ESPN expert Field Yates made his prediction for who will be each NFL team’s starter in 2023, and he makes a good case for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As the start of NFL Free Agency nears, rumors are starting to fly about which top players will land where and how teams are going to fill key positions of need.
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the key position is obvious. There are areas on the defense that will need attention — notably if Jamel Dean leaves — and the offensive line is a mess, but any offseason conversation about the Bucs begins and ends with what happens at quarterback.
Since Tom Brady retired and left a void under center, speculation has gone through the roof about what the Bucs will do and what the chances are they make the wrong decision. Things worked out alright the first time around, but success in the post-Brady era is much harder to nail.
ESPN NFL expert Field Yates went through a thought exercise where he predicted each NFL team’s starting quarterback in 2023. He has Derek Carr landing in Carolina, the Saints rolling with Baker Mayfield, and Jimmy Garoppolo starting for the Jets.
With three options off the board for the Bucs, Yates goes the less obvious but potentially smartest route.
"The Bucs are pressed for cap space this year, so finding a veteran quarterback to replace Tom Brady won’t be easy. We’ve yet to see Trask — a second-round pick out of Florida in 2021 — play snaps of consequence for the Bucs, but the team has consistently spoken highly of his game."
My gut reaction for a title on this was to call it a ‘bold prediction’, but the thing about Kyle Trask being floated as the Bucs starter next season is that it’s starting to become normalized. Such a thing was harder to fathom earlier in the offseason, especially in the wake of Brady’s retirement, but now that it’s had some time to settle the idea makes a lot of sense.
It made sense a month ago, too, we’re all just a little more open-minded to it now.
Buccaneers should tear off the band-aid and start Kyle Trask in 2023
Trask being the starter in 2023 provides far more upside than most other options on the table for Tampa Bay. There’s just as much uncertainty for how it will play out as there is if the team signs a mid-tier free agent, trades for Justin Fields, or drafts a rookie, except there’s a safety net if Trask fails whereas such a thing doesn’t totally exist with those other scenarios.
If a free agent comes in and fails, the Bucs paid a premium to be a bad team. If Justin Fields doesn’t pan out, the Bucs gave up important draft capital to get him, and the same can be said about a rookie who fails plus there’s a time commitment element attached as well. Hendon Hooker or Anthony Richardson having so-so seasons — or not playing at all — simply puts the Bucs back in the same situation they’re in with Trask, which is just as bad as being in the other scenarios.
Starting Trask allows the Bucs to see if he has what it takes to be the franchise guy. If he is that guy then the question has bene answered and the future can be built around him; if not then the Bucs will be in the same position as the other failed scenarios only they won’t have paid a price for it that comes back to bite them later.
It’s not the sexiest option, but the quarterback market is starting to look less and less attractive the closer we get to free agency. Just like the hard sell on draft prospects in the 11th hour to convince teams to take them, it seems outside of Derek Carr there needs to be some convincing involved to get teams to bite on the available class. Even Aaron Rodgers’ stock is plummeting when any other offseason he’d be in the same situation Tom Brady was back in 2020.
The only convincing that needs to happen in Tampa Bay is Trask proving to the coaching staff and ownership that he’s the future under center, and there’s only one way to find out.