The Buccaneers made a rare in-season trade on Thursday, trading cornerback Aqib Talib to the New England Patriots for a fourth round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. What does Pewter Report think of the move? What kind of message does the move send inside the locker room? Find out in this Pewter Report Reacts column.
Heading into the NFL trade deadline at 4 p.m. on Thursday, many felt the Buccaneers could possibly be an active player. Trading cornerback Aqib Talib however, wasn’t really on anyone’s radar.
Early reaction to the trade from many Bucs fans across the internet and sports radio talk shows has been basically – why Talib? The majority of fans, and even the media, assumed running back LeGarrette Blount or tackle Jeremy Trueblood might be shipped off. Some hoped the Buccaneers would find a guard to try to negate some of the damage inflicted when Pro Bowler Carl Nicks was lost for the season after being placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
Trading Talib, someone who plays a position of need in the pass-happy NFC South, has surprised many. But should it?
Bucs fans want their team to win now. That is understandable, but the fact is, this team is realistically looking to the future. Could the Buccaneers sneak in the playoffs this season as a wild card? Possibly, but the odds are slim – even had Nicks not went down with an injury – that the Buccaneers were going to qualify for the postseason.
Tampa Bay currently sits at 3-4 with nine games remaining. To safely earn a wild card spot a team would most likely need 10 wins. Where from the upcoming schedule do you see seven wins coming from? The Buccaneers have two games left with Atlanta, a road trip to New Orleans, a tough challenge this week against Oakland, a late season trip to Mile High to face Peyton Manning on the road, a game at Carolina plus the Chargers, Eagles and Rams at home.
Nothing is impossible, however, realistically looking ahead, to finish 7-2 doesn’t look easily attainable – at least on paper.
Another factor that went into the decision to trade the former Kansas star is that Talib is in the final year of his contract. PewterReport.com was told earlier this month by a Bucs source, the odds of the Buccaneers re-signing Talib after the 2012 season was about 20 percent.
Add in the laundry list of off the field transgressions (felony assault case in Texas, fights with teammates, assaulting a cab driver, and the latest – testing positive for Adderall) and the headaches became more of a distraction than the organization wanted to deal with. Before the latest suspension, all reports were that Talib did everything that new Bucs coach Greg Schiano and the organization has required and then some. But the latest screw up was just one more public relations nightmare that the franchise didn’t need.
PewterReport.com has always thought highly of Talib, and agree with most fans he has quite a bit of talent. But taking a look at the Buccaneers' record with and with Talib in the lineup is a little surprising.
Tampa Bay has a 1-3 record with Talib in the lineup in 2012, and are 2-1, including being just a couple plays in the New Orleans game away from being 3-0 without the cornerback. The Bucs also won their only game without him when he was suspended for the season opener in 2010 against the Cleveland Browns. So the Buccaneers are 3-1 during the course of games in which Talib was suspended.
Remember that Talib was in the starting lineup when the Giants Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks burned Talib and the Buccaneers for 510 passing yards in Week 2. Talib has always been branded a “shutdown” corner, but in his first four seasons has failed to stay on the field for an entire season for the most part, or even sniff a Pro Bowl.
To obtain a fourth-rounder for a player that had virtually no chance of being back next season looks like a pretty good deal for the Buccaneers at this point. General manager Mark Dominik seems to have gotten a steal with the fourth-round selection of Mike Williams in 2010, and while there is no guarantee that another Williams-type player will be drafted next April with the Patriots' pick, it beats not getting anything thing at all for Talib as he walks away into free agency.
With cornerback Eric Wright possibly facing the same four-game suspension for Adderall, according to FOX Sports Jay Glazer, Wright could be joining the likes of Talib, Brian Price, Kellen Winslow and Tanard Jackson as Buccaneers who found themselves escorted out of Tampa Bay. The trade of Talib, along with the decision to get rid of the above mentioned players, proves Tampa Bay isn’t afraid to take one step back, to move two steps forward.
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