Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' sign backup QB Dan Orlovsky

TAMPA — Day 3 of free agency for the Bucs didn't produce more blockbuster signings with eye-popping, eight-figure salaries.

But Tampa Bay made a move Thursday of some consequence, signing backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky to a two-year contract.

Orlovsky, 28, becomes the primary backup for franchise quarterback Josh Freeman, a critical role given how closely Freeman is linked to the Bucs' fortunes. Orlovsky's $2.5 million deal effectively eliminates any chance of the team retaining Josh Johnson, the primary backup the past four seasons who became a free agent this week and hopes to land in a more competitive QB situation.

But if Johnson, 25, fails to find an ideal spot, he seems to have one fewer option in Tampa Bay. In Orlovsky, the Bucs acquired a player who is just 2-10 as a starter but has a bit more experience than Johnson, including some promising appearances last season.

It was Orlovsky who finally led the Colts to consecutive wins in December, their only victories in a 2-14 season. In those wins against the Titans and Texans, he completed a combined 34 of 57 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Orlovsky has been relegated to mostly losing teams in his seven-year career, playing his first four seasons in Detroit, where he was a fifth-round pick in 2005 out of Connecticut. He signed with the Texans in 2009, before joining the Colts last season.

But he has managed a positive career touchdown-to-interception ratio (14-12) with a 75.9 passer rating. He went 0-7 as a starter with the 0-16 Lions in 2008, but Orlov­sky has played in various systems and has been competitive despite minimal practice time.

Meanwhile, Johnson, the Bucs' fifth-round pick out of San Diego in 2008, likely has his heart set on finding a situation that will allow him to compete for playing time. It was a virtual certainty he would remain behind Freeman, but his 0-5 mark as a starter didn't help his cause.

Still, Johnson could attract interest once the quarterback market settles. Important dominoes have yet to fall, including decisions by free agents Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. Where they go will clarify several teams' quarterback situations, including a team such as the Broncos, which would make some sense for Johnson. Denver is among the teams pursuing Manning.

With the Bucs, Johnson appeared, mostly sparingly, in 26 games, completing 96 of 177 passes for 1,042 yards. He threw five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In his most recent start, a loss to Carolina on Dec. 4, Johnson was 16 of 27 for 229 yards, one TD and one interception.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @holderstephen.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' sign backup QB Dan Orlovsky 03/15/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 15, 2012 8:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Jake Faria had his lucky rubber duck — OG, the original one he has had since high school — with him, and the Rays had nothing to worry about as he put his rocky Wednesday outing well behind him, working into the eighth while scattering seven hits.

  3. Rays journal: Rookie Jacob Faria continues to show veteran poise

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles threatened in the first inning and the second. They loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning with the top of the order up and seemed poised for a big inning. But those opportunities produced only one run because Rays rookie RHP Jacob Faria kept his composure and got the …

    Jacob Faria goes a career-high 71/3 innings, staying composed when the Orioles threaten.
  4. Rays vs. Orioles, 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    Sports

    Today: vs. Orioles

    12:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM

    Tickets: $15-$275; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within 5 hours of game time.

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Bruce Arena blends intense demands with humor to lead U.S. soccer

    Soccer

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Bruce Arena bites his fingernails religiously, a habit he has had since age 10.

    Among some other unmentionables.

    Bruce Arena