GM sees a "hotter" trade market

Tampa Bay general manager Bruce Allen believes changes to the collective bargaining agreement will facilitate more trades than usual during the summer. NFL expert Adam Caplan doesn't agree, and BucsBlitz.com's Matthew Postins explains that the Bucs are misssing out on adding veteran depth to an important position.

Tampa Bay's roster appears to be set for training camp in a month. But that doesn't mean that Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen doesn't have his ear to the phone listening to possible offers.

In fact, he believes the trade market could be much hotter than usual this summer.

"I do think there's going to be a trade market in the NFL in the next couple of months and that will be interesting because there are some good names being floated around," Allen said on Wednesday. "Whether they're actually occur or not, we'll have to see."

Who are those players? Well, naturally, Allen didn't say. Allen rarely tips hand in those sorts of things. The only non-Bucs player name he dropped Wednesday was former Jacksonville safety Donovin Darius, who was released earlier this month by the Jaguars. Allen admitted the Buccaneers checked into him after his release, but there's nothing imminent.

"He (Darius) said there were some things that he wanted to check out first, so we left it at that," Allen said.

Scout.com's NFL expert, Adam Caplan, told BucsBlitz.com that he doesn't expect the trade market to percolate until much closer to the regular season.

"Trades usually happen closer to the last few cut down dates in late August or early September, so I wouldn't expect much if anything to happen then," Caplan said. "Also, keep in mind because of the changes in the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), teams could cut up to two players before June 1 and get relief on next year's cap."

Analysis

I don't think the Bucs are in the market for much of anything right now. I think Allen likes his roster and wants to stand pat. This "hotter than usual" trade market Allen spoke of, I believe, won't materialize because the new cap rule Caplan spoke of makes it easier to minimize dead money on the cap. Allen said the Bucs had no interest in Darius or free-agent safety Robert Griffith, and that's a shame because that's the one position on the roster that could use a steadier veteran than Jermaine Phillips or Will Allen.

This is a depth disaster waiting to happen. What if Phillips or Allen gets hurt? Kalvin Pearson is next up, but after that you have rookies Sabby Piscitelli and Tanard Jackson? Seems to me that Allen said "we're fine" at another position last year, and injuries led to disastrous results (quarterback). He even said the rookies might be the ones competing for the starting time at safety this year. Actually, they will, because they're going to be second on the depth chart.

Allen agreed that the safety play wasn't up to snuff last year, but also said if you put in tape of every safety in the NFL you'll see a missed tackle. True. No one's perfect. But Bucs fans aren't concerned about Dallas' Roy Williams. They're concerned about Phillips and Allen. Bruce Allen believes an improved pass rush will improve the safety play, and it will have an effect. But taken on their own last year, Phillips and Allen were well below par and if an improved pass rush doesn't lead to improved play by those two in 2007, injuries or failure of the scheme won't be the argument. It will be talent.

For the purposes of protecting the position from further decline, the Bucs need to either sign a veteran free agent or trade for one before the regular season. — Matthew Postins


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