Editor's note: This story has been updated after the news of Tom Brady's retirement.
With their respective losses in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs, the chatter surrounding two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history pivoted toward an uncertain future. One of those uncertainties cleared up on Saturday. ESPN's Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington reported that 44-year-old Tom Brady would retire, a dramatic U-turn for a player who has repeatedly said he wants to play until he's 45. With nothing left to prove, we will see an NFL without Brady for the first time since the Clinton administration.
Up north, Green Bay's disappointing loss to San Francisco has set the Aaron Rodgers rumor mill abuzz yet again, with Rodgers admitting after the game that he doesn't want to be a part of any rebuild with the Packers. He is likely to win his second consecutive MVP award, but at age 38 and after an exhausting couple of years off the field, the future Hall of Famer might consider retiring or approach the team about a trade. I can't imagine the Packers bringing themselves to trade away a two-time reigning MVP to open up the job for Jordan Love. Good organizations prepare for any possibility, though, and I'm doing just that today.
Let's use what we know about each organization to try to get a sense of what the Bucs and the Packers -- if Rodgers isn't on the roster -- might do at quarterback in 2022.
I'll start with Brady, whose situation is harder to replace. The Bucs will need to add at least one signal-caller to their quarterback room. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if their 2022 starter was already on the roster ...
Replacing Tom Brady: QBs on the Bucs' roster
Kyle Trask: As a second-round pick in the 2021 draft, the Buccaneers invested enough draft capital in Trask to suggest that they saw him as a plausible future starter. Granted, they had the last pick in Round 2 after winning the Super Bowl, but teams that draft quarterbacks in this range typically take quarterbacks who eventually get at least some opportunity to start.