While Tom Brady continues to lead the Buccaneers during the 2022 season, there’s no guarantee the 45-year-old quarterback will return for a 24th season next year. With no commitment from the seven-time Super Bowl champion, Tampa Bay may be forced to look for a new franchise quarterback following Brady’s departure.
Some have speculated that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson could be a possible option for the Buccaneers. However, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic, a move for Jackson is highly unlikely for salary cap reasons.
“Lots of wishful questions about Bucs and Lamar Jackson,” said Auman on Sep. 11. “Still likely he returns with Baltimore, and if he doesn’t, Bucs are already $44 million over the 2023 cap, which doesn’t line up well with a huge contract. They might add a QB next year, but not one quite that expensive.”
Jackson Rejected Ravens’ Monster Contract Offer
The 25-year-old Jackson is playing out the final year of his contract with the Ravens after Jackson turned down a five-year extension worth over $250 million and $133 million guaranteed.
“The extension, which ran through the 2027 season, would have increased the total value of Jackson’s deal to just under $274 million over six years, according to sources. Jackson would have played out the $23 million fifth-year option on his rookie deal before the extension started in 2023.”
For perspective, Jackson declined an offer that would have paid him a higher annual average than both Russell Wilson ($48.5 million, second-highest in NFL) and Kyler Murray ($46.1 million, third-highest in NFL), who each received new deals this offseason.
“The extension years in the Ravens’ proposal would have paid Jackson a higher average salary than the deals signed this summer by Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and also included more money guaranteed at signing, according to sources.”
Jackson Wants Guaranteed Money Similar to Watson
Jackson is easily one of the top quarterbacks in the league. The former NFL MVP — he won it in 2019 as the youngest MVP in NFL history — has a 37-12 record (.755) as a starting quarterback. He’s arguably the best dual-threat quarterback in the league, having run for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
While the big reason Jackson did not accept the Ravens’ contract offer was due to the lack of guaranteed money in comparison to what Deshaun Watson received from the Cleveland Browns ($230 million guaranteed), it’s safe to assume Jackson’s next contract will see him earn roughly $50 million per season.
The Buccaneers’ current backups are veteran Blaine Gabbert and former second-round draft pick Kyle Trask. The 32-year-old Gabbert previously flamed out as a starting quarterback with the Jacksonville Jaguars and has largely served as a backup since the 2013 season. Gabbert hasn’t started a game since the 2018 season.
Meanwhile, Trask has yet to throw a pass in an NFL regular season game and wasn’t exactly impressive in preseason duty against backup defensive players. The 24-year-old quarterback threw for just one touchdown on 67 pass attempts (1.5 touchdown percentage) for a 76.5 quarterback rating in the preseason.
In other words, if Brady retires, the Buccaneers will definitely pursue a capable veteran quarterback. However, due to Tampa Bay’s lack of salary cap space, it’s unlikely it’ll be Jackson that they end up pursuing.