‘Erratic’ Mayfield Dropped in 2024 NFL QB Rankings

Baker Mayfield

Getty Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers invested big in quarterback Baker Mayfield in the offseason, delivering a 3-year, $100 million contract to the 2018 No. 1 overall pick and former Heisman Trophy winner after just one season with the Bucs.

Not everyone thinks that was such a great investment.

PFF’s Trevor Sikkema put Mayfield at No. 20 in his rankings of all 32 NFL starting quarterbacks ahead of the 2024 season. Mayfield landed in Sikkema’s fifth tier of quarterbacks — a tier labeled “Can Singlehandedly Win and Lose Games” — just ahead of fellow NFC South starters Derek Carr of the New Orleans Saints (No. 21) and Bryce Young of the Carolina Panthers (No. 25).

Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, the other NFC South starter headed into 2024, came in at No. 15.

“Mayfield played on a one-year, ‘prove-it’ deal in 2023, where the ‘prove-it’ part could have spelled the end of his time as an NFL starter,” Sikkema wrote. “It wasn’t his best season, by the numbers, but it was enough to get him a three-year extension. His last four games of the year were the catalyst.”

Mayfield’s 2023 season actually was his best year, by the numbers, with career highs in starts (17), completions (364), pass attempts (566), completion percentage (64.3), passing yards (4,044) and passing touchdowns (208).

Mayfield ‘Erratic’ Trying to Make Big Plays

According to PFF stats, Mayfield took a lot of shots at making big plays in 2023 — not always with the best results but he did seem to deliver down the stretch.

From Sikkema: “Overall, Mayfield was erratic, with 25 big-time throws and 22 turnover-worthy plays. But over the final four games he earned a top-10 passing grade, including an elite Week 15 performance on the road in Green Bay that propelled the Buccaneers to a strong finish and a playoff berth.”

Mayfield was electric down the stretch for the Buccaneers in 2023, when he played some of the best football of his career. Tampa Bay won 5 of its last 6 games to finish the season 9-8 and clinch a third consecutive NFC South Division title.

Mayfield was brilliant in a 34-20 road win over the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 17, going 22-of-28 passing for 381 yards and 4 touchdowns.

From Cast Aside to Leading Role for Buccaneers

Just two years ago, it seemed like Mayfield’s once-promising career might not recover from a series of setbacks.

Drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2018, Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers before the 2022 season after the Browns traded for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and gave him the biggest guaranteed contract in NFL history.

Mayfield didn’t even last a full season with the Panthers. He ended the 2022 regular season with the Los Angeles Rams filling in for an injured Matthew Stafford.

When he signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Buccaneers it came only after quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement and Tampa Bay was looking for someone — anyone — to fill in at the spot in 2023.

With Mayfield, they may have found their quarterback of the future and his signing was part of a big offseason for the Bucs in which they not only signed their quarterback, but also agreed to new deals with star wide receiver Mike Evans, star safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and drafted a center in the first round of the NFL draft with Duke’s Graham Barton.


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