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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

If Leftwich is out, which veteran QB makes sense for Bucs?



It might be days or weeks, but at some point, the Bucs will release veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich.

That's almost a certainty. Leftwich went 0-3 as a starter and finished the 2009 season on injured reserve with tendonitis in his right throwing elbow.

It didn't work out for Leftwich in Tampa Bay and the long, futile training camp battle with Luke McCown was a waste of time. McCown was traded to Jacksonville for a sixth-round pick.

Furthermore, the Bucs want a player who will help instill great workout habits in Freeman but also will accept his role.

The starting quarterback job belongs to Josh Freeman now. But the Bucs would like to have another veteran to back up the former first-round pick from Kansas State.

Tampa Bay prefers to bring four quarterbacks to camp. For now, that list would include Freeman, Josh Johnson and Rudy Carpenter, who was signed from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad late last season.

It's been reported that Johnson could be part of a package to enable the Bucs to trade up two spots with the St. Louis Rams and secure the No. 1 overall pick. Tampa Bay also would have to send their first round and third-round picks to the Rams, according to

If that comes to pass, the need for a reliable veteran backup would be even greater.

So where do the Bucs turn? They might look to St. Louis again, where Marc Bulger has clearned out his locker and not expected to return to the team. Bucs offensive coordinator Greg Olson worked with Bulger in St. Louis and the Rams quarterback might have something left in the tank. There's also former Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington, who is recovering from a third surgery on his right throwing shoulder.

It's still pretty early in the process and some other veteran QBs could become available. Who should back up Freeman in 2010?

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:55pm]


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