A Soul Searching Finish For Team Glazer

July 15th, 2023

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Things could get very intriguing around One Buc Place in six months.

If Las Vegas oddsmakers are correct, the Bucs are staring into the abyss this fall. They are the No. 2 favorites behind Arizona to own the No. 1 pick in a 2024 draft topped by a pair of highly touted quarterback prospects.

It would surprise no one if Caleb Williams of Southern Cal and North Carolina’s Drake Maye go off the board 1-2 for quarterback-hungry franchises coming off awful seasons.

Bucs co-owner Bryan Glazer leans in during a chat with general manager Jason Licht.

And if Tampa Bay tumbles toward the vicinity of the NFL basement, Jason Licht shouldn’t hesitate to grab a potential franchise quarterback. Should the Bucs go 4-13 with either Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask under center, a shakeup would be in order that includes the head coach.

“It’s the toughest position to find and it’s the most important position on the team,” Licht says. “You see teams that in consecutive years take them (quarterbacks) in the Top 10.”

If the Bucs go 10-7 and win their third consecutive NFC South title, they would likely stick with the quarterback who got them there.

Still, there’s an ugly middle to this equation, one that would require real soul searching from the Glazers. Suppose Tampa Bay goes 8-9 and fails to make the postseason?

The Veteran Market

That’s a nightmare scenario for Buc Nation and the family that writes the checks. Mediocrity is a terrible word in sports. You’re not good enough to compete and not dysfunctional enough to grab a Top 5 draft choice.

The move from No. 15 to No. 1 or No. 2 would be prohibitive — even if your trade partners are motivated to move down from the top choices and accumulate draft capital.

At that point, it might be wise for Licht to inquire about a young quarterback with pro experience. It’s a small field, but two names come to mind.

Nobody is going to make Pat Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson or Trevor Lawrence available. They’re untouchable at this point because of their production and their age.

Kyler Murray.

Forget ’em. They’re off limits.

But there could well be some legitimate quarterback options for the Bucs, both harboring health concerns.

If the Cardinals play down to expectations, Kyler Murray figures to be available. He’d come with a whopping price tag and a torn ACL that required surgery, but he doesn’t turn 26 until next month and he’s the kind of exciting talent that sells tickets.

Murray signed a 5-year contract extension worth $230 million last summer and he’s already been named one of the league’s Top 100 players three times. The first overall pick in the 2019 draft won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and his career ratio of 81 TD passes and only 41 interceptions is impressive.

Known for his wondrous mobility, Murray boasts a 66.8 completion percentage that is tied for sixth-best in NFL history. However, Murray is 25-31-1 as a starter, with no playoff victories.

If Murray’s fifth season in the desert proves disappointing, Arizona would likely entertain trade offers for the former face of the franchise. And a rejuvenated Murray could provide a juicy facelift for the Bucs if Mayfield/Trask fails to shine.

Licht would have to evaluate whether Murray’s torn ACL was a fluke injury or a reflection of his daring style of play.

Besides Murray, another intriguing young quarterback just might be available after the season.

Does the name Tua Tagovailoa make Buc fans warm and fuzzy? Perhaps it should. When Tagovailoa has been healthy for the Dolphins, he’s been successful.

Only 25, he boasts a 21-13 career record. Last season, he claimed the league’s No. 1 passer rating and also led in average yards per pass attempt. The Dolphins were 8-3 before suffering a 5-game losing streak as Tagovailoa dealt with chronic concussions. He was inactive for the final two regular-season games and the playoff shootout at Buffalo.

Tampa Bay could serve as a destination for Murray or Tagovailoa to silence their skeptics and resurrect their careers. The more appetizing scenario would be to land a big-time quarterback in the draft.

“I would not be afraid to take a quarterback because you might as well have another shot at it,” Licht said just before the 2023 draft.

It didn’t happen, but there’s always next year.

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22 Responses to “A Soul Searching Finish For Team Glazer”

  1. spearman Says:

    “Jason Licht shouldn’t hesitate to grab a potential franchise quarterback.”

    Because those high first-first round quarterbacks always turn into franchise quarterbacks. Just look at Jameis Winston and Baker Mayfield. Oh … wait …

  2. Bojim Says:

    Too mobile QBs seem to always get hurt. Josh Allen runs too much also. Concussions are a Tua concern. Hope he doesn’t get anymore for his sake. Winfield too.

  3. Buc1987 Says:

    Caleb’s coming to Tampa!

  4. View from 132 Says:

    Exactly spearman…. I don’t agree with the entire premise of this article. Pat Mahomes was not a No.1 pick, and her was chosen by a team in that mediocre zone between bad and good. A team that stays competitive can use the draft well, and good teams do.

    Look at the Super Bowl winners in this century.

    Mahomes – #10 pick.
    Stafford.. #1, but didn’t win with the Lions.
    Nick Foles, 3rd round.
    Peyton Manning with Denver.
    Brady was #199, of course.
    Russ Wilson, 3rd round.
    Joe Flacco, 18th pick.
    Rodgers, 24th pick.
    Brees, 2nd round.
    Big Ben, 11th.
    Brad Johnson.
    Kurt Warne… uh, not #1.
    And of course Trent Dilfer, #6, but didn’t win here.

    So #1 pick and won with his drafted team – Eli Manning – and really was #1 for San Diego. So that leaves ZERO top picks that have one a Super Bowl for their drafted team since… Troy Aikman in 1996.

    All this we need a top pick or tank for Caleb or whatever is garbage.

  5. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    No to Kyler Murray, Yes to Tua. Bucs need to get rid of D White and concentrate on getting younger and faster on both sides of the ball. Get rid of pretenders like JTS and Gage.

  6. Hodad Says:

    Murray, and Tua? Ira, take the next two weeks off, you need a break. We all do. Season hasn’t started, and fans are hoping for the first pick in the draft, great fans in Tampa. Now Ira is looking to free agent busts, with injury issues before either Baker, or trask step on the field. I read a great book long ago called Be Here Now. Live in the moment, tomorrow will take care of itself.

  7. Lt. Dan Says:

    Does and often concussed Tagovailoa and an attitude waiting to happen, torn ACL Murray really offer more upside than a “goota prove it” Baker Mayfield. Me thinks not.

  8. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Big no to both of those options.
    And didn’t 8-9 win us the South last year?

  9. Beej Says:

    Buc1987 Says:
    July 15th, 2023 at 12:13 pm
    Caleb’s coming to Tampa!

    Who is likely to fail

  10. Bobby Says:

    Hey Ira, Bucs aren’t going to be close to having a top draft pick to beable to consider taking a top qb. That’s because Kancey is going to wreck opposing offenses and Bucs defense is going to be one of top def units in league. R-White is going to have a great year and lead Bucs to a playoff berth for 4 consecutive season. Bowles will be back next season too. Hey, just maybe just maybe Brady comes walking into one Buc place on July 31 or Aug 1. If not maybe Baler Mayfield looks like the qb he was supposed to be when he was drafted number 1 overall. Wouldn’t that be something. Go Bucs!!

  11. Bobby Says:

    Sorry meant Baker, not Baler, meant no disrespect, fat fingered that

  12. Crickett Baker Says:

    Great post View 132

  13. Fred McNeil Says:

    I’m with Lt Dan. Tua and Murray aren’t really better options than Baker. Equal, probably, but not better. Tua is better, maybe, but he’s not long for the league. Murray…..not long either.

  14. Kevin mehl Says:

    Good Lord ! Go get Delvin Cook!! Make it exiting for your fans!! Are Wealthy people really this Stupid!! Kevin 76 fan

  15. sasquatch Says:

    Murray is an overrated, overpaid diva and punk, take a pass. Tua is one more head blow away from retirement, take a pass.

  16. MadMax Says:

    Caleb or Drake…. I’ll take either one

  17. David Kilmer Says:

    Hi, I have been in the camp before it was popular that the Bucs will win somewhere 4, up yo maybe if lucky 6 games. Odds makers do well for a reason.
    With that said.,No matter what the Bucs say they are clearly in rebuild mode.
    I believe the Bucs brass are well aware of where they are and the draft reflects that.
    The draft looks promising a few years down the road. I don’t believe the Bucs will fire Bowles if they win 4-6 games. Let’s face it. He has way to many holes on the roster that no coach can make up for.
    You can talk about the offense all you want. Yes there is plenty to wonder about . However ,how about the defense!!!. Who is rushing the passer right now. As we speak there is no one . It would be nice if all these rookies answered the bell next year. However, history says not likely. The linebackers. Lamont can only play so long. The odds of him slipping more next year are good. Devin White? , does he play for himself or the team. Presently it sure appears his attitude will cause his demise. Who is there for depth. Yes the secondary pretty good. Depth, not so much. Interception, not so much.
    Prediction Baker Mayfield will be Baker Mayfield we have known. Traskwill replace him by mid season and prove he is exactly what we thought he was, a backup at best. Therefore, you will have an offense that can’t move the ball and a defense that can’t stop a good passing team forcing the Bucs to constantly play catch up with a new rebuilt team that puts heavy emphasis on running the ball.
    So you have an offense getting the defense behind early, the defense having trouble stopping the pass, resulting in loss after loss.
    Expecting the Bucs to win anymore that 6 games at most is totally unrealistic and I believe the Bucs brass is aware of this.
    The ending,Bowles stays with a 4 win season. The Bucs get a top draft pick and just maybe for the first time in franchise history they draft a franchise quarterback . The defense with the new young talent will mature and play well a few years down the road
    Would love to be wrong. However my money goes with the odds makers

  18. garro Says:

    Good on you Ira for not copping out on the tank BS.
    But I would not look forward for the sexy picks that have not won enough games with their stats.

    Go Bucs!

  19. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    This tells me to stay away from Caleb Williams since baker and kyler are basically the exact same player he is in college

  20. geno711 Says:

    Sometimes you had a chance at a franchise QB and you failed to take him.

    Biggest recent example to me was Josh Allen.
    We traded with Buffalo to get extra picks.

    We traded down but could have had Josh Allen with our pick instead of America’s Turnover Machine.

  21. Pittbucfan Says:

    “The more appetizing scenario would be to land a big-time quarterback in the draft.”
    No. The more appetizing scenario, imo, would be that Baker pans out and shows up like he did in 2020 and becomes the successful starter he was envisioned to be by being selected first overall.

  22. Jvato24 Says:

    Not sure how you can mention Kyler Murray and not bring up his perceived leadership issues and his not my fault, your fault mentality