Ex-Bucs QB Linked to AFC Team: Report

Tom Brady

Getty Tom Brady and Blaine Gabbert (left) played together for three seasons in Tampa Bay.

A Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback might land with the Las Vegas Raiders after all.

It just won’t be Tom Brady. The Raiders recently had free agent Blaine Gabbert in for a visit according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Gabbert spent the past four seasons with the Bucs as a backup with limited playing time with just 35 passes thrown.

While Gabbert spent the past three seasons as Brady’s backup, the Bucs signed free agent Baker Mayfield after Brady’s retirement. The Raiders previously had interest in Brady before his retirement, but the AFC West squad signed Jimmy Garoppolo instead.

Las Vegas released Derek Carr and let Jarrett Stidham go in free agency, which left a void for two spots at quarterback. Gabbert could fill the backup role as he did in Tampa Bay, and JoeBucsFan.com speculated that Brady could have played a role in Gabbert’s visit with the Raiders.

“Joe wonders whether Tom Brady helped get Gabbert the interview in Vegas. Brady was/is tight with Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels, so Joe assumes Brady gave McDaniels a thumbs-up on Gabbert. And Brady likely added that Gabbert is a good personality fit with new Raiders starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Brady’s former teammate,” Joe Bucs Fan wrote.

Garoppolo began his career as a backup to Brady in with the New England Patriots before a trade to the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. Brady left the Patriots for the Bucs in 2020.

Gabbert notably went higher in the draft than both Brady and Garoppolo. The Jacksonville Jaguars took Gabbert with the No. 10 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but Gabbert didn’t pan out as a franchise starting quarterback.

He sputtered in his first two seasons with a 5-19 record as he threw for 3,876 yards and 21 touchdowns versus 15 interceptions. Gabbert became a backup ever since amid stints with the  49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, and the Bucs. He has 9,302 yards passing for 51 touchdowns versus 47 interceptions for his career in 67 games played.

Gabbert Once Considered Heir Apparent to Brady

When Brady first retired in 2022, Gabbert looked like an option for the Bucs. Then-head coach Bruce Arians vouched for in a 2022 press conference.

A year later, Bucs general manager Jason Licht addressed Gabbert’s standing amid a report of Kyle Trask becoming the starter in 2023. Trask, a 2021 second-round pick, notably couldn’t beat out Gabbert for the primary backup quarterback job  in 2022.

“I wouldn’t say he has fallen off the map,” Licht told JoeBucsFan.com at the 2023 NFL Combine. “We’re evaluating every quarterback right now. Free agency, draft, all of them. I have a lot of respect for Blaine. I’ve had a good relationship with Blaine. I wouldn’t say he has fallen off the map.”

The Bucs ultimately brought in Mayfield instead to compete with Trask for the starting job.

Helicopter Hero

One of Gabbert’s biggest moments in his time with the Bucs came off the field.

Gabbert and his brothers helped rescue passengers from a helicopter that crashed on Tampa’s Hillsborough Bay on December 29. None of the passengers sustained injuries.

“I was just right place, right time, I guess,” Gabbert said in a December 30 press conference. “… I got two on my jet ski, my brothers got one. The pilot was still in the water, and that was when you guys [Tampa police and fire departments] pulled up and I dragged him a little bit towards the boat and he got on. Luckily we were probably 250 meters from the beach, so we got them to the beach. The fire department, everybody was there, and the rest is history.”

“… It wasn’t me, it was just my brothers and I out having fun. Credit goes to these guys [Tampa first responders], because if they weren’t there in the nick of time, it could have turned out bad.”