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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Let's Make a Deal?



Well, maybe.

The Bucs have some potential trade bait on the roster, and while they still must make some decisions on their personnel, they are keeping their ears open.

One player likely to be discussed is center John Wade, who appears to have lost his grip on the starting center job to Sean Mahan. If Wade indeed is beaten out -- and he didn't play against the Dolphins, which should tell you something -- there is a chance other teams could be intrigued by the chance to add a veteran at a key position.

Wade started all 16 games at center last season but could be the odd man out in 2006. The addition of rookie Davin Joseph at right guard prompted Mahan's move from that position to center, where the Bucs think he is a better fit anyhow.

If Tampa Bay fields an attractive offer for Wade, it would probably be inclined to do the deal. That's if the Bucs feel Jonathan Clinkscale, a second-year player who spent part of last season on the practice squad, can be a solid No. 2. If so, who's to say a team like Cleveland wouldn't be willing to make room for Wade considering it has lost not one, but two, centers this preseason.

All-Pro LeCharles Bentley suffered a season-ending knee injury and Bob Hellen retired because of chronic injuries and personal issues. Not to be forgotten is Alonzo Ephraim who will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. So, technically that makes two and a half centers.

Elsewhere, don't be shocked if the Bucs shop a linebacker or two, seeing how it is one of their positions of strength. They are deep at receiver, too, where Ike Hilliard's name comes to mind as a possibility.

In the end, player trades in the NFL aren't exactly commonplace, but talking about them sure is fun! Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:42pm]


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