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Would the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft to salary cap-strapped New Orleans for quarterback Drew Brees? That’s he latest rumor – albeit unfounded – involving the Bucs in their quest to land a franchise quarterback, according to the New Orleans Sun Times.

The Saints are too snug with the salary cap in 2015 and beyond, especially with Brees’ salary cap hit of $26.4 million this year and $27.4 million in 2016, which is the final year of his contract. The Bucs have the cap room to absorb Brees’ $18.75 million base salary and $250,000 workout bonus, but would they even want to? And would it make sense for the Saints to take a $33.55 million salary cap hit this year – due to guaranteed salary and signing bonus acceleration – to be without Brees in 2015?

While many, including PewterReport.com, forecast the Bucs to draft Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the first overall pick, the fact that the Saints could offer up an aging Brees and two first-round picks – number 13 and 31 overall (acquired from Seattle) – is undoubtedly intriguing. But let’s examine this hypothetical trade scenario more closely to see if it would make sense for Tampa Bay.

Brees, a future Hall of Famer who turned 36 last year, is still playing at a high level, evidenced by a QB rating of 97 last year while passing for 4,952 yards with 33 touchdowns. But how many great years does he have left – perhaps two?

If Tampa Bay had a Super Bowl-ready defense, like the team had in 2001 when it acquired aging veteran Brad Johnson in free agency, it would be easy to consider pulling the trigger on this transaction if the Bucs and Saints were indeed having serious discussions about this supposed trade rumor. But the Bucs defense boasted just one Pro Bowler last year in defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, and one alternate in linebacker Lavonte David.

That’s a far cry from the Pro Bowl-laden defense Tampa Bay had during its Super Bowl run in 2002. During that season, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, defensive end Simeon Rice, linebackers Derrick Brooks and Shelton Quarles and strong safety John Lynch made the Pro Bowl for the Buccaneers.

If Brees were two years younger at 34, the Bucs should give more consideration to this opportunity. But to trade away the chance to have a franchise quarterback like Winston for a decade for a possible three-year window of opportunity with Brees is too great a risk.NFL: DEC 28 Saints at Buccaneers

It’s easy to look at Winston’s past transgressions and say there are too many risks associated with that young quarterback that hasn’t played a down in the NFL yet. But when passing up the opportunity to draft such a dynamic player as the former Heisman Trophy winner and national champion, one has to look at the possible upside of a player like Winston, too.

Would the Bucs want to give a division rival the top player in the 2015 NFL Draft?

Would Tampa Bay want to face Winston twice a year for the next 10-12 years?

Would Jason Licht and Lovie Smith want to hand Sean Payton the quarterback he really wants – Winston – and take the quarterback he apparently doesn’t care about losing in this scenario, which would be Brees?

Payton met with Winston at the NFL Scouting Combine, and if the rumors are true about the Saints’ desire to move up in the draft to get him, it would be logical to conclude that Payton was smitten with Winston. Payton is a passing game guru that knows the quarterback position as well as anyone in the NFL. If he desperately wants Winston, that should give the Bucs a big clue about just how good Winston is.

If Brees and the Saints played in a different division it would be one thing, but the fact that New Orleans is an NFL South rival is the primary reason a trade for the aging Pro Bowl quarterback should be sacked by Tampa Bay. The Bucs would be wise to dismiss any notion of trading away the player a division rival might covet the most.

Some are calling Winston the second-best quarterback prospect behind Andrew Luck to come out in the draft over the past 10 years. Keep in mind that Indianapolis jettisoned their Hall of Fame quarterback in Peyton Manning for a young franchise quarterback in Luck just three years ago. The Saints would wisely want to do the same thing.

Licht and Smith should stick to their original plan and draft such a transformational franchise quarterback like Winston, and give the Saints something to be concerned about twice a year for the next decade.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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KINDERRT
KINDERRT
6 years ago

That would be the most foolish move since drafting Bo Jackson. Brees has at most three to four years left and they want the #1 pick in the draft? We would be the laughing stock of the NFL. Then again anything is possible with the Bucs.

pomer1eau
pomer1eau
6 years ago

If the Saints or any other team are willing to trade their draft to the Bucs for the 1st pick I say pull the trigger. Buuuuuut I just think we cant afford to pass on Winston. Even for Drew Brees.

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
6 years ago

If Lovie even remotely considers this he should be fired immediately. I’d let the Saints rot in the cap hell they created and happily pound them twice a year until they figure it out.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  stlbucsfan
6 years ago

Could not agree more stl. Let the saints rot in the cap hell they created by grosely overpaying the very qb we are talking about here.

BucFan circa76
BucFan circa76
Reply to  stlbucsfan
6 years ago

AMEN STLBUCSFAN!! We owe them about a decade of poundings, truthfully.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
6 years ago

This might be the dumbest rumor of all time. If the bucs are dumb enough to make this move I’m done with them. Why in the hell would you want an aging qb that cost way too much money, coming off of his worst statistical season? Completely moronic.

KINDERRT
KINDERRT
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

cg…Would be right their with you. I would be calling the Bucs to try and get a REFUND on my season tickets for this year. This is some rumor a SAINTS fan dreamt up!

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

they do this I’m a Cards Fan from here on out

chefboho
chefboho
6 years ago

No pun intended but I will jump ship if they even consider this. These are the type of deals that keep us in continued mediocrity. Anyone who thinks a quarterback at the end of his career is worth trading for the number 1 over all pick is one step short of riding a special bus

e
e
6 years ago

Stay the course… ignore the last minute Culverhouse temptations… Draft Winston. e

VTBucs
VTBucs
6 years ago

+1 that I’d walk the plank too!

pinkstob
pinkstob
6 years ago

Ignore both of the scenarios presented in this article and draft Mariota. I’ll also add that Brees did not have a good season last year. We took the Saints down to the wire in the 1st game and we could have beat them in the 2nd game if we wanted to. The fact that SR didn’t even mention how many INT’s he threw with those 33 TD’s speaks volumes. I think Brees has zero good years left in him and I haven’t been afraid for the Bucs to play the Saints for a long time now, since Brees is generally… Read more »

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

If there is any truth to this,this franchise is run by idiots…Brees is awesome,dont get me wrong~but he is at the tail end of his career.I said earlier in the season that we need to fear the Saints moving up to snag Mariota,which I believe is their target(they now have 2 first round picks and could move to 2-4).Winston has basically only been linked to the Bucs with the 1st pick and thats it.Mariota on the other hand has been linked to the Titans,Rams,Jets,and Eagles so far~making him the prize to chase after(he seems attainable while Winston isnt considered due… Read more »

KINDERRT
KINDERRT
Reply to  cremdonado
6 years ago

cremdonado, Well said!

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  cremdonado
6 years ago

Cremdonado, I agree that many other teams have real interest in Mariota. I also agree that no one else has shown interest in Winston. Since I strongly believe the Bucs will pick Mariota where I differ from you is that Winston will not go #2 overall when we pass on him. I strongly believe every other team in the NFL is hoping we pick Winston so they won’t be faced with the decision of taking on his high risk of poor off-the-field behavior along with his INT’s. If we pass on him, most others will be afraid to touch him… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

Ok Pink, you have to be the only one who just can’t see the writing on the wall. There’s a reason people are talking about Mariota, because NO ONE thinks Winston makes it past the Bucs. I would bet the farm, if WInston doesn’t go to us, he would be gone in the next pick. As for the INT’s, it’s a tired argument. College int’s have nothing to do with pro INT’s. Dan Marino had 46 int’s his last two seasons of college. The list goes on. It’s a hell of a lot tougher to throw Int’s when you’re throwing… Read more »

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

Pink- wake up dude Mariota is not coming to Tampa, he hasn’t even been there on a visit Winston has

macabee
macabee
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

The guys who have played the game think one way and…. there’s our beloved Pink! lol.

https://www.yahoo.com/tv/v/boomer-carton-marcus-mariota-cant-141634764-cbs.html

Bucmeister
Bucmeister
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

Pink I agree with you completely.

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  cremdonado
6 years ago

The people that change the world are the people that the world cannot change.

macabee
macabee
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

pinkstob,

Google the Flat Earth Society!

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

I also believe that the Saints are the best landing spot for Mariota.He can learn behind Brees for a few years to allow him to develop and take the pressure away from him needing to start now…The Saints are at a point where they are going to need to restructure~which their moves in FA so far are indicating…They could end up ahead of the curve by finding their future FQB first,and rebuilding around their future star…

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Maybe the Glazers have spending their billions on a time machine and we’re actually talking about trading for 2007 Drew Brees….otherwise, as has been noted…pure nonsense!

ColoradoBuc
ColoradoBuc
6 years ago

Someone’s having a slow news day if this is the best they can come up with.

Iabucfan
Iabucfan
Reply to  ColoradoBuc
6 years ago

Agreed ColoradoBuc.

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

Easy answer? NO! Why even bring it up in the first place?

Buctebow
Buctebow
6 years ago

I’d trade the #1 pick for Rodgers, or Luck, but not for anyone else, as they are either too old, or too bad!

bucfan47
bucfan47
6 years ago

I’m shocked that some of you blow this rumor off as being bad for Tampa. They acquire 2 first round picks in the deal, and unless Winston is an out-of-the-park no brainer (which is CLEARLY not the case) there is no way on Earth one can honestly say don’t consider it. Notice I didn’t say do it, but to not even consider it? What if 5 years from now the truth is Winston is a lot like E.J. Manuel, big, strong, and just…decent. And what if I told you Tampa acquires Brees who noone would argue is a top 10… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  bucfan47
6 years ago

I hear what you’re saying – consider everything. When one considers that Wash gave up a #2, #6, #22 and #39 picks for the 2nd overall selection (and yes that deal may well have been far too rich, but hey it was a done deal), I think #13, #31 and a QB with 2 years left in the tank (?) is not a good deal (especially when we have no other QB – remember the Rams had Bradford)…in essence, in a couple of years time we’d have no QB and be trying to tank into the top 5 of picks… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  bucfan47
6 years ago

Still have those clairvoyant skills going huh BF? Certainly it’s unlikely for any QB to reach the heights of the group you mentioned. But to infer that only you could predict the obvious is well….typical.

bucfan47
bucfan47
Reply to  scubog
6 years ago

lol, apparently it’s not obvious to most of these posters. They appear to be sold Winston is the next Brady.

Buctebow
Buctebow
6 years ago

If we got Brees and the entire NO draft, so we could trade up at will to get all of the players we need, then it MIGHT be worth it, but we would have the same problem we have now in two or three years and no #1 pick to get the QB we need.

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

~
Remember what Grudens knowledge of Gannon did to Gannon in the Super Bowl.Payton could do the same with Brees…

wbfresh1
wbfresh1
6 years ago

I dont even want jameis but I definitely would not trade my pick for brees

wbfresh1
wbfresh1
6 years ago

Maybe for brees and jimmy butehe’s gone now

georgehicks
georgehicks
6 years ago

I’d think that Tampa should get Winston or Mariota with 1st pick. Then get the best players available in each round. That would be the solution that I think Tampa can work with. Now if Tampa can get an OG, OT and another TE in FA .Then Tampa can choose wisley in the draft. Go Bucs

dwilkes36
dwilkes36
6 years ago

And now Jabaal Sheard is off the market too. So that basically leaves what…Derrick Morgan? So whatever we would pay Derrick Morgan, plus the $7 mil dead cap money, is a better package than Michael Johnson at $9 mil? If we don’t sign Greg Hardy then we’ve actually worsened our pass rush situation this offseason. Nice roster management folks.

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

That rumor had to be concocted by some Saints fan who did a little too much preparation for Mardi Gras. As someone said, they got themselves in that salary cap mess. That team, with Brees wasn’t much better than our McCown led group.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  scubog
6 years ago

ouch!

BucWild02
BucWild02
6 years ago

Just say no to Drew Brees. All I can think of is how Joe Montana went to Kansas City at the end of his career and led the Chiefs to the playoffs once and they haven’t been back since. Meanwhile, the 49ers regularly went to the playoffs with Steve Young at the helm, including winning it all. I hope the Bucs have the courage to take the top QB in the draft class.

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