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The Buccaneers just wrapped up their voluntary and mandatory offseason workouts and do not report to training camp until July 25.
The Pewter Report Training Camp Preview is in development and will be printed and mailed in a few weeks, and while there will be some Bucs news between now and the start of training camp, the next several installments of Flynn's Focus will focus on 2009 in terms of the NFL players that are scheduled to become free agents.
That said, let's start with quarterbacks.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden has been known to have a few quarterbacks on his roster each year. At one point this offseason the Bucs had seven quarterbacks on their offseason roster, but Gruden's current group of signal callers could quickly dwindle in 2009.
That's because three of Tampa Bay's quarterbacks – Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown and Chris Simms – are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in February.
Tampa Bay released QB Bruce Gradkowski earlier this offseason and he quickly joined St. Louis. Jake Plummer looks like he's going to remain retired since he agreed to settle Tampa Bay's grievance against him for $3.5 million. And Simms likely will be released or traded before the Buccaneers report to training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. next month.
As of right now, the only quarterbacks the Bucs have under contract for '09 are Brian Griese and rookie Josh Johnson.
Here is a list of the quarterbacks that are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in 2009.
Charlie Batch (6-2, 216) Pittsburgh
Kyle Boller (6-3, 220) Baltimore
Brooks Bollinger (6-1, 205) Minnesota
Todd Bouman (6-2, 226) Jacksonville
David Carr (6-3, 216) New York Giants
Matt Cassel (6-4, 225) New England
Kerry Collins (6-5, 245) Tennessee
Ryan Fitzpatrick (6-2, 225) Cincinnati
Charlie Frye (6-4, 217) Seattle
Jeff Garcia (6-1, 205) Tampa Bay
Quinn Gray (6-3, 246) Houston
Rex Grossman (6-1, 217) Chicago
Joey Harrington (6-4, 220) Atlanta
Jared Lorenzen (6-4, 285) New York Giants
J.P. Losman (6-2, 212) Buffalo
Luke McCown (6-3, 212) Tampa Bay
J.T. O'Sullivan (6-2, 237) San Francisco
Dan Orlovsky (6-5, 230) Detroit
Patrick Ramsey (6-2, 225) Denver
Chris Simms (6-4, 220) Tampa Bay
Brian St. Pierre (6-3, 230) Arizona
Kurt Warner (6-2, 222) Arizona
Anthony Wright (6-1, 211) New York Giants
Garcia has gone on record several times about being unhappy with the way his contract is structured. He received a $3 million signing bonus last year and is scheduled to earn $2.5 million in base salary. He also has $2.5 million in unlikely-to-be-earned incentives.
His Bucs debut was impressive. Garcia completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 2,440 yards and tossed just four interceptions, three of which came in one game vs. Jacksonville. However, Garcia also only threw just 13 touchdown passes and missed significant playing time due to injuries.
Still, the Bucs have offered Garcia a new contract, but the two sides have not agreed to terms and it doesn't look like they're close.
Tampa Bay has $29 million in salary cap room, but it has some reservations about signing Garcia, 38, to a long-term contract. The Bucs also agreed to rework Garcia's deal at the end of last season when the team decided to rest him down the stretch after they had already clinched the NFC South division championship.
That decision cost Garcia approximately $1 million in NLTBE incentives he likely would have reached. The Bucs cannot just give Garcia the money he missed out on and then focus on a new contract for their Pro Bowl quarterback since league rules prohibit teams from restructuring a player's contract more than one time in a calendar year.
The two sides would like to get a new deal completed for Garcia so their quarterback is completely focused on football, but they're not prepared to write him a blank check since they know he's under contract and will not become a free agent until late-February.
McCown, 26, is a player some believe will eventually become Tampa Bay's starting signal caller once Garcia retires or leaves via free agency.
He completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 1,009 yards and tossed five touchdowns and three interceptions in place of the injured Garcia last year.
The Bucs love McCown's athleticism and feel he has a lot of upside, but the team wants to see him get the ball out of his hands in a quicker manner in order to avoid sacks. He must also avoid mistakes that result in turnovers/points for the opposing team.
McCown is battling Griese for the No. 2 quarterback job behind Garica, and if he earns it in training camp and preseason the Bucs might make signing him to a contract extension a top priority.
The Bucs have a few things going for them in terms of extending McCown's contract for a fair price. He is extremely loyal to Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and the Tampa Bay organization, and he knows that the other side of the grass isn't always greener from his playing days in Cleveland, where he completed just 49 percent of his passes and tossed four touchdowns and seven interceptions as a rookie in 2004.
Even if he falls to No. 3 on the depth chart, McCown could still arguably be deemed one of the top quarterbacks to hit the free agent market in 2009.
Griese has started for the Bucs before, so they might be comfortable going into 2009 with him as their projected starting signal caller again.
However, with only he and Johnson under contract, the Bucs likely will look at bringing in another quarterback or two next year.
In addition to Tampa Bay's signal callers, the three quarterbacks to keep an eye on should they hit the free agent market as scheduled in '09 are Grossman, Losman and Fitzpatrick.
Grossman, 27, has had a very inconsistent career, completing just 54.3 percent of his passes for 5,907 yards and tossing 31 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. Rumor had it that Gruden and the Bucs would have targeted Grossman, who led Chicago to Super Bowl XLI, had he hit the free agent market in '08, but he re-signed with the Bears before free agency started.
Like Grossman, Losman is a former first-round draft pick. His career numbers are slightly better than Grossman's. Losman has completed 59.1 percent of his career passes for 5,627 yards and tossed 31 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. Losman is also considered more mobile than Grossman.
Although he isn't as experienced or proven as some of the other quarterbacks on the 2009 free-agent-to-be list, Fitzpatrick, 25, could pique Tampa Bay's interest. The Bucs liked Fitzpatrick when he entered the 2005 NFL Draft out of Harvard. He has only completed 56.3 percent of his career passes for 777 yards and thrown four touchdowns and eight interceptions. However, Fitzpatrick is extremely intelligent, which is needed to execute Gruden's complex playbook. He also worked with Bucs quarterbacks coach Greg Olson in St. Louis in 2006 and part of 2007 before he was traded to Cincinnati. If the Bucs did decide to target Fitzpatrick it would be as backup signal caller.
Given the fact that Gruden loves experienced and proven NFL quarterbacks, and isn't shy about taking some off of the discard pile, no one should be surprised to see the Bucs express interest in trading for a few quarterbacks, particularly Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb and St. Louis' Marc Bulger, should they be shopped during the 2009 offseason. Both quarterbacks are 31 and considered to be on the hot seat with their respective teams this season.
The Buccaneers could wait to see if one or both players were released during the offseason, but they have the cap room and draft picks to pull off a trade for one of those quarterbacks should they decide that's what they need to do in 2009.
Want the inside scoop on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2008 offseason plans? Want to find out who the Bucs are targeting in free agency and the NFL Draft this year? Subscribe to PewterReport.com's Pewter Insider by clicking here.
LISTEN to Pewter Report's Jim Flynn each Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. on the Pewter Pulse with Dan Sileo on WDAE 620 AM The Sports Animal, and catch Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds each Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. on the PewterReport.com Buccaneer Blitz with Steve Duemig on WDAE 620 AM The Sports Animal.