Safety J.J. Wilcox of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers late Sunday afternoon in exchange for a 2018 sixth round draft pick and a 2019 seventh round draft pick. The move comes directly after the Buccaneers signed all-pro safety T.J. Ward. The move complements the transactions of both teams, as the Buccaneers were looking for a starter, and the Steelers were seeking depth.
J.J. Wilcox Traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers
Earlier in the day, the Buccaneers signed former Denver Broncos safety Ward to a one-year $5 million contract. Ward will be the starter moving forward, thus, a member of the secondary would become the odd man out. Ultimately Wilcox was that player.
Wilcox is a fifth-year player from Georgia Southern University. He spent his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, but moved to the Buccaneers in hopes of a more substantive roll. Wilcox landed 214 tackles, two forced fumbles, and five interceptions during his time with the Cowboys. This included a career high 74 tackles in 2014.
Wilcox saw his lone role come to fruition in the Buccaneers nickel packages, and thus was not seeing the playing time many had hoped he would see. However, the hope is his play fits a better role with an injured Steelers secondary.
The Steelers will be facing game time decision for both Mike Mitchell and Sean Davis come next Sunday. Rotational players Jordan Dangerfield and Robert Golden have displayed quality coverage ability in the preseason, but against backups; hence, their roles are more for the special teams.
The Steelers need Wilcox as much as he needs them. He provides a strong and aggressive mentality. The implications for the rest of the roster, especially Dangerfield and Golden, may mean the Steelers have to go with talent over project, ultimately leaving Dangerfield and Golden off of their roster in the coming week.
Wilcox carries a two-year, $8.5 million deal to the Steelers salary cap.