Between Tom Brady‘s second and third Buccaneers seasons, Tampa Bay’s interior offensive line has gone from one of the league’s most stable areas to an undependable spot. Injuries to Ryan Jensen and Aaron Stinnie followed the exits of Ali Marpet and Alex Cappa. The Bucs endured more issues Saturday night, when both Robert Hainsey and Nick Leverett went down during the team’s preseason finale.
Hainsey, who is in line to replace Jensen at center, suffered an ankle injury. The Bucs do look to have caught a break with the second-year blocker, whom Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets could return by Week 1 after X-rays revealed a short-term injury. Leverett suffered a shoulder malady, and Wilson adds that is also not considered to be a serious issue (Twitter link). But the run of injuries this position group has suffered cannot exactly be ignored.
This latest round of setbacks reminds of how much has changed for the Bucs’ offensive line, which does have trade acquisition Shaq Mason healthy as the regular season nears. Todd Bowles confirmed the team will look at acquisitions along the O-line.
“There is not a sense of urgency unless we lose the two that went down yesterday,” Bowles said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “You have to have someone willing to give you a good football player [in a trade]. Nobody is going to give you a good football player. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you.
“We are going to look at the waiver wire. We are going to look at certain trades to see if we can find some things out there. But if there is nothing out there, we still have some guys that can play.”
The Bucs join the Bears and 49ers as known teams to be looking into O-line trades, though this is likely not the only trio making inquiries into availability at these premium positions. Tampa Bay used a third-round pick on Hainsey in 2021 and a second-rounder on guard Luke Goedeke. The latter is expected, due to Jensen and Stinnie’s severe injuries, to be a starter. More clarity on Hainsey’s status will help clear up the Bucs’ O-line picture for Week 1. The team has lost linemen during practice and preseason games this summer. Depth, at least, may be needed this week.