NFL Rumors: Buccaneers Reportedly Re-Signing Former First-Round Pick As Tom Brady’s Backup

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be entering the 2020 NFL season with Tom Brady replacing Jameis Winston as the team’s starting quarterback. But with the ex-New England Patriots superstar turning 43 years old later this year and entering his 21st season in the pros, the Bucs have reportedly re-signed a much younger veteran to serve as his backup — former first-round selection Blaine Gabbert.

According to NBC Sports Boston, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted on Thursday that Gabbert would be returning to Tampa Bay on a one-year contract, following a 2019 season where he spent the entire campaign on injured reserve due to a dislocated shoulder. Separately, CBS Sports noted that Gabbert could theoretically help Brady familiarize himself with the Bucs’ system, as he started five games for head coach Bruce Arians in the 2017 season when they were both with the Arizona Cardinals.

In addition, Rapoport pointed out that the former Missouri Tigers signal-caller brings some valuable experience to the table for the Buccaneers, having started a total of 48 games since entering the league in 2011.

As the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Gabbert largely failed to live up to his billing, as he has mostly been used as a backup quarterback in what has been a journeyman career thus far. Per Pro Football Reference, the 30-year-old has career statistics of 48 touchdown passes, 47 interceptions, 9,063 passing yards, and a 71.4 QB rating and played for four other teams before joining the Buccaneers. He last saw action in the 2018 season for the Tennessee Titans, where he tallied six touchdown passes and six interceptions as Marcus Mariota’s backup.

Considering how Gabbert’s NFL career has widely been seen as a disappointment, NBC Sports Boston opined that it’s “safe to say” that the Buccaneers would be in “huge trouble” if Brady has to miss some time due to injuries. The outlet, however, added that Tampa Bay is far from the only team that might need some help when it comes to their backup quarterback situation.

Aside from signing Brady to a two-year contract and bringing Gabbert back as the team’s No. 2 man behind center, the Buccaneers have been keeping busy in the 2020 offseason as they hope to improve on a 2019 campaign where they finished with a 7-9 record. Late last month, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh would be re-signing with the Bucs for one more year and $8 million. This came after the six-time All-Pro lineman recorded a career-low 2.5 sacks and just 41 tackles in what was described as a below-average 2019 season.