Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Let the Speculation Begin: Who Will Be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Second Quarterback?

It is official, Dan Orlovsky is no longer a Buccaneer. The Buccaneers released the veteran QB today, but as of now we are left to ask why. What does releasing Orlovsky gain?

Sure, it frees up a small amount of cap space, but that wasn’t something Tampa was in need of. In fact, it actually created a need at the #2 QB spot. So what is Tampa attempting to gain by releasing Orlovsky? It is no secret that Bucs’ fans have been on the fence about Josh Freeman and whether he is the franchise guy in Tampa Bay. Freeman is heading into a contract year, so what good is ridding yourself of your #2 guy when you don’t have a proven #1?

Tampa Bay doesn’t make a move unless it has a plan in place. It is fairly obvious they already know who they are going to get to back Freeman up. But looking at the available list of veteran free agents, it is hard to imagine any one of them tempting Tampa enough for them to release Orlovsky. The only other option then would be they plan on taking a QB somewhere in the NFL Draft this month. Could it be that Tampa maybe looking at a QB in the upcoming draft to compete with Freeman?

One thing is certain, Tampa will bring in another QB soon. Here is a look at 3 possible candidates for the back up spot in Tampa, whether they be free agents or players in this years draft.

#1: Brady Quinn

I know what you are thinking. “This guy is a bust” and “Please don’t let this happen” probably come to mind for most people. Regardless, Quinn is still relatively young and his physical attributes fit well in Tampa’s offensive scheme. Quinn has a big arm and can make down the field throws, something this offense is dependent on. Quinn coming in would assure that Freeman gets another year to prove himself, as he is not going to push for a starting job against a much more gifted Freeman.

#2: EJ Manuel

EJ Manuel heads into the draft with very similar physical attributes and questions as Freeman did. Both are big bodied, big armed QBs that showed great talent, but where both inconsistent. Like Freeman, Manuel will be a high draft pick in this years’ draft. If Tampa wants him they will have to get him somewhere in the late 1st round. While I don’t believe that is likely, he would make sense if Tampa is looking to replace Freeman. If Tampa chooses Manuel, Freeman’s days would be numbered in Tampa Bay.

#3: Tyler Bray

The former Tennessee QB has a huge arm. He can make every throw on the football field and can do so better than anyone in the draft this year. But many people in the league and the media have multiple questions about Bray’s intangibles. Many believe he doesn’t have what it takes to cut it in the NFL from a mental or emotional standpoint. Regardless, Bray should be available in the 2nd or 3rd round and would be the perfect candidate for a young player to groom behind Freeman. If Freeman doesn’t cut it, Bray could be the insurance. And if Freeman does earn a new contract from Tampa, Bray could be tempting trade bait for a QB needy team like Matt Flynn and Kevin Kolb were over the past few seasons.

While Mark Dominik’s overall plan at the backup QB position is all but apparent, there are plenty of options available between Free Agency and the Draft. The question now becomes, who are the Bucs targeting? Let us know who you want to see as the backup quarterback by leaving a comment below.

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  • disqus_mW3jO8O0pU

    I think the bucs should go after vince young and that would be a good competition for freeman and tighten up or step aside

    • Garrett Phillips

      I don’t agree with Young. Don’t think his arm is big enough. But he’d be worth a tryout at least.

    • RussMillerWY

      Young just isn’t a “Buccaneer man,” that is, there was some rumor of controversy in his past and the Bucs don’t want any heat from the local braindead talk radio reptiles.

  • [email protected]

    I think the bucs should draft Landry Jones out of OU. he is a proven winner and if freeman doesnt do well this year Jones would be a great fit for this system.

    • Garrett Phillips

      Problem I have with Landry is he is not very good under pressure. Anytime teams started hitting him he would panic. Not what you want out of a NFL QB.

      • Leo

        Lots of QB suffer from that, tho. Our current one included.

        I think we’ll have plenty of options in the draft.

        • Garrett Phillips

          I think Freeman has much better composure in the pocket than Landry. I think that is one of Freeman’s biggest strengths. He just needs better recognition and needs to learn how to use medium passing routes instead of going deep or checkdown.

          • Leo

            His footwork is awful under pressure. And his decision making is never good on a consistent basis.

          • Garrett Phillips

            While I agree he loses footwork under pressure, I am referring to his pocket presence. Freeman is above average in terms of pocket presence, where as Landry is awful. Freeman’s problem comes in planting before he throws. That is fixable. Pocket presence is harder to correct.

      • [email protected]

        True but granted he played behind a line with one all pro top five tackle and still put up decent numbers. In Tampa he would have an all pro line

        • Garrett Phillips

          But he’d also face all pro pass rushes. Something he didn’t do at Oklahoma. The kid gets very jumpy, that’s my problem with him. If he gets off rhythm game is basically over.

  • RussMillerWY

    Ryan Mallett is better than any other prospect in this year’s draft. Crazy prediction: the Bucs trade this year’s first round pick for Revis and their second round for Mallett.

    • Garrett Phillips

      Would not help the team much. They have more pressing needs to address in round 2 than QB. I’d rather they sign a guy like Quinn and draft defensive guys in round 2.