Baker Mayfield Reveals Why He Chose the Bucs

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield really wanted to join the Buccaneers, he says.

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield believes his latest NFL career destination checks the boxes for a turnaround.

“I finally had some [time] to think, I think that’s the key word,” Mayfield told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “And, yeah, just looking at it from a big-picture standpoint, I want to play this game for a long time. So where’s the next spot that’s going to be the most stable position, where I can come in and compete, and do the best I can to showcase what I’m capable of?”

Mayfield went through a tumultuous stretch since a shoulder injury in 2021. The former No. 1 NFL Draft pick of the Cleveland Browns fell from playoff quarterback to the trading block in one year. The Browns traded him in 2022 to the Carolina Panthers, which didn’t work out. After the Panthers released him in the middle of the season, he landed with the Los Angeles Rams and filled in for injured starter Matthew Stafford. Now, Mayfield looks to turn around his career with his fourth team in less than two years.

“This is a great opportunity to do so. Normally when a spot like this opens up, it’s because bad things have happened,” Mayfield told Breer. “But this one, it’s just because Tom [Brady] retired. So it’s a perfect opportunity for me.”

Mayfield will throw to a pair of Pro Bowl-caliber wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin — arguably the most consistent tandem Mayfield has seen in his career. While the Bucs’ offense plummeted in 2022, new offensive coordinator Dave Canales has a history of succeeding with quarterbacks and 14 years of experience under Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

Breer noted that Mayfield possibly didn’t take the best offer as the Bucs only offered $4 million with incentives. However, a one-year dip in income could pay dividends later.

“So if the goal here is to launch the second phase of his career, and set up, say, a 15-year pro stint, I think he was smart to look for the right place, not necessarily the most lucrative one, to work on that,” Breer wrote.

Mayfield Has Competition

Mayfield will have to beat out Bucs third-year signal caller Kyle Trask for the starting job though. The Bucs drafted Trask in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and he sat behind and learned from Brady for two seasons.

“I think Kyle and I are going to push each other no matter what happens and I think we’re going to make the most of it,” Mayfield told the media during a March press conference.

Todd Bowles Says He Wants a QB Competition

Bucs head coach Todd Bowles welcomes the competition for offseason workouts and possibly training camp.

“It gives us another warrior,” Bowles said about adding Mayfield during a March press conference at the NFL Annual Meeting. “It gives us a guy who has gone to the playoffs before. At least you have a proven guy and someone who can compete with Kyle that will make sure we haven’t taken dips too low.”

“I think when you lose the greatest quarterback of all time [Tom Brady], everybody just assumes you’re going to be bad,” Bowles said. “At least that’s the narrative. But it takes a team to win a Super Bowl and it also takes a team to play ball games.”

If Mayfield changes his career narrative in Tampa Bay, he could change the Bucs’ post-Brady narrative along with it.

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