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3 trades the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should make to reaffirm title favorites status

Vincent Frank

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter Thursday night’s game against a lesser Philadelphia Eagles team with a 4-1 record. The GOAT himself, Tom Brady, is on pace for an historical campaign after leading Tampa to the Super Bowl title in his first season with the team.

Despite everything looking fine and dandy on the field for the NFC’s best team, there’s still some issues general manager Jason Licht and Co. must address.

Injuries in the defensive backfield has led to one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. And while Brady continues to play at a high level, a lack of balance could come into play once January comes calling. Below, we look at three trades the Buccaneers should consider before November’s NFL trade deadline to reaffirm their status as title favorites.

Related: Tom Brady defying logic for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade for Marlon Mack

tampa bay buccaneers trade for marlon mack
Dec 8, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) brings down Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (25) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay ranks 26th in the NFL in rushing yards through five games. It is also averaging a mere 4.0 yards per attempt. To say that the duo of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones are not doing their part would be a major understatement.

  • Fournette: 251 rushing yards, 4.5 average, one touchdown
  • Jones: 98 rushing yards, 3.8 average, one touchdown

While Fournette has performed better than his counterpart, there’s still some major issues here. An argument could be made that Jones should be traded or released and replaced with a better option to help Giovani Bernard take the load off Fournette.

That’s where Mack comes into play. He’s fallen behind Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines on the Colts’ depth chart. There’s also reports that the two sides are looking to work on a trade. Back in 2019, Mack tallied 1,173 total yards and eight touchdowns at a clip of 4.5 yards per rush. He’d be a drastic improvement over Jones.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade for Marcus Maye

tampa bay buccaneers trade for marcus maye
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) runs with the ball as New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) defends during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Recent reports indicate that Maye would welcome a trade after contract extension talks broke down between the star free safety and his New York Jets this past off-season. The former Florida star is playing under the franchise tag and is slated to hit free agency next March.

Related: Ideal Marcus Maye trade scenarios

There’s not a better fit in the NFL world for Maye than these Buccaneers. They also need help at safety next to stud youngster Antoine Winfield Jr. Simply put, the likes of Jordan Whitehead are not cutting it in Tampa Bay. Sure there’d be some salary cap gymnastics at play here. The Buccaneers would also have to give up some draft capital to add Maye. But this is a win-now move that could actually have a long-term impact should he pan out.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade for Xavien Howard

tampa bay buccaneers trade for xavien howard
Nov 19, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) catches a pass as Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) gives chase during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Just imagine Tampa being able to add a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate to the mix at a position of utmost need. With injuries to the likes of Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting, this has become a major issue. Adding Richard Sherman off the street hasn’t helped much, either. The Bucs enter Thursday’s game against Philadelphia having yielded yielded the most passing yards in the NFL (1,572) while giving up 13 touchdowns in just five games.

Related: Find out where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense ranks

The cost to acquire Howard would be high. And again, Licht would have to work his salary cap magic. Even then, we’re talking about a dude who has led the NFL in interceptions two of the previous three seasons. Howard also led the league with 20 passes defended in 2020. Perhaps, the Buccaneers offer up Ronald Jones, another youngster such as wide receiver Tyler Johnson and a higher-round pick in 2022 to steal Howard away from their in-state counterparts.