Trading Russell Gage

February 21st, 2023

Russell Gage.

Joe is not big on trading talented young players like receiver Russell Gage, but the Bucs may be facing a unique opportunity.

It’s a very weak free agent receivers class this season.

Here are some of the bigger names:

JuJu Smith-Schuster
DJ Chark
Allen Lazard
Jarvis Landry
Julio Jones
Nelson Agholor
Darius Slayton
Mack Hollins
Marvin Jones Jr.
A.J. Green
Sterling Shepard
Jakobi Meyers
Mecole Hardman
Parris Campbell

Joe suspects NFL general managers as a whole aren’t doing cartwheels over that bunch, and the prospect of overpaying to get one of those guys won’t excite anyone.

Enter Gage, who turned 27 a few weeks ago. The Bucs have him under contract for two more seasons at $10 million per year. How much do the Bucs need Gage if Todd Bowles wants a run-first offense and the Bucs add a versatile tight end in the draft to complement Mike Evans and Chris Godwin?

Yes, Joe realizes the financial accounting of trading gauge won’t give the Bucs much salary cap relief, but could he fetch a mid-third-round pick in this receiver market? Joe thinks it’s possible.

Gage caught 51 balls and 5 touchdowns last season and a career high 73 percent of the balls thrown his way. He literally was hurt all season but managed to miss only four games. As down seasons go, that’s pretty darn good.

Joe wonders how much the Gage acquisition was fueled by Tom Brady’s hunger sign him. Brady, if you haven’t heard, is retired.

If the Bucs roll with a young quarterback this season, Gage would seem like an unaffordable luxury.

59 Responses to “Trading Russell Gage”

  1. SKBucsFan Says:

    Trade him if possible. We need draft picks more than an average receiver earning $10 million

  2. Andrew Fish Says:

    trade him. wont save much this year but he will be off the books for next year when we will still need to create space. especially to sign wirfs and winfield.

  3. BucsFanSince1996 Says:

    Before Gage was injured last season the Buc’s defenders couldn’t cover him when in training camp.

    Yes, we have Godwin and Evans, but if one of them gets injured we’d have just one good receiver, which is not enough.

    If I was GM I would want a 2nd round draft pick to trade him.

  4. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Third Rounder, yes. Sixth Rounder (if that’s all the Bucs could get), no.

  5. HC Grover Says:

    Get picks for Gage, Evans, and Godwin.

  6. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    AJ Green retired.

  7. BucU Says:

    He’s one reason why the offense was garbage last season.

  8. Jack Clark Says:

    They start selling brown paper bags for Bucs fans to wear over our faces yet?

    RIP no risk it no biscuit

  9. Pryda … sec147 Says:

    I think it’s unlikely that we trade him no partner to dance with

  10. BucsfanFred Says:

    Take the third rounder.

  11. LOL Says:

    Trade Gage for a 3rd or 4th. Keep Evans a Buc for life & keep Godwin at least 1 more season

  12. Dooley Says:

    Honestly, we can trade out of the 19th overall spot and package it with one of our four day 3 picks to get back into the 3rd/4th round w/o losing a player. I like Gages’ potential, but I don’t think his 2022 tape was enough that teams would want to come and poach him off of our roster. I could be remembering incorrectly, but we’re still waiting to see what comp picks will be granted for losing Whitehead & Howard? Could’ve sworn we were looking at an additional 5th & 7th round pick which would give us 6 day 3 picks, which could help Licht move around the board outside of the first round.

  13. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Licht needs to make some bold moves to facilitate the next iteration of this team.
    Don’t be scared Jason……. rip the Band-Aid off!

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    So, has anyone else picked up on this…..After disparaging Gage all year….Joe now finds that he is a great prospect for someone else. Describing his season as “pretty darn good”……
    I don’t think we could get a 3rd round pick for him but I wouldn’t be opposed to a trade.
    What a misrepresentation!!! Joe wrote here that Gage’s season was “pretty darn good” for an injured player on a bad offense. There’s a qualifier there. Of course Gage’s performance was underwhelming for what he’s being paid. Second, Joe did not disparage Gage all season. Third, there are mixed reviews for Gage at world headquarters. –Joe

  15. robert Says:

    trade him AND ME….all they need is wr who can catch screens behind the LOS anyway.

  16. Joe Swanson Says:

    With his age and career stats you be lucky to get a 5th rounder. But you need cap space. If they roll with Trask, Tyler Johnson and Trask seem to be on the same page in preseason. But I know Bowles don’t care for him.

  17. HC Grover Says:

    Jack Clark, Fans used to make their own head bags. We got them at the grocery store. It was an art form. We put them on when the game became hopeless. The Unknown Buc Fans.

  18. Bucanero Says:

    yeah ok but not thrilled about it

  19. Bucsfanman Says:

    Gage’s effect last season was…(crickets!)…un-inspiring to say the least!!! Even when healthy!

    If, and I mean IF, a team were willing to part with a 3rd or 4th rounder I think we should seriously consider it.

  20. Joe Swanson Says:

    So much for Tyler Johnson he signed with the Raiders last week.

  21. Gofortheface30 Says:

    3rd rounder? Uh…ya idk about all that. Lots and lots and lots of good to great young receivers at the college ranks nowadays. Russell gage isn’t exactly a sexy talent, at 28 with an overhead of 10 mil a yr. If I’m another team, my question is: WHY. Even Mike Evans wouldn’t fetch a first rounder at this point

  22. Brandon Says:

    Gage isn’t worth the contract that he was signed to. That will make it difficult to trade him.

  23. SB~LV Says:

    Trade anyone that returns acceptable return

  24. Kidfloflo Says:

    Gage is better than a 4th round unknown, when healthy to start next season he is a great addition, and did his best while hurt this year

  25. WillieG Says:

    Gage had 51 receptions? Geez, it seemed more like 15. Did you write that correctly?

  26. DBS Says:

    Careful what you hope for with this get rid of everyone. Others may look good in college but does not mean they will turn out good here. JTS, Hall and Mr. trip over his own feet and head for the sidelines. Remember him. How did he work out?

  27. Kgh4life Says:

    Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, however, they can’t stay healthy. The Bucs could take a chance on either one at the right price.

  28. Jack Clark Says:

    HC Grover Says:
    February 21st, 2023 at 11:13 am
    Jack Clark, Fans used to make their own head bags. We got them at the grocery store. It was an art form. We put them on when the game became hopeless. The Unknown Buc Fans.


  29. Stormy Says:

    Anyone who wants to completely gut the roster needs their head examined. Trade Gage, Evans and Godwin for a bag of magic beans (aka draft picks) is stupid. Some of you overvalue those picks way too much. Godwin and Evans are proven commodities as well as leaders (an invaluable intangible), while draft picks bust at a pretty good rate, especially the later round picks they’d get for these guys. No one is giving up 1sts for any of them – the Rams are the only organization stupid enough to do it and they’re out of picks.

    The team has a solid nucleus of players that now know what it takes to win. You cannot destroy that.

  30. gofortheface30 Says:

    I really do not give a gawd dam DBS. Operating with emotional PTSD of previous drafts as if the bucs are cursed is the exact WRONG way to operate. I dont believe in superstition. I believe in taking emotion about of business and building a foundation that will promote sustained success. Poor draft picks in the past? Well boo hoo, then we need to scout and draft better that is all there is to it. The bucs need to be younger, faster, tougher. RELEVANCY – year over year, is far better than one superbowl every 15 years. The bucs growing their brand and becoming a true household name across the US comes with year over year competitiveness and respectability. The bigger picture of the Tom Brady impact was SUPPOSED to be about creating a culture that can be felt for years to come

  31. View from 132 Says:

    Trade Evans. Let Gage and Godwin and a rookie play together a few years together. 13 has been great but his value is at max and he’s getting up there.

  32. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Bucs don’t need 7 receivers anymore with their change in offensive philosophy. That means keep Gage as a strong 3rd WR and draft a TE (preferably Tucker Kraft) in the 3rd round after going OL/DL in the first two rounds.

  33. gofortheface30 Says:

    Oh ok stormy – let me ask you a question guy: what did that “solid nucleus of players do last yr?” Besides make you want to blow your own brains out? You act like this is still 2019/2020 when it isnt. We are not near as talented as you desperately want to believe. We have 2 building blocks, 2 all pro level talents to build around and are untradeable and thats Antoine Winfield and Tristan Wirfs. The team can otherwise use a massive facelift, especially on the Defensive Line and Edge. Add in the fact that Lavonte aint getting younger and Devin White aint worth anything near 20 million per year that he will surely command. No true franchise running back, and this little issue of no true franchise quarterback.It is time to reimagine this team as constructed and start building this thing inside/out.

  34. Rod Munch Says:

    If you could somehow get a 3rd, sure, but you need three NFL WRs, and any idiots saying to cut or get rid of Gage for nothing, well, they’re very stupid.

  35. Marine Buc Says:

    I would just keep Gage for at least one more season. He had a nasty hammy injury that really hampered his production and he still had a decent season.

    I could see him being traded but I don’t think it will be worth it to trade him for only a 3rd or 4th round pick.

    Plus – we would only save a few million off the cap. Their is more value to just keep him for one more season.

  36. Alanbucsfan Says:

    So the Bucs let Whitehead go to the Jets so they could sign Gage for one mediocre season and then trade him- if that happens, JL needs a drink.

  37. Jeff Says:

    Maybe worth a case of Big Storm Brewery brand Beer?

  38. fosterbuc Says:

    Why do we care if someone is a buc for life?

    You can’t make business decisions like that.

    DO what is best for our TEAM not any one person

  39. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Trade him for literally anything

  40. Letsbucinggo Says:

    We are going have to trade or release 2 or 3 players minimum because if we don’t and keep pushing money down the road next year we will be worse in cap space than we are now. Just remember next year White and Winfield are free agents thats 35 mil just with those giys salaries and you can only tag one.

  41. Daniel Z Says:

    Gage played hurt for a good chunk of last year bc of the other injuries in the WR room – he would have probably taken time off early in the season to rehab if we weren’t struggling to field WRs. I think he deserves another chance because you aren’t going to be able to replace him with a 3rd-round (or higher) selection, and that’s all you’d get based on his tape from last year.

  42. Redeemer Says:

    Tell truth, I’d much rather have Jacoby Myers at 8-10 million, than Gage.

  43. Snook Says:

    Gage will be needed with all of the hamstring injuries we have at WR every single season.

  44. captivajim Says:

    when Evans is traded at his own request ; they’ll need Gage

  45. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Deven Thompkins has way more upside than Gage.

  46. Pewter Power Says:

    Oh 100% I’d be kicking the tires on Marvin Jones Jr.

  47. unbelievable Says:

    Trading him barely helps with the cap situation. So unless you find a GM that’s dumb enough to give up a 3rd round pick or better, it’s simply not worth it.

    Unless your goal is to create as much dead cap hit as possible.

  48. firethecannons Says:

    Definitely trade this guy way way too much time being injury prone, so many other options in the draft in later rounds–we need the draft pick if we can get a 5th rounder–take it–being realistic here. Trade him along with scotty miller and get what can be gotten.

  49. fosterbuc Says:

    We’d carry $60 MILLION in cap hit for 3 WRs

    And no QB

    I am not sure that is a good allocation of resources.

  50. AlwaysBucs Says:

    Being $50 million over the cap and paying 3 WR’s $50 million is just an awful GM move by Licht. Roster has a lot of over paid guys not earning their checks

  51. fosterbuc Says:

    The 3 WRs cap hit is $60 mill

  52. ScottyMack Says:

    A lot of you people are nuts. Gage, when not injured, was clearly one of the best receivers on the team – as good or better than Evans, for sure. His $10 million salary is an absolute bargain and anyone who thinks they could get anywhere close to his talent for a third round draft pick is delusional. You do nothing to solve the salary cap by dumping him. Besides, Bowles will use that 3rd round pick for another defensive player anyway.

  53. ScottyMack Says:

    gofortheface30 – Perhaps the mpst words I have ever seen that say absolutely nothing!

  54. Usfbuc Says:

    Per OTC trading Gage pre-June 1st frees up 7.8M in cap space which for the Bucs and our salary cap situation isn’t nothing. Trading Godwin only frees up a little bit more and trading Evans does nothing for us (unless the teams can agree to shift the cap hit, idk).

    Looking at WR salaries the Bucs are spending more than everyone else at the WR position. We spend 64M compared to the Chiefs who spend 18M just as additional food for thought.

  55. Usfbuc Says:

    Man looking at the spend per position the Bucs really have a problem. We are 1st in spending at WR, 5th on the Oline, 7th at QB, and 9th at RB. To get so little production when spending so much is terrible. Hopefully the new OC can get more production than what we have been getting.

  56. Defense Rules Says:

    Too many Bucs ‘fans’ (cough cough) are bailing on 2023 much too early. The offense isn’t in as bad shape as many seem to think, and the offensive coaching staff SHOULD be an improvement over last year. The defense needs a ton of work, but even if they ‘go young’ (via the draft) we’ve got some pretty good defensive coaches to train up some of these youngsters.

    Much too early to prognosticate what the future holds in terms of W-L record for this year, but I’m encouraged by some of these early actions. I expect that over the next 2-3 weeks we’ll be seeing a lot of moves to free up salary CAP space so that we can at least be a small time player in free agency. Personally expecting that we’ll re-sign a number of our own FAs but at team-friendly prices. Should be interesting.

  57. Stormy Says:

    The only thing that made me want to ‘shoot myself’ was the inept playcalling on offense and the gutless hyper conservative approach that Todd Bowles seems to can’t get past. One out of the two may have been solved.

    These players didn’t suddenly forget how to play.

    Dumping your entire starting WR group for magic beans is dumb as hell. Are there a few pieces you could move (white, d.smith?) yes. Wholesale blowing up the roster will just start a new ‘lost decade’.

  58. Beatle Says:

    If he appears to be healthy,keep him.If not, get what you can for him.

  59. ScottyMack Says:

    Usfbuc – “Per OTC trading Gage pre-June 1st frees up 7.8M in cap space”

    Per Spotrac, Gage is set to make $12,166,666 this season with a dead cap hit of $9,333,334 meaning that if we cut or traded him, the Bucs would only gain about $2.8 million which doesn’t even cover the dead cap money on Julio Jones’ contract. You’re not going to get anything close to the caliber of Gage for $2.8 million.