The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could part with one of their young offensive weapons.
According to Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report, one player the Buccaneers “should consider trading” prior to the start of the 2022 season is 23-year-old wide receiver Tyler Johnson. Sobleski explains how the Buccaneers’ loaded depth chart at wide receiver combined with Johnson not developing into a “significant contributor” are reasons why Tampa Bay should move its young playmaker.
“Where does that leave Tyler Johnson, whom the Bucs drafted in the fifth round two years ago? Well, he hasn’t developed into a significant contributor,” said Sobleski on Tuesday, July 2. “Licht can take advantage of his team’s depth and flip Johnson to a wide receiver-needy squad for an asset. That will also give others more opportunities as they compete for a spot as part of the regular-season lineup.”
Johnson May Not Make the Bucs’ 53-Man Roster
The former fifth-round draft selection could find himself on the outside looking in. The Buccaneers’ top three wide receiver slots are set in stone with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage. That means Tampa Bay has two or three wide receiver spots left to fill.
Johnson will have to compete with fellow young receiver Scotty Miller, veteran Breshad Perriman, young prospects Jaelon Darden and Cyril Grayson along with undrafted free agents Jerreth Sterns and Deven Thompkins. In other words, the Buccaneers may not have room for the 6-foot-3, 206-pound receiver.
During Johnson’s two seasons, he’s played 31 games and started six games. The third-year receiver caught 36 passes on 55 targets for 360 yards with zero touchdowns last season. Johnson saw an increased role in the 2021 season as Tampa Bay attempted to find a legit third option at wide receiver due to the prolonged absence of ex-Bucs receiver Antonio Brown (limited to just seven games last year). Johnson actually ranked fourth among all Bucs receivers in receiving targets.
While it’s hard to argue that both parties may be best served by a trade, the Buccaneers will be hard-pressed to find a trade partner willing to give up any more than a late-round pick — a sixth or seventh-round pick — for Johnson.
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Why the Buccaneers Would Consider Trading Johnson
Johnson is a tall, young receiver who has yet to excel in any particular area during his first two seasons in the league. However, he is due just $2 million combined over the next two seasons, and could end up becoming a gem for a receiver-needy squad.
As Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report noted back in May, Johnson may be the Buccaneers’ “best-kept secret.”
“Over the past two seasons, we’ve seen glimpses of Tyler Johnson’s playmaking ability in a reserve position,” explains Moton. “Behind Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski in the pecking order among quarterback Tom Brady’s pass-catching options, he didn’t get a consistent volume of targets.”
If the Buccaneers are looking to fetch some draft capital — or even further depth at any of their weaker position groups — Johnson is likely their best option.
Miller is an undersized receiver (5-foot-9, 174 pounds) coming off of a serious turf toe injury last season. When not playing alongside Tom Brady, it’s unlikely that Miller holds much value. Perriman is a journeyman veteran receiver who has been cut or waived by four different teams. Meanwhile, Grayson has seen sporadic playing time over his career and Dardon’s best value is while playing on special teams.
With Johnson likely finding himself cut before the end of the preseason, the Buccaneers would be wise to move their “best-kept secret.”