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There are plenty of reasons why Tampa Bay shouldn’t trade for Patrick Peterson

It’s just not the right time

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
Peterson is a great player, but will come at too great a cost.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Here we go. I bought my burial plot yesterday, wrote out my headstone, and bought my suit.

It’s time to fire the cannons, only in my direction while I’m tied to the stake. I’m ready to get buried.

Tampa Bay should not trade for Patrick Peterson.

Everyone is aware of the Bucs’ defensive futility and the secondary is the main reason why. Poor execution, a questionable scheme, and multiple injuries have culminated in a historically bad performance through the first seven weeks of the season.

But as exciting as it may be to think of Peterson in pewter and red, it shouldn’t happen and it won’t happen.

Arizona doesn’t want to let him go

There are multiple reasons why the Bucs shouldn’t trade for Peterson. The first and most obvious reason is Steve Wilkes’ complete shutdown of the notion on Monday.

“We’re not trading Patrick. That’s out of the question.” - Wilkes, via the Arizona Cardinals

To add further credence to the situation, the New York Jets reportedly inquired about Peterson and the word is that the deal would not go through “barring a miracle”.

Tampa Bay is 3-3 and in the midst of fighting for their playoff lives. Not only are they currently the third best team in their division, they are seventh in the playoff standings with a 2-2 conference record.

This team has more important things to focus on rather than making more changes to an already beleaguered defense. If it does in fact take a miracle to land Peterson, then the time and effort required to go into the chase is not a good idea.

But time and effort wouldn’t be the only thing Tampa Bay would be spending if they did in fact decide to go after Peterson.

Cap Issues

For starters, Tampa Bay has just $6.436 million in cap space right now. Peterson’s base salary is $11 million. I’m not exactly sure as to how the Bucs would take the hit in 2018, but it seems to me that we’re already off to a bad start.

Currently ranked 29th in cap space for 2019, the Bucs don’t have much room to maneuver for another high-priced player unless they trim some fat.

In the grand scheme of things, $17.5 million cap space is peanuts when you still need to set aside around $5-7 million for draft picks. Tampa Bay’s 2018 class has a current hit of close to $8.1 million, but it’s a bit higher than usual considering they had three second round picks.

Below are the top earners for next season:

Top Ten Salaries In 2019

Position Player 2019 Salary Cap Hit (after signing bonus, incentives, etc.) Dead Money (if cut pre-June 1)
Position Player 2019 Salary Cap Hit (after signing bonus, incentives, etc.) Dead Money (if cut pre-June 1)
QB Jameis Winston $20,992,000 $20,992,000 $0
WR Mike Evans $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000
DE Jason Pierre-Paul $13,250,000 $14,500,000 $0
DT Gerald McCoy $13,000,000 $13,000,000 $0
LG Ali Marpet $3,125,000 $11,025,000 $9,100,000
WR DeSean Jackson $10,000,000 $10,000,000 $0
C Ryan Jensen $10,000,000 $10,000,000 $10,000,000
LB Lavonte David $9,750,000 $9,750,000 $0
DE Vinny Curry $8,000,000 $8,000,000 $0
*information provided by overthecap.com

Peterson will constitute close to a $11.9 million cap hit in 2019. It isn’t feasible for the Bucs to bring him on board without either dumping or trading one of the players listed above.

It’s also pretty accurate to say that losing any of the above players would be a pretty big loss for the Bucs. Sure, Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David aren’t what they once were, but outside factors have added new layers of context to their situations.

Tampa Bay currently needs David more than ever right now after Kwon Alexander and rookie Jack Cichy tore their ACLs against the Cleveland Browns in Week 7. Kendell Beckwith, the team’s starting sam linebacker is still recovering from a broken ankle back in April. There is no telling how he will play when he eventually returns.

McCoy is still an effective player, but with the drafting of Vita Vea, it looks as if the Bucs are starting to plan for life post-McCoy.

Regardless of who stays and goes, Jason Licht would have to do some major shuffling and too many important players would be cleared out to land one player.

Peterson is great, but how great would he be without premier - or even good - players around him? That’s not a question you try and answer on the fly.

Too much value in the 2019 draft

If a deal were to be worked out, one would think one of the more logical scenarios would be a player/pick combo deal. That way the Bucs could alleviate some cap room and may be able to wiggle out of giving up a premium draft pick.

But what if Tampa Bay can’t satisfy Arizona on the player side of the deal, leading to the Cardinals requiring a multitude of draft picks?

Licht and Dirk Koetter have done well drafting players during their time in Tampa Bay. Assuming they are still around in 2019, it wouldn’t be a good idea for them to give up draft capital.

Sure, there are free agents to be had, but the duo hasn’t been as successful in that regard. The aforementioned potential cap issues also stresses the added importance of the draft.

The 2019 NFL Draft is also stacked with defensive talent. Most mock drafts currently have not only six or seven defenders going inside the top-10, but around 20-24 defensive players going in the first round.

Tampa Bay can easily find someone - or someones - in the draft while simultaneously retaining their main core of players.

I know, we can circle back around to the Khalil Mack argument earlier in the year. The “why settle on an uncertain player when you already have one in front of you” argument.

While that holds a ton of weight, Peterson isn’t the Mack of defensive backs. He is a very, very good player - but he is not in the same class as Mack.

No apparent change in culture

This one is the easiest of them all. If the reports are true that Peterson wants out of Arizona due to the current status of the team - will things really get better for him in Tampa Bay?

You’re talking about a team that has averaged about eight wins since 2010. Arizona averaged around eight wins during that span.

What happens if the Bucs continue to lose? Will they be put in the same situation? There’s just too many moving parts in this scenario.

Historically speaking

This type of trade doesn’t happen. There has been really just one successful midseason trade for a defensive back in NFL history.

The New England Patriots traded defensive back Michael Haynes to the Los Angeles Raiders in November 1983. Haynes teamed up with legend Lester Hayes to form one of the league’s top duos en route to a Super Bowl victory over the Redskins that year.

Other than that trade, there really haven't been any other significant trades that are similar to the one mentioned above.


At the end of the day, it’s a move that would certainly make headlines, give the team some quick notoriety, and send fans to the moon.

But when you look closely, it’s move that would also hold Tampa Bay back more than it would push them forward and that’s not what this team currently needs.

Please, mark my grave respectfully once I’m laid to rest.