It’s going to be stuff like this for the next month or so. Until the Buccaneers make an official announcement on their intentions regarding Jameis Winston, we will continue to get speculation as to what the Bucs are going to do at quarterback. And as that speculation continues, so will the connections to veteran quarterbacks - most especially Philip Rivers.
Rivers seems to be the front-runner as far as the “veteran, bridge quarterback” market is concerned for Tampa Bay. It seems to be the right idea as far as the franchise moving forward is concerned if they don’t feel that Winston is their long term guy. Sign a veteran for a few years, draft a quarterback this year to develop, then you have a seamless transition once said veteran retires or moves on to another team.
Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic made twenty bold predictions for the 2020 season. Number four on his list? Philip Rivers to Tampa Bay. Kapadia says;
Rivers would be surrounded by one of the best wide receiver tandems in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. He knows how to get rid of the ball quickly behind mediocre offensive lines.
It would instantly become one of the most fun coach-and-quarterback pairings. Rivers yelling at defenders. Arians yelling at the refs. Both of them yelling at each other after interceptions and failed third-down conversions. They’d probably go 8-8 but would have the upside to be the most entertaining 8-8 team of all time.
While I think the Bucs would certainly do better than 8-8 should Rivers return more to his career average of a 2:1 touchdown-interception ratio, there’s no question that Kapadia is right about how entertaining that team would be.
People want to point to Rivers’ 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions last season as an argument against him, but forget that in the two seasons before he had 28 touchdowns to ten interceptions followed by 32 touchdowns to twelve interceptions. Rivers has only had three seasons in his career where he had more than fifteen interceptions - he’s been a starter for fourteen seasons. Winston has already had two such seasons in just five years.
Much like what I said about Eason here, the same can be applied to Rivers. There seems to be an awful lot of smoke surrounding this rumor that you have to believe there’s some truth to it to some degree. Will it amount to anything? Only time will tell, but it appears many within NFL circles believe the interest in Rivers by the Bucs is a very real thing.