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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What Would a First-Round Trade Cost/Earn the Bucs?

We use draft history to get an idea of what trading up or down from the 27th spot in this year's proceedings could either cost the Buccaneers or add to their overall assets

draft

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are slated to pick 27th in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft next Thursday night, which means General Manager Jason Licht may have to wait three or four hours to make his first decision. On the other hand, if Licht finds himself working the phones with his NFL counterparts that evening, the Buccaneers could conceivably be on the clock earlier that evening…or perhaps not at all.

Licht held his annual pre-draft press conference last week and he said something that even he knew was a very familiar line for him. He says something similar almost every year, because it's almost always true.

"I'll say it every year, you guys probably get sick of me saying it," said Licht. "All options are on the table right now."

One of those options – or two, really – is a trade out of the 27th spot. That could be a trade up to nab a coveted prospect the team doesn't expect to last to the end of the round. Or it could be a trade down to add extra draft capital and target a player, or handful of similarly-rated players, it believes it can still get later.

There's a good reason to believe that the Buccaneers will be keeping an open mind and an open phone line regarding either of those options, and it comes from something else Licht mentioned in his press conference. To wit:

"It does look like a draft [where] there's going to be some good players in the mid rounds, for sure," he said. "There may not be 30 guys that you think are legit first-round picks but there's going to be a lot of good players in the middle rounds."

So if the blue-chip talent pool seems to be drying up early next Thursday, that could theoretically make the Buccaneers more willing to add in some extra assets to move up the board for a player who can make an instant impact in 2022. Conversely, if the value in this draft is in getting more swings in the middle round, that would make a trade back, and potentially out of the first round, more palatable.

I took a stab at a couple of draft-trade scenarios in the intro to my mailbag last week, but the reality is I have very little chance of accurately predicting a potential trade. There are just too many variables. What we can get a pretty good grasp of, however, is what the Buccaneers might have to pay to trade up or might be able to gain by trading down. We can do this by using past drafts and their internal deals as a guide.

Trades like the one Atlanta made in 2011 to move up all way from the 26th spot to the sixth pick to get Julio Jones are rare because the cost is likely to be prohibitive. In looking at potential trades up, I capped the search at a jump of 15 spots, in this case up to 12 for the Buccaneers. Likewise, I don't think Licht and company would want to move down more than 10 or 15 spots from where they are now. I also didn't consider trades of just one or two spots because that's not likely to significantly alter the team's overall draft assets.

As such, I searched for any trade from the 27th spot in the first round to picks 12-24 and picks 30-42. I went back through the 1976 draft, because that was the year that the expansion Buccaneers and Seahawks started playing and pushed the NFL to 28 teams. At that point, the 27th overall pick became a first-rounder.

I did not find a perfect match for every trade possibility. At any spot I couldn't find a trade with the 27th pick, I also looked at 26th and 28th overall picks to see if there was something similar. Even then, there are a few potential trades in the rundown below that have no real precedence. There was only one trade scenario – 27th up to 24th – where I found more than one exact replica.

Below I've listed each potential trade in the aforementioned range. I've also listed what the Jimmy Johnson Trade Value Chart says is the difference in points between the two picks and compared it to the actual value of the trade. All draft picks are from the same draft unless otherwise noticed. A few of the trades also involved a player but in each instance the player returned almost no value. The trade value differences noted below are all between the 27th pick and the other pick in question, even if the example that was used included a 28th or 26th pick instead.

Trade from 27th up to 12th:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: San Diego trades up with Miami from 28th to 12th in 2010. Miami gets 2nd and 4th-round picks (#40 and #126) and linebacker Tim Dobbins and gives back 4th and 6th-round picks (#110 and #173).

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 520.

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 450 (plus a player)

The value is pretty spot on. The exchange of picks leads to a gain of 450 points for the Dolphins, and I suppose Dobbins can be said to make up the rest of the difference. He did play one season for Miami and make six starts. That 520-point value is equivalent to the 38th pick in the draft, and the Bucs don't currently have anything similar to that. As such, my guess is that a trade up this far would almost certainly have to include next year's first-round pick, at a minimum. I'm not sure this trade is very representative of what it would cost today to make that move.

Trade from 27th up to 13th:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: None.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 470.

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: N/A

There have been no trades of the 26th, 27th or 28th pick for the 13th pick since 1976. It's reasonable to assume the value would be similar to the one above or below this one, so once again I think the negotiations start at a 2022 first-round pick.

Trade from 27th up to 14th:

Direct Precedent: New Orleans trades up with Green Bay from 27th to 14th in 2018. Green Bay gets a fifth-round pick (#147) and a 2019 1st-round pick (#30).

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 420.

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 652-882

This is more like what I would expect a trade of this distance between picks to look like, with the future number-one involved. Green Bay did not know exactly where the Saints' 2019 first-rounder would end up at the time of the trade of course. When figuring out the point value for future picks, it's better to use a value from the middle of the round. And since a pick a year from now is considered inherently a little less valuable than a pick right now, I'll adjust that down to the value of the 20th pick in the round. In the first round, that pick is worth 850 points and the two picks gained add up to 882. Even if we use the 30th-pick value of 620, Green Bay did well here, gaining 652 points of value.

Trade from 27th up to 15th:

Direct Precedent: None

Similar Precedent: None.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 370

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: N/A

As you'll see below neither of the next two trade examples involved a future first-round pick. In fact, neither one cost even a second, but the examples are relatively old and I think trade costs have gone up considerably in the interim. I would suspect that a second-round pick would be the bare minimum to make this move.

Trade from 27th up to 16th:

Direct Precedent: Pittsburgh trades up with Kansas City from 27th to 16th in 2003. Kansas City gets 3rd and 6th-round picks (#92 and #200).

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 320

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 143

This seems like a heist for Pittsburgh, which by the way used that pick to take future Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu.

Trade from 27th up to 17th:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: New England trades up with Houston from 28th to 17th in 1991. Houston gets a 4th-round pick (#101).

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 270

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 96

Johnson's team, the Cowboys, was probably the only one using his chart at the time, so I guess we shouldn't be too surprised at what would appear to be a terrible return for the Oilers. This example probably doesn't help us too much. Better to look to the next one, which is a similar difference between picks but happened much more recently.

Trade from 27th up to 18th:

Direct Precedent: Green Bay trades up with Seattle from 27th to 18th in 2018. Seattle gets 3rd and 6th-round picks (#76 and #186) and gives back a 7th-round pick (#248).

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 220

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 226

They really got this one right, at least according to the Johnson chart. This and a couple of the next entries on this list are going to be very instructive for the Buccaneers if they want to jump up seven to nine spots to secure a player they really want.

Trade from 27th up to 19th:

Direct Precedent: The L.A. Rams trade up with Cleveland from 27th to 19th in 1980. Cleveland gets second, fourth and fifth-round picks (#54, #109 and #116) and give back a sixth-round pick (#154).

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 195

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 428

Wow. This one, which is also well before the Johnson chart took hold, is lopsided in the other direction, which is unusual. This looks like a huge overpay for the Rams, who took a pretty decent safety named Johnnie Johnson. Don't read too much into this one as compared to the next two.

Trade from 27th up to 20th:

Direct Precedent: New Orleans trades up with Arizona from 27th to 20th in 2014. Arizona gets a third-round pick (#91).

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 170

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 136

This trade involved Bruce Arians. The Bucs' head coach of the past three years was at the Cardinals' helm in 2014 when they traded back and landed on safety Deone Bucannon. They also used the extra third they picked up in this deal to nab wide receiver John Brown. Neither became superstars but they both had some pretty good seasons in Arizona. The draft value in the trade is pretty close.

Trade from 27th up to 21st:

Direct Precedent: New England trades up with Cincinnati from 27th to 21st in 2012. Cincinnati gets a third-round pick (#93)

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 120

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 128

You can't hit the trade value chart much better than this. It's pretty clear, across about a decade of trades, that moving from the upper 20s into the lower 20s is probably going to cost you a third-round pick.

Trade from 27th up to 22nd:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: Cleveland trades up with Philadelphia from 26th to 22nd in 2014. Philadelphia gets 3rd-round pick (#83).

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 100

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 175

We've definitely got a trend going here with the third-round picks making this happen. In this case, it's a bit surprising that Cleveland didn't demand some kind of late-round pick in the deal to help even it out.

Trade from 27th up to 23rd:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: Denver trades up with Detroit from 28th to 23rd in 2015. Detroit gets fifth-round pick, 2016 5th-round pick (#143 and #196) and guard Manny Ramirez.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 80

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 48

Ramirez played in all 16 games with seven starts for Detroit in what would prove to be his last NFL season. I guess that makes up for the deficit in the trade value chart. Today, this trade probably costs a fourth-round pick.

Trade from 27th up to 24th:

Direct Precedent: Dallas trades up with New England from 27th to 24th in 2010. New England gets a 3rd-round pick (#90) and gives back a fourth-round pick (#119). Also, San Francisco trades up with Miami from 27th to 24th in 1999. Miami gets a fifth-round pick (#134).

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 60

Actual Point Value Cost for Team Trading Up: 84 in the 2010 trade; 39 in the 1999 trade.

A slight overpay for Dallas in the first trade, I guess, but it's hard to get it exactly right when you only have a certain number of draft picks to work with. The difference between that and the 49ers' trade up in 1999 illustrates how things have changed.

**

If history is a guide, the Buccaneers would probably have to give up next year's first-round pick to make an extremely aggressive trade up into the 12-19 range. However, a jump into the upper half of the 20s might only cost a third-round pick, and might be worth it for a player that could make a difference on a team that is all-in on another Super Bowl quest.

And now we move into the other half of this analysis, exploring trades back from the 27th pick, most of them ending up in the second round.

Trade from 27th back to 30th:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: Miami trades back with Green Bay from 26th to 30th in 2020. Miami gets a fourth-round pick (#136).

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 60

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: 38

This is the infamous Packers trade up for Jordan Love. The trade value isn't quite there but, again, it's hard to get it right on when you have limited options and I'm sure the Dolphins were fine with a fourth to make a very small move down, as were the Packers with the move up.

Trade from 27th back to 31st:

Direct Precedent: Washington trades back with the N.Y. Giants from 27th to 31st in 1984. Washington gets a 5th-round pick (#125).

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 80

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: 47

Even though the Giants gave up a fifth as compared to Green Bay surrendering a fourth in the entry above, the difference in the amount of teams in the league between 1984 and 2020, plus the introduction of compensatory picks in 1993, means the Giants actually traded a higher pick. Either way, the compensation is a little light but it seems like a move of this kind would cost a fourth-rounder.

Trade from 27th back to 32nd:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: None.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 90

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: N/A

Nothing to see here.

Trade from 27th back to 33rd:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: San Francisco trades back with Oakland from 26th to 33rd in 1988. San Francisco gets a fourth-round pick (#102) and wide receiver Dokie Williams.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 100

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: 92

Williams didn't end up playing for the 49ers so we won't count that. Otherwise, this is a really fair deal by the draft value chart. If the Bucs want to trade down just a bit into the top of the second round, a fourth-round pick is probably what they would gain. Which would be great! The Bucs don't have a fifth or sixth-round pick so an extra fourth would come in handy.

Trade from 27th back to 34th:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: None.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 120

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: N/A

This is one of our last big blanks but we'll get a lot of info from the next three entries.

Trade from 27th back to 35th:

Direct Precedent: Cincinnati trades back with Atlanta from 27th to 35th in 1989. Cincinnati gets fourth and 10th-round picks (#89 and #256).

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 130

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: 145

This one is long enough ago that the draft was 12 rounds long and the 10th-round pick in the deal actually remains relevant in this analysis. This year's draft is going to be 262 picks long, and that 10th-rounder is number 256. It's still a mere pittance, but it fits into the formula, and this is a pretty fair deal.

Trade from 27th back to 36th:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: Philadelphia trades back with Dallas from 26th to 36th in 2007. Philadelphia gets 3rd and 5th-round picks (#87 and #159).

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 140

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: 183

Did the Cowboys not follow their own chart well enough? We're getting back to a range at which a fourth-round pick might not be enough, but it doesn't seem like Dallas had to throw in a fifth with its third.

Trade from 27th back to 37th:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: Kansas City trades back with San Francisco from 28th to 37th in 2016. Kansas City gets 4th and 6th-round picks (#105 and #178) and gives back a 7th-round pick (#249).

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 150

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: 103

Who knows? Maybe the 49ers didn't have a fifth-round pick at their disposal at the time of this trade. But it seems like that would have made a slightly more fair deal for them along with the fourth-rounder. The seventh-rounder going back doesn't really affect the trade value chart but teams do like those picks because they basically allow them to avoid negotiations with the top undrafted free agents.

Trade from 27th back to 38th:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: None.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 160

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: N/A

Our last blank. Moving on.

Trade from 27th back to 39th:

Direct Precedent: Miami trades back with Detroit from 27th to 39th in 1999. Miami gets 3rd and 5th-round picks (#70 and #142).

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 170

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: 275

While the draft value chart seems to indicate that a third-round pick is a bit rich for this kind of move, we seem to be seeing that this is the cost of business in this range. Read on.

Trade from 27th back to 40th:

Direct Precedent: Tennessee trades back with Houston from 27th to 40th in 2004. Tennessee gets 3rd, 4th and 5th-round picks (#71, #103, #138) and gives back 5th-round pick (#159).

Similar Precedent: Not necessary.

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 180

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: 332

The object of Houston's affection was edge rusher Jason Babin who was…pretty good? He finished with 64.5 career sacks, with an 18-sack season for Philadelphia in 2011. I bring this up to provide some background to why the Texans seemed to significantly overpay for this move up of 12 spots. And this came before cost-controlled rookie contracts and automatic fifth-year options for first-round picks.

Trade from 27th back to 41st:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: New England trades back with Green Bay from 26th to 41st in 2009. New England gets two third-round picks (#73 and #83) and gives back a fifth-round pick (#162).

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 190

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: 373

It is becoming clear that trading in this range of the draft tends to favor the team trading down. Something to think about on Thursday night.

Trade from 27th back to 42nd:

Direct Precedent: None.

Similar Precedent: Chicago trades back with Buffalo from 26th to 42nd in 2006. Chicago gets a 3rd-round pick (#73).

Trade Value Chart Point Difference: 200

Actual Point Value Gained for Team Trading Back: 225

This one is closer to being fair value than the last few trades on the list, but the message is still clear: If you are comfortable moving down a bit from the end of the first round, still believing you can get a player you covet a bit later, it's probably worth it.

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