Bucs Could Land $3.5 Million Pro Bowl QB Amid Latest Hire, Insider Says

Todd Bowles

Getty Todd Bowles could bring in a familiar quarterback after Wednesday's offensive coordinator hire.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ hire of David Canales could hint at who will become the team’s quarterback for 2023.

Canales coached quarterbacks for the Seattle Seahawks in 2022, and starting quarterback Geno Smith will become a free agent in March after a stellar Pro Bowl season. Seahawks insider Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune acknowledged that Smith could follow Canales to Tampa in the wake of Tom Brady‘s retirement.

“Smith praised Canales during his season in which the quarterback set four Seahawks season records for passing That included breaking marks for passes, completions and passing yards previously held by [Russell] Wilson, the man he replaced,” Bell wrote.

Bell also noted that Smith quickly praised Canales for the new job via social media on Wednesday, February 15, when news broke about the hire. Smith made $3.5 million in 2022 with the Seahawks, and he could command upward of $39.3 million per year according to Spotrac.

While the Seahawks prioritize re-singing Smith, it’s not a done deal that Smith will stay, Bell noted. Smith talked about where things stand without a definitive answer before the Super Bowl.

“Yeah, we’ve had talks, and we are in the process of getting all that settled right now,” Smith told SiriusXM NFL Radio via Bell.

Smith is a Florida Native

A Florida native, Smith could return to his home state instead and reunite with Bucs head coach Todd Bowles, who coached Smith with the New York Jets. Bowles had strong praise for Smith’s progress when the Bucs faced the Seahawks in Germany during the 2022 season.

“It’s a credit to his hard work,” Bowles told the media about Smith in November 2022. “You gotta grow up in this league a little bit, everybody gets that chance. When I had him he was a lot younger. He was a very good quarterback then. The maturity as a backup kinda sets in when you become an older quarterback.”

Smith ignited the Seahawks in 2022 with 4,282 yards passing for 30 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions plus 336 yards rushing and a touchdown. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career and won Comeback Player of the Year.

Before the NFL, Smith shined at Miramar High School en route to becoming a college star at West Virginia and a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He became a backup in the NFL for six seasons after two subpar seasons as a starter in 2013 and 2014 with the Jets.

How the Bucs Could Afford Smith

Tampa Bay’ obstacle in landing Smith comes down to money.

The Bucs sit at $55.5 million over the salary cap, per Spotrac, and Smith’s asking price won’t fit without a plethora of moves. That’s also amid the 20-plus free agents the Bucs need to re-sign. Pewter Report salary cap specialist Joshua Queipo recently explained how the Bucs could afford a high-priced quarterback.

Cutting players such as Leonard Fournette, Cameron Brate, Russell Gage, Donovan Smith, and Ryan Succop could clear $22 million in cap space, Queipo noted. The Bucs could also restructure contracts and “free up as much as $29.5 million” for cap space, Quiepo wrote. Candidates for re-structuring contracts include Carlton Davis III, Vita Vea, Ryan Jensen, and Shaq Barrett.

Smith could also take voidable years upon signing, which Brady and other key players did during the Bucs’ Super Bowl run.