“They get a veteran backup here, where if something happens to Patrick Mahomes, which we have seen happen throughout his career,” McAfee said. “He’s incredibly tough. When the time comes to play, we will play. But if he has to rest, they have a veteran guy in there.”
Gabbert, a Missouri native, began his NFL career in Florida as a No. 10 draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He went 5-22 as a starter with the Jaguars amid 4,357 yards passing for 22 touchdowns versus 24 interceptions. From there, Gabbert bounced around the league as a backup after a disappointing three-year stint in Jacksonville.
His stops included a one-year stint in 2017 with the Arizona Cardinals under then-head coach Bruce Arians, who later took the Bucs head coaching position in 2019. Gabbert joined Arians there and remained on the roster last season amid Arians’ stepping down in 2022.
Blaine Gabbert Played Minimally in Tampa, But Could Contribute to Chiefs
Despite backing up the oldest quarterback in the league at the time in Brady, Gabbert hardly saw the field in his final three seasons with the Bucs. He threw 35 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns — including one to former Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski in 2020.
Tampa Bay moved on from Gabbert this offseason amid Brady’s second retirement. Instead, the Bucs opted for a quarterback competition between former second round pick Kyle Trask and free agent signee Baker Mayfield. Gabbert, meanwhile, could find more playing time behind Mahomes than the former Missouri Tigers star enjoyed behind Brady.
As McAfee noted, Mahomes has been dinged enough at times where the Chiefs played a backup or the Chiefs had a large enough lead to rest Mahomes. Chad Henne, who backed up Mahomes for four seasons, retired after the Super Bowl in February. Matt Moore also backed up Mahomes once before retirement following the 2019 season.
“They had success with Matt Moore as their backup quarterback,” McAfee said. “I assume Blaine Gabbert will be able to pick up that offense quickly and be able to be a great backup for them.”
Gabbert notably was known to be helpful to Brady in preparing for games in Tampa.
Blaine Gabbert Hasn’t Started an NFL Game in 4 Years
Gabbert last started a game in 2018 with the Tennessee Titans, and it was sparse before that, too. With the Titans, he went 2-1, and he threw for 626 yards and touchdowns versus four interceptions in eight game appearances overall.
Gabbert also started 13 games for the San Francisco 49ers during a three-year span with the team. He posted a 4-9 record and tallied 2,994 yards and 16 touchdowns versus 13 interceptions in that period.
His time in Arizona under Arians had its ups and downs amid five starts. Gabbert went 2-3 and threw for 1,086 yards and six touchdowns versus six interceptions.
Arians notably touted Gabbert as a potential starter with the Bucs in 2021 during Brady’s first retirement. Brady ultimately unretired after 41 days, and Gabbert returned as the backup.
Gabbert made $6.43 million in four seasons with the Bucs. He hasn’t made more than $2.5 million in any season since his rookie year with the Jaguars, $7.6 million in 2011.