Ranking 16 possible free agent QB targets for the Bucs in 2023
By Josh Hill
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to figure out what to do at quarterback in free agency, so let’s break down some potential options.
If you haven’t heard, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a quarterback this offseason.
After emerging from that rock you’ve been living under in which you didn’t hear that news, it doesn’t take long to scan the free agent landscape and see that the answer to Tampa Bay’s question won’t be easy to find.
Tom Brady essentially fell into their lap three years ago, and that simply does not happen. It’s rare that anything comes easy to the Bucs, which is why it was so cathartically surprising to see it happen at all.
Now comes a hard search, one where there’s not an obvious choice to make the team immediately better. A $55 million salary cap conundrum complicates matters, and the Bucs no longer have the shine they had to free agents during the Brady era also hurts.
So who are the best available options and what are the chances the Bucs land one?
Buccaneers rumors: Ranking best free agent quarterback options in 2023
It would be fantastic if the team landed Lamar Jackson or Derek Carr, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Those guys remain options, as do some other mid-tier quarterbacks, but Buccaneers fans need to recalibrate their expectations based on a few different factors:
- Money, which the team has very little of this offseason
- New offensive coordinator Dave Calanes
- Free agents not looking at Tampa Bay the way they did the last three offseasons
- How much does the team value winning now at the expense of the future?
The best way to do this is to break the quarterbacks into tiers, which illustrates the position Tampa Bay is in as it enters the offseason.
Avoid At All Costs
Key Factor: Don’t, just…don’t. These guys are options in the most technical way possible and nothing more. There are a number of different ways the cookie can crumble for the Bucs based on who they sign this offseason, but these might be the only guys where the needle either doesn’t move or it goes the other direction.
16. Daniel Jones
A year ago the Giants were getting blasted for not bringing in someone to compete with Jones, who was generally seen as a lost cause. Now he’s being talked about as a $35M a year quarterback after — checks notes — one decent season. Let the Giants be the ones to make that mistake.
15. Joe Flacco
What does Joe Flacco offer that moves the needle for the Bucs? He’s been resistant to being the bridge veteran who teaches a young quarterback in the past and there’s nothing to say he’ll come in and tutor Trask. Beyond that, what does he have to teach Trask that a number of other veterans either can’t or offer in a better way? If Joe shows up in Tampa, just pretend that he got lost and help him get home.
14. Mason Rudolph
Nope. No thank you. Rudolph was a nice story for about five seconds in Pittsburgh and then promptly did nothing else during his time there. He’s a less fun version of Trask where he got a shot by being the only guy left in the room, and anyone who comes out of Pittsburgh needs to be looked at extra hard to see if it was actual talent or if it was the brilliant magic of Mike Tomlin — usually, it’s the latter.