The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ post-Tom Brady plans remain a mystery, but the team may have an opportunity to add an intriguing option following the Carolina Panthers’ decision to release Baker Mayfield. The Bucs could put in a claim for Mayfield at a reasonable price of $1.3 million for the remainder of the season if the team is awarded the quarterback.
“Any team claiming Baker Mayfield on waivers would assume the remaining $1,349,444 guaranteed on his contract,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted on December 5. “That could influence how things go on waivers. The #49ers are near the bottom of the priority list.”
This is a much more affordable price than the $32 million contract Mayfield signed with the Browns after being the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft. The challenge is Mayfield will be a free agent this offseason, and the Bucs would need to re-sign the quarterback for the former No. 1 pick to have a chance to compete to be the team’s QB1 if Brady is no longer in Tampa Bay for the 2023 season.
The Bucs hold the No. 16 waiver claim giving the team a reasonable chance to land Mayfield if they put in a claim. Some of the other potential landing spots slotted ahead of Tampa Bay include Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Atlanta.
Trask Has Yet to Take an NFL Snap
Despite Mayfield’s upcoming free agent status, there are still advantages to the Bucs putting in a claim for the quarterback. If Tampa Bay landed Mayfield, it would allow the Buccaneers to get a hands-on look at the veteran quarterback ahead of next season to know if the signal-caller could be a potential long-term fit.
Brady will also be a free agent this offseason with retirement, potentially joining another team or re-signing with the Bucs as possible options. Given Mayfield’s struggles in recent years, the former No. 1 pick could represent a buy-low opportunity for Tampa Bay.
If Brady retires for good, the Buccaneers have no clear cut QB1 alternative for 2023. Tampa Bay drafted Kyle Trask in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft, but the second-year quarterback has yet to take a NFL snap in a regular-season game.
For the second straight season, Trask has been unable to beat out Blaine Gabbert for the backup quarterback job. Gabbert could be another alternative for Tampa Bay if Brady moves on, but the team would also need to re-sign the veteran who will be a free agent in 2023.
Tampa Bay Had an Interest in Adding Mayfield Prior to Brady’s Un-Retirement: Report
The Bucs were linked to Mayfield prior to Brady’s decision to un-retire. Mayfield did little to help his stock this season earning just a 52.2 grade from Pro Football Focus for 2022.
Prior to his release, Mayfield threw for 1,313 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 57.8% of his passes during his seven appearances. It will be interesting to see if Tampa could still have an interest in adding Mayfield, especially given they would not have to trade any assets this time around.
“There are about eight QBs the Bucs evaluated on film, some in case they became available for a trade,” Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud tweeted on March 11. “Let’s be clear, doesn’t mean they would pursue something but Baker Mayfield is one of those guys. Cleveland reportedly has some interest in Deshaun Watson.”