The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing for life after Tom Brady and this time it looks like it is for good. Hours before Brady posted his retirement video, ESPN offered their predictions for the upcoming quarterback carousel.
The scenario had Brady signing with the Raiders, which left the Bucs with same quarterback dilemma they face now in light of the legend’s retirement. ESPN’s Jenna Laine views longtime Bucs backup Blaine Gabbert as the team’s next quarterback, predicting the veteran will sign a one-year, $7.5 million contract to return to Tampa Bay.
“Two years, $7 million ($3.5 million guaranteed) We will include incentives for starts, passing yards, completions, completion percentage and playoff starts,” Laine wrote on February 1, 2023. “This has been Gabbert’s home for four years, and he has done a great job helping Tom Brady prepare each week. Now he gets a shot to start again. He has relationships with the coaching staff and all the receivers, and he can help a younger quarterback learn behind him
“… There are other veteran options, but Gabbert makes the most sense here in that he and coach Todd Bowles have a great relationship. Bowles called him “one of my favorite players.” Gabbert is a strong leader, knows these receivers, has the respect of the locker room and can serve as a bridge toward the future.”
The Bucs Are an Estimated $55 Million Over the Cap
Brady retiring is better news for Tampa Bay than the star quarterback signing with another team for cap purposes, but the Buccaneers are still in salary cap hell. Spotrac projects the Bucs are more than $55 million over the cap which makes it complicated for Tampa Bay to make a run at another top QB1. There are veterans available in the trade market like Derek Carr, but the Pro Bowler’s $121 million contract makes him a problematic target.
“I’d expect the Buccaneers & Brady to agree to a restructured contract at a minimum $1.165M salary for 2023,” Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti said in a series of February 1 tweets. “This will allow the Bucs to carry his contract at an $11.9M cap figure through June 1st, after which they can process his retirement.
“The automatic void date on Brady’s deal will also need to be moved back from its current March 15th deadline. This maneuver allows the $35.104M of dead cap left on Brady’s contract to split up into $10.776M for 2023, & $24.32M for 2024.”
Buccaneers Also Predicted to Draft a Quarterback at No. 19
ESPN’s scenario also had the Bucs using the No. 19 selection on Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. It remains to be seen whether the former Gators quarterback will be able to play in the NFL right away. The Bucs would likely be hoping for Gabbert to thrive similar to what Geno Smith did in Seattle following the Russell Wilson trade. Gabbert could serve as the bridge for Richardson to take over as the Bucs long-term starter.
“Drafting Richardson and having Blaine Gabbert serve as a bridge makes sense,” Laine detailed. “Richardson is still a raw prospect but won’t be asked to start right away. The interceptions are concerning (nine), but he has a big arm and plenty of mobility, and his ability to improvise when plays break down brings another dimension to the offense.”