It’s clear the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a quarterback this offseason, and an NFL insider reveals what the team’s price range in free agency might be.
Now that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hired Dave Canales as offensive coordinator all eyes turn to what the team will do at quarterback.
Kyle Trask is the only quarterback under contract for next season, and while there’s a chance he earns the starting role it won’t simply be handed to him. Among the many factors playing into the decision that needs to be made is the fact that the current coaching staff is not entering next season with a loser mentality.
The staff believes the Bucs can compete for a Super Bowl in 2023 and plan to approach the season that way.
No coach enters a season trying to tank on purpose, and teams that are in that position don’t have the type of talent the Buccaneers do heading into 2023. The Bucs might be more than a quarterback away from competing but they’re close to contention than concession.
That’s what will likely dictate the search for a free agent quarterback. Trask might be the future, but he’ll either have to earn the job in training camp or wait while a veteran bridge is built this offseason.
NFL insider Mike Garafolo was on WDAE recently and tossed out a price range he expects the Buccaneers to look at in the free agent quarterback market.
It’s not quite what fans want to hear, but it makes sense.
“If Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo comes in and he’s available for a moderate amount which is somewhere in the $20 million-something range … if you get into the [$30 million range] and what some of the upper-echelon are making then forget about it,” Garofolo said.
It’s been widely accepted that Tampa Bay might be out on Carr given his massive salary expectations, and it’s starting to sound like Jimmy G is going to price out the Bucs as well. But with those two targets off the market and guys like Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers nothing more than pipe dreams, where do the Bucs go?
“They’ve got a chance to grab a guy who says you know what I want to go down there and play in Tampa, there’s a bunch of good targets there and it’s a team in a division that you’re capable of winning even if you don’t win 11-12 games,” Garofolo said. “That’s the way I see them approaching this quarterback market.”
Drew Lock has been kicked around in recent days as a possible option, given his connection to Canales. That might be the low-end of realistic expectations for the Bucs this offseason. Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and even Ryan Tannehill have all been tossed out as options as well, but could end up being low-risk, high-reward budget options.
If they succeed, then the Bucs are competitive once again; if they fail, then at least the coaching staff tried and the high draft pick that results from a losing season isn’t because the staff gave up.
Tampa Bay has been smart with how and when it’s kicked the salary cap can down the road. The bill for the Tom Brady era has come due, and it’s better to pay it now and roll with a discount free agent quarterback than draft out the inevitable when the team might not be able to afford it.