Yardbarker Horiz

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trade Analysis: Gaines Adams to Chicago

Why would a winless team trade away a former first round draft pick starting at Defensive End?  Is an unknown draft pick really that valuable?  Is it worth leaving a hole in the starting lineup for the rest of the season?

It would only be a smart move if there was a capable replacement already on the roster.  In this case the replacement would be Stylez White.  Good move.  However, what made this A Great Move was a free agent picked up during the first week of the 2009 season.

Tim Crowder was signed by the Buccaneers on Sept 14th, 2009, the opening weekend of the 2009 NFL Season.  He had been released less than two weeks earlier by the Denver Broncos.  The week after his signing, Crowder hit the playing field against the Buffalo Bills.  And that was just the start of the impact Crowder would make on the 2009 Buccaneers.

When Gaines Adams was released after five games in 2009 he had season totals of 8 tackles, 2 assists, and no sacks.  Crowder played in his fifth game of 2009 in Week 6.  By then, Crowder had amassed 15 tackles, 2 assists, and no sacks.  This production obviously was noted by GM Mark Dominik.  Dominik must have believed White and Crowder could support the Right Defensive End position.  This allowed Dominik to shop Adams as a trade candidate.  Credit goes to Coach Nunn (DL), Coach Bates (DC), and Coach Morris (HC) for giving Crowder a chance to show his productivity.

The message since Dominik and Morris took over has been to get younger, get productive players, and improve through competition.  While adding Crowder and trading Adams does not fit the "get younger" part of the plan, it certainly meets the "more productive" part of the plan based on the first few games of 2009.  The trade also shows commitment by Dominik to make players accountable plus it's a strong statement to the rest of the youth on the roster:  Underperform and you are replaceable whether you are a first or final draft pick.  Dominik has quickly shown a willingness to make bold changes to move the roster forward as rapidly as possible.

The second part of the story is what the Bucs were able to get for Adams.  Gaines Adams was drafted for a coach who ran the Tampa 2.  Chicago Head Coach Lovie Smith uses the Tampa 2.  It's the perfect match -- a player who can be traded and a team which should covet his skills.  The result was Tampa Bay getting a 2nd round draft choice for Adams -- a brilliant move from the Bay side, and another crafty move by GM Mark Dominik.

And still there is a third part to this story:  through Week 8 Crowder has more solo tackles than the man he backs up on the depth chart, Stylez White (15 vs. 13).  But White has 1.5 sacks to Crowder's zero.  Certainly these two men will continue to compete for playing time for the rest of the season, pushing each other to improve, meeting the third goal laid out by the new Bucs leadership -- "competition at all positions".

For clarity, consider the sum of these moves:  a swap of Gaines Adams for Tim Crowder (who appears to be more productive in the new defense) plus an extra second round pick in 2010.  Certainly an excellent step towards improving the team.

By watching the waiver wire and sticking to his core philosophy, Dominik has continued to force his philosophy on the roster and find ways to improve the talent of the team week in and week out.  And that is exactly what a GM with an underperforming team should do.
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