If you’ve followed my written work or my Twitter feed for long, you’ll know that I generally find proposed trades amongst the media and fans to be one of the biggest wastes of our time. They are rarely logical, rarely happen and usually don’t take into consideration the financial implications for both teams.

But today, I’m going there. I’m proposing a trade that probably won’t happen but absolutely should, because it makes sense from a roster and financial perspective for both parties.

Bucs WR Breshad Perriman
Bucs WR Breshad Perriman – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should absolutely attempt to trade for New England wide receiver Julian Edelman, who has 599 receptions for 6,507 yards and 36 touchdowns in his 10-year NFL career, especially since the team did not re-sign third wide receiver Breshad Perriman.

Let’s look at each of the naysayer’s points, eliminating them one by one.

1. Will the Bucs have to trade too much?

No chance. Edelman will be 34 years old in May and has two years left on his contract. The No. 162 overall pick (fifth-rounder) should get the trade done at this point, and I’d even be fine with the Bucs offering the No. 139 pick (fourth-round comp pick) as compensation for the veteran receiver.

Nobody Tampa Bay picks at No. 139 is likely to critically help them win a Super Bowl over the next two years, where Edelman absolutely can. If you sign Tom Brady at almost 43 years old, your Super Bowl window is very real, and very brief. The Bucs need to do everything they can to maximize this season and next, so giving up a Day 3 pick for a receiver of Edelman’s caliber is a no-brainer.

2. Does it make sense for the Patriots? Would they consider it?

My answers to these two questions: “Yes” and “I have no idea.” The Patriots have the worst quarterback room in the NFL right now, and it doesn’t sound like that is gonna change before the 2020 season. Their receivers are weak, they don’t have a tight end, and even their vaunted defense lost a couple of important pieces and is aging in multiple spots.

Patriots QB Tom Brady and Bill Belichick
Patriots QB Tom Brady and Bill Belichick – Photo by: Getty Images

New England isn’t a Super Bowl contender, probably isn’t a serious playoff contender in 2020 and Edelman’s presence on their roster doesn’t change either of those things. Moving older assets for draft picks to stockpile talent and re-load is absolutely the wisest strategy for Bill Belichick and the Patriots right now. I’m not talking about tanking like Miami attempted last offseason. I’m talking about trading away players who won’t be impactful by the time their roster is ready to truly compete again.

Will Belichick see it the same way? That’s where this whole plan could fall apart.

3. Can the Bucs afford him?

A trade for Edelman would carry about a $7 million cap hit this season, which is affordable for the Bucs right now (estimated $16-18 million in cap space). His contract has only two years left on it, and the second year is an even lighter hit of $6.6 million. Tampa Bay could also cut Edelman after the first year, if things went poorly for whatever reason, and absorb just a $2.6 million dead cap hit. So the contract isn’t an issue, and even if it is, Edelman is at the point in his career where restructuring to a more team-friendly contract in order to play with his best friend for a final run at another ring might be appealing to him.

4. Do the Bucs need Edelman?

Yes. Tampa Bay’s WR3 spot is wide open right now, and they are running out of options that can be expected to contribute early on. Remember, this is a position that will play 70-80 percent of the offensive snaps on a pass-heavy team that runs a lot of three-wide formations. This guy can’t be a slouch, especially not in this two-year Super Bowl window.

Edelman is one of the smartest, most football savvy wide receivers in the league. Yes, there would be some new things for him to pick up, but Bruce Arians would hopefully also adapt to what he does well, too. More on that marriage in a second.

If the Bucs don’t trade for Edelman, here are their options for WR3:

• Scotty Miller, Justin Watson or Bryant Mitchell.

• Sign a current free agent from an extremely depleted crop of remaining receivers.

• Draft a wide receiver and hope he can play that much as a rookie and play as well as Perriman played last year.

Bucs WR Scotty Miller – Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs WR Scotty Miller – Photo by: Getty Images

I’m not high on option No. 1 or option No. 2 producing a good enough option to thrive in Tampa’s offense, and option No. 3 carries significant risk. I’d love for Tampa Bay to draft a wide receiver, but what is the earliest they do that? No. 76? Who is on the board at that point?

Tampa Bay wants to prioritize offensive tackle and running back in the upcoming draft, while also adding talent on the interior offensive line, interior defensive line and at safety. Where does a receiver fit into those plans? If the Bucs add one earlier than expected, does that leave them hurting at other position groups?

I like the draft as an option, especially since it is so deep at wide receiver, but trading for a proven veteran like Edelman fills a big need for relatively cheap and frees Tampa Bay up to spend their top 3-4 picks on other positions that desperately need reinforcements.

5. Does Edelman fit in Bruce Arians’ offense?

This is where a lot of people will get hung up; Edelman doesn’t look or play like any of the other receivers the Bucs have. At 5-foot-10, 198 pounds, he’s not as big as Mike Evans or Chris Godwin, and he’s not as fast as Miller or maybe even Watson at this stage of his career. Can Edelman fit in what Arians’ offense does? Would his presence kick Godwin out of the slot, where the third-year receiver just had a Pro Bowl season?

Many would be surprised to learn that Edelman actually played outside more than Godwin did last year, and has aligned as an outside receiver for more snaps as a Patriot than he has in the slot. Much like Godwin in Tampa Bay last year, Edelman has moved all around New England’s offense and still found success, often utilized outside in stacked alignments or reduced splits.

Arians has used smaller receivers in much the same way in the past, and the flexibility he would have with Edelman and Godwin would be almost unfair. How do teams defend Edelman on the outside in man coverage? Do they leave their bigger, outside cornerback on him and hope for the best? Because Godwin is going to chew up most true nickels – the third guy on the depth chart – on the inside.

Patriots QB Tom Brady and WR Julian Edelman
Patriots QB Tom Brady and WR Julian Edelman – Photo by: Getty Images

Teams can’t put their third best cornerback on Godwin, so now their outside cornerback comes inside and is playing a spot many outside cornerbacks aren’t used to playing. That advantage existed last year for Tampa Bay, but now it becomes two-fold because Edelman, unlike the Bucs current WR3 options, is gonna whip most third-string cornerbacks playing on the outside like he’s done for the past decade playing with Brady.

Although it is true that Arians’ has recently gravitated toward bigger slot receivers that can block, Edelman will still get his chances inside because he plays like a bigger receiver and has been a very good blocker throughout his career. He’s just two inches shorter and 10 pounds lighter than Godwin.

Few receivers get after it in all phases of the game like Edelman, as some would even call his scrappy style of play “dirty” at times. The point is, the edge and physicality that Arians and general manager Jason Licht want their offense to play with is what Edelman’s entire career represents.

Edelman, who had 100 catches for 1,117 yards (11.2 avg.) and six touchdowns last year, and Godwin can not only co-exist, they would help each other thrive. Add another speedy outside receiver on Day 3 to compete with Miller and Watson, and this corps will be complete.

Another reason why adding Edelman would be a terrific move: anything you can do to make your quarterback more comfortable in a new offense is always a plus. Add to that fact that Tom Brady may not have an offseason program to get acclimated to all his new pass catchers, and the Bucs are going to want to make a move that will help this offense hit the ground running in 2020.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Getty Images

Over his career, Arians has had plenty of option routes built into his offense, and that is a feature that could become more prominent in 2020 with Brady at the helm. Having a receiver in Edelman, who has spent years being on the same page as Brady in these situations would be a huge asset to Tampa Bay, gashing defenses in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field to open things up for Godwin and Evans, well, everywhere – but especially deep.

Trading for Edelman is a move that has no real downside for the Bucs, unless you consider his past injury history (although he has missed just three games due to injury the past three years). He’s a proven receiver who can succeed outside or inside, plays with the right demeanor and attention to detail, has instant chemistry with Brady in a year with an offseason program looks limited at best and fills a huge need on the team’s roster. I’m not saying this trade will definitely happen, but I am saying the Bucs should pick up the phone and call to see if it can.

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft

60 COMMENTS

  1. IMO NE will most likely cut Edelman. So the Bucs will not need to contact him, because he will probably call the Bucs first.

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    • I think Edelman’s cap hit is worse than his actual salary so they might not cut him for that reason alone.

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  2. Whoa!!
    What a plan!
    Congrats!
    Hope it happens

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  3. Pass
    The offense just needs a pass catching RB (draft) and more oline depth.

    Between Evans, Godwin (in the slot btw), Howard, Brate and a ass catching RB..plenty of targets for Brady.

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    • Watch you typing. That type of RB probably more valuable at Mons Venus than Raymond James…

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  4. You could do this and it would be a great move. So would luring Clowney for around the same money.

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  5. I don’t know Jon. This all sounds good in theory, but I’m thinking Edelman is probably just going to retire. He has nothing left to prove, and I’m not sure he’s the fiery to the death competitor that Brady is. Don’t get me wrong, if it happens I’ll cheer my ass off. I just don’t think it’ll happen.

    What about Dez? I hear he’s available and he’s only 31. Bet he’d jump at a $4M deal.

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  6. I wouldn’t be upset about the 5th round pick compensation idea. But I’m still holding out hope for Demarcus Robinson. I’m not sure how he’s still available. He looked solid to me when Tyreek Hill was out last season for the Chiefs. And he’s still only 25 yrs old as well. I’d prefer that route personally.

    GO BUCS !!

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  7. Excellent article as always Jon. Bravo !!
    I am concerned about the system, though. Edelman is an inside route runner. He is no D Jackson type of player. Not at all. Lining up outside or inside, his option routes are here to help him out according DB matchup of the (sun)day. But hey ! No perfect solution exist, and for all the reasons you’ve develop, it is very interesting.
    One more thing: are you sure about cap space? Do U have all elements on TB12 and Suh Contracts?

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  8. Jillian Edelman has “no value” outside of New England!! Why on Earth would the Bucs make a trade giving up precious draft capital just to take over his huge contract…..
    Even Bill Belichecht is laughing at this proposal and Every Bucs fan knows this!!!

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  9. He has to many drops for me. And the 16-18 million in cap space does that include shaq being signed?

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  10. Honestly, I believe he could be had for even a 6th round pick or 7th. Since we are also in a win now mode, I don’t see why it would be such a problem giving up a late draft pick for him. I wouldn’t go all in for it, but it really doesn’t hurt for us to try to get Him.

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  11. People are worried about him being a fit here even after Arians said himself that he would collaborate with Brady on our game plans and such?..I’m sure they would find a way to get Edelman involved in our offense.

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  12. Better ask Brady first. He may not want him. Edelman lead the league in dropped passes last year.

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  13. I disagree Jon. The bucs have about 10 million if you factor in draft pick salaries. Edelman would eat most of our cap space. We can use the extra pick to draft a young inexpensive player. He isn’t the player that he was before and he lead the league in drops. His production was more a product of New England having no better options. I also believe that Miller will turn into a legitimate #3 if he can stay healthy. He was the fastest player on the field when he was right.

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  14. Where do I sign the petition!?

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  15. OK so who believes Edelman would stretch our field? NOBODY! He is not a burner and with all his drops he would be a dumb pickup. Instead, take a look at Trevon Grimes at the combine ran as well as Perriman did in the 40 yard dash. Grimes was a 5 star recruit after starring for St. Thomas Acquinas HS helping them win two State Championships in football and he was a track star there too and was ranked one of the top WRs in the USA. He played for both Ohio State and the Gators. He is 6’5” and over 200 lbs. and has better hands than Perriman. He will be a late pick only because he did not get any thousand yard seasons since the Gators were loaded with top WRs and a great TE and threw to all of them.

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    • Dude, Trevon Grimes is playing with the Gators again this season, and is expected to be the No. 1 WR. Van Jefferson is the top Gator receiver that is in the draft this year.

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  16. Scotty Miller showed me enough towards the end of the season that I would rather see more of him in the #3 WR spot than Edelman.

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  17. The contract IS an issue. Sorry, we’re sitting at about 15 million in cap space now, which needs to allow for draft picks and any moves the rest of the offseason and in-season. Absorbing a 7 million hit would make it really tight, and we have other priorities. Why would we spend 7 million when we have Evans, Godwin, Howard, and Brate? If Brady can’t make that work, then he’s not the QB we thought he was. We can get him underneath players a lot cheaper.

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  18. The #3 receiver spot is not the place to spend the remaining cap money. I hope the Bucs look at Jeff Thomas / Miami… Late round pick.

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  19. Should have paid Humphries what they did Perriman and today Brady would have his Edlelman-Amendola type receiver.

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  20. Is Chris Hogan a cheaper, poorer version for the Buc’s and Brady?

    Hogan is a free agent. He has worked with Brady in the past. He will know some of the routes that Brady likes and Brady may well have comfort with him.

    I am not saying that Hogan is as good as choice as Edelman. What I am saying is IF money becomes an issue on our cap space then Hogan might be a better fit for 1 million then either Justin Watson or Scott Miller or others.

    If we use Overthecap.com numbers after Suh we have about 14 million of cap space. 7.3 million will go to our draft. Overthecap has Edelman’s cap number as 9.6 million not 7 million. So the math does not quite work and we have to get another running and another O lineman at least before the draft. Now Jon’s numbers may be more accurate than overthecap but it may be too tight to get Edelman.

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  21. With Perriman gone now, we do need a replacement at no. 3. Edelman may not have super duper stats, but if you watched that video that the Bucs posted on buccaneers.com the day Brady was signed, you’ll note a disproportionately large share of game winning passed thrown by Brady went to Edelman. Obviously those two are clearly on the same page, as it is desired for QBs and receivers.

    Whether to trade for Edelman now, or hope that the Pats just cut him, that’s the kind of business decision that guys like Licht are paid to make.

    There’s a lot of time left to wait out the Pats and see what they do. Depending upon whom they draft they may very well decide to cut Edelman and perhaps we can get him at a bargain price.

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  22. Use that money and sign Godwin to a long term extention.

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  23. That’s a big negative, don’t need a trade offer for Edelman. First Edelman might get let go, he had a lot of drops last year, I remember, he was on my Fantasy Team. Secondly, we have other wideouts who deserve a chance, Miller time. If they don’t feel Miller can foot the bill, they need to address it in the draft, where there is a lot of talent coming out of the draft this year who can make things happen. So…please don’t waste money and a draft pick…we good!!

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  24. We could have signed Perriman for $2mill less and actually had the speed.

    We do not need to turn this in to the Patriots of the South. Who’s next? Josh McDaniel?
    Run with what we have. If for some reason he gets cut or the Patriots want to eat half of his salary then MAYBE but I think Edelman is not worth the money OR the trade bait.

    Please pass…

    Go Bucs!!

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  25. I’d only pick him up if he was released and if he’d take less to play. Like half as much. And anyway, I think TB wants to prove he can win without his old teammates, too….

    JE *does* have value as a teacher of TB’s QB style and how he connects with WRs in the heat of the moment. I would hire him as yet another coach if he is still under contract up there and decides to retire.

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  26. there are many many good receivers in the draft, no need to be impatient

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  27. martinii Mar. 26, 2020 At 11:30 am
    Should have paid Humphries what they did Perriman and today Brady would have his Edlelman-Amendola type receiver.

    ???
    They paid 4 million for Perriman. Hump got paid like 9 million in Tennessee. Jeezus, get your facts together.

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  28. Freddie Swain of Florida late rounder has ok speed catches everything and a fair punt returner.

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  29. I agree with most on here that bringing in Edelman is a bad idea. There’s only ONE football. The Bucs will need to give Brady a rushing attack, not more WRs. If the Bucs bring Edelman in, they should trade Evans or Godwin for a slew of picks. For that reason, I am highly against it.

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  30. Buc coaches were very high on Miller prior to the injury. I suspect they still are and will plan on his continued development as the number 3. The kid has wheels and was reportedly unstoppable in OTA’s.

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  31. The Bucs don’t need to waste any draft picks on Edelman. Be smart and realize that we Have enough targets for Brady and that protecting him, improving the run game and adding depth to the defense have to be the priorities. Which means taking advantage of the WR depth in this draft to find a steal late in the draft to compete for #3 duties.

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  32. With draft investments in Watson and Miller, why are you telling Bucs fans that you have no confidence in the coaching staff to actually “coach” up a WR3?

    Humphries was an UDFA that was coached up. So was TE Brate. Godwin was coached up as he played behind Djax to be WR3.

    Not only do you lack confidence in our coaching staff to coach up players, but you lack confidence that the coaching staff can change the offense as it has WR1 Evans, WR2 Godwin, TE1 Brate, and TE2 Howard. Maybe run more 12-personnel. Or possibly shift Evans and Godwin around to play the WR3 slot and have either Watson or Miller run the seam.

    Now, if the author comes out and says, “I, Ledyard, have no confidence in the coaching staff to “coach up”, amend play design, or maximize it’s personnel on offense, then I’ll concede that we need to trade for 34-year old WR3 Eldeman with a high salary cap for the next two years.

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  33. To hell with Edelman! The Bucs had better concentrate on a quality Backup at QB. Its more of a priority than many think. Arians made reference to the fact his O line is good..Wrong!. He’s better solidify it or pay the cost.

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  34. Martini, They paid Perriman $4mil last year, Humphries signed for like $8mil. There was no way to keep Humphries unless we paid him twice as much as Perriman which we couldn’t do.

    Edelman would be cool but I don’t see the need for him at his contract. We e got a lot of weapons and really just need Oline and Pass catching RB on Offense and there will be no weak points. I can’t wait for the Draft.

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  35. People here who are complaining about Edelman’s drops have no freaking idea what they’re talking about, and they are simply cherry picking stats.

    Edelman successfully caught 65.4% of his targets … compare that to Mike Evans, who caught only 56.8% of his targets. Edelman dropped 9 passes, but he was targeted 153 times, so his drop percentage was but 5.88%. Mike Evans dropped 7 passes, but only got targeted 118 times, so his percentage drop was … guess what? 5.93%.

    So who here wants to argue that we need to get rid of Mike Evans because, my god, he dropped the ball a little more than did Julian Edelman?

    Stop cherry picking stats. Look at the whole picture.

    Edelman was Tom Brady’s no. 1 receiver last year … far more targets, far more receptions, and far more yards, and more touchdowns than any other receiver on the Pats last year.

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  36. I would not waste a pick on Edelman when there are some good free agents out there – who are paid less. For example, did you know that Demarcus Robinson from the KC Chiefs who was paid $2 million last year is still a free agent? His stats were good for the third wide receiver, about what B. Perriman had who did all of his in the last five games. In comparison, Robinson contributed all year. Look it up -I would take him in a minute over Edelman for less money ($4 million, tops).

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    • By the way, his stats were 32 receptions, 449 yards, three touchdown

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  37. Of the free agents left Clowney coming here maybe the most value to the entire team to chase rings. That could be the move that beats the chiefs in the Superbowl in our house. If they could also sign the WR Robinson Chiefs FA is better talent then JE. We do still need 3rd down RB. I do not see trading for Edelman as smart value. Maybe if he is cut & cheap. Defense still can win rings. Todd has to be thinking about trying to land Clowney. Got take a shot. Clowney maybe thinking how can he get to Tampa.

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  38. A healthy Scottie Miller is the wild card.  When he is clicking he has an uncanny ability to find the ball with his hands.  Even though he lacks ideal height his blazing speed allows him to get behind his guy often.

    The idea of trading for Edelman is intriguing but I think we can better use our picks for maneuvering during the draft as needed.  Wise use of picks is important in elevating the depth of our backups in addition.
    ____________
    Go Bucs!!!

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  39. This WR class is deep. Like 4th/5th round deep. I can see about 6-8 good options(for the round) after pick 76.

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  40. Hard pass. Arians wants his WR3 to be a burner. Edelman ain’t that.

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  41. I remember PR’s pre draft report on Gowdwin and their projection that TB would draft him. Godwin was scouted as both atletic and with a high football IQ and proficient across the route tree. I say he could do fine outside as well and mix it up to help overload defenses.

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  42. This is one of the dumbest articles I’ve ever seen.
    WR3 is not something you trade for or pay up for, period.
    It’s something you develop in-house.
    Brady made Edelman, just like he made Amendola and Welker.
    So let him make another one.

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  43. Jon
    Sorry. IMO that makes no sense. $7million.
    TB12 will already have Evans, Godwin, Brate, OJ and Miller.
    Save the money for a different need.

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  44. I know we’re all a little bored, “working” from home. But really, $7m for WR3??? How about using that money on a S, or DL.

    This is just a bad idea. Using the rest of our cap space when we have so many other needs. Even if one of our current guys is a weak WR3 we still have plenty of options.

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  45. To many good backs who can catch, and a deep draft for WR’s, go get some. Brady makes others better, a rookie WR could have a good year. We’re not looking for a #1, or 2. Remember, we’re talking about third receiver. With Godwin, Brate, O.J., and Evans on the field, paying Edlemen doesn’t make sense.

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  46. I suggested trading for Edelman in the second comment after the March 19th Edelman article. I set a personal records with 83 down votes, which I plan to wear as a badge of honor if the Bucs pull this trade off. I explain my reasoning in a three following comments. The trade makes a lot of sense at a lot of levels. I agree with Jon that it’s definitely worth the inquiry by the Bucs.

    Go Bucs!

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  47. I think we are going to see a lot more 2 TE sets this season. Remember how Brady thrived with Gronkowski/Hernandez?? I am hoping we see 2 TE sets 70% of the time. I think we would be fine with Miller/Watson/rookie/cheap FA as 3rd WR. I would rather spend that $7m on OL (Jason Peters?!) Though if we end up with Edelman, I won’t complain (as long as we don’t give up more than a 4th round pick).

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  48. Did you forget that the Bucs need cap space to sign draft picks?

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  49. I don’t believe it’s necessary to waste a draft pick.

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  50. You guys are funny, wasting a fifth round pick? Oh the horror of it! How many fifth round picks can you name without looking them up. Most of those are garbage picks. Someone always finds a nugget once in a while, but most of the time they have a hard time even making the team. I wouldn’t bat an eye of giving up a late pick for a proven player. Just think back to the Super Bowl year, they had three very good WR’s. They only thing they are missing is a pass catching, decent blocking RB.

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  51. Oh yeah, and a Right Tackle! lol

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  52. No thanks. If the goat can’t work with what he’s got in our receivers and TEs than idk what to tell u

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  53. The Patriots always seemed to find a way to take some unknown, pale wide receiver and turn him into a star. I truly thought Adam Humphries would end up being the latest until he signed a huge deal with the Titans. Sure thought he would have contributed more for them.

    Here in Bucville we have three such players already on the roster. And guess what? All are way faster than Welker, Edelman or Logan.

    Admittedly, last year Justin Watson started off a little slowly until he got a little game time. Spencer Schnell had a terrific pre-season game against the Steelers and often stood out in practice. Scotty Miller showed off his blazing speed throughout Training Camp practices and when he got a chance to play.

    Isn’t it just possible that the type of receiver that has had so much success in Foxborough is right here under our nose? No need to trade for an old one.

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  54. This seems like a great idea! Who can be expected to win with Evans, Goodwin, Brate, and Howard? I think the first trade in the Tom’s Team in Tampa era should be for Belichek then we would have a coach and a GM who actually knows what they are doing.

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  55. Naples and it’s a good point about Edelman. Maybe some of the drops were a result of Brady really having to force it to him because he had no other options. In the first four rounds we went in whatever order oh Al, 0L/DL, RV, WR and a receiver having a draft I would be fine with that personally.

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  56. Sorry OL, OL/DL, RB, WR.

    Licht underinvesting in the lines when he should have been doing it early and often has driven me crazy for half a decade, now the lack of quality depth on our lines is our Achilles’ heel. Yet we only make one move in FA to bolster the OL? You don’t make that decision purposefully, you make it because your prior missteps left you in a corner.

    We don’t have much to work with, so a big ? Is if we could get a third for OJ (zero chance of a first and a second would be at the bottom of the round) would we take it? Or would we hope that with Brady he will be the player Licht reached for in the first?

    Hard to know what to do, a speed WR or strong OL is a lower risk bet.

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