Right when Tom Brady announced his retirement, many Bucs fans and analysts started to wonder about what could be next for the team at quarterback. Many big names were thrown out there such as Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and even a guy like Derek Carr.
The issue with all three of those names is that there are many questions as to whether they will become available and if they do, would the Buccaneers even be able to acquire them? Would the Packers send Rodgers to an NFC rival? Would the Seahawks send Wilson to one? Will Derek Carr even be made available by the Raiders? If any of them were available, would Tampa Bay have enough assets to acquire one of them via trade? These are all valid questions and may lead to a reality where the Bucs 2022 starting QB may be someone who has been on the roster for a little while.
Enter Blaine Gabbert.
The 10th overall pick in 2011 by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gabbert never lived up to his potential while being the starter. He has always been considered as someone who has all the tools teams look for in a quarterback. He has a solid arm, can make some big throws on occasion, however, he has often battled injuries and played on poor teams but also struggled a lot with decision making throughout his entire career. Gabbert would then go on to play for the 49ers, Cardinals and Titans before landing with the Buccaneers in 2019. Gabbert has a history with Bruce Arians and in the Arians offense. Arians has repeatedly sung Gabbert’s praises during his time in Tampa.
Here is the thing though, if the Buccaneers want to keep that Super Bowl window open and win a lot of games in 2022, Gabbert may not be a great option at all. Yes he is a former high draft pick, but he is also 32 years old and is on his 5th NFL team. Gabbert’s record as a starter is also not very appealing as he is an abysmal 13-35 in his career as a starting QB. He has a 50-47 TD-INT ratio as well as 33 fumbles, while only recovering nine of them.
Gabbert has been a fine backup in his career, but nothing more than that. This Bucs team does still have a lot of talent on it even with some pending free agents having uncertain futures with the team, but it is tough to see a path where the Bucs are able to win enough games to contend for the playoffs let alone the Super Bowl with Gabbert as the signal caller.
Taking a look at the Bucs 2022 opponents, it features eight teams that made the playoffs in 2021, which includes the Bengals and Rams who are playing in the Super Bowl this weekend. The opponents also feature talented teams that just missed the playoffs like the Saints, Ravens and Browns. Nobody knows how any of those teams will fare in 2022, but how much faith could the Bucs have in a guy like Gabbert leading the way as they are trying to win now? Sure, the 2023 QB draft class looks promising, but the Bucs likely will not be picking high enough to land one of those top guys without trading up. Are the Bucs willing to essentially treat 2022 as a growing year with a roster that has many players in their primes?
Would the Glazers be OK with going from the hype of having Tom Brady, to Blaine Gabbert who has not started a regular season game since 2018? Not sure. But one thing that is certain is that the Bucs are still going to be looking behind door number two. The first time they did that, Tom Brady was behind the door. Who could be behind the door this time? Gabbert could certainly be that guy, but he should not be the first choice.