The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are likely out of the running for the big-money quarterback options, but the team continues to be linked to former No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the buzz around the NFL Combine has the Buccaneers and 49ers as the top teams connected to Mayfield.
“The Bucs and 49ers came up most often when I asked around about quarterback Baker Mayfield’s market,” Fowler detailed on March 5, 2023. “Tampa Bay is looking at bringing in a veteran arm. Drew Lock, who was the backup in Seattle last year, is also an option there. And the 49ers need veteran help due to injuries to Trey Lance and Brock Purdy. Mason Rudolph would also make some sense there.”
The Buccaneers are projected to be more than $58 million above the salary cap this offseason leaving the team with little wiggle room to take a big swing at quarterback. Mayfield could look to sign a one-year prove-it deal in the coming weeks, and the Bucs would be an appealing destination given the veteran would likely find himself in a quarterback competition with Kyle Trask to be the starter. Spotrac projects Mayfield’s market value to be a two-year, $13 million contract as the quarterback heads into free agency.
Jason Licht Labeled Kyle Trask’s Career at Florida as ‘Wildly Successful’
Despite the rumors, the Bucs continue to publicly praise Trask and his potential as the team’s new QB1. Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht used the combine to express confidence in Trask citing his career at Florida as “wildly successful” while playing against SEC defenses.
“Yeah, we’re very excited about Kyle,” Licht explained during his February 28 NFL Combine press conference. “We’re very excited about him getting the opportunity to be the starter – we’d be very comfortable with that. [We’re] excited – I’ve used that word already but I really am – for him to get a chance to be with the starters in offseason, starters in training camp, starters in preseason, which he’s never done.
“He was a successful quarterback in the SEC – I mean, wildly successful. We took him in the second round for a reason – we didn’t take him in the second round just to be a third-string quarterback. Now, it has yet to be seen what he turns out to be, but we’re confident that it’s going to be very good.”
The Bucs Are Leaving the Door Open to Signing a Veteran Quarterback
While the Bucs continue to maintain faith in Trask, the team is also leaving the door open to adding a veteran quarterback. The Bucs could also look to draft a quarterback at No. 19, but it is looking increasingly likely that Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson will all be off the board when Tampa Bay is on the clock. Licht admitted the team still expects there to be a quarterback competition between Trask and the eventual signal-caller the team adds this offseason.
“You have to give everybody competition,” Licht said. “He’s the only quarterback on our roster right now. I’m just saying if he were the starter, or if he was the only option that we had right now, we’d be very, very excited about going forward with him. And he’s going to get the opportunity, no matter who we bring in, to be the starter.”