With Michael Pittman out for 6-8 weeks, it looks like the Buccaneers are in the market for a running back. Jon Gruden commented in his press conference today that Bruce Allen and Doug Williams are going to be looking for a running back everywhere. The Bucs talked with some clubs earlier in the week after Cadillac went down, but had either been told no, or thought the price was too high. With Gruden and Allen feeling like their jobs are on the line this season, and now having to start Earnest Graham at running back they may feel to he need to make a deal, even if it is over paying. Buc fans will have to sit back and wait to see if Gruden and Allen feel comfortable with Graham and rookie seventh rounder Ken Darby running the show, or will they make a move for another running back. Here are some of the guys that the Bucs have or could be looking at:
Medwelde Moore - Minnesota
Moore is the third string running back on the Vikings roster at the moment, behind Chester Taylor and rookie Adrian Peterson. Peterson has shown the ability to shoulder the load if Taylor were to go out and in the meantime they can rotate between the two making Moore dispensable. The Bucs offered the Vikings a sixth round pick earlier this week for him, but were turned down. Moore has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, but does not have the power that you want from your back. Anything more than a 5th round pick would be overpaying for him.
Ricky Williams - Suspended/Miami
Ricky has filed for reinstatement in the NFL, but the Dolphins have told him that they do not want him on their team. Ricky has had a troubled career and the Bucs would be gambling on the fact that he not only can stay clean, but that he has stayed in football shape while he has been out of the NFL. Another problem is that the trade deadline is coming soon and his reinstatement issue may not be solved by then. This situation seems too much of a gamble for the Bucs at the moment and I think they need to pass.
Tatum Bell - Detroit
Bell has been rumored to be on the trade block now that Jones has come back and ran well. At the moment this is only a rumor and Jones has had some soreness in his foot recently, so the Lions may not want to part with him at the moment. They are winning games at the moment and if they traded Bell and Jones were to go down they would be in big trouble. The other problem with Bell is that he did not succeed in Denver of all places and has not looked good in Detroit either. Bell maybe just another body to put in the backfield and would likely come with too high of a price tag for his abilities.
Michael Turner - San Diego
This may be the best option for the Bucs in terms of getting an actual back that will contribute mightily to the offense. Turner is a great back and could be a featured back here in Tampa after this season. He has been in the league for a while, but has been stuck behind LT. Many teams expressed interest in him last season, but thought the price was two high while he was an unrestricted free agent. There are a couple of problems with getting Turner. Number 1 is that the Chargers can make him a franchise player after this season and command two first rounders for him in the off season. If they can get that than, they will want at least that now. Second, is the fact that he will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, so the Bucs would need to sing him to a long term deal or make him a franchise player and pay a lot of money. A third problem could be that the Chargers may not want to deal one of their offensive weapons at the moment. If the price is right I would take Turner. I think he is worth a first rounder, but not more than 1.
Corey Dillon - Free Agent
The Bucs contacted him right when Cadillac went down and he told them he was not interested in coming out of retirement. He had said that he wanted to keep playing earlier this season, so it is puzzling why he said no to the Bucs. If it is a money issue the Bucs may need to offer a bit more, but if he does not want to come back to a team he feels can't win a Super Bowl that would be a totally different problem they would have to deal with.
Julius Jones - Cowboys
This one has not been rumored, but though I would throw it out there. Jones is clearly second fiddle to Marion Barber in the Dallas backfield. The Cowboys have another talented back in Tyler Thompson behind Jones and MBIII that could jump in and help shoulder some of the load for the Cowboys running the ball. Problem here is that they are making a run and they may not want to disrupt the chemistry of the team. Also, he was a first round pick so the Cowboys would most likely want equal value for him, which may be too much.