By Eric Schmidt

Forget the rumors about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trading for CB Darrelle Revis, another name has entered the mix. The Boston Herald is reporting this evening that the Buccaneers might be in the mix for New England Patriots QB Ryan Mallett. This is interesting because I threw Mallett’s name into the mix last month when the Buccaneers front office clearly stated that they would not be extending Josh Freeman’s contract heading into the final year of his rookie contract.

There is a history between the current coaching staffs of both clubs. Bucs head coach Greg Schiano coached Bill Belichick’s son at Rutgers. Bill Belichick called the Buccaneers and told the ownership that he thought Schiano was ready to coach in the NFL. The Buccaneers sent CB Aqib Talib to the Patriots at the NFL trade deadline last year in exchange for a fourth-round draft selection.

New England does not have their usual dozen draft selections heading into this year’s draft and needs some picks. The Cleveland Browns, under general manager Michael Lombardi covet Mallett as well and could be in the bidding war for Mallett.

Of course, if the Buccaneers do strike a trade for Darrelle Revis, all bets are off, but Tampa would be foolish to overpay for a player heading into the last year of a contract deal and coming off an ACL injury, especially with a very deep corner free agent market and an exceptionally deep draft at the position as well.

Despite reports that the Buccaneers opened talks with Freeman in recent weeks, there does seem to be trepidation between the current staff to extend a long-term deal with Freeman in light of him posting career high numbers in 2012. Freeman has been wildly inconsistent during his career and the current coaching staff has no ties to him as he was drafted by the last regime in Tampa.

If the Buccaneers could pull off a trade for Mallett, three teams might be interested in Freeman in a trade deal: Arizona, Jacksonville or Buffalo. Arizona could be interested in anyone that can throw 15 yards down the field. Jacksonville tells everyone that Blaine Gabbert is the answer while Buddy Nix just got punked and recorded while telling Bucs GM Mark Dominik that Ryan Fitzpatrick would struggle to be a backup quarterback. Wouldn’t a trade to Buffalo be the mother of all ironies?

I am not buying into the rumors surrounding Revis to Tampa Bay. Mark Dominik is a shrewd general manager and he would not give up what reports are suggesting for a player heading into a contract year and demanding to be paid as one of the top players in the league, let alone his position. Corners are important in the league but not as important as quarterbacks. If the team is not sold on Freeman, I could see the Buccaneers trading for Mallett.

The wildcard in the mix now is the fact that former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel is now unemployed. Cassel made his money in New England while stepping in for an injured Tom Brady in 2008. New England could re-sign the veteran under Brady and in return get draft picks for Mallett this year which they are in need of. Brady is going nowhere and the Patriots would be wise to move a commodity they could get a return on while the value is high.

The Patriots should ink Cassel, a quarterback familiar with the offensive scheme and with starting experience to a three-year deal and then move Mallett.






Filed under: AFC, AFC East, New England Patriots, NFC, NFC South, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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