With Super Bowl LVII long gone, the 2023 NFL season is just around the corner. Franchises will have plenty of time to address their needs via the draft, free agency or trade market this offseason, as is the case for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In 2022, the Bucs clinched the NFC South division despite finishing with a losing 8-9 record. They then fell to the Dallas Cowboys 31-14 at Raymond James Stadium in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Following the team’s elimination, Tampa Bay is going through some major changes. The Buccaneers are reportedly waiving leading-rusher Leonard Fournette and could be losing linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Jamel Dean in free agency.
Most notably, quarterback Tom Brady announced he is retiring “for good” this time. With him under center, the team made it to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons after a 12-year absence. That includes winning Super Bowl LV, just the second title in franchise history.
The Bucs have some major shoes to fill without Brady. Still, there are some players who could at least provide some solid playmaking in 2023.
With that being said, here is one free agent who can help fill the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ biggest offseason need.
1 free agent who can help fill Buccaneers’ biggest offseason need: QB Jimmy Garoppolo
The 2023 free agency class has many quarterbacks who are already off the table for the Buccaneers.
Lamar Jackson is reportedly getting the franchise tag from the Baltimore Ravens. Although he could still be acquired via trade, it seems that Tampa Bay is leaning toward a rebuild rather than being a contender post-Brady. Other names such as Derek Carr and Geno Smith seem locked in with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively.
As a result, a player who some saw as Brady’s successor with the New England Patriots could emerge in Tampa Bay. Jimmy Garoppolo played for the Patriots from 2014 to 2016. In that span, he appeared in 17 total games, including going 2-0 as a starter.
With a limited role behind Brady, Garoppolo joined the San Francisco 49ers via trade and led the team to a Super Bowl appearance in his first fully healthy season. He also took the Niners to the NFC Championship Game every season he was a full-time starter.
However, in 2022, San Francisco moved Garoppolo to the bench in favor of Trey Lance. After the second-year quarterback went down with a season-ending injury, Garoppolo once again was the starter. The Niners would end up going 7-3 with him in the starting lineup before he also had a major injury.
With Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy emerging in San Francisco, it seems Garoppolo could be in a different uniform in 2023. That is where the Buccaneers come in. He could regain his status as a starter in the league as Tampa Bay only has Kyle Trask under contract at the position.
Trask has started just one NFL game in two years in the league. Due to his lack of experience, Tampa Bay could go after a veteran to lead the team in 2023, even if it is a rebuilding year for the organization. Garoppolo could be a short-term solution for the Bucs until they find their post-Brady franchise quarterback.
All things considered, Jimmy Garoppolo is the free agent who can help fill the Buccaneers’ biggest offseason need. While it is not in New England, he would finally have the chance of taking over Brady’s team. Most importantly for Tampa Bay, it would have an experienced quarterback who could help the youngsters in this transition period.