The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are considered a potential destination for a two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback.
As noted by Dan Graziano of ESPN on Friday, June 10, Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield could have a variety of teams vying for their services outside of the two most-mentioned teams, the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers. In fact, according to Graziano, the Buccaneers could be a landing spot for either quarterback.
Graziano attributes the idea that the Buccaneers are preparing themselves for a new starting quarterback entering 2023, assuming Tom Brady retires.
“They’re (Vikings) set this season with Kirk Cousins but could move on from him after the year,” Graziano said. “This is an example of a place where Mayfield or Garoppolo wouldn’t start right away but could position himself as the team’s starter in 2023, the way Winston did with the Saints in 2020. That could be possible elsewhere, including with the Buccaneers, Eagles, Cardinals, Titans and Raiders. ”
Graziano explains that this possible scenario wouldn’t be via trade; instead, the Buccaneers would sign Garoppolo. Most executives believe the San Francisco 49ers quarterback will be released, rather than traded.
“The majority of the people to whom I spoke for this story believe both players will likely end up being released,” says Graziano. “A couple of people thought Garoppolo might still draw trade interest, provided an acquiring team could work out something to knock down the salary or spread it out over a couple of years.”
Garoppolo Entered NFL as Tom Brady’s Backup
The Buccaneers acquiring Garoppolo would be an ironic twist to things considering the 30-year-old served as Tom Brady’s backup with the New England Patriots during the first four seasons of his career. He was initially drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft to serve as Brady’s successor. In this scenario, he would literally fill that role with the Buccaneers.
The veteran quarterback has been available via trade since the start of the offseason, but shoulder surgery and an active carousel for quarterbacks have led to diminished interest in the former Super Bowl starter.
Garoppolo has struggled to stay healthy over the course of his career, suffering major injuries in two of his last four seasons as starter for the Niners. Garoppolo has missed 25 games of a possible 65 games during the past four years.
However, when he’s healthy, there’s no doubting his abilities. Garoppolo led the Niners within one touchdown of winning Super Bowl LIV at the conclusion of the 2019 season. More recently, he led San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game.
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Jimmy G Would Be Upgrade Over Bucs’ Current Backups
According to Pro Football Focus, Garoppolo posted a 74.9 offensive grade last season, ranking 16th among all quarterbacks. During the 2019 season, Garoppolo posted a 77.9 offensive grade, ranking 13th among all quarterbacks.
In other words, Garoppolo would represent an upgrade over journeyman quarterback Blaine Gabbert and 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask.
There are clear limitations with Garoppolo at quarterback, as he struggles with turnovers at the worst of times – he threw an interception to seal the game versus the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game – but his success leading teams can’t be ignored.
The idea of the Buccaneers landing Garoppolo only becomes realistic if he’s released. If the veteran quarterback receives interest from teams around the league via trade, it can be safely assumed Tampa Bay will be out of the running.