TAMPA, Fla. — The Bucs are finalizing a deal to retain veteran Blaine Gabbert to be their No. 2 quarterback — and back up Tom Brady.
The team wanted a veteran to back up the newly signed, six-time Super Bowl champion, and also one with knowledge of head coach Bruce Arians’ offense.
Gabbert not only signed with the Bucs last year to back up Jameis Winston, he played under Arians in his final year in Arizona, in 2017.
The deal is not yet complete — the sides are working through some language — but Gabbert, 30, is expected to agree to a one-year deal.
The signing doesn’t prevent the Bucs from drafting a quarterback.
But the Bucs clearly have faith that Gabbert is fully recovered following an injury that made him unavailable for the entire 2019 regular season.
Gabbert spent most of last season on injured reserve after suffering a dislocated shoulder in the Bucs’ third preseason game. He was inactive for the team’s first three regular-season games before being placed on IR on Sept. 24.
Gabbert’s preseason injury made Winston the team’s only active quarterback with regular-season game experience through most of the season.
Preseason No. 3 quarterback Ryan Griffin received his first NFL regular-season experience in the second half of a Dec. 8 game against the Colts after Winston injured his thumb, and then played briefly the following week in a win over Detroit.
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