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Column: Who should be the Bucs' starting quarterback in 2023?

By Jason KannoRiver Wells,

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The GOAT is gone, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seek a new champion.

Where that champion will emerge from is a question that general manager Jason Licht, head coach Todd Bowles and new offensive coordinator Dave Canales have been trying to answer for weeks now. While no answer has come just yet, rumors are floating around — while Bucs quarterback Kyle Trask has received praise from the team, reports have Tampa Bay looking for a veteran quarterback on the free agency market as well.

Bucs Wire editor River Wells and contributor Jason Kanno make their case for who they each think should start for the Bucs in 2023 down below:

Jason Kanno, Contributor: Jacoby Brissett
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t much sexy about a journeyman quarterback, but an NFL team looking for quality play on the cheap could do a lot worse than Jacoby Brissett.

The seventh-year veteran simply does not get the respect he deserves. Last season, Brissett ranked top-10 among all quarterbacks in DVOA (7) per Football Outsiders and QBR (8), all while ranking 23rd in 2022 earnings at his position.

Brissett is an ideal blend of experience and value. He started 16 games over the last two seasons, throwing for 3891 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Bucs don’t have a lot of cap space to sign a veteran quarterback, but even double Brissett’s $4.65 million salary would be doable.

Trask can’t possibly match Brissett’s overall NFL experience and with the Bucs hiring a new offensive coordinator, he won’t have an advantage in understanding Dave Canales’ offensive scheme. Trask’s only real institutional advantage is that he was the Bucs’ second-round pick in 2021, and even then, the Bucs have never felt he was good enough to put him ahead of Blaine Gabbert on the depth chart.

Brissett is the play if the Bucs are truly trying to win in 2023. Starting Trask over any veteran would be blind hope that he can be an NFL starter despite riding the pine for the past two years. Brissett has the chops to get the Bucs through the season with legitimate NFL-level quarterback play.
(AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack)

The solution? Go in-house.

Kyle Trask was picked by general manager Jason Licht in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft, and it’s high time he gets to see the field and attempt to prove his worth. He may be entering a new system under recently-hired offensive coordinator Dave Canales, but that’s no reason to shy away from starting him. In fact, I think Canales may want a quarterback whose potential is unknown.

We know where Jacoby Brissett is this far into his career. He’s a quarterback who is quite a bit better than people give him credit for, but one that will never break through and become a team’s QB1 for years to come. Kyle Trask, meanwhile, is a blank slate, and his work in preseason has already shown some fleeting glimpses of the talent he displayed when he was in the conversation for the Heisman trophy in the 2020 college football season. That talent could be realized — Jacoby Brissett, as solid as he is, likely won’t get any better.

Much is also made about the Bucs picking high next year and “tanking” to do so by fans and pundits alike. To them, I offer this: Either Kyle Trask is the guy and the Bucs have their answer at quarterback for the next decade, or he isn’t the guy and those clamoring for a top pick in next year’s draft get their wish.

Trask is unproven, but he’s young, talented and most certainly motivated to get his first shot after two years on the bench. The kid deserves a chance. I say let him have it.

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