When the Bucs hired Bruce Arians in January, he made it clear that Jameis Winston would be the starting quarterback for the franchise. However, he also made reference to the fact that there would be at least one or more options ready to go behind him, if needed.
So, the Bucs are following through and bringing in a veteran that Arians is already familiar with from his Arizona days to back up Winston.
Gregg Auman, Buccaneer beat writer for The Athletic, reported first Monday afternoon that Tampa Bay will signing former Titans quarterback from 2018 and former number 1 pick of the Jaguars, Blaine Gabbert:
Nothing final, but expect Bucs to sign veteran QB Blaine Gabbert as a backup in next 24 hours. Played under Arians/Goodwin/Leftwich in Arizona in 2017, was just cut by Titans last week.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) March 25, 2019
Gabbert was the 10th overall selection of the Jags in 2011 out of Missouri and flopped miserably in his three seasons in North Florida with a 5-22 record before being released. Gabbert then hooked on in San Francisco as backup and part time starter for 13 games between 2014 – 16 with a 4 and 9 record for the 49ers.
Gabbert then signed with the Cardinals for the 2017 season, which was Arians last as head coach in the “Valley of the Sun.” He was 2 and 3, as a late season starter that year.
The well-traveled 29 year old then landed, as a backup for Marcus Mariota in Tennessee last season, and took over as a starter, again late in the year, when Mariota was injured. He won two games for Tennessee as they tried to make the playoffs as a wild-card team. However, Mariota returned for their finale’ with Indianpolis who beat them for that final playoff spot.
Gabbert was released last week, when Tennessee traded for Miami veteran Ryan Tannehill to backup Mariota.
So needless to say, the Buccaneers will be getting a well traveled vet with some experience that has played for four different teams in his eight-year NFL career with a total of 48 starts.
And it also fits the mold of him being a solid backup, but not a threat to replace Winston in a quarterback competition. That’s key because Winston was involved in just such a situation of back and forth with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick a year ago.
Fitzpatrick started the first three games, while Winston was suspended by the NFL and Winston was also later benched again, in October in favor of Fitzpatrick, as the Bucs tried to salvage their season.
Tampa Bay and GM Jason Licht made it clear in January that Winston’s fifth year option would be picked up and he would be their starter for this season no matter who the head coach would end up being.
That turned out to be Arians who is known as a quarterback Guru from having worked with the likes of Ben Roethlisberger Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning earlier in his career.
Tampa Bay has also re-signed young veteran Ryan Griffin, who they’ve had on their roster as a third string quarterback for the last 3 years, but think very highly of. Griffin has never played in the regular season for Tampa Bay.
So, the Bucs obviously believe in having multiple options, if needed behind Winston, in what is a critical year for his future in Tampa Bay.
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