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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Time for our favorite topic: Quarterback

6

February

It's eerily quiet on the Bucs beat these days. Not to worry though -- that's normal for this time of year. You'll have more action than you can handle in a couple of weeks or so when free agency starts to heat up.

Of course, in Tampa Bay, we always have the quarterback position to talk about, even after Jon Gruden's departure.

Here's what I've got:

Got a call this morning from a fellow reporter on the Patriots beat. He was poking around looking for teams that might have an interest in trading for New England quarterback Matt Cassel. His hunch is that, with Tom Brady set to return in the fall, the Patriots are definitely looking to deal. And my sense is that the Bucs would be more than willing to do a little talking.

I offer this disclaimer: This is total speculation. But it's obvious the Bucs have to address the quarterback position. If they truly are ready to move on from Jeff Garcia, a distinct possibility, and they aren't ready to crown Luke McCown their starter, then they've got to do something. Both those players are free agents anyway.

I know what you're thinking: You just read a couple days ago that New England used its franchise tag on Cassel. That's true, but Vikings defensive end Jared Allen was franchised by Kansas City last year, too. As you well know, that didn't keep him in a Chiefs uniform, as he was dealt to Minnesota (the Bucs were also in on those talks, as you might recall). The franchise tag doesn't prevent a player from being traded or changing teams.

It will be expensive to acquire Cassel, especially this year when the quarterback market both in the draft and in free agency is very uninspiring. Allen, for example, netted the Chiefs a first-round pick and two third-rounders. But this is not a defensive end we're talking about. We're talking quarterback here, and a potential franchise quarterback, at that (when was the last time those words were used in relation to the Bucs?). One reason Tampa Bay, if inclined, is positioned to do this deal is its massive amount of salary-cap space. The Bucs can give Cassel the big-money, long-term contract he would be seeking without breaking a sweat.

It's early and a lot can happen before free agency begins at the end of the month, but rest assured the Bucs are already considering all their options in the glass offices on the second floor of One Buc Place.

And I find it hard to believe that taking a look at Cassel isn't one of the scenarios on the table. I'll leave you with a link to a story by NFL insider Mike Lombardi who makes the logical link between the Bucs and Cassel, too. Comment away.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:24pm]

    

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