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 – 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 – 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 – 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?