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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Todd Bowles: Bucs Are "Listeners" at Trade Deadline

Bucs Head Coach Todd Bowles says the Bucs aren't looking to buy or sell as the NFL's trade deadline on Tuesday approaches, but they will listen in case the right fit is there


The NFL's trade deadline for the 2023 season is at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday. With 12 teams sporting a record of either .500 or within a game of it, and with some potential contenders dealing with significant injuries, there is plenty of uncertainty as to who will be buyers and who will be sellers. There's been one major trade already, with the New York Giants, losers of four of their last five, sending star defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the Seattle Seahawks.

That deal made it pretty clear which direction those two teams were headed. But what of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are one of those 12 teams in the muddled middle? On one hand, the Buccaneers are only a half-game out of first place in the NFC South and they already have a win against New Orleans, one of the two teams tied for first at 4-4. On the other hand, the Buccaneers have lost three of their last four games and haven't necessarily established much of an identity yet on either offense or defense.

So, are the Bucs buyers or sellers? Head Coach Todd Bowles threaded that needle perfectly on Monday.

"I think we're listeners," said Bowles. "It's got to fit us, and it's got to come that way. We're not looking to buy or sell, but we're looking to listen. If anything comes about, we'll take a look at it."

Bowles' comment about needing a "fit" may suggest that any listening that occurs is about acquiring a player, though that's certainly just one interpretation. It would certainly be understandable if the Buccaneers chose to add rather than subtract – there's no obvious front-runner in the South and Tampa Bay is the two-time division champion. The Bucs brought in Baker Mayfield to compete with the unproven Kyle Trask for their post-Tom Brady quarterback gig, where they could have simply handed the job to the former second-round pick and seen what happens.

And the Buccaneers have had no reason to regret handing the offensive keys to Mayfield, who started off very strong in the team's 3-1 beginning to the season and still sports a 10-4 touchdown-interception ratio. It's true that Tampa Bay's offense has struggled to put up points during its three-game losing streak, scoring a total of three touchdowns in that span, but the Bucs think they can get things back on track with Mayfield at the helm.

"Baker is doing fine," said Bowles. "It's an offense as a total. Obviously, he gets all the credit when we win and he gets most of the blame when we lose. Baker is doing fine. He's captaining the ship very well. He had no turnovers last game. We've just got to get in sync there."

Bowles said he spent some of the Bucs' long weekend after their Thursday night game in Buffalo watching other NFL games. Perhaps some other player out there caught his eye. Time will tell, with the NFL's trade deadline drawing near. There's a very good chance the Bucs won't get involved in any deals…but they are willing to listen.

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