The Bucs signed 29 year old QB Byron Leftwich this morning. Leftwich had been courted by the Skins, the Steelers and the Bucs. He reportedly signed for two years, for an undisclosed dollar amount. I personally love the move for a variety of reasons.
1. Pushing Luke McCown - I had a long conversation this morning with one of the writers for this site, Darkwing, and we were in complete disagreement about the signing. Darkwing believes that if there truly is going go to be a battle in campa, that most likely Byron Leftwich will look like the more polished QB, because in all likelihood, he is, and that the end result will be that Leftwich starts and McCown sits. I happen to disagree. I think that pushing Luke McCown to be a better QB by creating competition is only a good thing, unless of course Luke is soft, in which case, I don’t want him starting anyway. He is a younger player, with more mobility and a quicker release, with similar arm strength. His physical tools outweigh that of Leftwich, but Leftwich does have the savvy that comes with being a starter in the NFL. I put the argument this way: If on a scale of 1-10, Luke McCown plays like a 6 in camp, and Leftwich plays like a 7, I still see Luke McCown being the starter. If Luke plays like a 2, and Leftwich a 7, Byron will be the starter, and honestly he should be. My point is this, I still think that Luke’s ceiling is higher than Leftwich and I think that the Bucs think the same thing. Barring a complete dismantling of McCown by Leftwich, McCown will be the starter.
2. Not taking Josh Freeman - While me and Darkwing were in disagreement about the actual signing of Leftwich, we both agreed that the moved signaled to us that this will probably take the Bucs out of the running for Kansas State QB Josh Freeman. This is something that I like. It’s not that I dislike the potential of Freeman, he seems to have a very gifted skill set, and comes from a non-football power (KSU didn’t use to be that way), which I definitely think is a good thing. My problem with drafting Freeman is twofold. One, I happen to like Luke McCown. Drafting Freeman immediately puts the Bucs in a bind if Luke happens to perform well. Second, I don’t think our roster is that of a 4-12 team, and I think we can be mildly competitive, with Freeman, I don’t see that happening. Freeman still seems a little raw for me. With Kellen Winslow, Antonio Bryant, Jeramy Stevens, Derrick Ward, Ernest Graham and potentially Cadillac Williams, coupled with a young impressive offensive line, there are a lot of weapons on this team and a lot of weapons for a QB to be able to succeed with. I’d rather see us plug a few holes on the defense with our draft picks, and I said as much yesterday in a piece.
We’ll see how the situation plays itself out on both of these fronts, but regardless, I like the signing.