“Tampa would be a great spot. That would be an interesting spot and not crazy and would probably make some sense,” Rapoport said on the “Rich Eisen Show” on Thursday, April 14.
Mayfield became expendable when the Browns traded for DeShaun Watson, a quarterback the Bucs wanted before Brady unretired on March 13. The Bucs don’t have a clear succession plan at quarterback if Brady retires or leaves in 2023.
Bucs backup Blaine Gabbert hasn’t been a full-time starter for more than half of season since 2012, but the Bucs considered him for starting in 2022 before Brady’s return. Second-year quarterback Kyle Trask has no game experience. Ryan Griffin likewise has little experience — four passes in two 2019 games.
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A Steep Asking Price for Mayfield
The Bucs could stay in the running for Mayfield because he will cost the Browns $18.8 million in 2022 per Spot Trac.
It could rule out Mayfield’s favorite option for a trade. Rapoport indicated that the Seattle Seahawks look unlikely for Mayfield though the quarterback described it as his preferred destination on the “Ya Neva Know” podcast.
“I don’t know how much interest Seattle has at that price. If the price comes down and the Browns are willing to eat a lot of it, maybe we are talking. But I don’t know about that,” Rapoport told Eisen. “My sense is the [Carolina] Panthers would be a good spot. Or a really good backup spot, where he would come in as a $7 million or $6 million backup and be the heir apparent somewhere.”
The Bucs would likely need the Browns to absorb a significant portion of Mayfield’s contract for a trade to work. Such a deal could come prior to the draft, which Rapoport described as the next “true deadline” for teams to make a big move.
“If you are a team that might think about taking [a quarterback], do you say, ‘We’re going to take Baker Mayfield — who has a really high ceiling, a pretty high price tag that will probably be eaten up a little by the Browns — and we’re good at quarterback’? That could happen before the draft and that will set up some draft boards and shake things up a little bit,” Rapoport told Eisen.
Mayfield Showed Potential in Cleveland
Mayfield has potential. He threw for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns as a rookie in 2018 followed by 3,827 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2019.
He reached his best quarterback rating ever in 2020 with a 95.9 mark as he threw for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns. That included a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. His 2021 season didn’t go as well amid a shoulder injury as he mustered 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns in 14 games.
“I feel disrespected,” Mayfield said on the “Ya Neva Know” podcast. “One hundred percent because I was told one thing and they completely did another. That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. I got my taste of it because I’ve had four different head coaches in four years, a bunch of different coordinators.”