Bucs Rumors: Latest Derek Carr update suggests Bucs could be back in the mix
By Josh Hill
NFL insider Ian Rapoport threw a life preserver to any Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans hopeful that the team is still in the running to sign Derek Carr.
As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers press onward into the offseason, the question of what the team does about its quarterback situation looms large.
With Dave Canales hired to be the Bucs new offensive coordinator, at least part of the puzzle has been solved. The biggest piece, however, remains who will be running the plays that Canales calls? Right now Kyle Trask is that guy by default, as he’s the only quarterback under contract heading into the offseason, but that’s expected to change once free agency begins.
Initial hopes were high that the team would be replacing Tom Brady with one of the top-tier options available on the market. Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers are pipe dreams, and while trading for Justin Fields is optimal it’s not likely to happen.
Derek Carr has long been the name highest on the list of potential quarterbacks the Bucs could sign, but there was a massive roadblock preventing it from seeming realistic. Carr’s huge contract with the Raiders is one of the reasons the team cut him after being unable to trade him, and it was something that would likely keep the Bucs at a distance.
But what if money wasn’t an issue?
Buccaneers rumors: Is Tampa Bay back in on Derek Carr?
It’s much an issue for the Bucs, who enter the offseason roughly $55 million over the cap and with almost zero ability to spend on a high-priced free agent. However, if Carr was willing to play for a discount, things could potentially change.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport gave an update on Carr’s situation at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and it seems to leave the door open for the Bucs as a possible landing spot.
“Derek Carr has not had any substantial discussions about price or value with any of these teams. It has been all about fit. That is the most important thing [for Carr],” Rapoport said.
Carr is also slated to meet with three teams, none of whom are the Bucs but two of which could indicate Tampa Bay is still in the running.
“When he arrives in Indianapolis, Carr will have in-person free agent meetings with three teams: The Jets, Saints, and Panthers. He’s already visited New Orleans and New York now he adds Carolina and maybe more,” Rapoport said. “Coaches, GMs, and owners are all in the same spot this week.”
There are two key things to read into, the most glaring of which is how Carr isn’t looking solely for a payday and is prioritizing fit over finance. That’s the magic bullet fans have been looking for, even if finding it requires a fair amount of squinting to see it in Rapoport’s report.
Something else to read into, and potentially more constructive to the argument, is how Carr has added the Panthers to his list of approved suitors. There’s not a lot of distance between the Bucs, Saints, and Panthers and if it comes down to a three-horse race it feels like Tampa Bay could win. All three teams have similarly stout defenses and offensive weapons to entice Carr, but only one team has Mike Evans and Chris Godwin with potentially a first-round tight end or running back being added to the mix in a few months.
Put that all together and it doesn’t take a firm tinfoil hat to start making a real case for the Bucs to swoop in and become a surprise landing spot for Carr. If Carlos Correa can agree to two deals before the Minnesota Twins somehow stole him back, why can’t the Bucs play a similar role in the Carr chase?