Baker Mayfield is officially a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers days after news broke that the former No. 1 pick was moving to Florida. The Bucs posted footage of Mayfield signing his new contract with the franchise.
“Hey Bucs fans, Baker Mayfield here, just signed the contract, ready to get to work,” Mayfield said on March 20, 2023 in his first public comments as a member of the Buccaneers. “Happy to be here. Let’s get it.”
ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported that Mayfield signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Bucs, but the quarterback’s salary can grow to as much as $8.5 million if certain incentives are hit. Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who was the Browns O.C. with Mayfield in 2019, pointed to Dave Canales’ work with Geno Smith in Seattle as one of the reasons the quarterback is joining Tampa Bay.
“It’s the Geno Smith model. He came in and became the starter for one year and then got himself the big three-year contract. Baker wants that opportunity,” Monken told Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud. “He saw what Coach Canales did and wants to replicate it and get an opportunity to be a starter again. I’m sure that’s what attracted Baker.”
Baker Mayfield Is Expected to Compete Against Kyle Trask to be the Next Bucs QB1
Tampa Bay could still select a quarterback in the upcoming draft but will likely be out of the running to land one of the top prospects when the franchise is one the clock at No. 19. The early signs point to an upcoming quarterback competition between Mayfield and Kyle Trask. Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht described Mayfield as a “tough competitor” who is “excited” to compete to become the team’s starting quarterback.
“Baker is a tough competitor who plays with the kind of passion and confidence that you look for in a quarterback,” Licht said in a March 17 statement released by the team. “He’s a young veteran with good upside who should thrive in our new offensive system with receivers like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage.
“He had an impressive 2020 season when he led the Browns to their playoff appearance and did some good things during his brief stint with the Rams at the end of last season. I know from speaking with him that he is excited to come in and compete for the starting job.”
Could the Buccaneers Be in the Market for a QB Again in 2024?
The Buccaneers headed into the offseason more than $55 million above the salary cap, which effectively took them out of the running to land some of the more expensive quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo. Instead, Tampa Bay will evaluate whether Mayfield or Trask show enough to be the team’s long-term solution at quarterback. If neither player impresses, the Bucs could be back in the quarterback market in 2024 with a highly-touted group of QB prospects likely entering the draft headlined by USC’s Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye.
“We’re still multiple months away from the 2023 NFL draft class, but that isn’t stopping us from getting excited about what is shaping up to be a loaded 2024 group,” ESPN’s Matt Miller wrote on January 19. “Potential franchise quarterbacks, like Drake Maye and Caleb Williams, seem to wow every single Saturday, and they are looking like early picks in 15 months.”