OL Sean Mahan started at three different positions - center, right guard and left guard - for the Buccaneers from 2004-06
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled the trigger on two separate trades on Tuesday but the end result seemed more like a player-for-player swap at a position of need.
First, as reported earlier in the afternoon, the Buccaneers sent fourth-year offensive lineman Dan Buenning to the Chicago Bears in exchange for an undisclosed 2009 draft pick. A short time later, Tampa Bay sent an undisclosed pick in the same draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers to acquire sixth-year offensive lineman Sean Mahan.
The Buccaneers believe the pair of trades resulted in an upgrade at the three interior line positions, a spot that had been at least temporarily weakened by the foot injury suffered by starting right guard Davin Joseph. Mahan was attractive to the Buccaneers in at least two ways: He has extensive starting experience and he is intimately familiar with Tampa Bay's offense.
Mahan first entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 2003. He spent his first four seasons in Tampa before signing with Pittsburgh as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2007. Mahan not only opened 36 games over the 2004-06 seasons with the Buccaneers, including all 16 in 2005, but he started at all three interior-line positions during that span. In Pittsburgh last year, Mahan started all 17 games, including the postseason, at center.
Buenning and Mahan actually started all 16 games together for the Buccaneers in 2005, the former at left guard and the latter at right guard. In 2006, Mahan was slated to start at right guard again but eventually slid to the left side for nine games to replace Buenning, who suffered a midseason knee injury. In 2004, Mahan started the last eight games at center after a similar injury to starter John Wade.
Even by the Buccaneers' active standards, Tuesday's pair of deals was almost unprecedented. According to the Bucs' own log of trades through the years, this is the first time in 19 years — excluding draft weekend — that the team has pulled off a pair of trades on the same day. On May 31, 1979, the Bucs traded RB Charles White to San Diego for a draft pick and also acquired LB Calvin O'Neal from Baltimore in a separate trade.