Buccaneers had two quarterbacks in mind as backup plan if they missed on signing Tom Brady, per report

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to land the quarterback they desired in free agency with Tom Brady. Going after Brady as their next quarterback was a calculated risk for the Buccaneers and turned out to be a great reward. But what if Tampa Bay was unable to convince Brady to come to Florida? Would the Buccaneers have just went back to Jameis Winston? The Buccaneers had a plan in place in case they couldn’t land Brady, and as NBC’s Peter King pointed out in his weekly Football Morning In America column, Winston wasn’t even “Plan B.”

Teddy Bridgewater was the quarterback the Buccaneers were going to pursue in free agency if they couldn’t land Brady. Winston was in the plans, but he was No. 3 on their priority list. However, being the third option didn’t mean Winston was out as Tampa’s quarterback since the Los Angeles Chargers were in the running for Brady and Bridgewater had a few teams (Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers) reportedly interested in him.

Bridgewater ended up choosing Carolina, so there was a chance Winston could still end up in Tampa if Brady expressed a desire to go out west. Even if Winston did end up back with the Buccaneers, he was the fallback option.

“Arians loved him as a worker and competitor, and he had hope that he could be saved, and he knew the locker room loved him,” King wrote in the column. Tampa couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, even if Brady will be 43 in August. 

It’s hard to blame the Buccaneers for wanting to move on from Winston and try another option at quarterback. Winston had five seasons in Tampa Bay and finished with 111 turnovers (88 interceptions, 23 lost fumbles) in just 72 games. Even though Winston completed 61.6% of his passes, threw for 19,737 yards and 121 touchdowns in his five seasons with Tampa (86.9 rating), the Buccaneers failed to make the playoffs and had just one winning season with Winston as the starting quarterback. 

Tampa Bay hasn’t made the postseason since 2007 and hasn’t won a playoff game since Super Bowl XXXVII (in the 2002 season). The 12-year postseason drought is the second-longest in the NFL (behind the Cleveland Browns at 17 years). 

The Buccaneers needed a spark to help resurrect their franchise. What better way to reinvigorate a franchise and its fanbase than Brady? 

No disrespect to Winston, but his time in Tampa had run its course. 

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