While it took 48 hours to get confirmation on the errant reporting of Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington, the reports were confirmed nonetheless. Tom Brady posted a heartfelt retirement message on both his Instagram and Twitter accounts Tuesday morning. The announcement brings to an end one of the greatest and most successful careers in NFL history. It also means there is some Buccaneers quarterback drama.
After constructing a win-now roster that was built around Brady, Tampa Bay certainly still has the pieces to contend in the NFC and even for a Super Bowl next season. The only problem now is that they don’t have a quarterback.
Anyone who thinks the Buccaneers will pivot to Blaine Gabbert or Kyle Trask is crazy. Head coach Bruce Arians has already said he is in for one more year at the helm. Needless to say, the 69-year-old Arians is not coming back to develop a young quarterback. Thus, the Bucs are expected to bring in another veteran to play the position in the wake of the Tom Brady retirement news. Let’s look at three potential candidates who make a whole lot of sense.
Top 3 Candidates to Be the Next Buccaneers Quarterback
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
One quarterback who is virtually guaranteed to be on the move this offseason is Jimmy Garoppolo. After coming up just shy of reaching the Super Bowl for the second time in the last three years with the San Francisco 49ers, Garoppolo is expected to be the odd man out in the Bay Area. From a salary cap standpoint, it makes a world of sense for the 49ers to part ways. Of course, the team also traded up to draft Trey Lance at No. 3 overall in last year’s NFL Draft. Thus, the oft-scrutinized veteran will be available in offseason trade talks.
While the media seems to love to hate on Garoppolo, the slander is often overblown and unwarranted. He may not be the type of game-changing quarterback that casual NFL fans and analysts deem necessary to contend. That said, the 30-year-old is fully capable of managing an offense. There is also a connection between Garoppolo and Tom Brady that dates back to their time as teammates in New England. Thus, the Buccaneers would likely get a vote of confidence on Garoppolo should they consult at all with Brady regarding his replacement.
Bovada Sportsbook gives Garoppolo +600 odds to be the Week 1 starter for the Buccaneers next season.
Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia Eagles
Another quarterback who is destined to be on the trade block this offseason is Gardner Minshew. The former sixth-round pick out of Washington State has a single year remaining on his rookie contract. While he doesn’t necessarily fit the bill of a QB who has already achieved great success, Minshew is a whole lot better than some people give him credit for.
Minshew was a victim of circumstances in Jacksonville as the Jaguars drafted the man who they believe will be their franchise cornerstone in Trevor Lawrence. After being relegated to a backup role, he was dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles. There, he served as the backup to Jalen Hurts despite clearly being the better QB. In the two games he started this season, Minshew did nothing but impress. Of course, there is a higher risk here than pursuing a player like Jimmy Garoppolo. However, the Buccaneers would also present Minshew with by far the best supporting cast that he has had in his NFL career to date. Plus, it’s just way too easy to picture Minshew and Arians standing side-by-side with shades.
Marcus Mariota, Las Vegas Raiders
Of the three quarterbacks in this article, Marcus Mariota is the only one who would not require the Buccaneers to give up anything to get. The former No. 2 overall draft pick spent this past season backing up Derek Carr in Las Vegas. While things didn’t exactly pan out in Tennessee, Mariota did make the postseason with the Titans. After a few years spent in a backup role, the former Oregon standout could be primed for a second chance as an NFL starter.
The other appealing aspect of pursuing Mariota is that he would likely be fairly cheap to sign. While the Raiders paid him nearly $2 million to play behind Carr this past season, that is chump change compared to the $24 million that Garoppolo stands to make next season. Much like Minshew, Mariota would be stepping into the best situation of his career in Tampa Bay. If a game-manager is all the Buccaneers feel they need at the position, any of the three would suffice. However, it certainly would make sense to save money and shore up other positions as well.