The Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade for guard Shaq Mason filled one major hole leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft.
A little over a year removed from winning the Super Bowl, Tom Brady returns for another season in Tampa. Despite this, there’s still some question marks on both sides of the ball.
In obvious win-now mode, the question now becomes whether general manager Jason Licht will add a veteran rather than a rookie during the draft. Below, we look at three Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade scenarios for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Related: Full 7-roud 2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers mock draft
Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade out of Round 1
Boasting the 27th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Tampa Bay is in prime position to trade out of Day 1. Typically, teams selecting at the top of the second round pay a premium for a late first-round selection. It gives them that all-important fifth-year option. With the quarterback class currently seen as relatively weak, there’s a chance a Round 1 prospect will be on the board at 27. If so, Tampa must take advantage.
Teams such as the New York Giants (36th), Seattle Seahawks (40th, 41st) and Indianapolis Colts (42nd) might look to move up for a quarterback. A deal could net Tampa Bay an additional third-round pick and change, creating more flexibility for general manager Jason Licht and Co.
Related: 2022 NFL Draft trade rumors
Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade Donovan Smith
Smith has been a solid left tackle for the Buccaneers throughout his seven-year NFL career, starting all 111 games in which he’s appeared during that span. So, why would the Buccaneers even consider trading Brady’s blindside protector?
Well, it’s really simple. Tampa selected fellow tackle Tristan Wirfs No. 13 overall back in 2020 to eventually replace Smith. The Iowa product is coming off his first ever Pro Bowl appearance and figures to play left tackle moving forward.
Trading Smith and his bloated contract ($36.3 million cap hit the next two seasons), would give the Buccaneers flexibility. Sure it would come with a dead cap hit this season, but it would also open things up for Wirfs. The idea here would be to acquire an early-round selection for Donovan Smith while adding a veteran right tackle on the NFL free-agent market. The likes of Nate Solder, Duane Brwn, Bryan Bulaga, Eric Fisher, Riley Reiff, Marcus Cannon, Daryl Williams and Mike Remmers are all still available. You get the idea.
Related: Updated NFL trade rumors
Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade for more star power
We wouldn’t put it past Licht and Co. to use their first-round selection and other assets to pull off another blockbuster trade. Even with Bruce Arians having retired, this team is now in full-scale win-now mode. Even at the cost of their long-term relevancy, exhausting draft capital for another star player could make sense.
When looking at Tampa Bay’s needs, there’s not a lot to check in on. This narrow scope could help Licht target a specific player. New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley would make sense. The Bucs could also likely acquire him for a mere mid-round pick.
If the Bucs were to go big-game hunting, someone like Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl defensive tackle Grady Jarrett would be a boon. He’s among the best interior linemen in the entire NFL and could be had for the right price. Teaming Jarrett up with Vita Vea in the Bucs front three would be absolutely brilliant in front of the likes of Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.