The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced that they have signed quarterback Dan Orlovsky to a two-year deal. This signing means that Josh Johnson probably won’t return to the team. Many teams, including the San Francisco 49ers, have already expressed interest in acquiring Johnson.
Orlovsky’s deal is worth $2.5 million over two years, nothing like the other free agents that the Bucs have already signed. However, the Bucs do need depth behind Josh Freeman, who will of course remain the starter. Orlovsky brings a veteran presence to the team as well. He has been in the league for eight years, most recently with the Indianapolis Colts. He started the last five games of the 2011 season for the Colts, and led them to their only two wins of the season in those five starts. Dan Orlovsky is seen by many around the league as a solid backup, especially to a young QB like Josh Freeman. In his first start of 2011, Orlovsky almost led the Colts to a victory over the New England Patriots, throwing for 353 yards and two touchdowns.
So, in case of an injury to Josh Freeman, the Bucs now have an experienced backup that can put up fairly big numbers. The Bucs also have two other QB’s on the roster, Brett Ratliff and Rudy Carpenter, but they aren’t nearly as experienced as Orlovsky.
Dan Orlovsky was originally a fifth-round draft pick by the Detroit Lions from the University of Connecticut, but never really got a chance in Detroit. Although in 2008, he appeared in 10 games and threw for 1,616 yards and eight touchdowns. The Colts initially signed him because of the uncertain status of Peyton Manning, then they released him because it appeared that Manning wouldn’t miss much time. However, the news broke that Manning would be out for a while, which prompted the team to re-sign him. In those two victories, Orlovsky was able to beat the rival Houston Texans and also the Tennessee Titans.
This appears to be a low-key, quality signing by the Buccaneers because of their need for a reliable, or at least experienced, backup to Josh Freeman. In light of the recent splash, however, this signing will probably go largely unnoticed.
Follow me on Twitter: @MaxLuckan