Once the 2018 season ended, it didn’t take Stephen Hawking (RIP) to figure out that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to have issues with cap space during the following offseason.
The Bucs are dead last in the league when it comes to spendable monies and there isn’t much relief in sight. In fact, if the season were to start today, the Bucs wouldn’t even be able to sign whomever they choose with the number five pick.
Yep, they may as well trade that pick away. There is no use in even possessing it right now.
That thought is obviously hyperbole, but the situation is very real.
Tampa Bay has $2.8 million in cap and will need at least $9.5 million to sign this year’s draft class. Therefore, the team will have to find a way to make up the difference.
The viable - and almost inevitable - option to make up said difference would be to release or trade Gerald McCoy.
If the Bucs were able to shed themselves of his $13 million cap hit, it would give them the relief they need, but it would also open yet another big hole on the roster. The move would hurt the Bucs more than it would help, which is not an ideal scenario for a coaching staff in “win-now” mode.
But what if Tampa Bay didn’t have to just get rid of McCoy simply to decrease payroll? What if Jason Licht and Bruce Arians could get something in return for the former All-Pro?
Fear not, for I may have found an answer in Jamal Adams and the New York Jets.
Now don’t get me wrong, the Jets would have to agree to a deal in order for this to work and it’s very hard to envision them giving up one of their best players who is still very young and cheap.
But this ginger doesn’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility for the Bucs to trade McCoy and third-round pick for the talented safety.
Before you say “WAIT, A THIRD-ROUND PICK?!?! THAT’S WAY TOO HIGH!!”, let’s look at the Bucs’ history in the third round of the draft since 2010:
- 2010: DB Myron Lewis
- 2011: LB Mason Foster
- 2012: N/A
- 2013: QB Mike Glennon
- 2014: RB Charles Sims
- 2015: N/A
- 2016: N/A
- 2017: WR Chris Godwin, LB Kendell Beckwith
- 2018: OL Alex Cappa
Not as exciting as you originally thought? It’s ok, it happens. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive into my thought process on this. Trust me, I know. Getting into my head is a scary proposition, but bear with me.
First off, it makes sense financially for both teams. The Jets have cap room and need another starter opposite Leonard Williams since new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will run an aggressive 4-3 scheme instead of the 3-4 former head coach Todd Bowles ran.
The Jets have $30 million in cap room. Swapping Adams for McCoy would result in a $9 million increase in their overall cap, which isn’t back-breaking. It’d also free up close to $7 million for the Bucs, putting them right in that $9.5 million range to sign the draft class.
If New York doesn’t want McCoy after 2019, then he could be cut with no penalty before the 2020 season.
Adams would only cost Tampa Bay around $7.1 million in 2020, too. So, the Bucs would get a young, cheap stud at safety for two years. Once those two years are up, they would then decide whether they want to run with the fifth-year option or extend him, giving the team a lot of flexibility cap-wise in the future.
This is important to remember due to the big contracts of Jameis Winston, O.J. Howard, Chris Godwin, and the potential re-up of Donovan Smith that will come over the next few years.
But the obvious fit here is Adams’ familiarity with his former head coach and the Buccaneers’ new defensive coordinator in Bowles.
Adams had nothing but glowing words for Bowles after his boss was fired in New York.
“Todd Bowles is my favorite coach since I’ve played this game and I hate to see him go down like that, which — it’s probably happening,” safety Jamal Adams said, growing emotional. “But you live and learn, man. This world is crazy.” - Jamal Adams, northjersey.com
It’s apparent that Adams has an affinity for Bowles and he knows the defense in and out. Not only would he come in and help the Bucs’ young secondary learn and develop in the new system, but he’d be in an immediate upgrade and anchor in the defensive backfield.
According to Pro Football Focus, he graded out as the second-best safety in the league with an 89.7 overall grade. His 89.6 coverage grade was second only Eddie Jackson and his 89.9 pass-rush grade was third-best amongst players with at least 1,000 snaps.
And this move makes even more sense when you look at the big picture. Sure, trading McCoy would in fact leave a big hole on the roster, but this year’s draft is STOCKED to the brim with talent on the defensive edge and interior line. Not just plain yogurt talent, either. We are talking elite, smack-yo-mamma type talent that reaches to the second or third player at the position(s).
Tampa Bay could take one of those linemen to replace McCoy. Then, next year if Jason Pierre-Paul’s salary becomes an issue, the Bucs will have flexibility because they’ll have players up front to control the line of scrimmage while they have Adams and co. to anchor the secondary.
And guess what? There are already three EDGE rushers predicted to go in the top ten of the 2020 NFL Draft. The Bucs could start making their move in that regard by that point and time.
While that scenario is later down the road, there is one more factor that could play a role here: is Jamal Adams getting frustrated in New York?
Adams expressed his frustration with the Jets’ roster after their second consecutive losing season with him on the team.
“You’ve got to bring in players, man,” Adams said. “It’s simple as that. It’s not rocket science. “I’m not going to sit here and say we have talent, we have a lot of talent on the team, but we don’t have a lot of dogs on this team. I’ll put it like that. We just don’t. You know what a dog is.” - Jamal Adams, northjersey.com
Granted, the Jets did go out and make some major moves in free agency, so maybe that will cool Adams’ jets for now (pun absolutely intended).
That is obviously speculation, but a player’s mindset/emotions with their team holds weight these days - just ask Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell
And while trading a young, rising star for a productive veteran on the other side of his career may seem insane - we’ve seen crazier trades happen in the NFL.
Cough. RAIDERS. COUGH. COUGH.