With a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the quarterback situation of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this now creates a void at the quarterback spot that they'll want to fill ahead of next season. As Tom Brady's legendary playing career winds down, it seems more and more likely that the first-ballot Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, and former NFL MVP won't be returning to the Buccaneers for the 2022-23 season.
There's no denying that the Buccaneers will already have their hands full trying to bring back star wide receiver Chris Godwin, Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski, and top-tier running back Leonard Fournette. So if they're able to bring all of them back, then finding a quality replacement for Brady is of utter importance if he is indeed serious about retiring.
So without further ado, let's take a look at the quarterbacks the Buccaneers should target during the offseason.
Four best replacements for Tom Brady as Buccaneers quarterback if he retires
3. Taylor Heinicke
After an epic playoff performance last year and a roller-coaster season with the Washington Football Team, Heinicke's time in the capital has officially come to an end. On the Buccaneers, Heinicke would get a fresh start and bring an exciting new style of play at the quarterback spot.
His mobility, poise in the pocket, and ability to thrive under pressure are all attributes that would pay off immensely for the Buccaneers, especially with the talent the team possesses on offense. With Heinicke under center, the Buccaneers would be able to run an efficient up-tempo offense that would continue to wreak havoc across the league. Considering that Heinicke's asking price may not be too high, this signing could wind up being a major steal for Tampa Bay.
With his time in the Bay Area likely coming to an end, Garoppolo would be an ideal replacement as quarterback for the Buccaneers. Granted he does have his limitations on offense and has proven to be a huge liability as of late, he has also had his fair share of success during his time as the starting QB for the San Francisco 49ers. Plus with the star-studded lineup the Buccaneers have, coach Bruce Arians would be able to develop a creative game plan to cover up Garoppolo's deficiencies.
Also, if the team is able to bring back Gronkowski, then that would also be a fun reunion between him and Jimmy G. They may even be able to relive their glory days from when they played together on the New England Patriots. Who knows, a change of scenery might do Garoppolo some good and even improve his play a whole lot.
Currently serving as Derek Carr's backup on the Las Vegas Raiders, Mariota is long overdue for another opportunity to be a starter in the NFL. On the Buccaneers, he'd be able to utilize his versatile skill-set, and with Mariota running their deep and talented offensive unit, they could become one of the highest-scoring teams in the league.
Whether they'd run a no-huddle or wildcat offense, Mariota would be rejuvenated playing under Arians and they'd be lighting up the scoreboard on a weekly basis. Still just 28 years old, Mariota would revive his playing career and re-establish himself as one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL.
1. Carson Wentz
Even though the Indianapolis Colts missed the postseason this year, Wentz was looking like his former self during the second half of the season and was in prime form. With the looming possibility that the Colts won't bring back Wentz as their starting quarterback, this could be another exciting avenue for the Buccaneers to explore. Under Tampa Bay's offensive game plan, Wentz would continue to play at a high level and excel while playing alongside several superstars.
This may be a high-risk scenario considering Wentz's injury history, but if he's able to stay healthy and produce consistently then the Buccaneers may reap plenty of rewards and even make another surprise run to the Super Bowl. It may seem farfetched, but between the amount of Pro Bowl talent Tampa Bay has on both sides of the ball, and Wentz's innate playmaking ability when at full strength, it may not be all that crazy either.