The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have their quarterback of the present, but the team could be eying a QB1 of the future to step in when Tom Brady retires. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported multiple teams in the NFC South are interested in trading for Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. With Carolina acquiring Sam Darnold, the team appears even more motivated to deal Bridgewater to another team just one year after signing the quarterback in free agency.
“And I know Tampa just won a Super Bowl, and somehow managed to keep the band together, but if Bridgewater is willing to move some things around to help from a cap standpoint, when why not let him go there as Tom Brady insurance?” La Canfora detailed. “Because it is definitely something being discussed internally in Tampa, I can assure you of that.”
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There Are Conflicting Reports on the Bucs’ Interest in Trading for Bridgewater
Not everyone is buying the idea that the Bucs would make a trade for Bridgewater. For starters, Bridgewater is set to have a $17 million salary next season, and any deal involving Tampa Bay would have to include a restructured contract.
No team is going to pay that much money for their backup quarterback. Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud shot down the notion that the Bucs are looking to acquire Bridgewater.
“While the Panthers reportedly are making QB Teddy Bridgewater available for a trade, the Bucs are not believed to be involved in any such efforts,” Stroud tweeted. “It’s more likely they re-sign veteran Blaine Gabbert.”
Bridgewater Was Reportedly the Buccaneers’ Backup Option If Brady Signed Elsewhere
We do know last offseason the Buccaneers showed an interest in adding Bridgewater according to multiple reports. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported Bridgewater was the Buccaneers’ backup option if Brady signed with another team. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians admitted last season that Bridgewater was “high on [our] radar” in free agency.
“The Bucs’ backup plan if Brady had chosen the Chargers would’ve been Teddy Bridgewater,” Breer explained. “Bridgewater’s fine, but the difference between him and Winston likely would’ve been minimal either way. Which means at 68, without Brady, he’d have been in no man’s land at quarterback.”
It will be interesting to see if the Panthers actively look to trade Bridgewater outside the NFC South. The Bucs likely would be a more probable landing spot if Bridgewater is released rather than traded.
“All of which serves as a lengthy preamble to the following: If the best trade offer for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater comes from New Orleans or Atlanta or Tampa, make the trade,” La Canfora noted. “Fear of trading within the NFC South shouldn’t be a factor in this pending transaction.”
The Buccaneers should not be ruled out for Bridgewater if the team could rework his deal. Consider these words from Arians about Bridgewater last season.
“He was very, very high on [our] radar,” Arians said in September prior to the Bucs-Panthers game, per The Charlotte Observer. “I’ve always [been a] big fan of his. He’s a bright guy, very accurate and doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s just one heck of a quarterback.”