Three Replacements For Tom Brady as Buccaneers QB
Tom Brady has finally retired. And it does feel like for good this time. The future Hall of Famer dropped an unexpected video from his social accounts this morning announcing his decision to walk away after one last disappointing season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Obviously we cannot just take this at face value and there remains a possibility that Brady returns, again, before the next season starts. If he does not, though, the Bucs are in a tough spot. They have a roster loaded with highly-paid veterans and no quarterback to take advantage of it. The team still employs Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask but there is no reason to believe either is capable of revitalizing an offense that struggled mightily last season.
So the Bucs will probably look outward for their next quarterback, and will be aggressive in doing so as the NFC South is still wide-open. Here are a few potential Brady replacements for Tampa Bay.
Why not replace one quarterback who probably should've retired a year ago with another? Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers finally seem headed for divorce. Tampa Bay is as good a spot as any for him to end up considering their top-end receiving talent and nearly-guaranteed playoff spot, what with the Falcons/Saints/Panthers not getting better anytime soon. The Bucs would love to have him and Rodgers would certainly fit in with certain parts of the Florida Man population.
It would be complicated to pull off a trade, though. Rodgers' contract is gigantic and the Bucs have some figuring out to do in order to avoid a $35 million dead cap hit from Brady's retirement. And they do not fit in the Packers' vision of trading their franchise quarterback to the AFC in order to avoid seeing him under meaningful circumstances. But if the Bucs are creative and willing to overpay, Rodgers is the top choice.
The other starting-quality QB on the trade market, Carr could prove a more attractive option for Tampa Bay because he will be cheaper to acquire, cheaper to keep, and is young enough that it isn't just a band-aid solution. Carr isn't as good as Brady or Rodgers, obviously, but he is still automatically the best QB in the NFC South upon arrival and that is all that really matters. He can win games with a good enough supporting cast and has a few years left in him yet. Carr is an unexciting option but a pretty good one for a team that can't just punt on its expensive roster quite yet.
The once-heir apparent to Brady, taking over in his second home? Storybook stuff. Okay, fine, not really, but Jimmy G is a pretty natural choice, especially if the QB market doesn't shake out in his favor this offseason. Quarterback-needy teams will pursue Rodgers and probably Carr before they go after Garoppolo. A bidding war over those two could lower Garoppolo's price to the point that a team not overflowing with cap space, like the Bucs, could put forth a good offer.
Garoppolo is more of a bridge QB than anything. If the Bucs think Trask could be ready to win in a few years or want to spend a mid-round pick on a quarterback in the draft this year, Jimmy G is perfect for the next two or three seasons-- good enough to win the division but not good enough to demand a long-term financial commitment.