This time of the year is high speculation time for football fans. Oh, sure there are still teams in the playoffs. There will be some exciting football over the next month. NFL officials will blow some crucial calls and a Super Bowl champion will be crowned. News flash, it wont be the Patriots this year.
For Buccaneers fans this time of the year is most associated with the game of speculation. What the team will do in the draft and which of the current free agents will be resigned for 2020. An impressive list that includes the likes of; Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, Breshad Perriman and Jameis Winston to name a few. So, with all this speculation and no facts yet to back any of it up. Why not go full Oliver Stone, conspiracy theory, not a chance in heck, but just crazy enough it could come to be.
Your 2020 Starting Buccaneer Quarterback is…
Why not Blaine Gabbert? The 30 year old, 6’4″, 235lb QB was drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. Coming out of high school, Gabbert was a five-star blue chip All-American. He was selected by Rivals.com as the 14 best overall high school player in the entire country. Gabbert would go onto the Elite 11 camp in 2007 and win MVP honors over Andrew Luck.
Ranked as the highest ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation. He would eventually go to school at Missouri. In his last season with the Tigers, he had 3,186 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, nine interceptions, 232 rushing yards, and five rushing touchdowns.
Forgoing his senior season he was rated by some as the top QB coming out of college and was drafted #11 of the first round by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Then, life happened.
Follow the Bouncing Ball
Starting with Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio his rookie year, then playing his second year under Mike Mularkey, and even a third coach his 3rd season in Gus Bradley. The Jaguars were the one team that made the Buccaneers look consistent at coach retention.
In 2014 Gabbert would sign as a free agent with the 49ers and coach Jim Harbaugh. He would sign another year in San Francisco, this time under new head coach Jim Tomsula. If your keeping count, that’s five different head coaches in 5 years. WHEW! In 2016 he would get the starting nod over Colin Kaepernick. This time, again for a new coach, the dumpster fire of an experiment that was Chip Kelly.
In Bruce He Trusts
It was in May of 2017 that Blaine Gabbert would become a Cardinal. He started the season 3rd on the depth chart behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. He would post some decent numbers that season, finishing the season playing in just 5 games, throwing for 1,086 yards, 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Gabbert would then sign with the Tennessee Titans for the 2018 season backing up Marcus Mariota.
After Bruce Arians signed on to be the Buccaneers coach last season, Gabbert was brought to Tampa Bay because of his experience in the Arians system. A broken collar bone in the preseason would derail his 2019 campaign, and his status for 2020 is uncertain.
In What Universe Would Gabbert Start for the Bucs
A universe where there are too many contracts to sign, a nasty negotiation exists between the camp of Jameis Winston, and the Buccaneer brass. Possibly one where one of the elite quarterbacks of the 2020 draft falls to the team at #14. A universe where paying Blaine Gabbert 5 million for one season, to toss the pigskin and mentor a rookie makes sense. Putting the team back onto the 5 year rookie QB plan, and having an extra 25 million dollars to keep every member of this defense in tack. This defense has the ability to run this joint. With the elite receivers on this team, what are we asking a veteran like Gabbert, with experience in the risk-it/biscuit system to do?
Lets be honest. There is a better chance that Brett Favre comes out of retirement, wraps his entire body with that cooper band stuff, and leads the Buccaneers in 2020. But as was stated at the beginning of this article. This was intended to be high conspiracy stuff. Its the season of speculation. Why should speculation be limited to sanity?
Photo credit: buccaneers.com