After having a trade for Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer scuttled when the veteran reportedly decided to retire Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have revisited the idea of signing 37-year-old Jeff Garcia, according to a source.
Steve Baker, Garcia's agent, spent much of Friday negotiating with the Oakland Raiders when it appeared that Plummer was headed to Tampa Bay. However, by late in the day, Garcia still hadn't reached a deal with the Raiders.
Baker declined to discuss any specifics about Garcia, but said that the market for his client appeared to be good. Besides Tampa Bay and Oakland, the Houston Texans have also expressed interest.
"I feel confident at this point that he'll be paid as a starter this year," Baker said. "The key now is to find the offense he fits best in."
Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden has long been a fan of turning to veteran quarterbacks. Rich Gannon helped lead the Raiders to a couple of playoff appearances under Gruden before the coach left in 2002 to join Tampa Bay. After winning a Super Bowl with inherited signal caller Brad Johnson, the Bucs eventually acquired veterans Brian Griese and Tim Rattay.
In fact, Garcia was reportedly on the verge of joining the Buccaneers in the 2004 offseason, but eventually signed with the Cleveland Browns.
The Buccaneers signed Chris Simms to a two-year contract a few days before the 2006 season finale. However, he struggled last season before rupturing a spleen in Week 3 and missing the remainder of the campaign. Simms has played three years, but has been inconsistent, at best.
Garcia helped guide Philadelphia to the playoffs last season after the Eagles lost starter Donovan McNabb and fell to 5-6. The Eagles eventually lost by a field goal to New Orleans in the NFC divisional playoffs.
Garcia, who struggled the previous two years while with Cleveland and then the Detroit Lions, revived his career. He showed excellent mobility despite his age. That mobility figures to be an asset for Garcia if he plays in the offense Gruden runs.