After Sunday's 27-23 road loss to the Tennesee Titans, their third defeat in a row, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are heading in the wrong direction in their first season under new head coach Bruce Arians.
With this year's trade deadline approaching, it's understandable to assume the Bucs would be more seller than buyer, considering they'd likely have to win out to assure themselves a playoff spot.
Arians has other plans.
After Sunday's game, Arians made it clear he has no interest in punting on this season in favor of future considerations (via The Athletic's Greg Auman):
While it's understandable for the head coach to be focused on the present, Bucs general manager Jason Licht would be wise to have an eye toward the 2020 season and beyond.
Both of their talented tight ends, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard, have been used sparingly in the passing game so far this season. Each would likely fetch a decent return in a deadline deal.
The Bucs could also add another compensatory pick in next year's draft by cutting wide receiver Breshad Perriman this week, because he wouldn't count against them in the league's complicated formula for determining those picks. That would give them an additional mid-round pick (they've already done this once by cutting Deone Bucannon earlier this season) in return for a free-agent signing who has had next to no positive impact on the season.
Sure, the Bucs could be in the market for a veteran corner to help shore up their struggling pass defense, but they would have to get creative with the salary cap to acquire players like Patrick Peterson, Darius Slay, or Chris Harris, Jr. before Tuesday's deadline, in addition to giving up compensation.
Arians may be focused on winning every week this season, and that makes perfect sense. But hopefully, for the sake of the Bucs and their fans, Licht will still be open to making deals that set the team up for success past this season, a campaign that doesn't look like it'll get anywhere near the postseason.