Former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield could face new competition in the race for the starting quarterback reins for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A free agent with a Super Bowl ring in tow happens to be in Tampa preparing for whichever team takes him in.
Per ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, Carson Wentz has been working out in Tampa with former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. Wentz’s sessions also include having film study with the Ex-NFL coach who guided the Bucs to the franchise’s first Super Bowl win. The Super Bowl 52 winner with the Philadelphia Eagles Wentz, meanwhile, is still aiming to latch onto an NFL roster and revive his career as he remains an unrestricted free agent.
The mere fact that the 2017 Pro Bowler Wentz is in the backyard of Mayfield, plus the Bucs, fuels the speculation that the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft could sway the franchise into adding him.
Has Mayfield Underwhelmed? Or is Bucs QB Competition ‘Overblown?’
Mayfield used the month of December and first Sunday of January 2023 to revive his own career with the Rams.
Following his well-publicized departures from the Cleveland Browns (trade before training camp) and Carolina Panthers (released during the season), Mayfield won over Ram fans by helping end their long six-game slide in the December 8 home win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Mayfield is now the last Rams starting QB to win a game for L.A., as the Rams’ last victory was the Christmas Day rout of the Denver Broncos.
But now, multiple reports are pointing that Mayfield has underwhelmed in voluntary practices for the Bucs. One viral clip showed Bucs QBs including Mayfield overthrowing their targets.
That clip got NFL analyst for SB Nation Joseph Acosta to call the Bucs’ 2023 QB race “the saddest QB competition in NFL OTAs.”
Acosta added: “Of course, it is OTAs, and routes on air isn’t exactly what you want to use to judge QBs. It’s May, and this isn’t a sweeping indictment. However, going into OTAs, this group doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.”
However, Eric Edholm of nfl.com has a different term for the Bucs’ competition involving Mayfield: an “Overblown” storyline along with one other competition in the NFC East.
“Among battles not involving rookies, it’s even more drab. Should we be drumming up Sam Howell versus Jacoby Brissett as a heavyweight fight in Washington? Is Baker Mayfield versus Kyle Trask a gladiator showdown in Tampa? Perhaps Mayfield is due for a Geno Smith-like revival, or Howell or Trask can revive their college glory, but those feel like stretches,” Edholm wrote. “Sorry, folks. I suspect this just isn’t the year for sizzling QB competitions to burn up your screens.”
Sean McVay Updates Where Things are With Mayfield’s Potential Replacement
Back over to the “Rams House,” the race to find out who officially replaces Mayfield as the QB2 behind Matthew Stafford took shape during both OTAs and mandatory minicamps.
“I think he’s taking it a day at a time, but I’ve been really pleased with him,” McVay told the L.A. media. “These settings, especially without the pads on, quarterbacks can’t get tackled, but I think you’ve seen steady progress.”
McVay added: “And you love the athleticism, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. But I like his demeanor. He just stays nice and steady, doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low, and he’s a fun guy to be around.”
Of course, Bennett isn’t the only one vying for a spot on the two-deep. Brett Rypien comes in as a veteran and past backup of Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson. Bennett and Rypien will have a rare but watchful competition for QB2 when the Rams head to training camp in late July.