Bucs hire Geno Smith's QB coach as new OC: Tampa Bay also needs a new QB
Is Geno going to follow Dave Canales to the Buccaneers?
Well, it’s happening. Two weeks ago, I wrote that Seattle Seahawks QB coach Dave Canales interviewed with the Baltimore Ravens about their open offensive coordinator position and mentioned that John Harbaugh might not know for sure that Lamar Jackson is his long-term option at quarterback. Better yet, it could signal that the Seahawks have been hoping to get a new quarterbacks coach after Canales had spent five years in that job, in some capacity.
Five years that only included working with veteran quarterbacks, not in developing a rookie quarterback.
Though Canales did not get the Ravens job, he next interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the same position after they decided to part with Byron Leftwich. On Thursday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler announced that Canales indeed has gotten the job: He’s the new offensive coordinator for Todd Bowles in Tampa Bay.
This is huge news for Canales and potentially also significant for Geno Smith. We know a few things for certain:
The Bucs don’t have a quarterback after Tom Brady announced his retirement. Tampa Bay isn’t going to hand the job over to Kyle Trask, their second round pick a couple years ago, and they aren’t likely to have high expectations for Blaine Gabbert either. Furthermore, at 19th overall, the Bucs aren’t likely to draft a quarterback unless they make a trade up.
Second, the Bucs are indeed in salary cap hell: $55 million over. There’s a chance that Brady can help there if he signs a new deal that spreads out his remaining $35 million cap hit for 2023. The team will move cash around and get under the cap eventually but no, they don’t have a lot of space.
But that doesn’t mean that the Bucs don’t expect to compete in 2023: Tampa Bay won the division! Even if their record was 8-9, that still was a game better than anyone else in the NFC South. The Panthers hired Frank Reich, the Saints may think that Derek Carr is the answer, the Falcons…I don’t know. But I don’t think the Bucs are throwing their expectations out with Brady. They want a legitimate starting quarterback.
Third, Geno Smith is a legitimate starting quarterback.