Will the trade winds blow for the Bucs?

The NFL trade deadline is 4 p.m. Sunday. But so far, the Bucs are filling holes by signing free agents
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, left, eludes the tackle-attempt of Cleveland Browns defensive back Eric Hagg, right, on a punt return during a 2011 game in Glendale, Ariz. [AP Photo/Paul Connors]
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, left, eludes the tackle-attempt of Cleveland Browns defensive back Eric Hagg, right, on a punt return during a 2011 game in Glendale, Ariz. [AP Photo/Paul Connors]
Published Oct. 23, 2018

TAMPA — The New Orleans Saints are going for it. That was the consensus of NFL analysts after they traded for Giants cornerback Eli Apple Tuesday.

The Dallas Cowboys aren't going away. At 3-4 and winless on the road this season, owner/general manager Jerry Jones sent a first-round pick to the Raiders earlier this week for receiver Amari Cooper in hopes of getting back into the NFC East race.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

So far, they're going a different route.

The first cool front blew into the Tampa Bay area this week, but no trade winds are stirring.

With the Oct. 30 NFL trading deadline approaching in less than a week, the Bucs needed to add help at linebacker after Kwon Alexander (torn ACL) and rookie Jack Cichy (ACL) suffered season-ending injuries in Sunday's 26-23 overtime win over the Browns.

On Monday, the Bucs re-signed linebacker Riley Bullough, who had reached an injury settlement with the team following preseason. Then on Tuesday, the Bucs agreed to terms with former Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht was in the Cardinals front office when Minter was drafted there in the second-round from LSU in 2013. His best year came in 2015, when he had 94 tackles for Arizona.

Whether the Bucs will be buyers or sellers in the trade market remains to be seen.

At 3-3, the Bucs would be the seventh seed, just outside the playoffs in the NFC if they began today.

Certainly, the Bucs have needs in the secondary and perhaps at offensive guard, where Caleb Benenoch and Evan Smith have split time.

Unfortunately for the Bucs, those positions are in high demand throughout the league.

Let's take a look at some players the Bucs may have interest in buying and maybe a few they would consider dealing.

Keep in mind already this year, Apple, Cooper, Khalil Mack, AJ McCarron, Carlos Hyde and Teddy Bridgewater already have switched teams.



Peterson reportedly wants to leave the Cardinals, who are circling the drain at 1-6.

But there's no evidence the Cardinals want to part with Peterson. He's 28, a former first-round pick and under their control for two more seasons following 2018.

The Saints reportedly wanted to trade for Peterson, but wound up dealing a fourth-round pick in 2019 and a seventh-rounder in 2020 for Apple.

If the Cardinals were inclined to move Peterson, you'd have to believe it would be for substantially more than a first-round pick.


Jon Gruden appears to be doing some house-cleaning before the team moves to Las Vegas. Conley was a first-round pick of the Raiders who has been slow to develop. He was benched in Week 6, but teams may see a big upside.


Joseph has yet to record a tackle and has only played 11 snaps this season. The Bucs seem to like rookie Jordan Whitehead to play alongside Justin Evans for years to come. Joseph offers very little in terms of experience.


Bucannon has started two games for the Cardinals, with 14 tackles this season. Again, he could be an odd fit for the Bucs defense as a hybrid-type player.



Fitzpatrick has only a one-year contract and Winston has taken back the reins for the remainder of the season. The Bucs have confidence in Ryan Griffin as a No. 2, even though he hasn't played a regular-season snap. Fitzpatrick set an NFL record by throwing for 400 yards (and at least three touchdowns) in three consecutive games. But he's 35 and not a long-term answer for anyone, even a team such as Jacksonville.


Jackson is off to one of the best starts of his career, but most of his success came with Fitzpatrick under center. Jameis Winston continues to struggle getting the football to Jackson, and the final season of this three-year, $33.5-million contract is not guaranteed. A contender needing an explosive receiver may agree to part with a mid-round draft pick.

But the Bucs want as many play-makers as they can get and aren't giving up on the season.