The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly are expected to sign former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in NFL free agency, and if it does happen, you'd have to expect the NFC South franchise to make other moves to bolster the offense even further.
For example, Tampa Bay's run game has to be more productive that it was last season. Only two teams averaged fewer yards per rush than the Buccaneers in 2019. Could one route toward improving that phase of the offense be pursuing a Todd Gurley trade with the Los Angeles Rams?
Gurley has battled injury the last two years, but he's still played in 29 of 32 regular season games over that span. When healthy, Gurley is one of the league's best running backs. Despite tallying only 857 rushing yards last season, Gurley had little trouble finding the end zone. He posted 12 rushing touchdowns in 2019, and he's totaled 35 touchdowns (rushing and receiving combined) in the last two seasons.
So, would the Bucs really look at Gurley in an attempt to surround Brady with the most offensive talent possible? Cecil Lammey of 104.3 The Fan tweeted Wednesday that the buzz involving Gurley and the Bucs "has some reality to it."
I'm told the #Buccaneers are not done. the Todd Gurley buzz has some reality to it...and the team is looking for a speed WR to go along with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Brandin Cooks? Robby Anderson? Denzel Mims in the draft? @1043TheFan— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) March 18, 2020
Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson mentioned the Gurley-Buccaneers idea Monday on Twitter, and he made some valid points.
A team w/ the cap room to trade for the contract of #Rams' Todd Gurley? The #Buccaneers. If Tampa Bay thinks he's healthy enough for a gamble, a deal for Gurley could boost a Tom Brady pitch, too. Gurley's deal easy for suitors to exit in 2021, too. No risk it, no biscuit, right?— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) March 16, 2020
The point about being able to get out of Gurley's contract is interesting. According to Spotrac, the Buccaneers can exit the deal after the 2021 season with just $4.2 million in dead salary cap space. This would allow the Bucs to roll with Brady and Gurley for two years and then reassess that duo following the 2021 campaign. The long-term risk for Tampa Bay is not very large.
The bottom line is with Brady expected to be in the fold, the Bucs must be bold and creative in filling out the rest of the roster. If that means trading for a star running back like Gurley, so be it. If Brady wants to bring in a wide receiver like Antonio Brown, it should be taken seriously. This is a unique situation for the Buccaneers, and it would behoove them to try just about anything to maximize however many good years Brady has left in his career.