It is unlikely that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to win the Super Bowl this year. Bucs fans, coaches, players, and the front office surely think they are building a team that will contend in a few years, but it would be highly unrealistic to think 2013 is the season.
On Friday ProFootballTalk mentioned that Mark Sanchez's name had been included in some of the Darrelle Revis trade rumors. Over the weekend it emerged the Tampa Bay isn't interested in Sanchez. But, why not?
The Bucs want to acquire Revis from the Jets. New York would like to get out from under the guaranteed $8.25 million that Sanchez is owed this year. While Sanchez might not be an upgrade over Josh Freeman, what difference does it make?
In order to acquire Revis, a player that can improve the Buccaneers league worst pass defense, Tampa Bay is going to have to give up something. Draft picks are the most likely compensation, and good franchises hoard picks because it is their ticket to acquiring young, inexpensive talent that can become the nucleus of a team on the rise. If the alternative to yielding picks is picking up short term salary, and you aren't going to win big this year anyway, isn't that a better option?
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Lets assume for a minute that every dollar of the $8.25 million the Bucs could use on something other than Sanchez is well spent. They draft well, avoid injuries, Josh Freeman is consistently good, and everything falls into place. How many games do they improve on their 7-9 mark from last season? Do they win a division with Atlanta, New Orleans, and Carolina in it? Do they have the talent to beat San Francisco or Green Bay in the playoffs?
If you don't think the money Sanchez is going to get for one year, and one year only before you can release him without penalty, is going to make the Bucs a champion, bite the bullet and save some of your draft choices. In fact, will the Jets send Tampa Bay a pick if the Bucs take Tim Tebow and the $2.58 million he is owed for one year too?
Good franchises recognize where they are now and what the future may hold. Having draft picks and cap flexibility down the road is the best way for a team with young talent to ensure that they continue to improve. Biting the bullet now so that you are fully stocked in the future is a decision that takes guts. No guts, no glory. Sometimes guts look like Mark Sanchez.