Quarterback Competition in Tampa?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go into the 2019 NFL season with one quarterback on the roster. Jameis Winston proved to the organization that he is capable of leading the Buccaneers by his play late in the 2018 season. Backup quarterbacks Ryan Griffin and Ryan Fitzpatrick are both unrestricted free agents. Who will Tampa Bay bring in to compete with Winston in 2019?
Let’s take a look at the free agents.
The 2019 market for quarterbacks will definitely be limited, but there are some names that could land in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers will probably take a look at the current starting quarterback in Philadelphia: Nick Foles. He has done just about everything to prove he is still a viable choice to lead a playoff team. Foles is a story unlike no other in the NFL. He went from retiring/ looking for another career to Super Bowl MVP. In 2018 he was thrust into action when Carson Wentz went down due to injury. Foles threw for 1,413 yards and 7 touchdowns. His career numbers are 11,165 yards and 68 touchdowns. He has a completion rating of 88.5%. Nick Foles would be a hard get in Tampa Bay due to the plethora of teams that will be undoubtedly calling him this offseason.
The next free agent quarterback on the market is New Orleans Saints backup: Teddy Bridgewater. He is still on the comeback trail since his 2015 knee injury that left fans covering their eyes. He is still young and can chuck the ball all over the field. In his lone game of 2018, Bridgewater threw for 118 yards and a touchdown. In his short career, Bridgewater has thrown for 6,268 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions. He has a completion rating of 64.6%. What sets him apart from other free agents is his ability to run and improvise outside the pocket. He has played with the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. It would be a tough sell for fans due to his inability to stay healthy.
This quarterback is someone that most wouldn’t consider, but the Baltimore Ravens are shopping Joe Flacco. The Buccaneers would be smart to get on the phone to inquire what the Ravens asking price is on the veteran quarterback. He’s had a marvelous career in Baltimore that includes a Super Bowl victory. He, unfortunately, has been benched for an unproven mobile quarterback in Lamar Jackson. Flacco has thrown for 38,245 yards, 212 touchdowns, and 136 interceptions. He has a career completion rating of 84.1%. In 2018, Flacco (4-5) threw for almost 2,500 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. Those are pretty good stats for someone who was benched. Jameis Winston went 4-5 in 2018. He threw for 2,992 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. This, in my opinion, is who the Buccaneers should take a serious look at in 2019 to start over or back up Jameis Winston in 2019.
The Buccaneers will sign one of the mentioned quarterbacks in this free agent class, but will probably look at the draft to bring in someone to compete. If they want to look at the immediate future Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has declared for the 2019 draft. The Buccaneers have too many other positions that need to be addressed before that happens (secondary and offensive line). It will be a fun offseason in Tampa Bay, so stay tuned for upcoming news from Bucs Life News and All Things Bucs.
There are some honorable mentions in this class: Brock Osweiler, Tyrod Taylor, or Ryan Fitzpatrick.