On the first day of free agency, the Buccaneers have reached out and had discussions with New York Giants backup QB David Carr. Tampa Bay is looking for a veteran backup behind starter Josh Freeman.
While the Buccaneers are looking for some starting-caliber, impact-type players now that free agency has opened, Tampa Bay is also taking steps to bolster its depth at several positions, including quarterback. Sources tell PewterReport.com that the Bucs have had discussions regarding quarterback David Carr, who served as Eli Manning’s backup in New York under former Giants QBs coach and current Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.
Signing Carr or another veteran quarterback is not believed to be a priority on the first day of free agency, and a visit with Tampa Bay has not yet been scheduled.
Carr is a 10-year veteran that has played in 92 NFL games. He has completed 1,351-of-2,264 passes for 14,433 yards with 65 touchdowns and 71 interceptions over his career. The former number one overall pick in 2002 could aid Josh Freeman’s development due to his experience.
Carr, 32, also has some familiarity with Sullivan due to his three seasons in New York where he played in nine games and completed 30-of-45 passes (66.6 percent) for 340 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions from 2008-09. After one season in San Francisco, Carr re-signed with the Giants in 2011.
Tampa Bay needs to acquire a solid veteran quarterback through free agency that can step in for Freeman in an injury situation and give the Buccaneers a chance to win in addition to helping the young franchise QB develop behind the scenes. Freeman missed his first game due to injury last year and Josh Johnson stepped in, but couldn’t deliver a win in a 38-19 home defeat to Carolina.
Johnson, who is an unrestricted free agent, has spent four years in Tampa Bay and has played in 26 games with five starts, in which he went 0-5. Johnson has completed 96-of-177 passes for 1,042 yards with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Neither his completion percentage (54.2 percent), nor his negative touchdown to interception ratio, nor his winless record as a starter makes him an overly appealing free agent.
With Rudy Carpenter and Brett Ratliff as the only other quarterbacks under contract in 2012, the cupboard is bare behind Freeman when it comes to experience and a solid backup is needed to challenge for the third spot on the depth chart. Re-signing Johnson only helps if he can take a quantum leap under Sullivan. Johnson had a poor preseason and a disappointing showing in limited action in 2011.
Yet, his age (25), speed and raw athleticism make him an intriguing developmental prospect. Johnson has rushed 37 times for 254 yards (6.9 avg.) in his career and his running ability has largely been underutilized since he entered the NFL.
Johnson has expressed interest in going elsewhere to compete to be a starter, and San Francisco could be the most intriguing location as he could compete with Alex Smith for the 49ers starting job. Smith enjoyed a career revival under new coach Jim Harbaugh, who coached Johnson in college at San Diego. Johnson may wish to return to his home state of California and play for Harbaugh in San Francisco.
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