The Buccaneers and Kyler Murray? That should be ludicrous.
The Super Bowl hasn’t even happened yet and the insane offseason rumors have already begun. The Buccaneers have been at the focal point of this conjecture with everyone projected to be the starter in Tampa from Aaron Rodgers to Kyle Trask.
Of the likely options, Blaine Gabbert and Trask seem like the best bets as starters in 2022, but no team starts there after being relevant for the last two seasons.
Settling for mediocrity rarely works in these situations, which may be why some people seem to think the Bucs could make a run at Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.
Murray is coming off the best season of his career on an Arizona team that looked like one of the best units in football for more than half of the season. A collapse during the back-half of the season is a usual characteristic of the Kingsbury era with the Cardinals, but Murray’s play was undeniable when healthy.
A trade to Tampa should seem impossible given the season Kyler just put together, but fans will run with anything. A recent change to Murray’s Instagram has led to many to think that he wants out of Arizona. People read far too much into how athletes operate these accounts, but perhaps there is a fire that we don’t know about.
Regardless, let’s just pretend for a moment that the Cardinals and Murray do have a major relationship issue that can’t be fixed. Should be impossible, but lets entertain the idea for a minute.
Murray has at least two more seasons playing below the league median at quarterback, is producing at an incredible level with little help on the offensive line, and is the exact type of quarterback that fits on most teams. Should the Bucs be interested?
Kyler Murray has the physical traits to succeed on almost any team in the league. A big arm and athleticism like his are hard to come by in such a package, and Murray has largely put to bed any concerns about his size.
Murray can make the deep throws in Tampa’s offense as well as any other quarterback out there, and he also would be a major step up as a threat over Tom Brady with his legs.
The price tag is also another benefit for a cap-strapped team like the Bucs with several big free agent decisions coming up, but trading for Murray almost assures that he has a major payday coming soon.
The biggest hangup in this fantasy scenario would be picks. Murray’s tag should be somewhere close to what we have seen with Deshaun Watson; three first-round picks and some change. This is a bit of a tall ask for a team that uses picks as well as Tampa does, but let’s think about this for a minute.
Quarterback is the most important position on the field. Draft picks are also gambles to some degree. Even guys that look like sure things have questions surrounding their ability to transition from college to the NFL.
Murray has proven that he can succeed in the NFL (with worse offensive play-calling and weapons than what he would have in Tampa), and a proven commodity at quarterback is far more valuable that what would likely be three mid-first round picks for the next three years.
Yes, the Bucs did invest in Kyle Trask, but no one on the planet should believe that his NFL peak is close to where Murray’s is.
Spending picks in a moment like this gives the Buccaneers guarantees in their future that would be unmatched with a guy like Murray, unless there is a plan to tank in the near future (which would be a mistake).
Is Murray going to be a Buc? Almost assuredly not. Fans shouldn’t plan on this for a minute. But the fit is there, and if there is some magic that causes Murray to request a trade, the Buccaneers should give that a very serious bit of consideration if they care about winning in both the short term and long term.
Tampa should certainly be a top destination for any quarterback looking for a change of scenery with their weapons and coaching staff, and if Murray is available, the Bucs are immediately one of the most likely sites for him to land.
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