The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may need to get creative to address the quarterback position if Tom Brady’s mysterious absence continues. With the San Francisco 49ers thus far being unable to find a trade partner for Jimmy Garoppolo, the Bucs may have an opportunity to land the former Super Bowl quarterback at a discount.
Garoppolo is slated to have a $24.2 million salary in the final season of his five-year, $137 million contract. There is no chance the Buccaneers trade for Garoppolo with his current deal intact, but the Niners could agree to something similar to what the Browns orchestrated with the Carolina Panthers for Baker Mayfield.
Carolina avoided paying the majority of Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary, instead being on the hook for $4.8 million in base money for the quarterback in 2022. Mayfield can earn more money from the Panthers via incentives, but the Browns agreed to pay the majority of his salary. Under a similar scenario, Tampa Bay would send San Francisco a future late-round pick in exchange for Garoppolo accompanied with a vastly restructured deal.
There is a major difference in the two situations because the Niners can avoid paying the majority of Garoppolo’s $24.2 million salary by releasing him before Week 1. San Francisco would have to take only a $2 million dead cap hit by cutting Garoppolo rather than trading him.
It remains to be seen whether it would be worth making a deal for the 49ers to pay some of Garoppolo’s salary and receive only a day-three pick in return. One advantage to trading Garoppolo would be controlling his destination and ensuring that the quarterback does not sign with the rival Seattle Seahawks, a viable possibility if he is released.
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Jimmy G Makes Sense for the Bucs Even If Brady Returns
If Brady’s absence extends into the season, the Buccaneers’ depth chart at quarterback leaves a lot to be desired. Blaine Gabbert would likely be the team’s starter, with Kyle Trask moving into a backup role. Trask has yet to take an NFL snap but is slated to be Tampa Bay’s third-string quarterback for the second straight year.
Garoppolo makes some sense for the Buccaneers even if TB12 returns sooner rather than later. Brady has only one more year remaining on his contract and could either retire or sign with another team in 2023. The Buccaneers do not have a concrete answer as to who will be the team’s long-term solution as QB1 if Brady moves on after this season.
The Bucs Are Not Interested in Garoppolo: Report
Throughout the offseason, Tampa Bay has been mentioned as a sleeper candidate to land Garoppolo, even before the latest Brady news. Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud reported on July 8 that there was “not a chance” that the Bucs would make a deal for Garoppolo.
“Um. Not a chance fellas. As one Bucs coach told me, ‘If (Garoppolo) could throw a deep ball, he would’ve won two Super Bowls already,’” Stroud tweeted at the time.
Could the Bucs change their tune on Garoppolo if Brady is in danger of missing the start of the season? Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles offered little clarity on when Brady will return, despite the team insisting that the quarterback’s absence was planned.
Garoppolo threw for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while completing 68.3% of his passes during 15 starts in 2021. The veteran also brings with him Super Bowl experience with one game as the 49ers starter along with two titles as Brady’s backup in New England.