The 2022 season is quickly spiraling down the drain for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After starting the season 2-0, they have lost five out of their last six games, dropping their record to 3-5. The only solace that they can take is that the rest of the AFC South has been underwhelming as well as the 4-4 Atlanta Falcons are currently in first place and the Buccaneers already own one head-to-head victory over them. Could the Buccaneers look to beef up their offense with a trade deadline move with the Detroit Lions?
This isn’t the same kind of Tampa Bay team we have become accustomed to watching the last two seasons with Tom Brady under center as he is starting to show some signs of slowing down. Things off the field are certainly distracting as he doesn’t look as sharp and dialed in as he has been throughout his career.
In win-now mode as long as Brady is under center, the Buccaneers’ front office could aggressively pursue some upgrades to the roster ahead of the trade deadline on November 1st. One position that could use some help on the offensive side of the ball is tight end.
Tampa Bay lost future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski to retirement this offseason and it doesn’t look as if he is coming through that door any time soon to save the day. Rookie Cade Otton has been pushed into a larger role because of injuries, making this a position they could look to add some help too.
One suggested trade target is T.J. Hockenson of the Detroit Lions. While it is made abundantly clear that Hockenson isn’t necessarily available, it doesn’t mean the Buccaneers cannot make an offer. If the Lions received a proposal of a 2023 first-round pick and 2024 fourth-round pick, as suggested over at The Athletic, they would certainly think long and hard about it.
Detroit already owns two picks in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, as they have their own and the Los Angeles Rams pick, which could be higher than anticipated. The same could be said for the Buccaneers’ pick right now, as both preseason favorites have only three victories.
Hockenson is an established talent, which Detroit could certainly use more of, but the chance to have a third crack at a first-round talent could be too much to pass up on. For Tampa Bay, adding a legitimate weapon at the tight end position would certainly help their shortcomings.
It can be argued that this would be a short-sighted move by the Buccaneers, whose future is up in the air as Brady is set to hit free agency in 2023. Trading away a first-round pick without knowing their quarterback situation, as they could be in the market of selecting one, would be detrimental to the franchise.
Ownership and the front office have to weigh how much it would help their chances of winning this season to sacrifice a first-round pick for a player such as Hockenson. One positive is that he is under contract through 2023, so it isn’t a rental. But are the Buccaneers truly contenders as currently constructed, even if you add Hockenson into the lineup? That is something they have to figure out between now and the deadline.