Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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.