Now that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hired an offensive coordinator, the next thing to do is determine what happens at quarterback next season.
Dave Canales was hired by the Bucs to take over the offense following a season that will go down as perhaps the most disappointing the team has ever had. Few times in franchise history have the Bucs been so well positioned to exceed expectations, yet the team fell flat on its face. Specifically, the offense was lackluster at best, despite having Tom Brady under center the entire season.
Byron Leftwich was at the helm and ultimately took the fall when the season was over. Brady retired and walked away not only from the Bucs but from his career in the NFL. Those two exits left giant holes in key areas for Tampa Bay, and now one solution might inform the other.
It was sort of a chicken-and-egg situation for the Bucs as a quarterback couldn’t seriously be pursued until an offensive coordinator was found, but without a clear plan at quarterback it was difficult to pitch the Bucs offensive coordinator job.
One part of that equation has been solved. Canales brings with him over a decade of experience coaching under one of the greatest to ever do it, and the Bucs are hoping they plucked the right coach from Pete Carroll’s coaching tree.
That pedigree and experience isn’t the only thing Canales might be bringing with him to Tampa Bay from Seattle. He could be bringing one of his quarterbacks along as well.
Buccaneers might pursue Drew Lock after hiring Dave Canales
Drew Lock is not the Seahawks quarterback fans are likely going to want, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t right for the job.
Nobody is expecting Lock to come in and be the next franchise quarterback. He was a Day 2 pick and someone the Broncos moved on from for a reason, but perhaps he’s been forced into the wrong role to begin his career. As Lock enters the midlife of his career in the NFL, he could settle in as a veteran who helps the Bucs as much as they help him.
Kyle Trask is the quarterback the Buccaneers will want to see if he has what it takes to be the franchise guy. He received some guidance from Brady but not enough to convince coaches that he can take over right now without any growing pains. He’ll also need to learn a new offense, which he apparently had difficulty doing under Leftwich.
Who better to help Trask learn Canales’ offense than a guy who already knows it?
Drew Lock is a free agent this offseason, and would bring with him knowledge of Canales’ offense to teach not only Trask but everyone in the locker room. It would provide Lock with a leadership role that could set up the next phase of his career as a veteran backup who is the level-headed steady hand in the quarterback room.
We’ve seen guys like Sage Rosenfels, Chase Daniel, and even David Carr go from guys who were could have busted out of the league after not succeeding as starters to solid support systems in successful offenses. Even Blaine Gabbert — who could be back in Tampa next season — found success shifting into the backup role. Chad Henne just retired after almost two decades in the league and multiple Super Bowl rings doing exactly this, and Taylor Heinicke has called it the easiest job in football.
Lock is clearly not going to develop into a franchise star. That doesn’t mean he can’t add immense value to a team. That’s something he can put on display in Tampa Bay and lay the foundation for the next decade of his career. If the Bucs determine Trask isn’t the guy and draft someone this year or next, Lock can serve as the bridge mentor for that guy as well.
He may even get a chance to start based on how things progress with Trask, which affords him further opportunity to develop his reputation in the league.
Lock would also come cheap, as he’s a mid-to-low tier option on the market and wouldn’t cut too deep into the Bucs already complicated salary cap situation. His low cost and high upside as a developing veteran leader suddenly makes him a pretty intriguing option when looking at realistic quarterback routes the Bucs can go this offseason.