What do the Bucs do now at QB?
The first, and biggest, domino of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offseason has officially fallen, with quarterback Tom Brady announcing his retirement (for real this time) Wednesday morning.
Brady’s departure now leaves the Bucs with a massive hole at the game’s most important position as they look ahead to the 2023 season.
What are Tampa Bay’s options to replace the GOAT?
The in-house options are pretty bleak. Veteran backup Blaine Gabbert is headed for free agency, and with a new offensive coordinator incoming, his return seems unlikely. Kyle Trask is the only quarterback currently under contract for 2023, but he’s been a healthy scratch for nearly every game of his first two NFL seasons. The former second-round pick hasn’t shown any sign of being worthy of the starting job, failing to even beat out Gabbert for the backup job.
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There will be some big-name veterans available this offseason, but the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, Geno Smith and Jimmy Garoppolo might cost more than the Bucs will be able to pay, either in salary (especially considering their tight cap situation) or in terms of trade assets.
The same is true for Lamar Jackson, who is likely to be franchise tagged by the Baltimore Ravens. That could leave them looking for lesser names like Jacoby Brissett, Baker Mayfield, Tyler Huntley and the like.
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There’s always the draft, but the Bucs are currently slotted to pick No. 19 overall in the first round. This year’s top four quarterback prospects (Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Kentucky’s Will Levis) will likely be off the board at that point, and there won’t be another passer worthy of selection in the top 20.
Unless the Bucs want to pay a premium to move up for one of those top four, they’ll be looking at Day 2 prospects like Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker or Stanford’s Tanner McKee.
None of Tampa Bay’s options are great right now, but they have a roster that’s still talented enough to compete for a division title in the weak NFC South. Making the right decision here could easily be the difference between making another playoff run, or being forced into an ugly rebuild next offseason.
Bucs fans react to Tom Brady's retirement