Looking back: The Bucs' near miss on Calvin Johnson
A story on Yahoo! Sports this week touched on the marked increase in trade talks near the top of the draft, correctly attributing that change to much, much lower salaries for top picks under the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement.
In it, writer Jason Cole references how Redskins general manager Bruce Allen recently orchestrated a big-time trade with the Rams for the No. 2 pick, positioning the Redskins to draft Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin. Ironically, when Allen was the Bucs' GM in 2007, he was part of an aborted effort to land that year's No. 2 pick, which the Lions used on stud receiver Calvin Johnson.
Here's a link back to my story on this situation and how I was told it unfolded. My version is slightly different than Yahoo's -- I was told the Bucs tried to package multiple players and picks but the Glazers didn't like the idea of parting with valuable draft selections and vetoed -- but the result was the same.
It's worth wondering how that move, if successful, would have changed the course of Bucs history. Would coach Jon Gruden have managed to show some of offensive fireworks everyone always expected from him? Would Gruden and Allen still be running the show? Might the Bucs have spent the $13 million per year that will go to Vincent Jackson on other resources?
We'll never know, and maybe it doesn't even matter at this point. But just take a moment and think about the concept of Calvin Johnson wearing pewter and red.