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March 3, 2014 @ 4:07 pm
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Pewter Report 2014 Bucs' Free Agency Preview: QBs

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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With the start of 2014 NFL free agency fast approaching, PewterReport.com reviews the Bucs' current roster and previews potential fits at each position. This feature takes a look at the quarterback position. Will the Bucs add a veteran free agent to compete for the starting job? Who fits best in Tampa Bay's plans?

With free agency scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. on March 11, PewterReport.com brings you its annual free agency preview by position. On Monday, PewterReport.com began taking a look at what Bucs will become free agents at each position, who the Bucs have under contract at the previewed position, then take a look at five players that could fit into Tampa Bay's plans, known as the Bucs' Best Bets. Tuesday’s preview is the quarterback position.

Backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky is the only pending free agent at the quarterback position for the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers are not expected to re-sign Orlovsky although it is not completely out of the question if they do not come to terms with another veteran. Head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht both have mentioned they would like a veteran in the mix, however most think that player will be a more accomplished starter than Orlovsky. 

Other than Orlovsky, the Buccaneers have last season’s starter Mike Glennon who will be entering his second season, and also recently signed Mike Kafka.

Glennon had a solid rookie season but hasn’t established himself as a bona fide NFL starter as of yet in most fans' minds, and it has yet to be determined exactly how the new coaching staff and front office feel about the former North Carolina State product. Glennon has the intelligence, arm strength and leadership most feel to succeed in the NFL, but if one of the top three ranked college prospects (Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater or UCF's Blake Bortles) fall to the Buccaneers with the No. 7 selection, the staff will have a decision to make. Part of the decision may depend on how Glennon performs during April’s mini-camp. 

Glennon finished the 2013 season throwing for 2,608 yards with 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions, but the question mark remains – is he a quarterback who can make those around him better, or is he just an average game manager?

Kafka, a former Eagles prospect, was signed earlier this year as a free agent but is most likely thought of as a developmental project-type player and another camp arm. Kafka has little NFL experience, with just 16 NFL pass attempts.

The Buccaneers will look to determine if Glennon is the answer at quarterback. If he's not, the team will most certainly look to draft a potential starter early in the May NFL Draft. And if that is the case they will surely be on the lookout for a veteran free agent that could man the position until a rookie is ready to take over. And even if Glennon ends up as the starter, it would still make sense to bring in a solid NFL veteran to at least help develop Glennon and be ready in the event of an injury.

1. Chicago QB Josh McCown
McCown appeared in eight games with five starts for the Bears in 2013, finishing with 13 touchdowns, just one interception and a passer rating of 109. That's pretty impressive numbers for a journeyman, career backup quarterback. Bears starter Jay Cutler recently signed an extension that pays him $54 million in guaranteed money over the length of the deal. McCown joined the Bears in 2011, two years before Love Smith was fired after a 10-6 2012 season, so the Bucs have all the intel they need to decide if McCown is the answer at QB – at least temporarily. The problem with throwing a lot of money his way is McCown’s age, as he will be 35 when the regular season begins. Another issue that needs to be explored is the fact that McCown could be a one-year wonder. Why didn’t he ever seize an opportunity throughout his prior 11 NFL seasons?

2. Philadelphia QB Michael Vick
Vick, who will be 34 in June, has played a full 16 games in just one season in his NFL career, missing significant time with a constant string of injuries. Durability is a big concern for teams looking for a short-term solution at the quarterback position. Vick can’t expect a long-term deal given his age and injury history, but could be a value to a team, like Tampa Bay, looking to transition to a younger starter. Vick also comes with baggage for his highly publicized dog fighting and animal cruelty charge that sent him to prison and cost him millions of dollars in salary and endorsements while with Atlanta. The Eagles were the first to reach out to Vick, giving him a second chance in the league, and by all accounts he was a model citizen, even handling a demotion with class last season after being injured and giving way to Nick Foles. Vick still is a unique talent, but an aging one. Still, someone will come calling, and already there have been reports of interest by Tampa Bay and also the New York Jets.

3. Minnesota QB Matt Cassel
Cassel started six games for the Vikings and threw for 1,807 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions and a 60.2 completion percentage and was set to earn $3.6 million with the Vikings but voided his deal to test the free agency waters. Cassel played for the Patriots from 2005 until 2008, and led the Patriots to an 11-5 record after filling in for an injured Tom Brady in 2008. He parlayed that into a big contract with the Chiefs where he struggled with injuries. It is doubtful that the Bucs would be willing to meet his asking price, but if he finds the market soft, he could be in Tampa Bay’s plans for 2014.

4. Jacksonville QB Chad Henne
Henne filled in for the oft-injured Blaine Gabbert during the 2013 season and put up decent numbers while leading the Jaguars to a handful of wins. Henne thinks he can be an effective starter in the NFL, but is most likely relegated to another backup situation in his next stop. He could come fairly cheap, and with his starting experience, he may be an option to help groom either Glennon or the Bucs' next quarterback. The Jaguars are reportedly interested in keeping Henne, but a deal has yet to be reached.

5. Seattle QB Tavaris Jackson
Jackson is an intriguing player for teams looking for an inexpensive backup that also could fill in effectively in an emergency situation. Jackson completed 60.2 percent of his passes in leading the Seahawks to a 7-9 record back in 2011. Jackson has good mobility, a strong arm and the experience to be a solid NFL backup. Jackson’s biggest downfall has been his inability to protect the football over his career however, something that the front office of the Buccaneers would need to feel the coaches could correct.  

1. Philadelphia QB Michael Vick
In an average-at-best free agent market for quarterbacks, Vick is the clear-cut favorite to draw the most attention from a number of teams, quite possibly even by the Buccaneers. Loaded with unique ability, Vick will have to convince a team that he can stay healthy in whatever capacity he ends up being signed to fill.

2. Chicago QB Josh McCown
Cutler's misfortune last season turned McCown into a desired target in free agency and most likely helped him earn a significant paycheck after his terrific season filling in for the injured QB in Chicago last season.

3. Minnesota QB Matt Cassel
Cassel’s gamble to void the final year of his Vikings contract could backfire on the aging veteran, but a solid resume dating back to his days in New England will help him find a handsomely paying job in 2014. Will it be more than the $3.6 million he was set to earn in Minnesota? We should know fairly quickly once free agency opens next week.

4. Minnesota QB Josh Freeman
Say what you want about Freeman’s 2013 meltdown in Tampa Bay last year, but the former first-round pick is still a talented – and young – quarterback that will be desired by someone once the free agency bell sounds next Tuesday afternoon. The safe bet might be Oakland where he would be reunited with offensive coordinator Greg Olson.

5. Jacksonville QB Chad Henne
The former Michigan star could very well end up back in Jacksonville as a backup and to help mentor what is expected to be a new quarterback in 2014. The Jaguars have the No. 3 overall pick and most expect them to take one of the young guns coming out of college in the 2014 NFL Draft and turn away from Blaine Gabbert.

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 17:44

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  • avatar

    But again if Tampa goes after Vick or McCown.Then Tampa will not draft a qb in 2014. SO OLB & DT or DE would be there 1st and 2nd Rd choices. PLEASE DON'T GO AFTER TRENT MURAPHY.I WANT WILL SUTTON PICK TO TAMPA.
  • avatar

    Well Guys I think Tampa should go thru draft and select qb Derrek Carr from Fresno State or Qb from UCF Blake Bortles. If Blake is still there at number #7. But IF Blake Bortles is not here .Then I would trade down to no#10 with Detroit and select QB Derek Carr from Fresno state. I then would select with Tampa #6 pick in the 2nd round I would go after Defensive Line/OLB Will Sutton from Arizona and with Detroit no# 2nd rd pick I would select a TE with Detroit Pick. Why would I do this. This Draft is deep in both sides of the draft. So getting Carr at number #10 then I would select at # 39 DT Aaron Donald from Pittsburgh or Will Sutton. Or even better IF Aaron Donald is still availabe at Tampa pick and also go after Will Sutton with Detroit choice and Tampa defensive is solid now with 2 defensive players on Tampa side. GO Bucs a TE,OT can be selected at #4 and #5 rounds. GLH
  • avatar

    The Bucs will draft a Q.B. where is the question. Out of this list of F.A. none excite me. Same goes for the draft. The only Q.B. I'd take at seven is Bortles. You can't coach Blakes size and mobility. To be honest I saw all of UCF's games last year, where I've seen only a few of the others games. Bortles skill set translates to the NFL game, not sure about the others. That said, Glennon I believe will at least be the opening day starter. Weather a draft choice replaces him during the season, or he flounders to the point a vet steps in will be determined by his play. I won't grade Mike on what I saw last year. Actually he stepped up well in a bad situation. Those of you who say he can't play by what you saw last year are the greatest Q.B. talent evaluators in the world, (joke). Remember Farve, and Brees were traded or let go by the teams that drafted them. Can't be to quick to say someone will never be, or become.
  • avatar

    To tell you the truth, I'm not enamored with any of these guys as anything but a stop-gap player for this season and nothing else. There will likely be other, more viable options available when teams trim their rosters after the Draft. As an absolute dead last resort, we could bring in Father Tebo(w) to once and for all convince Owlykat that the one-pass wonder will never be a NFL quarterback. Of the list offered here? I'd rather attempt to resurrect Josh Freeman.
  • avatar

    Glennon is still a work ing progress so a quality veteran back-up and a future option as a starter through the draft should be obtained. I,m guessing that McCown gets signed as the immediate back up to Glennon and a QB gets drafted in the 2nd or 4th round.
  • avatar

    To start, Glennon had a great rookie season for someone who few thought would ever start in his first year. His tools and resources were not ample to fully fit his skill set. Overall, he had Jackson to throw to; Glennon knew VJ would be able to make the catch on most plays. This off-season will hopefully endow us with another quality wide receiver and a quality tight end. ON FREE AGENT QBs. Vick is not an option. He does not want to be a back-up and Glennon is our starter period. McCown is an excellent option to be our back-up who could come in and perform. He has an excellent skill set and if given the opportunity would've brought Chicago to the playoffs last year. Cassel did have that crazy good year in NE in 2008, and if McCown goes else where Cassel is the best pick for a back-up. Where TB is in a good place when it comes to salary cap, we should be able to get either Cassel or McCown.
  • avatar

    Glennon is adequate and bigger holes to fill elsewhere like the OL/DL. We do need a back up QB, so for the time being why not resign Orlovsky for the minimum veteran contract and guarantee the money; he can be released later if something better comes during the preseason. I think we gamble here a little and lets see what happens in the draft with a QB in the later rounds and another after the draft ends with free agents.
  • avatar

    You all already know my view that Glennon will never be a winner who can engineer come from behind victories. Henne and Cassel have shown they are not starters. The best of the five above is the Chicago backup but he is not mobile and not a long term answer because of his age. Vic is an ex-con and too old. Of course there is another veteran option who is young, mobile, and very affordable, with excellent showing at his combine, two national championship rings and a Heisman trophy, as well as a successful NFL season as a starter. Tedford would only have to speed up his delivery but Tedford could do it. I am sure Dungy would approve too, but Lovie would have to be brave enough to face the fans who are anti-religious and intolerant. I am sure you can now guess who you overlooked, Mark.
  • avatar

    Not sure if you know this or not but, TIM TEBOW WILL NEVER BE AN NFL QUARTERBACK!! Remember when he went against our pourous defense in the preseason two years ago and only completed 6 passes? Why you sit here and dribble over him is beyond me. He couldn't even start in the arena league. I'd rather take any quarterback on this list than that clown. Never going to happen.
  • avatar

    Tebow did not make it in New England under the one of the best coaches in all of sports, if you think he could ever be a real option in the NFL you need to reevaluate that opinion. I would rather have Freeman than Tebow in Tampa. Would rather have Brett Farve in Tampa than Tebow. Would rather have anyone who is not named Tebow in Tampa.
  • avatar

    What about Trent Dilfer leaving his analyst desk and putting on the old #12 jersey again for us? lol
  • avatar

    I was very disappointed with the Freeman meltdown but, as a.rookie,.I feel Glennon did well with what he had. I would like that he gets a fair shot at.remaining the starter and quite possibly growing into marqee leader. Yes, bring in a.seasoned vet to push him towards getting better or beat him out for the starting position. But, let him know he gets a fair shake.
  • avatar

    Move along, move along. There is nothing here to see.
  • avatar

    i will be the first to say it... but i actually like glennon... he did his best with what he had....did anyone else watch the seattle game ?? kid didn't get rattled...let him grow...i say give him a good shot this year... back him up with matt cassell,henne, mccown, jackson......NOT VICK,,PLEASE. too much of a distraction.... grow our defense, our O-line, get a tight end and a good slot receiver....glennon will be fine.... give him a chance....nobody in free agency looks that much better,to invest huge bucks at qb would be unwise at this point... GO BUCS !!!!!
  • avatar

    I've been quiet since being taken to task (appropriately) for being too negative on this board. I am personally a mot more optimistic about Glennon than many of the posters here, and would rather spend $ and draft picks on the OL this yr vs QB. If I'm wrong and he doesn't work out, by the time that's apparent none of these backups will be able to save the season and we would be drafting for a QB next yr anyway so fewer wins would be better. Of these, McCown would be preferable. I can never forgive Vick for the deaths he caused and so am unable to root for him even were he in pewter and red, or whatever our new color scheme is : - )
  • avatar

    McCown or Cassel if the price is right. This team needs a lot of work. With Glennon under center it looks like a six win team.
  • avatar

    As much as I have yet to be sold on Glennon as a starter...backup is fine....none of the FA names would represent a significant upgrade to Glennon....and hence, not where I would spend FA dollars. Maybe the new neon numbers will help Glennon become more accurate on throws over 2 yards.....
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