Finding a quarterback is a big priority for the Bucs this off-season. That's not a misprint. No, they're not looking to replace Jameis Winston. Far from it. But they may need to find their version of the Eagles' Nick Foles — except this backup has to be prepared to start the season. The Bucs would be naïve to disregard the fact that Winston is under investigation by the NFL for allegations that he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in March 2016. Winston has denied the accusation, and Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby says he was in the backseat with his former Florida State teammate and nothing occurred. In a perfect world for the Bucs, the NFL determines Winston did nothing inappropriate and dismisses the case before the start of free agency. But the NFL's timetable is never ideal. Tom Brady was notified of his four-game suspension in May. (The appeal process took a year). Ezekiel Elliott was informed of his six-game suspension in August. But with the broad reach of the league's personal conduct policy, the Bucs have to approach the position as if Winston could miss games in September. The Bucs have only one other quarterback on the roster — Ryan Griffin, who has never taken a snap in a regular-season NFL game. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who went 2-1 as a starter last season, is a solid option. "For me at this point in my career, I'm not going to be given or gifted a chance to start anywhere probably," Fitzpatrick said at the end of the season. "So there's a lot of things that go into it that maybe didn't years ago in terms of family and different situations. I enjoyed the year that I had here and even the Tampa area in general. But this team, I think Jameis did a good job this year. You can see the improvement in his game. So I'd enjoy being back. I really enjoyed my role this year. But you never know. We'll see what happens." If not Fitzpatrick, fortunately this could be a wild and fertile quarterback market stocked with plenty of intriguing options and even more that could shake free following the NFL draft.
Bucs need a backup plan at quarterback; best bets are Ryan Fitzpatrick or (maybe) Mike Glennon
Tampa Bay Times | Feb 24