Things appear to be off to a good start for the Buccaneers, their current starting quarterback and their potential quarterback of the future.
Tampa Bay selected Kyle Trask out of the University of Florida in the second round of last weekend’s NFL Draft, using the No. 64 overall pick to do so. They say the best time to draft a quarterback is when you don’t need one, and with the team not having a ton of glaring needs, the time was seemingly right for the Bucs.
There’s always the potential for there to be some awkwardness when a team drafts a quarterback with a high pick despite having an established starting quarterback on the roster, but it doesn’t feel like it will be one of those situations in Tampa. Speaking on NFL Network earlier this week, Trask said he heard from Bucs quarterback Tom Brady shortly after the draft and the seven-time Super Bowl champion was already asking the rookie when he would be in town so that they can get together and throw.
New #Bucs QB & 2nd Rd Pick Kyle Trask in an interview w/ the @nflnetwork yesterday says Tom Brady has already reached out to him about getting together to throw... good to see the two getting acquainted— (@ZacOnTheMic) May 7, 2021
It appears TB12 is on board w/ helping out!#FireTheCannons @953WDAE pic.twitter.com/B1XgMIvkJf
“He actually did reach out to me a couple of days after the draft and was checking in on when I’m gonna get in town so we can get together and maybe do some throwing and things like that. It meant a lot to me. Not only Tom, but a couple of other guys have reached out, so you can definitely tell they have a great culture and a great group of people in this building and I can’t wait to get started.”
It’s definitely nice to hear that Brady and some others on the roster have already been in touch with Trask. The former Gator talked last weekend about what an opportunity he now has to learn from the greatest quarterback of all time, and for the G.O.A.T. to reach out to him is a good sign that he’s ready to help the young signal-caller however he can.
Trask was perhaps the most talked about pick in the Bucs’ 2021 NFL Draft class due in large part because the team is still in a Super Bowl window and has Brady under contract for two more years. A lot of the reaction was to the effect of: “How will Brady react to the team drafting the guy who may potentially replace him down the road?”
The selection immediately drew parallels to the current situation between the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. Long story short if you’re out of the loop, Green Bay traded up in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft to select quarterback Jordan Love despite having Rodgers, another one of the best to ever play the game. Not to mention, there were probably some needs on the roster that the team should’ve filled to do what it could to capitalize on an ever-closing Super Bowl window. Rodgers wasn’t happy at the time and things are at a boiling point now, one year later, as he reportedly doesn’t want to play for the team in 2021.
People wondered if it was going to be the same thing with Brady after the Bucs drafted Trask, but it seems obvious that there are some significant differences between the two situations.
For one, the Bucs just won the Lombardi Trophy and were miraculously able to keep just about their whole roster together. So, as the team goes for two in 2021, the majority of their needs were based in depth. Those needs were largely addressed with the rest of the picks in the draft, and there was a good opportunity to select a quarterback to develop over the next couple of years. A perfect storm. For the Packers, things weren’t quite that way.
Another difference was time. While Brady showed in 2020 that he still has a lot left in the tank, the fact remains that he will be 44 years old when this season starts. He has talked in the past about playing until he’s 45 and while he has entertained the thought of playing beyond that, 45 may be the target number right now. We don’t know that for sure, but if it’s not, the Bucs can deal with that in due time. With Rodgers, he was 36 when the Packers drafted Love and still isn’t set to be a free agent until 2024. There was no immediate need for a replacement in Green Bay. For Tampa Bay, the front office needed to at least have one eye on the future.
And finally, perhaps the biggest difference between the two situations is the communication—or lack thereof—between the teams and their current starting quarterbacks. Rodgers was surprised by Green Bay drafting Love, indicating that he wasn’t told about any plans to draft his potential successor. Asked last weekend about any conversations with Brady, Jason Licht had this to say:
“Oh, I think it’ll go very smooth. Tom’s the ultimate team guy, and I don’t think Tom is worried about anybody taking his job. We had some casual conversations throughout the past few weeks of if a scenario might come up where we could take a quarterback. I don’t have many conversations with Tom about the draft, but he was totally fine. He understands. He wants what’s best for the team. Tom’s gonna play as long as Tom wants to play. He’s earned that right.”
So, it’s clear that the Bucs at least told Brady they were thinking of selecting a quarterback of the future. And if Brady decides to play beyond 2022, the Bucs could simply explore other options by trading Trask and finding another successor down the line. The bottom line is, Brady was aware of this possibility and with all of the other factors added in, this may very well prove to be a phenomenal situation for the Bucs both in the present and into the future.
These are two entirely different situations we’re talking about here. From everything we’ve heard, the Bucs handled things in the best way they could and now look set to reap the benefits as their second-round pick gets right to work with Brady and the team.