QB Notes: Brady, Lamar, Rudolph, Falcons

Although it has been more than two months since Tom Brady‘s unretirement, the Buccaneers were connected to other quarterback options for a fairly lengthy stretch this winter. Brady retired on Feb. 1 and decided to come back March 13, the Sunday ahead of the 2022 league year’s outset. Shortly after Brady recommitted, the Bucs re-signed Ryan Jensen and Carlton Davis. Chris Godwin agreed to an extension, and Leonard Fournette returned to the fold. Outside additions like Russell Gage, Logan Ryan and Akiem Hicks have joined up as well, separating this offseason from 2021’s historic talent-retention effort. It is safe to say Tampa Bay’s free agency plan would have been different without Brady, who announced a return on that date despite being on the fence about playing again.

You know at this stage, it’s like 55% yes and 45% no,” Brady said during an interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson (via the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud) of his mid-March stance on playing a 23rd season. “That’s just the reality. It’s not that I’m not 100% committed; it’s just as soon as I make the commitment to do it, it’s like ‘Ugh. All right, here we go.’ It’s like running a marathon. You can’t decide two weeks before the marathon, ‘Hey, I’m going to start running.’

We got right to free agency and I felt some pressure to do it and talked to the team and organization, and it all worked out.”

Brady’s decision almost certainly had an impact on the Bucs’ ensuing coaching change, and the 44-year-old passer has since signed a restructure agreement to help the Bucs add more talent this offseason. Here is the latest from the quarterback scene:

  • Lamar Jackson‘s second offseason of extension eligibility has been quieter than his first, and although the consensus thus far appears to be the Ravens quarterback will exit 2022 without a new deal, Albert Breer of SI.com envisions the parties coming to an agreement. Noting the trust between Jackson and the team remains strong, despite the QB’s OTAs absence and the three Ravens power brokers confirming the former MVP has not shown extension interest, Breer points to this and the fifth-year veteran’s desire to stay a Raven as reasons a deal will happen. Deshaun Watson‘s fully guaranteed deal undoubtedly complicates matters for the Ravens, who have Jackson on a $23MM cap number in his fifth-year option season.
  • With the Steelers likely to choose between Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett after the preseason, Mason Rudolph resides as an atypical third-string option. That points to the Steelers looking into trading their longtime backup, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic offers (subscription required). Unless Pickett proves unready to the point the Steelers need Rudolph as Trubisky’s backup, a trade before the team finalizes its 53-man roster could make sense. Rudolph signed a Steelers extension last year, before Trubisky and Pickett entered the equation. The Steelers would save $3MM by trading Rudolph, who is due for free agency in 2023.
  • The Falcons worked out multiyear Ball State starter Drew Plitt this week, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Plitt worked as the Mid-American Conference program’s primary starter from 2019-21, piecing together a 59-19 touchdown pass-to-interception ratio in that time. The Falcons have 2021 UDFA Feleipe Franks as their third QB currently, alongside Marcus Mariota and third-rounder Desmond Ridder.
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