Tom Brady can't play forever and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will eventually need to find his successor.
That quarterback could be on the Super Bowl champions' roster right now the way general manager Jason Licht sees it.
Who will follow Brady in Tampa?
Licht told Taylor Jenkins of Pewter Report that Blaine Gabbert could be the guy to step into Brady's spot when the seven-time Super Bowl champion calls it a career.
“First of all, I love [Gabbert's] energy,” Licht said on the Pewter Report podcast. “I’ve really gotten close to Blaine this year just being on the sidelines. He’s a really smart guy, but he is one guy, my scouts and I talk about this a lot, he’s just one guy that I love to watch throw every day in practice because he has got a cannon. He’s very accurate with his throws as well and he can just really whistle them in tight windows. If he had been forced to play, he played in the Detroit game, but if he had been forced to play more I think that he would have really opened a lot of people’s eyes about how talented he is, especially being in the same system for a couple of years.”
Gabbert, 31, took snaps in four games during the 2020 season. He completed 9 of 15 pass attempts for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the 47-7 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 16. He will become an unrestricted free agent when the NFL calendar turns over in March.
Gabbert's career spans 5 teams
It was Gabbert's second season with the Buccaneers after missing all of 2019 with a preseason shoulder injury.
He was the Jacksonville Jaguars' No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft and stayed with the franchise for three seasons, the first two of which he started the majority of games. He threw for 4,357 yards with a 53.3 percent completion rate and 22 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. The Jaguars won five games when he was under center.
His spent three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and played in 15 games, then spent single seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans. In his nine-season career he has 9,206 passing yards and 50 touchdowns to 47 interceptions.
When will Brady retire?
Gabbert's ascension to the starting role isn't likely to happen this offseason. Brady has repeatedly said he sees himself playing until he's 45 years old. He turns 44 in August.
Brady has also historically been healthy and the chance Gabbert takes the starting role during the season is slim.
With that in mind, Licht indicated to the Pewter Report that anything is on the table for when Brady does decide to hang up the No. 12 jersey.
“I’m not going to rule anything out right now,” Licht said.
Brady will undergo "minor" knee surgery in the offseason that head coach Bruce Arians called a "clean-up" procedure. Brady and his teammates had a boat-load of fun celebrating their championship on Wednesday during a parade on the river.
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