Bucs lagging in quarterback scramble

by Gary Shelton on March 11, 2023

in general

Kyle Trask has little experience./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 4 a.m.

And just like that, the NFC South is a quarterback convention.

Suddenly, it's the place that all the strong-armed quarterabacks go. Free agents. Draft picks. Forgotten warriors. Everyone.

And the Tampa Bay Bucs? They're hiring.

Going into the off-season, that was what the four NFC South teams had in common. They all needed a fix at quarterback. Last year, the division was pretty much Tom Brady and the Pips.

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So look around. Suddenly, the position looks a lot better.

New Orleans got its quarterback, the highly overpaid Derek Carr. Mind you, Carr can have Sundays where he makes you look silly. And he can have Sundays where he's just another guy in shoulder pads. But the Saints invested $40 million a year in Carr, presumably to save coach Dennis Allen's bacon.

And Carolina got its quarterback when it pulled the trigger (maybe too early) on a trade with Chicago. It’s getting the No. 1 pick in the draft, presumably for Alabama's Bryce Young. If you believe in the player, it's a good trade for Carolina, which has had a sad trail of tears at the position since Cam Newton's warranty expired.

The only thing I don't quite get about the trade as its timing. Why now? Do you really think the Panthers would walk away from the deal if Chicago waited. And maybe they can get their bounty without moving down as far as they did.

For Carolina, and again, this is if the player is right, then no one will ever remember the draft picks it gave up. A high-valued quarterback is worth it.

Atlanta? Atlanta hasn't proven it has an unchallenged answer at quarterback. Still, Desmond Ridder has a chance. He was 2-2 on a team that as 5-8 without him.

And then there are the Bucs, the easy answer to every online speculation about every available quarterback available. Already, you can find links between the Bucs and Baker Mayfield, and Carson Wentz, and Aaron Rodgers, and Lamar Jackson, and Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett.

Of course, there is Kyle Trask, who has thrown all of nine NFL passes and completed all of three. It's easily the worst quarterback position in the division (by comparison, Ridder has thrown 73 passes).

Of course, the defining problem for the Bucs is the salary cap. Even if the team wanted, say, Jackson, they'd have to do a lot of haggling to sign him. And the Ravens could simply shrug and match it.

So here the Bucs are, unable to address their quarterback problems at the top level and drafting too low to get a blue-chipper.

Of course, Tom Brady's 40 days are almost up. Heck, he could still come back. Right?

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