Tom Brady plans on playing at least one more year in Tampa Bay, and, based on his Super Bowl-week comments, perhaps longer. One day -- presumably this decade -- however, the Buccaneers will need to name a successor to the greatest quarterback of all time.
Bucs general manager Jason Licht believes Blaine Gabbert, Brady's backup in 2020, could be a candidate to take over for TB12 eventually.
"First of all, I love his energy," Licht said, via Taylor Jenkins of Pewter Report. "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 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."
The 31-year-old Gabbert missed the entire 2019 season in Tampa after a preseason shoulder injury. He appeared in four games this past year, completing 9-of-16 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. All but one incompletion came in the 40-point win over Detroit in Week 16.
The former No. 10 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars hasn't started more than a handful of games in a season since 2015 with San Francisco. He last started 10 games with the Jags in 2012 before being replaced and eventually becoming a journeyman.
Obviously, with Brady returning, and the G.O.A.T.'s track record of staying healthy, finding a successor isn't at the forefront in Tampa. Repeating as Super Bowl champions is the main goal in 2021. But Licht will remain open-minded about Gabbert's chances of being a successor.
"I'm not going to rule anything out right now," Licht said.
Those are precisely the words the GM of the Super Bowl champs should say about a backup QB set to be a free agent. The Bucs likely want Gabbert back, and dangling the possibility of eventually succeeding Brady could be enough to get the veteran to return relatively cheap.
For now, the eventual successor to Brady is simply a hypothetical. Licht would be correct to consider every avenue before ultimately making that decision. But that's for another day.