Delusion Or Reality?

February 25th, 2022

Free agent QB Blaine Gabbert.

Since the turn of the century, only two quarterbacks better known as game managers have won the Super Bowl as their team’s full-time starters: Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson.

And calling Johnson a game-manager might be a bit of an insult, but Joe understands why Johnson is thought of that way. He wasn’t putting up huge passing numbers john Elway or Brett Favre or Steve Young, or even guys like Drew Bledsoe and Warren Moon in the late 1990s.

Johnson won a Super Bowl for the 2002 season. So as the stat geeks like to say, there’s a large, nearly 20-year sample size to suggest that unless you have a top-shelf quarterback, you are just p!ssing in the wind.

(Nick Foles was a backup. And the Eagles won their division because Carson Wentz played at an MVP-level until he blew out his knee late in the season.)

What what did the Crows and the Bucs have in common when they won titles with lesser quarterbacks? Legendary defenses full of Hall of Famers. The current Bucs defense isn’t on that same level.

For this reason, Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders thinks it is best for the Bucs not to tease themselves. Rebuild now rather than hypnotizing one’s self into thinking the Bucs can make a Super Bowl run with Blaine Gabbert.

In other words, that’s living in NFL denial, Tanier thinks.

Delusion: The Buccaneers can win without Tom Brady.

Reality: They really could win the NFC South with, say, Mitch Trubisky at quarterback, because the division is putrid and their overall roster is solid. But that assumes that the organization wants to spend money and assets to go 9-8 and get pummeled by the Rams in the playoffs, or that even a fraction of the team’s big-name free agents are interested in sticking around for the post-Brady era when decent to excellent teams such as the Chargers and Bengals have money to spend.

No, real joy for Buccaneers fans should consist of remembering the boat parade, watching the team cannonball into a rebuilding cycle, and then heralding their return to relevance in a year or two, while the Saints are still extending David Onyemata’s contract through eternity in the name of cap compliance.

Joe thinks Tanier is onto something here. What’s the point if the Bucs go 9-8 and get bounced in the first round? Joe was listening to SiriusXM NFL Radio this week where the subject was NFL purgatory. What is that? When a team constantly goes .500 (or in the new NFL, 8-9 or 9-8, they can’t get over the hump but they are too high in the draft to acquire stud talent to get over the hump.

Generally, those teams also need a quarterback. You know, like WTF last year or a few years ago when Buffalo had Tyrod Taylor. The Bills were just good enough for a wild card and that was it.

Joe knows Arians has no desire for a rebuild. He’s 69 and is taking his career one year at a time. Joe gets it. Don’t blame him at all.

Let’s hope Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht has another surprise up his sleeve. The free agency dinner bell rings on March 16.

36 Responses to “Delusion Or Reality?”

  1. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I honestly don’t think we are a super bowl team w/o Brady.
    If Gabbert can be a game manager sort of like Brad Johnson, that should get us the NFC South.

  2. DBS Says:

    Gabbert can’t get us to the end of October before we are talking Draft. He is that bad.

  3. Ed Says:

    Not an NFL starter. Teams gave him a shot and he didn’t succeed. Bucs are built to win now therefore trading draft picks for a proven QB is the only way to have success in playoffs. Talent-wise Watson is most proven QB available. He would want to be a Buc and he showed when Hopkins was healthy he put points on the board.

    His off the field issues are hard for a fan base to digest but maybe he will mature and leave those behavior issues behind with a fresh start on a team with good character bets.

  4. Proud Bucs Fan Says:

    The Bucs should let all free agents walk and pick up all the compensatory picks they can get. But they will tell you the window is still open and bring in a QB they won’t measure up to Brady. And that will only prolong the rebuild that is obvious to true Buc fans.

  5. Craig Says:

    They said the same thing about N.E. Belichek freaked and brought in a FA QB.

    We know how that worked. Then they drafted a guy that our draftee outplayed in the SEC Championship. The Pats then came close to getting into the playoffs, just a spectacular effort by Josh Allen away.

    I would have more faith in Trask than in any FA QB out there right now. That includes Gabbert, though BA must see something other than the guy who was replaced by Blake freaking Bortles.

    Build the team up and don’t let Gabby get us too far behind before handing the reins to Trask.

    If it goes to hell, get someone else for 2023, not a big deal.

  6. Ben green Says:

    Ben has been making this argument for weeks. Why spend all that dough, to be a boarder line playoff team?

  7. New England Patriots Fan Says:

    The year of the Quarterback QB whom wants deals before the start of 2022 season.

    Lamar Jackson will not play until he receives a Josh Allen of similar deal 40m/y+

    Kyler Murray took a tantrum on social media as he enters year 4 because he wanted a Dak Prescott or better deal 40m/y+ as he knows about 7 QB are getting paid this off season.

    Derek Carr: is silently negotiating a long term extension he wants 40m/y+

    Aaron Rodgers: has stated he wants to be the highest paid player in NFL by wide margin and wants a new deal expected 50m/y+

    Mathew Stafford on the end of 20m/y contracts and off a Super Bowl would like to make 40m/y+ before the next off season

    Russel Wilson makes 35m/y if trade or not he won’t play next year without a 45m/y contract in Seattle or Washington

    Carson Wentz if cut or trade will sign a new deal current contract 32m/y

    Cousins if traded will be paid right away as as he in year 2 of a 2 year 66m contract which makes him a UFA in 2023. He will want a long term extension near 40m/y to play beyond 2022 or if he gets traded this year.

    Baker Mayfield: on year five of his rookie deal making 18m/y for his final season. If traded he will want a 35m/y+ or if he resigns with Browns.

    Jimmy Garopollo is on year 5 of a $27,500,000m/y average contract. If traded he will sign a long term 35m/y+ contract whoever he signs.

    Current Large Contracts

    Deshaun Watson: where ever he plays his cap hit is 41m/y+

    Patrick Mahomes 45m/y

    Josh Allen 43m/y

  8. Ash Says:

    These QB contracts look insane part of Tom Brady’s greatness was his willingness to take a smaller salary to make his entire team better.

  9. HC Grover Says:

    Like Orange Jersey w Red Pants

  10. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Build a team around Trask. Don’t mortgage our future over another team’s reject QB. We have a great core group. Fill holes through the draft and any FA that makes sense. Trask knows the system here. Let’s see what he can do.

  11. CChead Says:

    In a Sports Illustrated article ranking 50 QB’s in the NFL. Gabbert ranks 49, above Jacob Eason.

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    This scenario hasn’t been floated…..What if…..What if the Bucs think Trask is their future QB but simply isn’t ready to start yet….
    What would you do in that situation… would bring in a bridge QB….perhaps one to compete with Gabbert….so maybe a Bridgewater, Trubisky type would be acquired……buy a year….still competitive enough to win the division…

    Many will disagree but I think our SB window just closed…..

  13. Tackleblockwin Says:

    Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl, blah blah blah. I understand that making it to the SB is a big deal. But it seems to me NFL fans are becoming more likely to only care about that big picture dream. The mindset has become, “If you can’t make it to the SB, the season is a wasted year”. That to me is just absolutely sad and shows how out of touch many fans have become. Fanbases should be focused on development of young players, regular season rivalry games, trying to have a winning record, the quest for wildcard, the quest to win the division, trying to stay competitive year after year. There is so much more to the game of football than just making it to the SB. Every season is different, but at the end of the day only one team raises the Lombardi. Winning the SB takes years of work, the right people, and a ton of luck. It’s ok to be proud of your team if they don’t win the SB, especially if it’s clear they are doing the right things to become/remain competitive more years than not.

  14. Jordan Says:

    A year on the bench for Trask should have been plenty of enough time

    If we don’t believe in him, then draft another QB, but keep Gabbert

    We didn’t trade tons of picks or players for Brady, we just signed him. That’s what made it perfect.

  15. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Keep the picks unless you can get more picks. If Gabbert has to start, it’s not optimal, but okay. I sure hope Trask really is progressing well and it hasn’t been all hot air because the Bucs will be in a world of hurt if he can’t go.

  16. Marine Buc Says:

    Bring back our young free agents, draft well and keep the team competitive and improve our cap situation.

    Allow Gabbert/Trask to compete for the QB job.

    Hopefully the next season we will be able to sign a free agent QB if Trask is not the one…

    It will be difficult to bring in a top notch QB if our cap is a mess and the core young players are all gone.

  17. Mike Johnson Says:

    Arians luvs vet QB’s. But go with Gabbert and we are a 5 to 600 team at best. In order to win with Gabbert, we must have not a good but a Great Defense, sorta like the Rams have. Even then Gabby gonna throw quite a few interceptions which makes us a 700 team. Bucs will not get to the playoffs or superbowl with Gabbert or trask.

  18. stone crab sam Says:

    Once you’ve had the best,
    the rest is well just the rest 😉
    No matter who you get.

  19. Pa Bucs fan Says:

    Loser talk, the roster is solid top to bottom, average qb play could get them a home playoff game and once you make the playoffs anything is possible , please tell me last off season who had bengals in the super bowl? I’ll wait ..winning and losing are both contagious , please tell me all the good it did the Bucs during the lost decade to keep racking up sh!t records for top picks, ask the jags how that’s workin out, great players can get had towards end of first round ya know for all you casuals and weak hearted individuals

  20. Marine Buc Says:

    @ PA Bucs

    “Loser talk, the roster is solid top to bottom”

    I admit it is a bitter pill to swallow – but this roster is not as “solid” as you think.

    The Bucs currently have 26 free agents – 11 are starters (plus we lost AB).

    The Bucs currently have @ $3.5 million of cap space. Yes – we will be able to add cap by restructuring several contracts but it is not guaranteed we will be able to sign every free agent who hits the open market…

    It’s not “loser” talk – it realistic talk.

    Trading our next 3 first round picks and paying $40.4 million for Watson is “unrealistic loser” talk…

  21. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Joe makes an article about game managing QB’s but didn’t include a single sentence fragment about the biggest game manager in the NFL: Jimmy Garbage.

  22. Beeej Says:

    Just read that Wentz will likely be cut by March 13, saves them a $13 million cap hit (unless they wanna go another year with him)

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    The ‘delusion’ extends FAR BEYOND Bucs winning without Tom Brady. We not only DON’T have a SB roster right now, we don’t even have a roster right now. The only reason we’re even talking about 9-8 & whimsically winning the NFC South is because the other teams in our division screwed the pooch even before we did. (Poor pooch)

    Saints paid a king’s ransom for Brees AND weapons to support him. Falcons did the same with Ryan. Panthers took a different tact, but ended up at the same place. So now here’s your glorious NFC South in terms of salary CAP ranking in the NFL:

    #17 Panthers … $15.0 mil salary CAP left; 59 players signed
    #21 Bucs … $6.9 mil salary CAP left; 46 players signed
    #26 Falcons … MINUS $6.6 mil salary CAP left; 52 players signed
    $32 Saints … MINUS $76.2 mil salary CAP left; 57 players signed

    BTW, anything over 51 players signed is kind of irrelevant since that’s what the salary CAP is based on. What’s also irrelevant IMO (sorry JA) is players who are signed & who count in that Top-51 RIGHT NOW but who obviously WON’T be on the roster come Game 1 this season (when the salary CAP REALLY means something).

    Bottom line to me is that all of the GMs in the NFC South need to take Dave Ramsey’s ‘Financial Peace University’ course because they’ve obviously got a lot to learn about money management.

  24. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Defense Rules

    At least we won a Super Bowl as we traveled down the salary cap highway to hell.

    I can’t imagine being a Saints fan right now.


  25. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … ‘What if the Bucs think Trask is their future QB but simply isn’t ready to start yet’.

    Sorry TBBF, can’t buy into that one. Same argument some 49er fans seem to be making about Trey Lance (keep Jimmy G until Lance is ready?). In the last 2 years … Wilson got NO grace period (started as a rookie). Fields got NONE. Mac Jones got NONE. Mills got NONE. Burrows got NONE. Herbert got NONE. Tua got NONE. Lawrence got NONE. Hurts got NONE.

    Kyle Trask got 1 year learning behind Tom Brady (he should be signing Praise the Lord). Trey Lance got the same learning time behind Jimmy Garappolo, and Mond the same learning behind Kirk Cousins. Eason’s had 2 learning years behind Wentz. Fromm the same behind Josh Allen, and Love the same behind Aaron Rodgers. None of them are being paid to ride the bench.

    What we need is a fair starting QB COMPETITION this summer. Let Trask, Gabbert (assuming we re-sign him) and 1 other starter-quality QB (whoever we can afford) fight it out. IF Trask can’t win it, then MAYBE he’s not our answer, but he MAY be a viable backup for several years (hey, he’s cheap). IF we build a relatively decent TEAM in 2022, but still aren’t competitive (record-wise), then give the other QBs a crack at it. Worst that happens is that we suck (been there, done that) BUT might be in position to draft a decent rookie QB in 2023. OR we might pursue someone like Derek Carr (as long as he’s not into breaking the bank too).

  26. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … I don’t have an ounce of sympathy in my body for any Saints’ fan. And I’m sure they’d all say the same thing to us.

  27. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    True dat…

    I also agree on your take above.

    We need more intel on Trask. Is he the future or is he a career backup?

    This question needs answered sooner rather than latter.

    I hope Trask start 2 out of three of the preseason games and plays until halftime in each. We need more film on this guy.

  28. Rod Munch Says:

    I have no problem with a quick rebuild, and it will be very quick if they just go ahead and pull the bandaid, use 2022 as a year to clean up the cap. This was ALWAYS the deal when signing Brady, we all know when he retired, it was back to being the nameless, faceless, most losing franchise in the history of all sports, Buccaneers — at least for a year or two anyways.

    If the Bucs are smart, they’ll just write off this year as a loss, start Trask, understanding it’s most likely going to be a complete disaster. It is important, that for long term success, they keep Godwin, and I’d want to keep Whitehead as well since he shouldn’t be super expensive, and along with Winfield JR, you got 2 great safeties for the next decade.

    In addition the Bucs schedule this year is brutal, they’re losing a home game to have to play in Germany, this year is going to be cluster unless they can pull off a huge trade and get a top QB.

    But short of getting a top QB (and no, someone the level of Carr or Wentz is not a top QB), they should let all the other FA’s walk, get all those comp picks, get maybe the top pick in the draft if Trask starts all year, and now in 2023, you got cap space, a lot of draft picks, and if you then get at least a very good QB, you can be a playoff team, and with a lot of young draft picks, it could be a playoff team that is ascending.

  29. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … ‘We need more intel on Trask. Is he the future or is he a career backup? This question needs answered sooner rather than latter.’

    That’s it right there. We spent a valuable 2nd Rnd pick on Trask. If he’s NOT our future QB, I don’t want to wait until his 4th year to find out; we need to know this season. However, we’ve gotta give him a fair chance to run with the 1’s, and if he doesn’t hack it, find someone who will. But folks need to stop ASSUMING that he’s dogmeat. We’ve got BA & BL & Clyde & Tom Moore to figure out whether he’s a bonafide starter or career backup or a Ryan Leaf wannabee. I favor letting THEM do their jobs. The Glazer Boyz will hold them accountable in the end anyways.

  30. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    Agreed. I don’t care if you hate the Gators – I get it. But you cannot discount what Kyle Trask was able to accomplish his Sr. year playing in the SEC (the best conference in the land).

    When I look at KT’s very limited NFL tape I actually like what I see but it is way too limited to make a true estimate. He definitely needs to improve his arm strength but so did TB12 and most QBs coming out of college.

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    Marine Buc – Again, it’s not about hating on Trask, but his college tape is terrible from an NFL standpoint, he doesn’t throw the ball with any zip, and those beautiful pinpoint touch passes in college become INTs in the NFL. You have to zip the ball in there with velocity, and the problem is when you add zip, you lose accuracy. That’s why Trask fell to basically the 3rd round, because he has to be retrained on how to throw the football, which is what the Bucs were supposedly working on with him.

    If he can do that, then he’s got a chance, but like 98% of 2nd round QBs never do anything, and I think it’s like 99% of 3rd rounders. But who knows, maybe Trask is the exception to the rule. I don’t want the Bucs wasting picks, so I hope he is that exception. But he was also a 4th string QB last year who barely got any practice time and is having to relearn everything – going from that to starting in one offseason is asking a ton, and most likely ends in disaster. I know I sound anti-Trask, but I’m really not, I just don’t see him being ready any time soon – I mean maybe if he’s the backup this year, gets in this offseason and next offseason, shows in practice he can zip the ball all over the place, maybe you consider it next year – but doing it this year just seems like a 3-14 type of season. Which, again, I’m OK with so long as they’re smart and use this season to clean up the cap, and get all those comp picks.

  32. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Rod

    You can list all the negatives you want.

    Bottom line. We need to gather more intel on K. Trask before we dismiss him.

    I’m not saying you are wrong. I’m not saying you are right.

    All I am saying is – KT is already in Tampa. We already invested a late 2nd round pick. Let’s figure out what we truly have in Kyle Trask. The proof will be in the pudding…

  33. Wild Bill Says:

    Neither Gabbert or Trask got any real game time the past two seasons. Gabbert got some preseason game time, but only later in the game and not with the starting lineup. So how good is he? Who knows for sure. He may be terrible or he may be at or below average. Trask deserves some first quarter game time with the starters to show what is potential is. Neither of our two quarter backs have first team playing experience even in preseason. They should alternate first quarter preseason starts and see how well both do. You will never know what you got until they play with and against starters. Of course if the Bucs sign a decent new qb the whole situation changes.

  34. Connor Says:

    Brad Johnson had an overall solid career. He doesn’t get enough credit for our Super Bowl win

  35. Phred Says:

    Without Brady, we are rebuilding. Might as well let Trask play QB. He may be no Mike Glennon but…

  36. Oneilbuc Says:

    Rob Munch. Every thing you said about Trask was said about Montana and Brady. His numbers are what they are regardless how everyone trying feels. He was the number one quarterback in 2020 you can try and spin it any way you want but facts are facts. Trask played better than all the quarterbacks that was drafted before him according to the stats. Even when yall say well he had Pitts . But guess what he threw 9 touchdowns when Pitts wasn’t even playing because he was injured. And all the talk about Trask really was a third round pick is just crazy lol 😅 🤣! That’s like saying 10 is really 11 lol 😆 😂. He’s a second round pick regardless how you feel about it just like Jackson is a first round pick regardless if he went 32 . The only quarterback I will take over Trask is Watson and we don’t even have the money to get him. Yall need to at least give Trask a chance before yall say he ain’t good. How is Travor Lawrence is looking right now or Justin Feilds 🤔 ?? Remember Steve Young who a lot of Bucs fan though wasn’t good ?? You don’t want to make the same mistake again so that’s why give him a chance he suck than move on if not then we our guy . And by the way this team is not winning a superbowl this year in my opinion so all this talk about we ready to win now is a joke!!