With Bucs’ QB job Leftwich’s to lose, is trade coming for McCown or Johnson?

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback job is Byron Leftwich’s to lose. Unless he’s absolutely brutal in this week’s preseason game against the Dolphins, it appears that Leftwich will be under center for the Bucs in Week 1.

On a related note, NFL.com is reporting that the Bucs are gauging trade interest for Leftwich, Luke McCown and Josh Johnson.

Bucs coach Raheem Morris originally planned to name a starter after Saturday’s preseason game against the Jaguars, then postponed the decision for at least one more week. Veterans Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown have been competing for the job, with first-round draft pick Josh Freeman the quarterback of the future.

Two NFL sources said the Bucs have been calling teams, willing to listen to offers for Leftwich, McCown or second-year pro Josh Johnson, a player thought of highly internally but who likely wouldn’t have great trade value.

“They sounded like they’re willing to deal any one of those three,” one executive said. “They’re looking for someone to make the (starting quarterback) decision for them.”

I think it’s safe to assume that the NFL.com report doesn’t apply to Leftwich now, but that doesn’t mean that Tampa won’t try to ship McCown or Johnson out of town. And considering McCown threw two touchdown passes in the Bucs’ second preseason game, he seems to offer the best value in a trade.

Then again, given Leftwich’s troubles with inconsistency and with rookie Josh Freeman off to a slow start, the Bucs may want to hang onto McCown for the time being. It doesn’t make sense to hang onto four quarterbacks, but it’s not like the Bucs have a clear-cut starter out of the group either.

I don’t see Johnson netting much (if anything) in a trade.

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