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Should the Buccaneers Trade for CB Kyle Fuller?

The Bucs continue to have health issues at cornerback, so should they look at bringing in more help?

The Ringer's Benjamin Solak recently wrote a post detailing seven trades he'd like to see happen before the 2021 trade deadline. Per most of Solak's work, it's interesting and thoughtful, but there was one particular scenario that stood out for one obvious reason.

Solak has the Bucs sending a third and sixth-round pick in 2022 to the Denver Broncos in exchange for former All-Pro cornerback Kyle Fuller and a fifth-round pick in 2022.

You can read Solak's reasoning in its entirety here; it's all very logical and realistic. But it's his final paragraph that ties everything together:

Fuller will turn 30 this February and isn’t the player he once was, but his versatility is mighty attractive to the Bucs’ depleted cornerback room, as he can play both outside and in the slot. I think it’s worth the risk.

There are also a few more layers as to why this would or wouldn't work, which is why we are here. Let's discuss.

Why trading for Fuller would make sense for the Buccaneers

The main reason is obvious: The Bucs are desperate for help at cornerback. There is no clear timeline when it comes to Sean Murphy-Bunting's or Carlton Davis III's returns, as Solak points out. Dee Delaney also left the Bucs' Week 7 matchup against the Bears with an ankle injury and could possibly miss time.

The dollars and cents work, too. The Bucs would pay Fuller 10 weeks worth of the $9.5 million salary he signed before the season - assuming he comes to Tampa Bay after Week 8, of course. The catalyst behind Tampa Bay giving up a third-round pick is the Broncos eating some of that deal, which would lower Fuller's remaining $5.3 million remaining salary even more. The Bucs could then tack on a couple of extra void years to spread out whatever is left on the one-year deal. 

Let's say the Broncos eat $1 million, leaving the Bucs with $4.3 million to pay. Tampa Bay could spread $2.5 million of that over two void years (at minimum) and in return, would have to pony up $1.8 million for Fuller's services in 2021. This would leave the Bucs with around $1.4 million in cap room and they would only eat $2.5 million in 2022 if Fuller doesn't return, which isn't terrible at the end of the day.

And speaking of Fuller's return - that's another positive in this deal. Fuller is only on a one-year deal. Therefore, his presence won't linger and possibly affect the Bucs' decision(s) when it comes to re-signing players like Davis, Jordan Whitehead, or even Richard Sherman. If Fuller is of modest service and the Bucs think they can have better/more success with the other players, their hands won't be tied with Fuller. They can just let him walk.

And then there's Solak's final paragraph that I highlighted. Right now, the Bucs need Fuller's versatility like a person needs a drink of water in the Sahara. The versatility aspect is almost worth the move, alone.

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Why trading for Fuller doesn't make sense for the Buccaneers

A third-round pick is pretty expensive for a player that is going to play just a game more than half a season and you never want to stretch the cap too far during a season. But the Bucs are 100% in repeat-mode, so they can be forgiven for paying a premium in order to continue to load up on their chances at another championship. 

Honestly though, one has to wonder if the Bucs even need Fuller right now, because the Bucs are doing pretty freakin' good with the players they currently have. 

Tampa Bay's secondary is giving up the fourth-fewest yards per game, quarterbacks are averaging the fourth-lowest QB rating, and the secondary is tied for the third-most interceptions over any team's last three games. The unit is tied for allowing the second-lowest yards per completion mark and tied for allowing the ninth-lowest completion percentage during the same span, as well.

Yes, the competition hasn't been the best: The Bucs have faced the Jacoby Brissett-led Dolphins, Jalen Hurts-led Eagles, and the Justin Fields-led Bears over the last three games. However, the remaining nine games don't feature much more of a threat outside of Josh Allen and the Bills. 

Take a look at the remaining quarterbacks, their total DYAR, and their respective team's ranking in pass DVOA:

Bucs' remaining opposing QBs, their total DYAR, and their respective team's pass DVOA rankings

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/nfl/team-offense/2021

QuarterbackQuarterback DYAR RankingTeam Pass DVOA Ranking

NO Jameis Winston (x2) 

17th

9th

WAS Taylor Heinicke

22nd

22nd

NYG Daniel Jones

25th

25th

IND Carson Wentz

16th

17th

ATL Matt Ryan

18th

24th

BUF Josh Allen

9th

10th

CAR Sam Darnold (?) (x2?)

31st

30th

NYJ Zach Wilson

33rd

32nd

As you can see, it's not a very impressive list. Even if we are talking about NFL quarterbacks, offenses, and teams at the end of the day. 

And when you add in the fact that Sherman will likely be back after the Week 9 bye week and the eventual returns of Davis and SMB, it's logical to see why the Bucs have just enough to get by until everything comes back together. The starting trio of Sherman, Jamel Dean, and Ross Cockrell is good enough when it's all said and done.

I'm not sure if the circumstances surrounding the secondary are dire enough to where you have to continue to stretch yourself out in the future in hopes of defending the Super Bowl. 

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