Bucs QB Kyle Trask – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

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Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds answers your questions from the @PewterReport Twitter account each week in the Bucs Monday Mailbag  Submit your question to the Bucs Monday Mailbag each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Here are the questions we chose to answer for this week’s edition.

QUESTION: I want to know more on the Kyle Trask situation. When do you think we can expect to get a better idea of where he is development-wise? All I hear about is whom we could sign/trade for, so that doesn’t sound too good for Trask.

ANSWER: Pewter Report had three articles on Kyle Trask last week. The first one contained quotes from quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen detailing how Trask developed behind the scenes. The second one had quotes from general manager Jason Licht on how the Bucs aren’t going to rush Trask. The third one was the Fab 4 section of the SR’s Fab 5 column, which had even more quotes from Christensen about Trask.

Bucs QB Kyle Trask

Bucs QB Kyle Trask – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The problem is that Trask just didn’t get many reps as a rookie. He was essentially the fourth-string quarterback behind Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert and practice squader Ryan Griffin, who was really the third-string QB.

Not only did Trask not get many snaps in practice due to his place on the depth chart, when he did they were usually scout team reps. That means he was running the Bucs’ opponents plays and not Bruce Arians’ plays.

Trask will get plenty of work in Tampa Bay’s offense this offseason. That’s when the team will have a better gauge of his progress. Trask won’t make real strides until he moves up the depth chart and gets more reps. It’s that simple. The Bucs drafted him last year with the idea that he would redshirt in 2021 and that’s what happened.

QUESTION: If the Bucs roll with Kyle Trask or Blaine Gabbert, could they just put their cap money on defense and make it the strength of the team? Old school-type play with getting short fields and takeaways for the QB that hopefully turn into points.

ANSWER: The Bucs believe that the defense is a strength of this team, especially when all of their starters are healthy. It’s doubtful that Kyle Trask would be in position to start this year. He’s essentially a rookie again after being the fourth-string quarterback last year.

But if Blaine Gabbert is re-signed to be the starter, he would come relatively cheaply – likely well under $10 million. The Bucs could use their cap resources elsewhere to re-sign starters like cornerback Carlton Davis III and wide receiver Chris Godwin among others.

Tampa Bay would have to change its style of play with Gabbert (or Trask) under center. There might be a little more emphasis on the running game without Tom Brady slinging the ball around. And the Bucs defense would have to be one of the league’s best units to help out an offense that certainly might not average 29.9 points per game without Brady in 2022.

QUESTION: Why is Blaine Gabbert, who is over 30 and never been successful at any point in his career, considered a viable option for the Bucs? Yet someone like Mitch Trubisky, who is under 30 and actually made the playoffs once, isn’t? Note: I think these are both terrible options.

ANSWER: The reason Blaine Gabbert is considered to be a viable option is because he’s been in Bruce Arians’ offense for four years. Gabbert has been a backup quarterback in Tampa Bay for the last two seasons. He spent the 2019 season on injured reserve. Prior to that, Gabbert started six games for Arians in Arizona in 2017. No other quarterback has a better grasp of Arians’ system than Gabbert does.

It’s true that Gabbert hasn’t had a lot of success in the NFL. He’s got a woeful 13-35 record as a starter. But he also played for some really bad teams, starting in Jacksonville where he was the 10th overall pick in 2011.

Bucs QBs Blaine Gabbert and Tom Brady

Bucs QBs Blaine Gabbert and Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

As Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen points out, Gabbert has been in eight different systems with eight different coordinators in his first eight seasons in the NFL. That’s not a recipe for success for any quarterback.

Will four years of being in Arians’ offense automatically translate into success for Gabbert? No, it won’t. At 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, Gabbert has the size and physical tools like mobility and arm strength to be successful. But he needs to be more accurate and make better decisions. Gabbert has completed 56.3 percent of his passes in his career, including 59.3 percent of his throws in Tampa Bay.

Mitchell Trubisky, a former first-round pick in Chicago, is a free agent. So the Bucs wouldn’t have to give up any precious draft capital to acquire him. He was the Bills’ backup quarterback in 2021. I’m not sure he’s an ideal fit in Arians’ system, nor am I sure the Bucs would have any interest in acquiring him and letting him compete for the starting QB job.

QUESTION: Russell Wilson makes the Bucs a Super Bowl team. Should we trade two first-round picks and two second-rounders?

ANSWER: It takes two to tango, and two interested teams to make trades. Will Seattle want to part ways with their nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback? And will the Seahawks be willing to trade him within the conference? The Bucs play the Seahawks next year, so it’s doubtful Seattle would want to see him in red and pewter.

How much draft pick compensation would it take for the Bucs to land the 33-year old Wilson? A pair of first-rounders and a pair of second-rounders would be a steep price. Wilson will be 34 this year and is set to make $19 million in 2022, which is definitely affordable for the Bucs to absorb. The Seahawks would take a $26 million salary cap hit if he were to be traded, though.

Wilson is under contract for one more season at $22 million in 2023.  Yet he makes an average of $35 million per year when factoring in his signing bonus and roster bonus money. He’s set to earn a $5 million roster bonus on the fifth day of the league year in 2022.

A trade involving a QB-for-QB swap like the Raiders trading for Wilson and giving up Derek Carr would seem more likely. Think about the Rams-Lions trade this past year that sent Matthew Stafford to L.A. and Jared Goff to Detroit. Seattle would need a quarterback to replace Wilson and this year’s QB class is shaky without a clear cut No. 1 at the position.

QUESTION: Will this upcoming year – assuming the Bucs just barely make it to the playoffs – be Bruce Arians’ last year with the Bucs? If so would Byron Leftwich be the success or Todd Bowles?

ANSWER: That’s going to be up to Bruce Arians in terms of when he decides to retire. He signed a four-year contract that has a fifth-year option held by the team. Assuming he still wants to coach in 2023 the Bucs would be inclined to let him do so.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and DC Todd Bowles

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and DC Todd Bowles – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

As for his successor, the Bucs currently have a trio of viable candidates. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has four years of head coaching experience with the Jets from 2015-18. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich had several head coaching interviews this offseason. Assistant head coach and run game coordinator Harold Goodwin is a great leader.

We’ve heard that Bowles would be the choice due to his experience. But that was awhile ago and things might have changed within the organization. The interesting thing will be how much say Arians has in choosing the coach that will replace him. Will he have any influence? Or will general manager Jason Licht solely make the decision?

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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Pete Wood
Pete Wood
4 months ago

I really don’t understand all the doom and gloom about the Bucs. They had a good enough team two years ago to lure Tom Brady and they’ve improved since then. They’re not just barely going to make the playoffs. This team is going to win eleven or twelve games. Am I crazy? We’ll see. One thing I do know is that we’re not going to get anywhere trading away multiple top draft picks for aging QBs. We gotta roll the dice and try Trask and Gabbert. You don’t need a great QB to go far in the playoffs if you… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  Pete Wood
4 months ago

If Seattle is willing to deal Wilson, it may not involve high draft picks at all – instead, they may want one of our players in a trade. It’s all speculation anyway, but I don’t see the Bucs GM trading away the team’s future to win this year, like the Rams did. The Bucs are building for long term success, trying to emulate teams like the Steelers and the Chiefs who routinely make the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl as often as any other team does.

Pete Wood
Pete Wood
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 months ago

Good point.

Captain Sly
Captain Sly
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 months ago

Trading for Russell Wilson would absolutely involve “high draft picks” there’s no other way to say it. Russ is still an elite level QB in the prime of his career, 9x pro bowler, 2x SB who’s making less than Jared Goff. Let’s just think about this OK. This isn’t fantasy football. Nobody’s trading away there Legendary QB for nothing. Their were teams willing three 1st rd picks just for Deshun Watson but for his legal troubles. Just think about this OK!

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
4 months ago

The fallacy of the thinking expressed here, that because Trask doesn’t have any reps and is effectively a rookie means he can’t start this year, is obvious. NFL quarterbacks usually don’t gradually transition into the starter role, it’s either all or nothing. A quarterback has to start somewhere as a rookie, or “effectively” a rookie. Either players are drafted up high (high in the first round) to start immediately because their predecessor was a failure .. or they are drafted later on when the team already has an effective starter and they’re waiting for the day when the incumbent finally… Read more »

surferdudes
surferdudes
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 months ago

If they see Gabbert as a viable option to start the season, there’s still no reason to rush Trask into the line up. It’s not if, or how Trask starts the season, it’s where he’s at season’s end that’s going to matter. I’m hoping Gabbert can have a Rich Gannon type comeback to his career. We can hope.

MIArmysoldier
MIArmysoldier
Reply to  surferdudes
4 months ago

Good call on Gannon.

Spitfire
Spitfire
4 months ago

Because even if Trask shows promise, they are still gonna weigh all their options. Also, if we went with Trask, we don’t need to load up the Defense. We just need to fill a couple holes on both sides of the ball, give Trask a solid Oline and a 3rd WR and a solid TE and RB.

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  Spitfire
4 months ago

I think it’s completely the other way. If u start Trask, ur going to need a stout defense as points will be a little more difficult to come by therefore it will be crucial that the Defense can can actually slow these good teams down a bit and not allow 300 yard passers in every game!

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  bucballer
4 months ago

It’s not about Offense, it’s about Defense! If ur Defense can’t stop anybody, then it really won’t matter who is under center! Defense wins Championships!

Captain Sly
Captain Sly
Reply to  bucballer
4 months ago

Preach!

twspin
twspin
4 months ago

Bucs would be crazy to mortgage high draft picks for Wilson or any other QB. This leaves us with Trask and Gabert. And yes, Winston is better than the both of them. Don’t get yer pities all in a bunch, Winston ain;t comin back. But he is better than the 2 we have on our roster. The only solution I see is for us to go all out and develop a Great Defense. Because we are gonna need one to stop people given the turnovers and interceptions which are about to come. The Rams are already showing us what a… Read more »

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  twspin
4 months ago

We just don’t know that as fact bro. Nobody knows what Trask can actually do until we see him under center. I’ve never seen such animosity towards a Buccaneer player that hasn’t even played yet!

twspin
twspin
Reply to  bucballer
4 months ago

No animosity against the kid. Hell, he’s never hit the field. I’m just sayin that Based on whats on the table, Winston wins out of the 3 by a landslide. Buc fans have tasted the flavor of Winning these past 2 years. And we like the taste. Not at all sure we can win with what we currently have at QB. But I do agree with you on one thing..We’d sure as hell better shore up our Defense.Because in the end, thats what brings home the championships.

Last edited 4 months ago by twspin
bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  twspin
4 months ago

I hear ya twspin!

76Buc
76Buc
4 months ago

As far as the head coaching decision, it’s always the owners. Not developing Trask was a travesty. If coaches and management were being honest, they would admit they were caught flat-footed by Brady’s retirement, like all the media, players, and fans (including me). If they suspected anything about Brady they would have acted differently. Opinions are like elbows in that everybody has one, and are usually worth what you paid for them (mine’s free), so I believe Brady wanted another year, but his wife pulled the string on his career.

scubog
scubog
4 months ago

Trask is “essentially a rookie”? And that’s supposed to infer that he is incapable of being the starter? Every year, all around the league, rookie QB’s are seen as the savior and their hopeful and desperate fans clamor to see them take the field. Yet, here in Bucville, where rookie QB’s have often been all the rage; two seasons with the GOAT, have many holding their noses at the thought of anyone else under center. Patriots fans, who are the most spoiled fans in the league, are already feeling pretty good about Mr. Jones. Just sayin.

Last edited 4 months ago by scubog
plopes808
plopes808
4 months ago

Mortgaging the future for an aging QB would be a TERRIBLE move. We need to shore up the defense and give Trask a chance to see what he has. The defense just has to be ready to pick up some slack throughout the process. We as Bucs fans have become spoiled over the last 2 years but it’ll be back to reality this season. Hopefully Trask is the answer, but I’d rather find out than to give up the future for a 30 plus year old QB trying to win now.