Bucs Training Camp Battle: Quarterback

J. Kanno

First thing: no, Tom Brady does not have any competition for the Buccaneers' starting quarterback position. However, his backups do.

After jettisoning former first-overall draft pick Jameis Winston, the Bucs handed the reins of the offense, and to some extent the franchise, to the six-time Super Bowl champion. There is no real alternative to Brady starting every single game in 2020.

While Brady's presence and historical durability render the backup quarterbacks to be mostly decorative, there is still a battle to be waged for spots on the final roster.

Head coach Bruce Arians typically starts the seasons with three quarterbacks on the main roster. At present, Tampa Bay has four passers on the depth chart: Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin and Reid Sinnett.

Though he missed most of last year with a shoulder injury sustained in the preseason, Blaine Gabbert by far the most experienced quarterback on the roster behind Brady. Of course, experience does not equal success, as illustrated by Gabbert's brief and ill-fated tenure as the Jaguars' would-be franchise quarterback.

Nevertheless, Gabbert's experience is the main reason why he is likely to make the final roster. In addition to his penchant for keeping three quarterbacks, Arians usually makes sure the primary back-up has at least a seasons-worth of NFL starts under his belt. This is a quality that neither Ryan Griffin or Reid Sinnett possesses.

Griffin is one of the longest-tenured Buccaneers on the roster, but that isn't likely to help him stick around longer. Since joining Tampa's roster in 2015, Griffin has played in exactly one regular season game, throwing four passes and completing two for 18 yards.

Sinnett is an undrafted rookie from the University of San Diego. He started just one season for the Toreros and turned heads in a hurry, throwing for 3528 yards and 32 touchdowns and completing 67 percent of his passes.

Sinnett will have to unseat the more experienced Griffin for the third quarterback spot, but he has a few things going for him. First, as a rookie, Sinnett has untapped upside while Griffin is entering his seventh NFL seasons with just four pass attempts to his name. The Bucs may see room for growth in Sinnett, whereas Griffin has more or less peaked.

Second, Griffin's 2020 cap number is $1.6 million, which is more than Blaine Gabbert is due to cost Tampa. As the Bucs currently have less than $5 million in cap space, Griffin's salary may appear more expensive than it's worth.

In any case, Sinnett will have to show he can keep up with the rest of the quarterback room. Griffin has proven that already in five years as a Buccaneer. If Sinnett proves he can hang in quarterback meetings and film study, the circumstances could easily shift in his favor come final cuts.

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