Buccaneers Could Sign 2-Time Pro Bowl RB: Analyst

Tom Brady

Getty The Buccaneers could add RB Melvin Gordon.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be the perfect landing spot for a two-time Pro Bowl running back.

As suggested by Justin Melo of Draft Network, the Buccaneers could be the ideal destination for the recently released Melvin Gordon. The 29-year-old running back was waived by the Denver Broncos on Monday, November 21, after fumbling for the fifth time in 10 games this season.

Melo argues that Tampa Bay’s lackluster rushing attack — the Buccaneers rank dead last in the league in rushing yards and yards per attempt — could be bolstered by the addition of Gordon.

“The Buccaneers are averaging a league-low 70.7 rushing yards per contest,” says Melo. “Struggles across the interior of Tampa Bay’s offensive line have capped their rushing capabilities. Rookie ball-carrier Rachaad White has begun earning more touches at the expense of veteran Leonard Fournette. The Buccaneers are desperately searching for answers to their run-game woes.”

Why Buccaneers Could Add Gordon

As noted by Melo, the Buccaneers are starting to lean more on rookie running back Rachaad White for carries. For the first time since their Week 1 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay actually had an effective rushing attack in their most recent game versus the Seattle Seahawks. During the Bucs’ 21-16 victory over the Seahawks in Week 10, Tampa Bay ran for a season-high 161 yards.

A lot of that had to do with the effective running of White, who carried the ball a career-high 22 carries for 105 yards. By comparison, Leonard Fournette carried the ball 14 times for 57 yards.

Despite White’s career game, Melo urges Tampa Bay to add Gordon as Tom Brady plays out what may be his final season.

“The Buccaneers are on their last legs,” says Melo. “A three-year Super Bowl window is expected to slam shut at the conclusion of the current campaign. Claiming Gordon could improve their dwindling rushing attack, which ultimately enhances their postseason aspirations.”

Why Buccaneers Aren’t Likely to Add Gordon

Despite Gordon’s propensity for fumbles — he’s had an NFL-high 26 fumbles since the 2015 season — he’s been an efficient runner. During the 2021 season, Gordon ran for 918 yards and 4.5 yards per carry while splitting carries with Javonte Williams.

However, Gordon has regressed this season. After taking over starting back duties from Williams following his season-ending knee injury in Week 4, the 29-year-old back has run for just 3.5 yards per carry. However, much of that may have to do with Denver’s stagnant offensive attack. The Broncos’ offensive unit ranks dead last in the league, averaging just 14.7 points per game.

While Gordon might certainly make a difference as a third-down back or a veteran used for depth purposes — Tampa Bay previously tried this with former Pro Bowl back Le’Veon Bell during the 2021 season — the Buccaneers’ bloated depth chart may prevent Tampa Bay from making a waiver claim for Gordon.

The Buccaneers have already opened the designated to return from injured reserve window for Giovani Bernard. Bernard hasn’t appeared in a game since Week 2 versus the New Orleans Saints. Furthermore, Tampa Bay also features Ke’Shawn Vaughn on the roster.

The Buccaneers could always release Vaughn or Bernard to make room for Gordon, but it’s more likely Tampa Bay sticks with their current group of running backs.

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