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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 understand it’s highly unlikely, but if Tom Brady wanted to play for another team, what kind of trade capital would the Bucs be looking for? Would the draft pick be useful in a trade for another top name QB? Thanks for everything you guys do!

ANSWER: The Bucs would need to trade Tom Brady after June 1 to avoid a massive dead cap hit. Cutting him or trading him prior to June 1 would result in Tampa Bay taking a $32 million cap hit. Unless he agrees to a contract restructure, Brady currently occupies $20,270,588 of the Bucs’ salary cap room.

After June 1, Brady would count $8 million towards the 2022 cap hit, which would result in a cap savings of around $12 million. The remaining $24 million cap hit would be pushed into the 2023 season. The salary cap is expected to rise significantly in 2023, so Brady’s cap hit could be more easily absorbed next year.

So let’s follow your premise and suppose Brady wants out of Tampa Bay for some reason. What team would Brady want to go to? The 49ers make the most sense because they made it to the NFC Championship Game. That was also his favorite team growing up in San Mateo, California. San Francisco has some nice weapons in the passing game, an offensive-minded head coach in Kyle Shanahan and a very good defense.

Raiders QB Derek Carr

Raiders QB Derek Carr – Photo by: USA Today

The 49ers would also want to get rid of starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and the Bucs would prefer to start a veteran QB in 2022 because Kyle Trask, last year’s second-round pick, isn’t ready. I would not be in favor of the Bucs trading Brady for Garoppolo, who is a mediocre quarterback. If general manager Jason Licht traded Brady for Garoppolo he would get crucified by the media and Bucs fans – and rightfully so.

The problem for Brady if he wants to come out of retirement later this spring and play for another team would be learning a new offense and new teammates in a truncated period of time. Because of the Bucs’ salary cap situation, they can’t trade Brady until after June 1. That would give him even less time to get acclimated to the 49ers than he had learning the Bucs new offense and roster when he signed with Tampa Bay in March of 2020.

Another scenario would be Josh McDaniels, Brady’s former offensive coordinator in New England, making a trade for Brady. The Bucs could theoretically acquire Derek Carr, who would be a much better option than Garappolo. Brady already knows McDaniels’ offense, so the learning curve wouldn’t be nearly as steep. Tampa Bay would rather trade Brady to an AFC team rather than an NFC team like the 49ers. Especially because the Bucs will play the 49ers this year.

But would Brady want to live and play in Las Vegas? The Raiders made the playoffs in 2021, but lost in the first round at Cincinnati. Las Vegas is starting a bit of a rebuild with McDaniels at the helm. The Raiders are not as talented in 2022 as the Bucs were when Brady came to town in 2020.

The only way I could see Tampa Bay trading Brady would be to acquire another quarterback like Los Angeles and Detroit did swapping Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford. That trade also included the Lions receiving a third-round pick in 2021 and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 from the Rams. So I could see Licht asking for a similar draft pick package if Brady were to be dealt. But the guess here is that if Brady does play in 2022 it’s in Tampa Bay.

QUESTION: After Chris Godwin, what are the Top 3 free agent re-signings that management is focusing on?

ANSWER: There is no doubt that the Bucs view re-signing wide receiver Chris Godwin as a top priority. After all, he was given the franchise tag last year in free agency. I fully suspect that the Bucs will successfully re-sign Godwin, who is coming off a torn ACL injury. Expect Tampa Bay to pay Godwin in the neighborhood of $17 million per year.

After Godwin, the next Buccaneer to be prioritized will be cornerback Carlton Davis III. He’s Tampa Bay’s top cover cornerback and could receive the franchise tag. The projected franchise tag for cornerbacks is $17.25 million in 2022. Spotrac has Davis’ free agent market value at $19.6 million in 2022. So franchising Davis could theoretically save the Bucs $2.35 million in this case. Yet signing Davis to a long-term contract extension would allow the Bucs to lower his 2022 cap value and push some of that money into future years to help Tampa Bay out in the interim.

Bucs C Ryan Jensen

Bucs C Ryan Jensen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

After Godwin and Davis, Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen would be the next likely free agent target to try to get re-signed. Jensen will be 31 later this year, but is still playing at a very high level. The Bucs drafted Robert Hainsey in the third round last year, but he got very little playing time in the preseason and the regular season. It would be quite a gamble to start Hainsey in 2022, regardless of who is at quarterback. Jensen was averaging $10.5 million in Tampa Bay and Spotrac has his market value with a new deal at $10 million.

Safety Jordan Whitehead might be the next high value free agent re-signing for the Bucs. Whitehead had a great contract year with a career-high 74 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 14 games. Spotrac has his market value at $7.8 million per year. That might be a little rich for the Bucs’ liking. We’ll see how much they value Whitehead, especially with Mike Edwards on the roster for another season. If Whitehead moves on in free agency Edwards would likely start opposite Antoine Winfield, Jr. in 2022.

QUESTION: Maybe the question we should be asking is WWBBD (What would Bill Belichick do?) when he lost Tom Brady. The answer is he went with Cam Newton until he could draft a QB and start him. We’re already a year ahead.

ANSWER: That’s true. The Bucs wisely invested a second-round pick in quarterback Kyle Trask last year. This year’s quarterback draft class is full of question marks with no clear-cut top QB. Tampa Bay believes Trask is better than any of the signal callers in this year’s crop of quarterbacks and they could be right.

The only issue is that Trask hardly got any reps last season as the fourth-string quarterback. So aside from physical development in the weight room and working on his pocket mobility and a quicker release, Trask didn’t make many strides in operating in Bruce Arians’ offense as a rookie.

Bucs QB Tom Brady and HC Bruce Arians

Bucs QB Tom Brady and HC Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

To your point, the Bucs will look for a veteran quarterback to start in 2022 should Tom Brady hold true to his retirement. There aren’t many enticing options in free agency other than re-signing backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert and perhaps Teddy Bridgewater, whom the Bucs were considering in 2020 before signing Brady. Either Gabbert or Bridgewater would be a big step backwards from Brady, of course. But ether would serve a purpose as a bridge to Trask in 2023.

The Bucs leaked out word that they will be trying to land a proven, big-name quarterback this offseason to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. While I’m sure they are doing their due diligence in investing Deshaun Watson’s legal situation in Houston and exploring what it would take to acquire Russell Wilson from Seattle, don’t expect either situation to materialize for Tampa Bay. The Bucs put that report out to show that they are at least trying to get a big name to replace Brady. And they are legitimately attempting to do so. But the chances of dealing for a proven, upper-echelon quarterback remain quite slim. So don’t get your hopes up.

QUESTION: Don’t you think the Bucs can bring back enough key players and a new couple faces to attract Tom Brady back next year or entice a top-notch QB to want to be traded to Tampa?

ANSWER: The Bucs need to bring back enough key players regardless of whether Tom Brady decides against retirement or if the team can lure another top quarterback to Tampa Bay via a trade. The team must focus on continuing to build its roster no matter who is under center in 2022. While the quarterback is a very important position, especially in Bruce Arians’ QB-driven offense, football is a team sport.

Bucs ILB Devin White and Bills QB Josh Allen

Bucs ILB Devin White and Bills QB Josh Allen – Photo by: USA Today

This year’s MVP, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, wasn’t even in the NFC Championship Game. Nor were Brady’s Buccaneers. Neither of the top two quarterbacks in the AFC – Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Buffalo’s Josh Allen – were in the Super Bowl this season.

The point is that the Bucs need to find an upper echelon quarterback to replace Brady sooner rather than later. But that’s just one position of many that Tampa Bay needs to address in 2022.

If the Bucs can re-sign the likes of receiver Chris Godwin, cornerback Carlton Davis III, center Ryan Jensen, safety Jordan Whitehead and defensive end Will Gholston, that would be a great start to free agency. Tampa Bay could then possibly re-sign a few other free agents and look at the market to see who could be added to upgrade the roster.

QUESTION: Ohio State WR Chris Olave is getting mocked to the mid-20s, but not to the Bucs. Is he a fit for Tampa Bay?

ANSWER: The Bucs will definitely be in the market for another top notch, starting-caliber receiver to replace Antonio Brown. Even if the team re-signs Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay will need another receiver to team with him and Mike Evans. Bruce Arians likes to deploy three-receiver sets. Pewter Report has mocked Arkansas’ Treylon Burks to the Bucs at No. 27 in its latest 2022 Bucs 7-Round Mock Draft.

There doesn’t appear to be a clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver in this year’s draft class. Beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. But there could be as many as five receivers selected in the first round. Burks, USC’s Drake London, the Ohio State duo of Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave all have first-round potential. So does Penn State’s Jahan Dotson. The Bucs will be at the mercy of the teams drafting ahead of them to see who’s left. Assuming they want to draft one of the top receivers.

Arkansas WR Treylon Burks

Arkansas WR Treylon Burks – Photo by: USA Today

The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Olave has decent size and very good speed. Arians puts a big emphasis on speed at receiver, which is something Tyler Johnson simply doesn’t have enough of. Scotty Miller has very good speed, but not enough size or consistency to start at 5-foot-9, 174 pounds. Breshad Perriman is big and fast, but is inconsistent catching the ball and getting open. That’s created a need to draft another high-caliber receiver in 2022.

Olave, who caught 175 passes for 2,702 yards (15.4 avg.) and 35 touchdowns in four years at Ohio State, would be a good fit as an outside receiver. But he probably doesn’t have the size or physicality to rotate inside the slot with Godwin.

Arians likes bigger receivers to play the slot and help as blockers in the run game. The 208-pound Godwin is in the same physical mold as former Arians’ slot receivers like former Pittsburgh receiver Hines Ward (205 pounds) and former Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald (218 pounds). That’s why Pewter Report had the Bucs drafting the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Burks in the first round.

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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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Captain Sly
Captain Sly
4 months ago

Bucs can’t get stuck overpaying for system guys. BA has maybe a year of coaching left and then it’s regime change, so if we are talking about paying Godwin more than Tyreek Hill-Stephon Diggs-Devante Adams & Cooper Kupp he got to produce no matter the system see; Mike Evans. System receivers work as long as they’re in the system, Peerless Price was un-guardable while playing alongside Eric Moulds in Buf but once Atlanta backed up the Brinks Truck they realized he couldn’t get open.

Captain Sly
Captain Sly
4 months ago

Probably more fantasy than reality but Tom Brady for Derek Carr is appealing to me. Late Great Mark Cook wrote about this a couple years ago before the TB signing and I was all on board. I think Derek Carr would absolutely work in BA’s down the field offense with some mobility to boot. Good Article!

SenileSenior
SenileSenior
4 months ago

We opinionated fans love to play “what if?”. Here’s a scenario for youse guys. It’s inspired by the first Question above. Suppose a trade with Las Vegas for Derek Carr includes Kyle Trask? Vegas has Brady at the helm for a couple of years with a Lombardi in hand to show for it. Josh Allen rebuilds his team around Trask and he takes them to another Super Bowl in four or five years. Meanwhile, Carr leads our guys to the next two Super Bowls and wins one of them.   Would our short-sighted majority be happy with that? Where would we be as a franchise… Read more »

SenileSenior
SenileSenior
Reply to  SenileSenior
4 months ago

I said Josh Allen when I meant Josh McDaniels of course. 😳 Someday those of you who live long enough won’t be so smug. (Yes, I was guilty of the same thing not so long ago. 😎 🧓🏼)

twspin
twspin
4 months ago

Gettin a little irritated about all this Brady crap. The man’s long gone. And I hope he never returns for his sake. Get us an above average QB and a great Defense. Everybody knows that’s how we got beat in the playoffs…Our defense this year was slightly above average. They had a few great games. Rams had what? 7 or 8 sacks yesterday and a plethora of rushes. This is my last comment on discussions of Brady. My God, give it a rest!!!!!

buccaneerNW
buccaneerNW
4 months ago

I am still astounded that people are buying into the Brady non-retirement speculation clusterfest… There has been nothing to indicate that he’s not retiring other than NFL reporters parsing an innocent hypothetical statement Brady made… And now it’s treated as a real thing, and the other sources who say he’s, like actually retired, are ignored. This is foolishness. Until Brady publicly says he’s playing in 2022, he is retired an it’s final. Let’s move on and plan for live without him. If he actually does change his mind by summer, then it’s a bonus. A responsible reporter would point out… Read more »

buccaneerNW
buccaneerNW
Reply to  buccaneerNW
4 months ago

But for the sake of argument, if he did want to be traded, part of the trade would almost certainly have to involve a renegotiation such that the team would not have to absorb the massive cap hit.

bucballer
bucballer
4 months ago

Brady is 45 guys! There were doubters BEFORE Brady signed with TB. Let’s move on already with the Brady talk! He retired already! Next! Last question guys… is DB Carlton Davis lll really worth 17.5 million a year? I thought Whitehead played better than him this past season. I seen Davis get burned pretty regularly… just not sure I’d franchise tag him for that amount. Davis is good but far from great! Ur thoughts???