The deal that brought RB Michael Bennett to Tampa also delivered a previously-traded draft pick back to the Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have five picks to execute in the 2008 NFL Draft, which is exactly one month from Wednesday.
Next year, Tampa Bay has a full complement of seven selections in the 2009 draft, even though they've shuffled that deck a little bit, too.
Those are the simple facts regarding the Buccaneers' draft picks over the next two springs. As to how they arrived at those exact numbers…well, that answer is considerably more complicated.
If there is any confusion regarding where and how often Tampa Bay will pick in the upcoming draft, it is the product of a series of trades the team has made in recent seasons. Swaps for quarterback Jake Plummer, defensive tackle Ryan Sims, running back Michael Bennett and quarterback Brian Griese (in that order) sent a handful of 2008 and 2009 draft picks in both directions between the Buccaneers and their trade partners, the Broncos, Chiefs and Bears. One pick was even traded twice.
For fans, the confusion following a trade usually stems – and understandably so – from the practice of reporting "undisclosed draft picks" involved in the deal.
The NFL uses that terminology to apply to any traded picks that belong to a draft in a subsequent year, not the current one. As an example, the Oakland Raiders recently sent two picks to the Atlanta Falcons to acquire cornerback DeAngelo Hall. The deal was originally reported by the league as Hall for a second-round pick in 2008 and an undisclosed pick in 2009. That second pick was, in fact, a fifth-rounder in 2009.
In addition, some trades include conditions that could eventually change the overall draft-pick compensation. For instance, Team A might trade an offensive tackle to Team B for a sixth-round pick in 2008 and a seventh-round pick in 2009…but the trade stipulates that the seventh-round pick is returned to Team B if the player does not start at least eight games. These sorts of statistical-milestone conditions, in fact, are the main impetus for reporting future picks as "undisclosed."
The Buccaneers recent trades involve both of those factors, so it is unsurprising that the end results are complicated. But we do know exactly what picks Tampa Bay possesses over the next two years, so let's retrace those trade steps and try to erase any remaining confusion.
- On March 3, 2007, the Buccaneers traded their seventh-round pick in 2008 to Denver for the rights to quarterback Jake Plummer. 2. On May, 2007, the Buccaneers traded their seventh-round pick in 2009 to the Chiefs for defensive tackle Ryan Sims. The trade stipulates that the pick will only go to the Chiefs if Sims is on the Buccaneers' active roster for at least six games in 2008. Sims was on the roster all season, and thus the pick did go to the Chiefs. 3. On October 16, 2007, the Buccaneers traded their sixth-round pick in 2008 to Kansas City for RB Michael Bennett and the Buccaneers' own seventh-round pick in 2009. In other words, Tampa Bay reacquired the pick it traded for Sims while trading for Bennett. The deal stipulated that Kansas City would have kept that pick had Bennett rushed for 400 or more yards with the Buccaneers; he finished with 187. 4. On March 3, 2008, the Buccaneers traded their sixth-round pick in 2009 to Chicago for quarterback Brian Griese and the Bears' seventh-round pick in 2009. In essence, the Buccaneers reacquired Griese for the price of moving one of their 2009 picks from the sixth round into the seventh round.
The end results:
- The Buccaneers own their picks in Rounds 1-5 this year and have traded away their sixth and seventh-rounders. * The Buccaneers own their picks in Rounds 1-5 and Round 7 and also own Chicago's pick in Round 7 in 2009.
The Buccaneers swung the four above trades without touching any of their picks in the first five rounds in either the 2008 or 2009 drafts. That doesn't mean the selections they traded are inconsequential; sixth and seventh-round picks are treated very seriously on draft weekend and sometimes net players who can make an impact (recent examples: Torrie Cox, Mark Jones, Paris Warren). However, the Bucs believe they have spent those picks well.
"We see value in every pick," said Buccaneers General Manager Bruce Allen. "But if you asked me going into the draft today, do I feel good having Michael Bennett or a sixth? Well, you can't get a talent as good as Michael Bennett in the sixth round. And there's clearly not a talent as good as Jake Plummer in the seventh round. To have the value of Brian Griese, for this season and next season, for what we traded, we felt it was appropriate."
In a way, the Buccaneers got extra value out of their sixth-rounder this year, as they essentially used it to get both Bennett and Sims. That was the net of their two trades with the Chiefs, considering that their original seventh in 2009 came back on the second trade. All of these trades undoubtedly made sense for the other teams involved, too, but the Buccaneers have to be pleased with their side of the deals.
The trade option, in fact, has treated the Buccaneers well over the last half-decade, so perhaps its no surprise that they have made use of it much more frequently than most teams in the NFL. In addition to the trades outlined above, the Bucs have also acquired such valuable performers as wide receiver Joey Galloway, running back Thomas Jones and quarterback Luke McCown via trade.
"We will continue to use that option," said Allen. "Once you get the cap where we have it, you have the flexibility to acquire players in trade, at any time of the year. We're in discussions with teams right now on various trades. I don't know if they'll come to fruition, but we're having discussions."
Barring any subsequent deals, however, the Bucs are set for next month's draft. In case the above explanation failed to erase all your confusion, however, here is one last chart displaying the team's round-by-round picks*:
|4||**Buccaneers**||* See below|
|5||**Buccaneers**||* See below|
|6||- traded -||To Kansas City for RB Michael Bennett|
|7||- traded -||To Denver for QB Jake Plummer|
* The NFL will announce compensatory picks within the next two weeks. Compensatory picks can begin as early as the end of the third round, and thus affect the overall position of all subsequent picks. The Buccaneers do not yet know if they will receive any compensatory picks.