It's time for the Bucs to trade for Patrick Peterson
After Bruce Arians came out of retirement to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rumors swirled about potential former players who could end up reuniting with him at his new job.
Considering the Bucs' recent struggles in the secondary, Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson was a popular name.
While nothing materialized throughout the offseason, the Bucs would be wise to make this rumor a reality before the trade deadline.
While the Tampa Bay defense has seem some flashes of brilliance this season (Shaq Barrett's insane start, as well as the NFL's top rushing defense), their pass defense is currently the worst in the league by a healthy margin. While new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has improved the team's overall defensive success with a more aggressive scheme, the secondary in particular is still plagued by a combination of youth and inexperience, as well as a lack of depth and athleticism.
The problems are most glaring at corner, as safety Jordan Whitehead as been the lone bright spot in the defensive backfield, while rookie Mike Edwards has done admirably starting in place of the injured Justin Evans.
Among the corners, Vernon Hargreaves III is the unit's elder statesman, and he's struggled despite finally being fully healthy. Carlton Davis is a perfect scheme fit, but can't stop drawing penalties. M.J. Stewart looks routinely overmatched in the slot. Ryan Smith just returned from a four-game suspension, but even at his best, he's looked more like a depth player throughout his career than a quality starter.
Enter Pat Pete?
Peterson is exactly the kind of player this team needs. He's a big, physical, athletic corner who can neutralize an opposing offense's top pass-catcher. He's got experience playing for both Arians and Bowles, which limits his transition period were he to join the Bucs mid-season. Perhaps most importantly, he's an experienced veteran who brings leadership to a young group that's struggling to find a positive identity this season.
Peterson turns 30 next summer, which could put him the sweet spot for the Bucs in terms of trade value. He's still capable of being an impact player for at least a few more seasons, but he's not likely to command anywhere near the same trade compensation it would cost for the Bucs to land someone like Jalen Ramsey.
Sure, the public narrative is that the Cardinals don't want to trade Peterson. Of course they don't. But for a young team that just finally won their first game of the season, trading a veteran player for draft resources makes plenty of sense. Every team has its price.
If the price is right, the Bucs need to make this happen. If they want to make the most of this season and not waste the positives they're seeing throughout the rest of the roster through five weeks, they need to make a splash and reunite Peterson with his former coaches.