Buccaneers Could Make ‘Logical’ Move in Trading for Ex-Pro Bowl QB

Baker Mayfield

Getty The Buccaneers could consider adding Mac Jones as a backup QB behind Baker Mayfield.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be an ideal landing spot for a former Pro Bowl quarterback.

As suggested by CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin, a “logical” move would see the Buccaneers trading for New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. In Benjamin’s “2024 NFL QB Matchmaker” article, he argues that Jones could make sense for the Buccaneers as a revival project behind Baker Mayfield.

“If the Patriots double-dip at quarterback, replenishing the spot with both a high draft pick and veteran backup, Mac Jones will likely be shown the door after three uneven years in an undermanned setup,” writes Benjamin. “His more traditional pocket-passing approach could appeal to Todd Bowles in Tampa Bay, where the Bucs could look to revive another quarterback behind Baker Mayfield.”

Mac Jones Was Pro Bowl Alternate During Rookie Season

Mayfield will be a free agent this offseason, but Tampa Bay will try to bring back the veteran quarterback after a Pro Bowl campaign. Mayfield led the Buccaneers to a surprising playoff appearance in addition to a playoff win and division title.

The 25-year-old Jones wouldn’t be a bad option to have as a backup considering his experience as a starter and given that he has had success at the pro level. The 2021 first-round draft pick entered the NFL with immediate success, leading the Patriots to a 10-7 record while also leading them to the playoffs. He even finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting and was named the 85th-best player in the NFL by his peers following the season.

However, it’s been all downhill since. Following offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ departure to the Las Vegas Raiders, he’s played under a carousel of coaches, including Matt Patricia as his play-caller in 2022 and Bill O’Brien as the offensive coordinator in 2023.

The results have been disastrous as Jones has posted an 8-17 record to go with 24 touchdowns against 23 interceptions. This is after Jones posted 22 touchdowns against 13 interceptions during his rookie season. Jones’ 81.4 passer rating since the 2022 season is one of the lowest among active starting quarterbacks, with only Bryce Young, Zach Wilson, Kenny Pickett and Sam Howell posting lower passer ratings.

Why Buccaneers Could Benefit From Mac Jones Move

With all of that said, Jones could have a chance to revive his career in a similar manner in which Mayfield resurrected his own in Tampa Bay last season. It’s worth noting that Mayfield played for three different teams during the calendar year of 2022 and posted the fourth-lowest passer rating (79.0) among all quarterbacks during that season.

Fast forward a year later in Tampa and Mayfield ranked in the top 10 of major categories such as touchdowns, completions and passing yards.

While the Buccaneers are losing Dave Canales as its offensive coordinator, they do have stability with head coach Todd Bowles entering his third season and the team coming off of four consecutive playoff appearances.

Jones wouldn’t be an ideal option as starter in a worst-case scenario if Mayfield were to leave in free agency. However, it couldn’t hurt to add him as a backup quarterback, especially considering the final year of his rookie contract — his fifth-year option likely won’t be picked up — calls for him to earn less than $5 million during the 2024 season. That’s just the 32nd-highest mark among all quarterbacks in the league.


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