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This isn’t going to be a list with big names like Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson (I’m not even going to get into that guy from the Texans) on it. This isn’t a list that’s likely to be very popular among Facebook Bucs fans either.
This is meant to be a reality check. The Bucs are probably not going to be able to trade for any of those big names listed above. Their draft picks simply aren’t as valuable as those of lesser teams, and they still have to clear cap space and re-sign a lot of important players from last year’s team.
With all of that being said, here are my top 5 most likely QBs to line up under center next season.
1. Kyle Trask
Told you this list wasn’t going to be sexy. Trask might be the least exciting option for the Bucs, and it’s understandable why people would be disappointed if this turned out to be how it shakes out. Trask is unproven, and is unlikely to lead the Bucs to the playoffs anytime soon. However the Bucs spent a second round pick (64th overall) on him for a reason. Clearly Tampa Bay saw something it liked, and I doubt anything has changed over this past year. Could the Bucs say “Screw that, we’ve got a great team we need to get someone better to take advantage?” Sure. But I’m not sold on them going that route. Thus begins the Kyle Trask era.
2. Jimmy Garoppolo
Yes, yes, boo me, throw tomatoes, whatever. But Jimmy G has been well liked by his 49er teammates and has an incredible record as a starter. Who’s to say he can’t go from one situation where he was getting carried by his O-line and playmakers and come to the Bucs and do the exact same thing? Plus it gives Trask at least another year to sit back and learn from another former Patriot, and the 49ers aren’t going to be able to get very much (if anything) for Garoppolo due to his salary and lack of production. Win-win, right?
3. Teddy Bridgewater
Look, Teddy has bounced around the league (three different teams in as many years, five teams total for his career) for a reason. He’s not a young buck, and his play isn’t going to elevate your offense. At best he’s a quality game manager that won’t lose you any games, at worst he can cost you with his lack of mobility (because of two humongous knee surgeries) and arm talent. But he’s got a lot of grit, and given this Bucs offense is still very talented, he could at least lead the Bucs to the top of the mediocre NFC South. As with Jimmy G, he’s not going to cost a huge amount of draft picks (if any) and will give Trask another year to learn.
4. Jameis Winston
Oh, dear. A most infamous reunion. Tom Brady, Winston is certainly not, and he would probably end up costing the Bucs quite a few games, just like in that 30-30 season. But in his brief time as a starter with the Saints, he managed to prove he can kind of take care of the ball. Now, there were times of course when Jameis had to do his thing and uncork one of those passes that makes you question your place in the universe because it was so ill-advised, but hopefully being back in a Bucs uniform can remind him of how vitally important it is to be in control. Or maybe he’ll go for 40 picks in a season, because fuck it why not.
5. Blaine Gabbert
Phew man. If this comes to fruition, it means that the Bucs thought they had something in Trask, panicked and realized they needed to give him more time but it was too late to sign or trade for anyone of significance. Enter Mr. Gabbert. The 32-year-old drafted in 2011 by Jacksonville certainly won’t win you any games, and he’ll probably lose his fair share for the team, too. But hell, he’s cheap, he’s expendable, and he’ll get you a great draft pick for next year. Hopefully this doesn’t happen, but if it does, at least it’ll make for an interesting season.
Whatever happens, none of these options are TB12. There’s going to be a drastic fall off from the guy who led the NFL in passing yards, TDs and completions last year. So just be ready for something ugly.