The Bucs & Malcolm Butler

October 24th, 2017

Bucs GM Jason Licht

For those not paying attention, your Buccaneers are in the midst of a crisis at cornerback, one that has long-lasting and deep-reaching ramifications. 

Brent Grimes is 34 years old. He’s a helluva player who has made a helluva lot of money, but he’s already has talked about possible retirement. Oh, and he has no contract for next season and has yet to say publicly that he wants one.

Then there’s 2016 first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves the No. 11 overall pick in the draft. The 22-year-old has been demoted from his September role as future lockdown, playmaking outside cornerback to nickel corner — a part-timer in a position for which he might not be suited. It’s a stunning fall from grace in a league that has a ton of patience for struggling first-round picks.

In Hargreaves’ place on the outside, for now, is Robert McClain, who defines the term “journeyman.” He’s been called off his couch multiple times in his career. He’s a solid but short and not-too-quick cornerback at 29 years old.

Josh Robinson? The special teams ace/cornerback was kept on the bench last year and couldn’t beat out ousted Alterraun Verner for playing time. Verner is now a backup in Miami.

Ryan Smith? The second-year man was touted as the backup outside cornerback all offseason. After a rough training camp and preseason, and a shaky debut in place of Grimes in the regular season in Minnesota (after the Bucs mis-evaluated him as a safety last year), the Bucs now rate McClain ahead of Smith.

Yes, the Bucs are in a pickle at the position.

No, fans aren’t pining for the days when Leonard Johnson, LeQuan Lewis, E.J. Biggers and Danny Gorrer manned cornerback for the Bucs. But things are very shaky at best.

And that brings Joe to next Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline. The mighty Belicheats of New England haven’t quashed any chatter that they’re interested in trading stud cornerback Malcolm Butler. Undrafted in 2014, Butler will be an unrestricted free agent headed for a fat pay day this offseason. Today, Belicheat told Boston radio he’s always eager to deal, and history bears that out when compared to other general managers around the NFL.

Joe thinks Butler should intrigue the Buccaneers.

Why would Belicheat trade Butler? Because that’s the kind of deal he makes. Belicheat doesn’t like to pay market-value, long-term contracts to free agents — because he doesn’t have to.

If Butler comes to Tampa, then he’s a massive upgrade to McClain immediately and, if Grimes retires after the season, then maybe Butler could be signed to replace him. The Bucs would have a leg up on other teams if Butler is a fit and he likes it here.

How much could Butler really command in a trade? It can’t be that much, and Belicheat always seems to find an unappreciated member of the Bucs roster he can turn into a significant contributor: Aqib Talib, Tim Wright, LeGarrette Blount, Jonathan Casillas & more.

64 Responses to “The Bucs & Malcolm Butler”

  1. AlteredEgo Says:

    pickle indeed…I’m OK with trading a player/players….no draft picks

  2. InJameisWeTrust Says:

    Do it. This defense is FAR away. I guarantee you all that griens is done after this year. This secondary needs massive help, and this is the kind of deal that needs to be made.

  3. vince picolo Says:

    He can’t get on the field in NE, so we want to give him a big deal? No way.

    Get pash rush and corner help next year, obviously. Don’t panic doing it.

  4. Dell Says:

    No season is over!!!

  5. Destinjohnny Says:

    This is a great article.
    We don’t have the personal to compete.
    U can whinge about the coach all day.
    It takes Talent talent talent to win. We don’t have it on the line or in the secondary.

  6. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Horrible move because belichek is going to school jason gump, belichek doesnt draft kickers in the 2nd round he builds dynastys, he will get more than is needed out of gump, should trade mccoy to new england and see if they can get butler and one of their edge rushers

  7. Not there yet Says:

    Stop with the nonsense, what deal would licht make when everyone knows he’s desperate? We watched deals being made all off-season he’s never doing anything at the trade deadline and seems content to go down with the ship. Even if he did do the deal couldn’t he bolt if he doesn’t like it here…… Who is going to want to come here and split time with never has beens

  8. Q Says:

    Until this team makes the playoffs…only players that will come here are the ones only there to get the money..anthony Collins michael Johnson type players

  9. Joeypoppems Says:

    If Butler was a target of theirs I would hope they just pay him in the offseason rather than trade what would be draft picks. Remember, they wanted a 1st round pick for him from the Saints this past offseason.

    Personally, I just have a feeling it wont work out well. Butler will probably be on the long list of players who were good in NE and then dont live up to that once they leave.

  10. I-4 Bucs Says:

    Has anyone discussed the perfect over the top deep throw to DJax? Nice touch throw completed but called back on a holding penalty. One of the first times i have seen Jameis complete that throw.

  11. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Byron Maxwell just released by the Fins

  12. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    AlteredEgo Says:
    October 24th, 2017 at 1:51 pm
    pickle indeed…

    DILLY DILLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😝 😝 😝

  13. Lamarcus Says:

    Pats ain’t scared and don’t care of about stars. 5 sbs. Gmc should be traded

  14. Phil Says:

    The problem is it’s not just a crisis at cornerback. It’s a crisis at defensive line, safety, offensive line & running back.

  15. briandorry55 Says:

    2nd round pick and I’m in.

    Let them hang on to they’re overrated overpaid Gilmore.

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    “Yes, the Bucs are in a pickle at the position”

    But – but – Joe wrote multiple times just a couple of months ago about how CB was one of the Bucs greatest positions of depth…

  17. Kobe Faker Says:

    “just wait until jon gruden takes over”

    kobe faker


    jason licht


    lovie smith

  18. Joe Says:

    But – but – Joe wrote multiple times just a couple of months ago about how CB was one of the Bucs greatest positions of depth…

    Sure did from what Joe saw daily with his own eyes in the month-long training camp practices (watching roughly 23 total practices). Hell, even Vernon Hargreaves was able to hang with DeSean Jackson. Corners were making plays right and left.

    What happened since? No clue.

  19. DallasBuc Says:

    Wait a minute. I am certain that the most expert of plugged in fans not named Joe told us with the utmost confidence that we are very deep at corner. Frankly I don’t believe we have any cornerback problems because I trust those that know. Need I remind you that they correctly informed us that Doug Martin is not a good football player, Donovan Smith is a good left tackle and Jason Licht is a GM worthy of a fat new contract.

  20. doctor_berto Says:

    Corners aren’t going to do s*** until we can get some pressure on the quarterback.

  21. Pistol Pete Says:

    Get DE’s that collapse the pocket and I swear our DB’s are adequate.
    Adding another CB to the mix with ZERO pass rush changes nothing.

  22. Pickgrin Says:

    Just ribbin you a bit Joe because I disagreed then and its obvious now why.

    Hell I thought we were at least OK with our outside starters and thought “depth” was the problem at CB. Turns out (so far) that we only have 1 legit NFL starting CB on the roster. A good one – but he’s (NFL standards) old and won’t be around much longer.

    “What happened since? No clue.”

    What happened since is that Hargreaves is underperforming like a mofo…

    I sure didn’t see that coming either. Still believe VH3 can turn things around and get back on the right track towards being a serviceable NFL CB. But as of 6 games into the regular season, Vernon’s head is waaay messed up – (and despite his contention) he is NOT playing with any confidence whatsoever.

  23. DB55 Says:

    Don’t we already have an UDFA on the roster who has played well? His name is Elliott and I can’t personally remember the last time he got burnt but then again I’m getting old.

    Don’t trade with NE it’s a losers bet.

  24. mike malarkey Says:

    and he will come here and suddenly make no impact like the other FA’s we have chased. ahem REVIS… and even he made little impact when he was here, no fault of his

  25. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Still not sold that Hargreaves has fallen from Grace….He’s very young and still raw. How many corners flash, let alone start in their first two seasons?? I think the media sometimes makes too much out of things.

  26. gambelero Says:

    Belicheat wants Humphrey, bad, but he won’t come out with it directly. He’ll ask for something we won’t give up, like a 2018 third, then he’ll settle for a 2019 fourth and Adam who’ll no doubt go on to be a future Hall of Famer based primarily on his five years with Brady.

  27. LakeLand Says:

    Malcolm Butler will be a UFA after the season. Why would he sign a long term deal with the YUCS, after spending his entire career with one of the most successful teams in NFL history? The YUCS stinks so bad that Ex-Patriot walked away from $6,700,000 to get away from the stench.

  28. Broy34 Says:

    Hargreaves made the biggest change he needed to make. Am I the only one that sees it? I wanted him benched more than ANYONE. Buuuuut…..he pressed his man and did not give up a pass. Period. Corner isn’t the issue right now it’s dline and safety

  29. usf commutter Says:

    joe has been smoking out of the stick carrier bong! bad teams trade value not other way around! grimes should a player that should bring back a nice return for a rental!

  30. LakeLand Says:

    Ex-Patriot Logan Mankins retired instead of playing another season with the YUCS.

  31. Kgh4life Says:

    It would be great to have Butler, but at what price? In my opinion the Bucs should only give up a 4th. Too many holes on this team to give up premium draft picks.

  32. Skoorb43 Says:


  33. Mikadeemas Says:

    We need to stockpile some draft picks a la Belacheat. With our LB depth, trade LVD and also GMC IF we can get high picks. Then quit trading picks to move up. New blood on the cheap and rid of two big cap hits. Then spend on quality Defensive free agents. And draft RB, Dline and Oline. Oh and DB and safety. Damn!! Sadly we probably already traded some of next year’s pick away. Double Damon!! GO BUCS!

  34. Mikadeemas Says:

    ’bout such of this phone deciding what I’m trying to say! Double DAMN!! And now triple damn.

  35. wewantgruden Says:

    Butler is not the answer. Gruden is…GM and Head Coach. Bring it JG, I know you are waiting for this moment.

  36. Mikadeemas Says:

    #%@&*!! About SICK.

  37. TheDailyAutopsy Says:

    Not enough time to list the players they gave up on or traded who went on to play very well on another team

  38. George Says:

    wewantgruden Says:
    Butler is not the answer. Gruden is…GM and Head Coach. Bring it JG, I know you are waiting for this moment.

    Gruden is no GM. He won a Super Bowl with the players he inherited, and then the team went backwards when he brought “his players” in.

  39. bucs_365 Says:

    wewantgruden Says:
    October 24th, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Butler is not the answer. Gruden is…GM and Head Coach. Bring it JG, I know you are waiting for this moment.

    Gruden with a handpicked GM (Bruce Allen) destroyed the Bucs roster. What foeking planet are you from? I could understand Gruden as a coach with a strong GM. I haven’t thrown in the towel on Licht/Koetter. It’s not time to be calling for regime change yet.

  40. Joe Says:

    Gruden is no GM. He won a Super Bowl with the players he inherited

    Sigh. Do we have to go back to the blackboard to correct this wive’s tale? Again?

    Players on the 2002 Super Bowl team that Chucky did not “inherit.”

    Keenan McCardell.
    Joe Jurevicius.
    Michael Pittman.
    Ken Dilger.
    Rickey Dudley.
    Roman Oben.
    Kerry Jenkins.
    Greg Spires.

    That’s seven offensive players and one defensive player who played critical roles for the Bucs that season and were not on the 2001 Bucs roster. Over half the offensive starting roster was new for the Bucs in 2002.

  41. westernbuc Says:

    Say we sign him. It would probably take him a month to master the playbook, by that time the Bucs might be playing for a top ten draft pick, after we’ve given the Pats some loot for Butler, we’re down picks for a player that probably won’t make an immediate difference.

    Say Butler signs with us long term, for the money he thinks he’s earned. How do we pay Mike Evans, Kwon Alexander, Jameis Winston, Ali Marpet, Cameron Brate?

    I’m sick of paying corners past their prime. Grimes has obviously regressed, Revis cost us a 1st for a year long rental, and Verner was supposed to be the budget friendly version of that, and we know how that went.

    Build through the draft. As questionable as some of Licht’s decisions have been, Id rather let him keep picks and cultivate gems than open a checkbook and get hosed by the Patriots

  42. DB55 Says:

    I like joes idea of bringing in a consultant and Gruden would be ideal.

  43. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    October 24th, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Horrible move because belichek is going to school jason gump, belichek doesnt draft kickers in the 2nd round he builds dynastys, he will get more than is needed out of gump, should trade mccoy to new england and see if they can get butler and one of their edge rushers


  44. GhostofSchiano Says:

    NOT laughing at you big DUST, laughing with you. Belicheck has most likely created a shopping list with our roster in front of him and thinking to himself just how much does he take from Licht without getting licht fired.

  45. Nick2 Says:

    Leonard Johnson played for the Bills and recovered the strip sack fumble. We might be better off with Leonard Johnson right now. Just sayin……

  46. Kord Says:

    If I hear we signed Byron Maxwell I am going to vomit

  47. Nick2 Says:

    By the way Joe I like the way your thinking on Butler. Lets hope Jason Licht is thinking the same thing. Surely he has the inside track on any other team with his Patriots connection. Pull the trigger Jason we need to right this ship now!!!!!!

  48. Nick2 Says:

    Regardless of Mccoys lack of splash plays during crunch time when Leroy Selmon used to wreak havoc, McCoy isnt going anywhere. I say lets send swaggy P Baker on over there so he can be happier. We can make TJ Ward happy at safety but Baker hasnt done alot for our pass rush unless I have missed something.

  49. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Joe….with you on the trade for Butler not so much on the Chucky Players.

    How many of those guys were all stars…how many future HOFers did Chucky inherit.

    But back to Butler….I do not wish to give up draft picks for a potential player for 10 games! However if the Bucs really believed in him and could trade and SIGN him that’s different.

    Otherwise a guy can dream can’t he…how about Swaggy and Ward for Butler.
    Yeah I know Belicheat would never go for that deal…but again a guy can dream.

  50. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Oh…let’s sign Butler for 5th round pick, get a CB in free agency, AND draft one round three. Gee, we get a DE in 1st round, 5th overall. Yes, 5th overall.

  51. LakeLand Says:

    We gave the Patriots a 4th round pick and Timmy Wright for Logan Mankins. Bill Belichick drafted DE Trey Flowers with that pick. We know how that turned out.

  52. dirkdiggler Says:

    get a pass rush and watch VHIII play well again.

  53. FireJasonLicht Says:

    Byron Maxwell is trash

  54. 813bucboi Says:

    Pass!!…give me DE all day!!…they make every CB look good!!!…GO BUCS!!!

  55. Kobe Faker Says:

    this season is over

    im sure glazers have a freeze on licht making any move

    we will see how the season plays out. kobe has us at 6 and 10

    licht evaluated end of season

    december 18 halftime should be interesting

    “this is my house”


  56. Doctor Stroud Says:

    No thanks! If the Bucs had a winning record and were one or two players away from a playoff run, that would be fine. However, we don’t need another free agent from a northern team looking for a… #PaidFloridaVacation

  57. NFLNut Says:


    I’m a Malcolm Butler fan and would love to see the Bucs sign him in the offseason … BUT … if we can get him right now, that’s even better as we can see what he’s really made of before handing him a big contract.

    I wonder if the Pats would take TJ Ward and a 5th rounder? I’d do that deal in a heartbeat.


  58. NFLNut Says:


    People saying this season is over … are idiotic.

    We still have home games against the Lions and Jets and easily winnable road games against the Rodgers-less Packers and Dolphins. If we win those games, we’re 6-4 with all 6 division games to play …

    People don’t realize how important simply looking at schedules can be … imagine if our first six games had been against the Giants, Bears, Jets, Lions, Dolphins and Rodgers-less Pack and we were sitting at 6-0 … we wouldn’t necessarily be any better than we are at 2-4; we simply would have played weaker competition.

    For example, I said right after the Titans got obliterated by the Texans that the Titans would still easily finish with a better record than the Texans and I’d bet $$$$ on that, as barring serious injuries, the Titans schedule going forward is so much easier than the Texans’ schedule.


  59. BigHogHaynes Says:

    What you guys are not seeing (take off your rose colored Smitty Shades) is that we got veterans on this team that are beginning to see that this Multi Morphing Scheme is not working, I think Smitty has a Bromance with C Conte and that just ain’t cutting it! I’m still taking a knee! Another loss and it will be better luck next year and no I do not advocate bringing in a new coaching staff…. Not yet anyways!!

  60. Dylan Krempel Says:

    I mentioned this awhile ago on your forums. It is indeed a good idea but the price is the elephant in the room. Frankly idk how much longer Jason is gonna be around, so I don’t think he would get support from the higher ups at this point if he were to try to overpay(stupid). It just honestly sucks he didn’t just move up for Jalen Ramsey. Jameis said he would take a pay cut to play with him again. I think at this point if the bucs lose a couple more games it’s wiser to move up for Derwin James and keep the draft pick, and sign butler this offseason. The Buccaneers need another “alpha” on defense. Kwon and lavonte are the only alpha dogs we got. gerald is the best 3 technique in the NFL but he just doesn’t have that fire like Jalen and Derwin will bring. These are two once in a generation type players hope we can not mess up twice. Falcons did it for Julio…. let’s go whoever our new GM will be!

  61. Chyno Says:

    If we do make a trade for a corner, IF we do, I would say we target someone a little cheaper, and will provide us with SOME decent cover skills. Butler will probably demand the most return of any corner possibly traded this season, and to be honest we can’t afford to give away an early draft pick. We’re still lacking in a lot of areas and we need to build the team up in the draft. Even if we do give up whatever for Butler i really don’t think he’ll stay, and idk if I want to pay him top dollar in the offseason. He’s a good corner but is he top dollar money? I wouldn’t say so.

    Cheaper alternatives that I like in a trade would probably from DRC from NYG or maybe even Davis from Indy. Other than that maybe we should just ride this season out with the corners we have, because it’s not just the secondary that’s been having problems. We can’t generate a pass rush to save our lives. Pass rush and secondary coverage go hand in hand everyone knows that. U can’t get to the QB then your back end will have to cover for too long, and someone will always get open.

  62. Bucs Fan #7423 Says:

    DO NOT TRADE DRAFT PICKS FOR A CORNER! Since we only run cover 4 every play: All we need is a couple of corner backs that can do what Richard Sherman does, which is basically be tall and swat down passes.

  63. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I realize its Joe’s job to bring our attention to this type of scenario…

    …but I can’t get behind this one.

  64. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I am against giving up anything more than a 7th rounder in any trade, except for during the actual draft.