Proposed Buccaneers Trade With NFC Foe Sends Tampa Bay a New Star QB

Jason Licht

Getty It has been an eventful offseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to be mentioned in potential quarterback rumors ahead of the 2023 NFL draft. ESPN’s Matt Miller believes the Bucs are a potential trade-up candidate on draft night with Kentucky star quarterback Will Levis as the possible target. Miller offers a new trade proposal that has Tampa Bay landing the No. 10 pick from Philadelphia in exchange for No. 19 and a 2024 first-round pick.

“Tampa Bay gets the No. 10 pick, while Philadelphia gets the No. 19 selection and a 2024 first-rounder,” Miller wrote on April 20, 2023. “I used the Chiefs’ move up to No. 10 in 2017 to land Patrick Mahomes as the guide, though the Bills added an additional third-rounder since they dropped 17 picks in the first round instead of nine.

“It feels like a real rebuild is now underway for the Buccaneers, and having the quarterback in place to jump-start that endeavor only helps. And let’s be real … having Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at wide receiver is ideal for a rookie quarterback. That’s one heck of a safety net.”

Will Levis’ 23 Interceptions Should Be Concerning for the Bucs Heading Into the NFL Draft

Yet, the Bucs should have serious questions about making a risky move like this proposed deal for two key reasons. Namely, Levis’ 23 interceptions over the last two seasons is cause for concern. Tampa Bay giving up a future first-round pick in what projects to be a loaded 2024 quarterback class is also less than ideal.

The Kentucky quarterback had an inconsistent senior season posting 2,406 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. One year after posting 376 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground, Levis put up negative rushing numbers. It is important to note that sacks count against quarterbacks in collegiate statistics.

The Buccaneers Left the Door Open to Potentially Taking a Quarterback in the NFL Draft

Throughout the offseason, the Bucs have teased a quarterback competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. Despite the addition of Mayfield, Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht left the door open to selecting a quarterback in the upcoming draft.

“It’s the toughest position to find,” Licht detailed during an April 13 press conference. “It’s the most important position on the team. You see teams that in consecutive years take them in the top 10. We have an unknown in Kyle [Trask]. We have Baker [Mayfield], who has had some great years and now we’re hoping he shows up this year in that competition and we get the best out of both of them.

“I would not be afraid to take a quarterback – another quarterback – because you might as well have another shot at it. Maybe not this year, but maybe in the future.”

Will Levis Has Been Linked to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 4 in NFL Draft Rumors

Despite his flaws, Levis still has plenty of upside, but the quarterback is more appealing if he falls in the first round rather than trading up for the signal-caller. Tampa Bay is unlikely to have to make a decision on Levis as the quarterback is a potential top-five pick. The Colts are targeting Levis with the No. 4 selection , per Miller.

“Where will Kentucky quarterback Will Levis land? Multiple sources around the league say the Colts would love to select him, but that gets complicated if Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud is on the board,” Miller explained. “‘The Colts want Levis,’ said one AFC scout. ‘The question is do they love him more than Stroud? I think they do, but that’s a bold move.'”