It’s official, again. Tom Brady has retired, shutting the door on one last run with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So where does that leave the team? Are they rebuilding or reloading? At this point in time, there is a lot of uncertainty to that question. However, there may be a way that lets fans know which way they are actually leaning.
Moving The Dial
In order to get a better understanding of the situation fans will need to start paying attention to the free agents this team retains, lets walk, and more importantly who they do or don’t bring in. The biggest clue being the position of quarterback.
Does NOT Move The Dial
Blaine Gabbert is a free agent. He has been with the team for quite some time. Four seasons to be exact. The new offensive coordinator may want to bring back a player like Gabbert because of his familiarity with the players. He may be viewed as a decent back up option for whom ever comes in whether or not they roll with Kyle Trask, draft a quarterback they want, or bring in a starting caliber free agent quarterback.
The new offensive coordinator may come in with another veteran (nonstarter quality) quarterback in mind. If the player is on the same caliber as Gabbert that player is most likely there for mentorship and as a solid option as number two. Gabbert may not want to come back either and could follow Byron Leftwich if he’s able to.
Still DOESN’T Move The Dial
Kyle Trask is still waiting in the wings. The second round draft pick is a viable option for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they move forward. He does posses potential as his draft report indicates he has prototypical size some arm strength and shows touch when needed. In college he showed he feels pressure and can step up in the pocket but needs to work on his footwork. The question is how much did he progress the last two years. Nay sayers point to games in which Trask has appeared with players who don’t make the roster and third stringers against mostly starting caliber players during his one appearance in regular season. Either way his retention (if he’s not traded) indicates nothing.
First, he’s on a rookie contract and is cheap considering the cap situation. Second, we don’t know how the incoming offensive coordinator will feel about him. He’ll be retained. Now he may be viewed as a starter moving forward so even that type of announcement does not mean rebuild or reload. We’ll have to dig deeper into other moves the team makes. But don’t get worked up about phrases like “quarterback competition” when they are brought up long before camps start.
A True Indicator
There are quite a few free agent quarterbacks this offseason. If the Buccaneers sign one, who this team brings in could really indicate their posture. For example, if the team brings in (if they can afford to) one of two players such as Baker Mayfield (with a Todd Monken signing) or Jimmy Garoppolo than this team is trying to reload.
Now if they bring in anyone else, even with starting experience, they are likely a mentor for Trask or a bridge for whomever they may draft. If they bring in one of the two mention AND draft a quarterback it’s a mixed signal. They could bring in those two and draft a quarterback to groom also. It’s unlikely the Buccaneers move up for a quarterback so it may be a player that falls in the mid rounds like Tanner McKee or Georgia’s Stetson Bennett (again tying to Monken).
The Biggest Indicator
If the team moves on trading for a veteran quarterback like Derek Carr then there is no discussion necessary. If your willing to give up draft picks for a player like that it sends a message that we are still here to compete. No rebuild, full steam ahead.
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