While it seems unlikely, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to hope that the Drew Brees retirement rumors have some credibility.
It seems as though each division in the NFL has one quarterback that none of the other teams want to play against. In the NFC South that quarterback is the 13-time Pro Bowler, five time All-Pro member, and Super Bowl champion/MVP Drew Brees.
Drew Brees has been one of the greatest quarterbacks in the modern era and has made the New Orleans Saints a consistent playoff threat in their eight playoff appearances under his tenure. While Brees has been exceptional for most of his career, due to his age and injuries the rumors have started to fly that Brees will retire before the start of the 2020 season.
Drew Brees retiring is a prospect that has to have Bucs fans and the organization chomping at the bit. While Teddy Bridgewater may be a talented quarterback, the Bucs would certainly prefer the prospect of playing him twice a year rather than two games against Brees.
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With this past season behind them, the Buccaneers showed flashes of playoff-caliber talent and the belief is that Bruce Arians can continue making the necessary steps to bringing the team up to the level of the top contenders in the division. If the Saints lose Drew Brees this becomes a much easier task.
The Buccaneers are already a team that can win now. The defense may have struggled to start 2019 but they took the strides necessary to be one of the stronger units in the league to end the season. If the Buccaneers are able to keep their front seven close to intact and find a safety in the offseason they will be able to keep up with any passing game in the league-especially one that no longer features Brees.
If Brees moves on the Buccaneers will have a much easier time against the Saints in the future. Teddy Bridgewater did have a great stretch this year but it would be far more difficult to maintain that level of play for an entire season. Bridgewater may be talented, but there are still steps that have to be taken before he is on Brees’ Hall of Fame level.
Even though it does seem unlikely, there is some credibility to the rumors of Brees moving on. Brees will be 41 in just two days and while he has been historically healthy, injuries will start to become a much bigger concern for Brees and the Saints alike.
In addition to Brees’ health and age, the Saints have a bit of a quarterback controversy on their hands. Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, and Taysom Hill made up the deepest and most talented quarterback pool of any team in the league in 2019. The Saints will have to make a decision on which players they intend to keep and Saints fans have begun to rally around Taysom Hill even though he is the least likely option to be the QB1 in 2020.
While these sorts of rumors always come out towards the end of a player’s career, there may be some truth regarding the fact that Drew Brees is at least mulling over his options. If Brees really is gone, the Buccaneers have a very credible shot of winning the NFC South in 2020 and taking command of the division for the future.