though the New England Patriots couldn’t find a trade partner.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the teams who claimed Ealy, as they could use some extra depth at defensive end right now. But they could use some help elsewhere, too, and there are a few players on the trade block that they could be interested in.
Broncos S T.J. Ward
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Denver Broncos have been taking trade calls on safety T.J. Ward. The Bucs, of course, are pretty iffy at safety—they signed J.J. Wilcox and drafted Justin Evans, but they haven’t really looked like upgrades so far.
Ward, on the other hand, would provide an immediate boost in the playmaking department. The two-time Pro Bowler has anchored the Broncos defense for years, and while he’s aging, should still have a couple of years of quality play left.
Of course, the downside of trading for Ward this late in the preseason is that he has no time to get up to speed with the Bucs defense. But that’s true for every player the Bucs plan to trade for—and why these trades rarely materialize.
Browns OL Cameron Erving
Back in 2015, Erving was in the conversation for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ second-round pick, in part because he looked like a versatile offensive lineman and a possible immediate upgrade, in part because he played with Jameis Winston.
Now he’s on the chopping block, per Cleveland.com, despite being a first-round pick for the Cleveland Browns just two years ago. He was bad at center, and bad at right tackle, and now he’s not only lost his starting spot but probably even his roster spot.
So if the Bucs trade for him, they shouldn’t expect an immediate starter. They don’t even need an immediate starter, anyway. But Erving would probably be an upgrade as the eighth or ninth offensive lineman on the roster—and he’s versatile enough to work in many different ways.
Browns CB Joe Haden
Okay, I don’t know why, but the Browns want to get rid of one of the best cornerbacks in the league, again per Cleveland.com. I assume they’ll want actual compensation for that and not just peanuts, but Haden is good enough where any NFL team should consider giving up some assets to get him on the roster.
The Bucs don’t have a lot of depth at cornerback, with Ryan Smith noticeably struggling in preseason. Haden would solve that, and he and Grimes would make for one of the best cornerback duos in the entire NFL. Hargreaves could flourish in the slot, or they could rotate him with the aging Grimes.
Realistically, though, none of that is going to happen. Sorry.
Lions QB Jake Rudock
Ryan Fitzpatrick is bad, Ryan Griffin is injured, and there’s a backup quarterback who looked pretty good in Detroit. If the Bucs can arrange some low-value swap, this might be interesting. But probably not.