WR Alshon Jeffery – Photo by: Getty Images
The Bucs have taken a few hits at the receiver position this season.
With a 3-3 record, and currently just a game back in the NFC South, Tampa Bay feels like it can make a run at the playoffs and could look to fill a hole to position itself even better.
Already without pass-catching tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, released in September after DUI charge, the Bucs learned that Vincent Jackson had suffered a season-ending ACL injury and that Louis Murphy had suffered a setback in his own, year-long ACL recovery, all in a matter of two weeks. As such, speculation that the Bucs could be in the market for a veteran wide receiver at the trade deadline (Nov. 1 at 4 PM) makes sense.
Could Bears’ receiver Alshon Jeffery or 49ers’ wideout Torrey Smith be wearing red and pewter by this time next week?
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports thinks so and reported that Tampa Bay is “making a push” and willing to give up a draft pick, and/or Johnthan Banks or Alterraun Verner for “the right guy.”
Again, even the players reported available add up. Verner, a high-prized free agent addition in 2014, has been demoted to fourth cornerback and played just 27 percent of snaps on defense this year. After losing his job on the outside to Vernon Hargreaves III in training camp, Verner then lost the rotational nickel role to Jude Adjei-Barimah.
Banks, meanwhile, has not played a defensive snap this season. The former second-round pick has been relegated to special teams only, and even there he’s played sparingly (25 percent of snaps). Banks didn’t play at all in San Francisco last Sunday.
As La Canfora notes, Banks would be the more affordable option for another team. He’s slated to earn $1.5 million in the final year of his rookie contract, while Verner is set to make $6.75 million in the third year of his four-year, $25.75 million deal.
Smith, 27, is a former second-round pick of the Ravens in 2011. In four years in Baltimore he never missed a game, catching 213 passes for 3,591 yards and 30 touchdowns. While Smith has tailed off a bit in San Fran – 46 catches for 832 yards in 19 starts – he’s a 4.41 receiver, and the Bucs could use that kind of speed. This season Smith, who’s set to earn $4.5 million in the second year of his five-year, $40 million deal, has caught 13 passes for 199 yards and two scores.
As for Jefferey, a 4.48 receiver, he would probably be a more expensive option for Tampa Bay. The 6-foot-3 pro is playing on a franchise tag this season, which means the Bucs would likely need to negotiate a long-term deal if they were to trade for him. Adding to the improbablity that a deal would get done with Chicago is the fact that Jeffery would become a free agent next offseaon, meaning the Bears would earn a compensatory draft pick in 2017, possibly as high as a late third-rounder. Therefore the price tag for 2016 would be higher, and parting with a second-rounder may be a deal-breaker for Tampa Bay. Ian Rappoport of NFL Media said it’s “essentially unprecedented” to sign a franchise player.
For what it’s worth, though, here’s a brief look at Jeffery’s stats to this point in his career.
Drafted in the second round in 2012, the South Carolina product has 284 career receptions for 4,248 yards in four and a half seasons. After eclipsing 1,000 yards in 2013 and 2014, however, Jeffery missed significant time in 2015 with shoulder and groin injuries. He still managed 54 catches for 807 yards in just nine starts, nonetheless.
Both the Bears and 49ers sit at 1-6, looking like teams poised to start the rebuilding process early. That said, other teams should be linked to Smith and Jeffery in the coming days. But if La Canfora’s reports are true, then the Bucs are strong contenders to land one.
–Mark Cook contributed to this report
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
Jefferey would be a great addition! I know everyone wants a 4.3 guy, but the way Winston plays, I think another big, athletic receiver playing on the opposite side of Evans would be fantastic. You can get that speedy, smaller guy in the slot matched up vs linebackers.
I will take either receiver, we need some help.shep done a hell of a job for us against the 49ers,but I’m not impressed with dye or Cecil shorts.jameis needs more weapons and as far as I’m concerned they can have banks(to slow to play in this defense)but might want to keep verner for depth until the season ends then cut his ass.
Dye has been cast aside already.
please please please get Jeffery
Sorry Buc fans, but i’m going to be the dissenting opinion here!
The Torrey Smith trade could happen, but why? Smith is a 6ft. WR whose productivity has fallen off over the last two years in part due to the quarterbacks he’s played with in San Fran, but he’s clearly no longer a game-breaking WR. Smith signed a five-year, $40 million contract in 2016. The deal contains $22 million guaranteed, including an $8 million signing bonus. Smith is eligible for annual $500,000 roster bonuses throughout the contract’s life. 2016: $4.5 million (+ $1 million workout bonus), 2017-2019: $6.5 million (+ $1 million workout bonus), 2020: Free Agent.
The Alshon Jeffery trade is more likely but the oft-injured WR is making 14.59mil on the franchise tag for 2016 and will require a long term contract for that number or more. Ian Rapoport appearing on Wednesday’s edition of Up to the Minute Live, reported that there are no Jeffery trade talks between the Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.
He further explained that it’s “essentially unprecedented” to trade a franchise player because the new team cannot sign the tagged star prior to the start of free agency. In which case, the selling team can’t expect to receive more than a mid-round draft pick in return for a half-season rental. Since the Bears will likely be awarded a mid-round pick in the compensatory process should Jeffery seek greener pastures in free agency, there’s little incentive for a trade.
The 2017 draft has 20 WRs rated from the 1st round to the 4th round. The likes of Mike Williams/Clemson, Corey Davis/Western Michigan, Isaiah Ford/V-Tech, Cooper Kupp/E. Washington and more are there.
It’s JMO, but I would prefer another Mike Evans from the draft that can bond and grow with him and Jameis Winston. Personally, I would hold my fire and make WR a high pick in the draft. However, I’m a Buc fan and I will support any decision they make. Go Bucs!
I hadn’t thought about the fact that we essentially wouldn’t be able to sign A. Jeffery to a new contract because he’s under the franchise tag. That’s good info Mac.
Get Alshon he’s the perfect compliment and signing him long term should be no issue. Jackson is making 10 million and thats the ballpark of what Alshon should be paid so that works perfectly. It’s time for Licht to channel that aggressiveness he used trading up for Aguayo on a player thats actually worth it.
I think the upcoming draft class is going to be the best draft class in recent memory. In fact, I’m trying to think of one to compare it against…I think it’ll be better than the 2011 class. I wouldn’t trade any draft pick in next year’s draft for Jeffery or Smith. I think the Browns and Titans did very well to pick up an extra 1st round draft pick in the next draft and I don’t want to see us giving up a draft pick for a player a lousy team wasn’t willing to build around after seeing him practice every day. Perhaps the 49ers are the exception to that rule as Chip Kelly wouldn’t know a good player if he bit him in the @$$, but I happen to agree with him in that T. Smith is not worth keeping around if he can trade him for something. I just don’t want the Bucs to be the team that gets suckered into trading for him.
Please wait for the draft. If Litch wants Jefferies wait for free agency. There are just to many good receivers in the draft to trade draft picks.
They should call Jacksonville and offer a late round pick for Rashad Green. He had great rapport with Jameis in college, and would come with the price tag of Alshon or Torrey Smith. He can also be used to return punts. Licht should have drafted him to begin with over Kenny Bell.
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