Buccaneers Trade Proposal Could Unload ‘Talented’ WR in Preseason

Tyler Johnson

Getty The Buccaneers could look to trade Tyler Johnson.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could unload one of their talented wide receivers before the season starts.

In a list of trade scenarios NFL teams “should” pursue, Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report mentions how the Buccaneers should pursue a trade with the Cleveland Browns involving wide receiver Tyler Johnson. Sobleski mentions how the Buccaneers’ bloated depth chart at receiver — not mentioning Julio Jones, who signed with the Buccaneers later on Tuesday, July 26th — makes a trade featuring Johnson a realistic scenario before the start of the season.

“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply have too many talented wide receivers. That statement seems counterintuitive in today’s pass-happy NFL, but roster restrictions limit how many options a team can carry,” says Sobleski. “Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage are set as the top three options. A free-for-all should ensue for spots during training camp.

Tyler Johnson, Breshad Perriman, Scotty Miller, Jaelon Darden, Cyril Grayson Jr., Vyncint Smith, Jerreth Sterns and Deven Thompkins will compete to earn a place on the 53-man roster.”

Why the Buccaneers Should Trade Johnson

The 2020 fifth-round draft choice has had a difficult time cracking the Buccaneers’ receiver rotation over the course of his first two seasons. Due to Antonio Brown’s injuries and eventual release during the 2021 season, Johnson was able to carve out a role as a secondary option.

The 23-year-old receiver caught 36 balls on 55 targets for 360 yards. They were clear improvements over his 2020 season totals of 12 receptions on 17 targets for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

However, he failed to establish himself as the team’s go-to slot receiver, as the Buccaneers rotated between Scotty Miller, Breshad Perriman, Cyril Grayson and Johnson in that role towards the end of the season.

With the Buccaneers’ top four receiver spots locked up — Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage and Julio Jones — that leaves only one or two spots open at receiver. At least one of those receiver slots will likely be filled by a special teams ace, with Jaelon Darden having served as the team’s punt and kick returner last season. That means the rest of the Buccaneers’ receivers will likely be looking for a new gig come September.

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Johnson Could Fit as Bigger-Framed Slot Receiver

Considering Johnson is still young and could fit into the Browns’ plans as a bigger-framed slot receiver (6-foot-1, 206 pounds), the Browns might be willing to give up a late-round pick for the former fifth-round draft selection.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared Johnson to New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who currently serves as the Patriots’ No. 1 receiving option. Zierlein describes Johnson as a “contested-catch warrior” who can excel as a slot receiver in zone coverage.

“Contested-catch warrior who plays the game like a big brother imposing his will on his younger brothers on the playground,” says Zierlein. “Johnson’s lack of speed and explosiveness make it hard to create clean catch windows unless he’s working against zone.

“However, he’s an absolute rebound champ, using instincts, timing and an impressive knowledge of body control to keep defenders away from the football and make it his own. His production speaks directly to his ball skills and competitiveness, but physical limitations might pigeon-hole him into a role as a zone-beating possession slot with red-zone talent.”

With the Buccaneers likely ready to move on from Johnson, they should look to acquire a draft pick via trade rather than outright release him.

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