Late last week, unexpected chatter emerged that linked San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with a trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Garoppolo is still expected to be traded this summer as the 49ers prepare to officially usher in the Trey Lance era, but a report linking Garoppolo to the Buccaneers, of all teams, was odd.
Garoppolo’s agent Don Yee recently refuted the report, as did long-time Buccaneers beat writer Rick Stroud. Garoppolo would have served as a strange heir apparent to Tom Brady for several reasons and the Buccaneers never had any real reason to consider making a move for Garoppolo.
The Buccaneers have to eventually search for a successor to Brady, but the timeline for that roster adjustment remains muddy. Brady returned to the Buccaneers this season after a short-lived retirement (40 days, to be exact). The 44-year-old Brady is somehow still performing at the highest level imaginable, having enjoyed one of his most productive campaigns in 2021 (at least from a statistical aspect). There’s no telling when Brady will choose to officially walk away from football, but the future Canton-bound signal-caller could realistically play for two-to-three more seasons, a scenario which would appease the Buccaneers, who remain Super Bowl contenders as long as Brady’s under center.
From the player’s point of view, it would make little-to-no sense for Garoppolo and Yee to accept a trade to a destination where he has absolutely zero chance of serving as the starting quarterback in 2022. Garoppolo is entering the final season of a previously signed five-year contract extension with the 49ers worth a maximum of $137.5 million. Should Garoppolo hope to earn another lucrative contract next offseason while re-establishing himself as a starting quarterback—and we assure you he does—the former Eastern Illinois product must play for a franchise that would allow him an opportunity to start in an ever-important contract year. He’d find no such opportunity in Tampa Bay.
There’s also the locker room dynamic to consider. Garoppolo, who initially entered the league as a New England Patriot via a second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, spent the first four years of his career (2014-17) playing second fiddle to Brady in Foxboro. Now 30 years of age and significantly more mature with legitimate starting experience under his belt, including two recent appearances in the NFC Championship game, Garoppolo undeniably has no interest in returning to Brady’s shadow. Reports regarding the relationship between Brady and Garoppolo varied from the two quarterbacks being the best of friends to being bitter rivals who refused to speak. Even if the two quarterbacks are indeed on friendly terms, bringing in Garoppolo would potentially open up a can of worms the Buccaneers have no competitive reason to open.
Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht is also extremely confident in backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who re-signed with the Buccaneers via a one-year deal earlier this offseason. Former 2021 NFL Draft second-round selection Kyle Trask is also on the roster as Tampa’s third developmental quarterback. Licht and the Buccaneers have no reason to explore the quarterback market for potential trade opportunities.
The Buccaneers are viewed as heavy favorites to capture their second consecutive NFC South division title and third straight double-digit winning season under Brady despite breaking in a new head coach in Todd Bowles. Licht did an excellent job keeping the majority of Tampa’s core in place this offseason. The Buccaneers appear primed to make another run at a Super Bowl in 2022 as a result.
Silly rumors often run rampant before training camp announces its arrival in late July, and reports linking Garoppolo to the Buccaneers qualify as the silliest imaginable.
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