TAMPA — It may come as a bit of a surprise to some that it took this long for the latest trade rumor involving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to start circulating.
It was, after all, a week ago that none other than Bucs coach Lovie Smith laid the foundation for it.
In response to a question about the possibility of the Bucs trading down in the draft, Smith suggested the possibility of trading up.
And that is what the latest rumor, first circulated by ProFootballTalk, is suggesting the Bucs are trying to do.
Now, keep in mind that PFT did not cite any sources in its report. It simply said the “chatter in league circles’’ suggests the Bucs are looking to make a move up from No. 7 overall to No. 2.
And while PFT initially suggested that a move up might be designed to get into position to draft Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, it later reported the move was actually designed to get Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
At the same time PFT was reporting that Cleveland at No. 4 and Oakland at No. 5 were no longer interested in drafting Manziel with their respective first-round picks, which seems like critical information.
If the Bucs are actually looking to move up to No. 2 to get Manziel, aren’t they doing so because they fear that another team, such as Cleveland or Oakland, will get him first?
Those are the two teams that have most often been linked to Manziel. And while it’s possible St. Louis at No. 2, Jacksonville at No. 3 or Atlanta at No. 6 are interested in Manziel, none of those teams have been strongly linked to him.
So if all the rumors are true, then the player the Bucs are targeting may in fact be Watkins, because other reports coming from the rumor mill suggest Manziel will be there for the Bucs at No. 7.
All of this, of course, is based on the premise the Bucs are actually trying to trade up, which tends to be a bit pricey. Such moves usually require a team to swap its first-round picks and throw in another early-round selection.
The Bucs could certainly do that. They have one pick each in the second and third rounds, but with no pick in the fourth they still look more like a candidate to trade down rather than up.