The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were not the only team interested in landing quarterback Baker Mayfield in free agency. Hours after news broke that Mayfield was joining the Bucs, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Ravens attempted to sign Mayfield, but the quarterback opted to join Tampa Bay. It appears the chance to compete to be the Buccaneers new QB1 was more enticing than Baltimore who still has Lamar Jackson on the roster despite plenty of trade rumors.
“The Ravens, who face uncertainty around Lamar Jackson’s future, have been involved in the free agent quarterback market, looking into options such as Baker Mayfield and Jacoby Brissett before they signed with Tampa and Washington, per league sources,” Fowler tweeted on March 15, 2023. “Baltimore appears to be looking for flexibility.”
Mayfield signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Bucs, and his salary can grow to as high as $8.5 million if certain incentives are achieved, per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. The former No. 1 pick will now compete with Kyle Trask to be the next Tampa Bay starting quarterback.
The Bucs Plan to Have a QB Competition Between Baker Mayfield & Kyle Trask
After the Mayfield signing became official, Bucs general manager Jason Licht made it clear that the veteran will not be handed the starting job. Licht noted that Mayfield is “excited to come in and compete for the starting job.”
“Baker is a tough competitor who plays with the kind of passion and confidence that you look for in a quarterback,” Licht said in a March 17 statement released by the team. “He’s a young veteran with good upside who should thrive in our new offensive system with receivers like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage.
“He had an impressive 2020 season when he led the Browns to their playoff appearance and did some good things during his brief stint with the Rams at the end of last season. I know from speaking with him that he is excited to come in and compete for the starting job.”
Baker Mayfield Viewed the Buccaneers Roster as Having a Viable Path to Winning
With Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, Mayfield will have potentially the most talented group of receivers the quarterback has had during his NFL career. Baker Mayfield’s agent Tom Mills emphasized that the Bucs chances to win played a “big” factor in the quarterback’s decision to join Tampa Bay.
“That was big in his decision,” Mills told Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud.
Other factors included the hiring of new offensive coordiantor Dave Canales who played a role as the Seahawks quarterbacks coach in Geno Smith’s bounce back season in 2022. Mayfield is hoping that Canales can help him re-establish himself as a viable NFL starting quarterback. The Bucs now mark Mayfield’s fourth team in the last three seasons.
“It’s the Geno Smith model. He came in and became the starter for one year and then got himself the big three-year contract. Baker wants that opportunity,” Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who held the same role coaching Mayfield in Cleveland back in 2019, told Stroud. “He saw what Coach Canales did and wants to replicate it and get an opportunity to be a starter again. I’m sure that’s what attracted Baker.”