By now, everyone knows the Buccaneers have a difficult quarterback situation on their hands. It will be resolved, more or less, over the next couple of months, but the eventual solution is anyone’s guess at this point.
With there still being a lack of clarity regarding Jameis Winston’s future, there are a ton of scenarios floating around as far as his potential replacement is concerned. Whether it’s a big name in free agency, an early draft pick or a trade of some sort, we’ve seen a lot of names in the mix. On Thursday, Bleacher Report mentioned a name that has been talked about, but only a little bit.
In a piece titled “The Ideal Offseason Trade Scenario for Every NFL Team,” Brent Sobleski links Tampa Bay with current Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. It’s a name that has been thrown out there by Bucs Nation’s own David Harrison, but it’s not a possibility that is getting a lot of attention. Here’s what Sobleski had to say about the potential scenario:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are difficult to read because no one outside the organization knows exactly what it plans to do with quarterback Jameis Winston. It’s hard to imagine the franchise sinking another significant long-term deal into the turnover machine, but he could very well be Tampa Bay’s best option this season.
Let’s stop there for now. Sobleski is right about the Bucs being difficult to read. But he says so because “no one outside the organization” knows the plans for Winston. It’s certainly possible that even at this stage, no one inside the organization knows. And as far as a “significant long-term deal” for the 26-year-old? That doesn’t seem like a major possibility. If Winston is back, it will more than likely be on the franchise tag or maybe (?) a two-year, short-term deal. Now let’s read on.
What if another opportunity arose? The Detroit Lions are in a fascinating position with this year’s third overall draft pick. With LSU’s Joe Burrow and Ohio State’s Chase Young expected to go first and second to the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins, respectively, the event really starts once Detroit is on the clock. The organization needs to seriously consider drafting Stafford’s replacement if the staff falls in love with one of the remaining quarterback prospects.
OK, this should catch everyone’s attention. Yes, the Lions are in an interesting spot with the No. 3 overall pick. They could certainly add to their defense, as is being frequently projected. If that happens, this scenario is dead on the spot. But they could go full-blown rebuild and look to draft Stafford’s replacement. Whether they like Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert enough to select them with the third overall pick, no one can know right now. But it’s a possibility, plus there’s a chance they trade down to take one of them—or maybe Jordan Love.
For the sake of letting this scenario play out, let’s keep going. The Lions select Stafford’s replacement—let’s call him Mr. Quarterback just for fun. Mr. Quarterback heads to Detroit, thus giving the Lions a decision to make. Either Mr. Quarterback waits behind Stafford for a year (or half of it) and then the Lions move on from the veteran in 2021, or maybe they want Mr. Quarterback to start at some point in 2020, perhaps waiting behind David Blough for a bit before then taking over.
Let’s say one of the latter scenarios happens. Then what? Reading on...
If that happens, the Buccaneers must do everything in their power to land the 2009 No. 1 overall pick. Matthew Stafford’s exceptional arm talent in Arians’ vertical passing game would be something to see.
Seeing Stafford in Bruce Arians’ vertical offense would definitely be fun. In terms of the most intriguing options, acquiring the 2009 No. 1 overall pick would be up there. But saying the Bucs “must do everything in their power” to get him? That seems like a little much. OK, what’s the proposed price in Sobleski’s scenario?
Potential trade: The Buccaneers acquire Stafford from the Lions for a first-round draft pick.
WHOA, BUDDY. Let’s pump the breaks a bit. A first-rounder for a quarterback that turns 32, well, today (happy birthday, Matt!) is a high asking price (especially with the recent injury history he brings with him). Maybe that’s what it will take to get him, but if that’s the case, the Bucs shouldn’t be the team to bite. There are other options out there that would be better than giving up your first-round pick, which is the No. 14 overall selection.
Now, if the Bucs can get Stafford at a lower price, then they should by all means do so. He comes at a much lower cap hit than Winston’s camp is rumored to be asking for. Spotrac has him at $21.3 million for 2020, while Winston is supposedly asking for $30 million-plus. Even the franchise tag would be north of $26 million.
Stafford missed the second half of 2019 with an injury, but in the first half, he was effective. He completed 64.3% of his passes, totaling 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns to five interceptions in eight games. Extrapolate that over the next eight games he missed and you have a season with 4,998 yards and 38 touchdowns to 10 picks. Do you think that kind of season gets the Bucs to the playoffs? It’s hard to say no.
So, that’s that. Stafford could be a really good option for the Bucs, especially considering the way his salary works out over the next couple of years. As long as he’s healthy, he can play at a level high enough to win games for Tampa Bay for the next two or three years (asking for more than three years out of him might be a bit much).
But Stafford for a first-round pick? It’s hard to see that being a risk the Bucs can take. So, that’s why this “ideal” scenario isn’t really ideal.
Thoughts, Bucs fans?