Bucs Get One Guarantee in Baker Mayfield, Insider Says

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield faces a boom-or-bust scenario in Tampa Bay.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers remain a mystery for 2023 after the retirement of quarterback Tom Brady. New Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield will add a lot of spice to the journey in the meantime.

That’s the way Fox Sports insider Martin Rogers sees it for the Bucs. Mayfield signed in March after a tumultuous 2022 where he bounced around three teams, but he gets a shot to rebuild his career in the footsteps of the GOAT.

“And off we go again for the latest chapter with Mayfield, a player who the football public loves to talk about, argue about, speculate about, and every now and then say ‘I told you so’ about,” Rogers wrote.

“With Mayfield there are always questions, which is what makes him as interesting as he is,” Rogers added. “The range of outcomes is virtually limitless.”

Tampa Bay added a quarterback who could do anything from lead the team to playoff contention to getting benched for a recent draft pick. Bucs general manager Jason Licht already tipped his cap that his team could pick a quarterback in this year’s draft.

“I would not be afraid to take another quarterback,” Licht told the media on April 13. “Because — might as well have another shot at it. Maybe not this year, but maybe in the future.”

Mayfield Has Lots to Prove

Mayfield, meanwhile, looks at the Bucs as his shot to “show Cleveland that they were wrong to move on from him” as Rogers noted. Mayfield took the Browns to the playoffs in 2020 and won a postseason game — something the franchise hadn’t seen since 1994.

His NFL career began with lofty expectations as the No. 1 pick in 2018 after a Heisman Trophy-winning performance at Oklahoma. He faced ups and downs amid the Browns’ coaching instability, as Rogers highlighted, and the franchise soon traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson in 2022.

Mayfield landed with the Carolina Panthers in a trade, and things fizzled from there. The Panthers released him after six games played before he caught on with an injury-riddled Los Angeles Rams team late in the 2022 season. Rogers noted that Mayfield will likely have the Panthers in his crosshairs this season when the NFC South rivals meet.

Mayfield Faces Potential Final Shot as a Starter

While all three of Mayfield’s former teams struggled mightily in 2022 and two of them also did the year before, a fourth team in a year’s span isn’t a good look. The Bucs got a potential bargain because of it — a former No. 1 with five years of starting experience for just $4 million plus incentives.

“That’s why the Bucs were able to talk themselves into it,” Rogers wrote. “In the immediate term, who is most likely to get things pointed straight? Mayfield, [Kyle] Trask, or even someone picked up with their 19th pick in the draft, by which time it is expected that several of the leading QB prospects will already be off the board? It is not hard to identify why the Bucs went in this direction.”

“He is a figure who can get a fan base fired up in the right circumstances and put some butts in seats, yet the reality is that the chances won’t keep coming forever, even ones like this — for a team that didn’t have a lot to spend and have some offensive issues that won’t be basic to fix,” Rogers wrote. “If this opportunity doesn’t meet with reasonable [and relative] success, the next chance or chances will have even more stacked against him, if they come at all.”

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