Time to play GM!
You're Doug Whaley, and the season has ended. Free Agency will start in a couple months, and you get a phone call from Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik (yes, it's really him this time). He wants to trade players, and he thinks he has a proposal that would make both teams better. What do you say?
Jairus Byrd, Kyle Williams, and Dan Carpenter to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Dashon Goldson, Gerald McCoy, and Michael Koenen to the Buffalo Bills.
Here's the rationale for both sides:
For the Buccaneers, they upgrade Dashon Goldson, who has been a penalty magnet and not worth his top-tier contract, getting Jairus Byrd, with whom they can negotiate a fresh salary. It helps that they have Darrelle Revis to pair with him in the defensive backfield. Having already budgeted room for Goldson's salary, it should be fairly straightforward for the management to offer Byrd a similar contract.
Kyle Williams is there as a veteran replacement for Gerald McCoy. They lose a 25-year old stud defensive tackle, but replace him with an equally effective 30-year old tackle. The new contracts mean that they gain two extra years of team control by keeping Williams and save $6 million in 2014, by jettisoning the pre-CBA contract that McCoy has.
Lastly, Dan Carpenter is there as someone who can shoulder the kicking duties by negotiating a fresh contract. After a successful year in Buffalo, Carpenter will want a long-term deal, and Tampa can give him that.
(Note: I'm not all clear on the specificity of trading players whose contracts are about to expire. It may not be possible to trade Byrd or Carpenter in the offseason without tagging them or negotiating a contract first. Still, the team could do a "tag and trade" or "sign and trade" type of deal, as far as I can follow)
Buffalo's return is not too shabby. With Dashon Goldson, they get a hard hitting, rangy safety who is signed to a contract until the end of the 2017 season and can slot in at FS next to Aaron Williams. With luck, Mike Pettine will help coach him out of his illegal hitting ways. Gerald McCoy is the star of the deal for Buffalo, as he gives them a player who is as good as Kyle Williams right now, but more athletic, and 5 years younger. Him and Dareus could stay together for the next decade and both end up Hall of Famers. He has one year left on his rookie deal, which would allow Buffalo to negotiate a more sane rate than the $63 million contract he started with. Koenen is a solid punter who is signed to a relatively cheap contract through 2016. He can shore up the position and allow Buffalo to focus their draft picks in other areas.
So in summary:
Buffalo gets Dashon Goldson through the 2017 season (2014 cap hit $9 million), Gerald McCoy signed through 2014 (needing a new contract at that point) (2014 cap hit $10 million), and Michael Koenen through the 2016 season (cap hit $3.25 million).
Tampa gets Jairus Byrd (needs a new contract, likely cap hit $10 million), Kyle Williams (signed through 2016, cap hit $5 million), and Dan Carpenter (needs a new contract, likely cap hit $3 million).
I'll put my thoughts in the comments. But as I read about the players each team had and how similar they were, I got intrigued by this concept of trading players at similar positions to try and improve both teams.