|ESPN.com: NFC South||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
If Jon Gruden had stayed as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it's a pretty safe bet quarterback Jeff Garcia and wide receiver Joey Galloway would have been gone. That still might be a safe bet even with Raheem Morris taking over for Gruden.
Morris is only 32 years old and one of his toughest jobs this offseason will be to make sure the Bucs get younger in several places. While Morris probably will keep guys like Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber around to help ease the transition, Galloway is more than expendable and Garcia's not a long-term answer for a team that never had any real consistency at quarterback throughout Gruden's tenure.
Galloway got in Gruden's doghouse in training camp when he was slow in recovering from injury. He barely played during the regular season and was replaced as the No. 1 receiver by Antonio Bryant, whom the Bucs likely will make a strong effort to re-sign before he becomes a free agent.
Although Morris is a kinder, gentler soul than Gruden, he's going to have to play the heavy here. Galloway is 37 and there's no reason to expect him to suddenly find his legs again. He's high-priced and the Bucs, who have more than $40 million in cap room, can create even more space by cutting Galloway. That leaves plenty of money to get some younger wide receivers.
And a younger quarterback.
Garcia, who can become a free agent at the end of this month, had his moments with the Bucs and still could be very effective in the right situation. But Tampa Bay's not the right situation for a quarterback who is going to turn 39 in a few weeks. One of the reasons Gruden was fired was because he never established a long-term plan at quarterback.
The change in coaches (and the honeymoon period that comes with it) makes this the perfect time for Morris and general manager Mark Dominik to go out and find a quarterback for the long term.