February has arrived, which means we’re one full month into the Buccaneers’ 2020 offseason. One month down, six more to go... until training camp. But considering Tampa Bay once again missed the playoffs, we’ve all been talking offseason for quite some time already.
And what a busy few months this will be for Tampa Bay’s decision-makers. Jason Licht, Bruce Arians and a whole host of folks are already hard at work, trying to figure out what’s best for the future of this team. They have a lot to work through, too.
Deciding between Jameis Winston or some other quarterback for 2020 and beyond. Finding a way to keep as much of the 2019 defense together as possible. Figuring out what moves need to be made along the offensive line to protect whoever is behind center next year. Evaluating the backfield and working out how to move forward with that position group. Yeah, that’s a lot to think about.
Obviously, those aren’t the only needs. Those are just the more pressing ones. But there is one more that isn’t getting a lot of attention because of the talent already at the forefront of the position group. That, of course, is wide receiver.
Tampa Bay needs depth at receiver. Having Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in your top two spots is a ridiculous luxury to have. But what happens if one of them goes down? Or both? We saw that at the tail end of the 2019 season and learned the importance of having guys who can step in and step up. But heading into 2020, the Bucs are going to have to evaluate their depth options at receiver.
Breshad Perriman was THE guy to step up late in the season when Evans and Godwin went down. I’m sure the team would love to have him back for another year, but it’s at least possible that his late-season resurgence will price him out of Tampa. Perriman has said he would like to return, but with much of the team’s cap space going to a quarterback, Shaquil Barrett and potentially some combination of Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh and Carl Nassib, it’s worth wondering whether or not there will be sufficient funds to throw toward Perriman. If he isn’t retained, the position group is suddenly very thin.
Behind Perriman, the Bucs have Justin Watson and Scotty Miller. They caught 15 and 13 passes, respectively, in 2019. Watson has been with the team for two years now and has shown glimpses of reliability, but is far from proven. As a rookie this past year, Miller struggled to stay healthy. Those guys could provide the needed depth at receiver this fall, but sticking with them as the No. 3 and No. 4 guys would take a lot of trust. It’s more than likely that the front office will want to add to the group—whether it’s through free agency or the draft.
Free agency is tricky to project right now for all of the same reasons why it’s hard to tell what lies ahead for Perriman. With money needing to be allocated elsewhere, we can’t really say how much will be available to offer a receiver (or even two). There are definitely some appealing names out there, such as:
- A.J. Green ($9.1 million estimated market value, per Spotrac)
- Emmanuel Sanders ($10 million estimated market value, per Spotrac)
- Demaryius Thomas
- Geronimo Allison
- Robby Anderson ($12 million estimated market value, per Spotrac)
- Randall Cobb ($7.1 million estimated market value, per Spotrac)
- Danny Amendola
- Devin Funchess
Intriguing names, sure, but with receiver coming in lower on the priority list, it’s hard to know if any of those options are realistic.
Then, of course, there’s the NFL Draft. With the situation the Bucs are in, the top two rounds are certainly off limits as far as receiver is concerned. The third round could be too, if we’re being honest. The most likely course of action would be grabbing one in the fourth round or even trading back into the second or third to select one then.
None of this has taken into consideration what Tampa Bay has at tight end, which is somewhat of a luxury as well. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, provided that they’re both in red and pewter beyond this spring, will factor into the passing game. But that doesn’t mean the No. 3 and 4 receiver spots warrant some trepidation.
So, where can the team realistically look for receiver depth? It’s impossible to tell right now. Like everything else, we’ll just have to see how this plays out in the coming months. We’ll probably get more clarity on the other offseason needs first, but receiver is at least worth discussing.
What would your preferred plan be for adding receiver depth this offseason, Bucs fans? Let us know your thoughts.