If you haven’t heard, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to figure out their quarterback situation this offseason.
Despite how massive the decision is, the Buccaneers are actually in a better spot than most are giving them credit. It’s not ideal, to be clear, but the Bucs have a number of different routes they can go in determining what the future looks like under center this year and beyond.
Tampa Bay isn’t going to tear down and rebuild this offseason for a number of reasons, but the integrity of the coaching staff ranks high on that list. There are also financial constraints holding the Bucs back from making this the offseason they lay a foundation for the future, so it makes sense to try and re-tool rather than rebuild, and kick the latter can down the road to 2024 in order to see what happens this season.
With that in mind, the Bucs will likely check the pulse of the veteran quarterback market more than once this offseason but it won’t be in the place most fans are expecting. The Bucs probably can’t sign Derek Carr (they don’t have enough money), won’t trade for Aaron Rodgers (no money and the Packers aren’t looking to move him within the NFC), and aren’t acquiring Lamar Jackson (the money issue, plus the trade package needed to acquire him might be too rich compared to other offers).
The good news is there’s more than one road the Bucs can go down in finding a quarterback this offseason, and have three pretty solid scenarios they can choose to pursue.
Scenario 1: Roll with Kyle Trask as the stater, sign a mid-tier backup QB
Possible Backup QB Options: Blaine Gabbert, Mitchell Trubisky, Gardner Minshew, Jarrett Stidham
Almost as important and intriguing as the question of who will play quarterback for the Bucs next season is wondering what the team has in Kyle Trask.
Luckily, this could be a two-bird-one-stone situation.
Among the best quarterback options the Bucs have, at least in terms of leaving no stone unturned as a future course is charted, is starting Trask next season. He’ll be entering his third year out of Florida but has barely played at all.
Tom Brady is the reason for that, which no one is going to argue wasn’t a good one, but the time has come to see what the Bucs have in Trask. There’s a chance he’s not the guy and won’t be the quarterback of the future in Tampa Bay, but there’s really only one way to find out. Talking about how he does in camp or how much of the playbook he does or doesn’t know, or assessing his preseason tape will only reveal so much; the Bucs need to see what the team looks like with Trask leading the charge to determine whether he’s worth continuing to invest in.
It’s also possible that Trask is the guy and the Bucs just haven’t allowed him to fully develop yet. Keep in mind that he was a late bloomer with the Gators, as well as in high school, which seems to suggest what we’ve seen out of him so far isn’t who he’ll be for the rest of his career.
Starting Trask next year would mean putting a solid support system in place that both allows him to develop but doesn’t hamstring the Bucs if they need to yank him. Someone like Mitchell Trubisky is intriguing, as he almost fits the same mold as Trask as a guy who might bloom late but hasn’t yet made much of an impact as a starter. Gardner Minshew and Jarrett Stidham also fall into this category, and double as guys who wouldn’t signal a tank job if they were named starters but also wouldn’t be too good that the Bucs finish with a record that prevents them from having a high enough draft pick to take a potential franchise guy next year.
Worst case with this scenario is the Bucs are right back to where they are now, but have at least done their due diligence in assessing Trask as a viable option moving forward.