The Buccaneers added their third free agent on the offensive side of the ball in quarterback QB Dan Orlovsky. Tampa Bay is no longer interested in signing quarterback David Carr, who was in discussions with the team on Tuesday.
On the first day of free agency, the Buccaneers had discussions with Giants backup quarterback David Carr, who worked with new Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Michael Sullivan in New York. But on the third day of free agency, the Bucs changed directions and signed Indianapolis quarterback Dan Orlovsky to a two-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.
Orlovsky studied under the tutelage of new Bucs quarterbacks coach Ron Turner, who held the same position in Indianapolis last year. Orlovsky guided the Colts to their only two victories last season.
He put up very reasonable statistics in five games as a starter, completing 122-of-193 passes (63.2 percent) for 1,201 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. The 28-year old Orlovsky, who entered the league with the Detroit Lions, is a seven-year NFL veteran that could be of benefit to Josh Freeman even though he has fewer pro starts than the Bucs quarterback.
Orlovsky has served primarily as a backup quarterback throughout his career also spending time with the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions, but did start in seven games for the Lions during the 2008 season. Orlovsky originally entered the league with Detroit as a fifth-round selection (145th overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft, spending three seasons with the team before joining the Texans.
In his seven years in the NFL, Orlovsky has played in 21 games with 12 starts. He has recorded 272 completions on 465 pass attempts for 2,880 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Orlovsky, who played at the University of Connecticut against new head coach Greg Schiano at Rutgers, figures to be Freeman’s backup as current No. 2 quarterback Josh Johnson is an unrestricted free agent. Johnson has spent four years in Tampa Bay and has played in 26 games with five starts, in which he went 0-5. Johnson has completed 96-of-177 passes for 1,042 yards with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Neither his completion percentage (54.2 percent), nor his negative touchdown to interception ratio, nor his winless record as a starter makes him an appealing free agent.
Yet, Johnson’s age (25), speed and raw athleticism make him an intriguing developmental prospect. Johnson has rushed 37 times for 254 yards (6.9 avg.) in his career and his running ability has largely been underutilized since he entered the NFL.
Johnson has expressed interest in going elsewhere to compete to be a starter, and San Francisco could be the most intriguing location as he could compete with Alex Smith for the 49ers starting job. Smith enjoyed a career revival under new coach Jim Harbaugh, who coached Johnson in college at San Diego. Johnson may wish to return to his home state of California and play for Harbaugh in San Francisco.
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