Baker Mayfield’s Success Could Change NFL, Says Talk Show Host

Baker Mayfield

Getty Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The success Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield had in reviving his career in 2023 might change how NFL teams view quarterbacks moving forward.

On “The Rich Eisen Show” on March 29, host Rich Eisen theorized that Mayfield’s success in Tampa Bay could fundamentally change how teams look at quarterbacks who “fail” with teams that drafted them initially.

“We’re seeing where Baker Mayfield has now come back around [and] the Bucs have now paid him [and] he performed better than the guy who got the ‘market deal’ in Daniel Jones,” Eisen said, mentioning Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith as a player who “sat for years and now look at him.”

Mayfield was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns and was traded to the Carolina Panthers for a fifth-round draft pick before the 2022 season. Mayfield was released by the Panthers after less than one season and played briefly for the Los Angeles Rams before signing with the Buccaneers as a free agent in 2023.

In his first season in Tampa Bay, Mayfield threw for career highs of 4,044 yards and 28 touchdowns while leading his team to an NFC South title and making the Pro Bowl for the first time.

On March 10, he was rewarded with a three-year contract extension worth up to $100 million, with $50 million guaranteed.

Historic Struggles for QBs From 2021 NFL Draft

The 2021 NFL draft featured five quarterbacks selected in the first round, including the first three picks. That group could feature a quarterback who could follow Mayfield’s path.

“Which one of these guys could eventually be getting the opportunity [like Mayfield] or who has the best skill set to potentially do that?” Eisen asked.

Trevor Lawrence, the 2021 No. 1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, will likely be the only one of the five quarterbacks still with the team that drafted him in 2024.

The New York Jets have been trying to trade No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson since the end of the 2023 season but haven’t found any suitors. Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers, was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a fourth-round pick before the 2023 season.

Justin Fields, the No. 11 overall pick to the Chicago Bears, was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a sixth-round pick after the 2023 season. Mac Jones, the No. 15 overall pick to the New England Patriots, was traded to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick following the 2023 season.

“And now you’ve got (in 2024) the top three spots once again possibly going to be quarterbacks,” Eisen said on his show on March 19. “Buyer beware.”

Quarterbacks Projected to Go 1-2-3 in 2024 NFL Draft

Both the PFF mock draft and the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Mel Kiper on February 28 feature three quarterbacks going in the first three picks in the 2024 NFL draft.

USC’s Caleb Williams is slotted to the Bears at No. 1 overall in both mocks followed by LSU’s Jayden Daniels and North Carolina’s Drake Maye to the Washington Commanders at No. 2 and the Patriots at No. 3, with Maye at No. 2 in PFF and Daniels at No. 2 in Kiper’s mock.

It would be the fourth time in NFL history quarterbacks have been selected with the first three picks in the draft following 2021, 1971 and 1999.

Of the nine quarterbacks selected in those three drafts, only one has gone on to win a Super Bowl — one who was discarded by the team that drafted him. Stanford’s Jim Plunkett was selected No. 1 overall by the Boston Patriots in 1971 and won a pair of Super Bowls with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders in 1980 and 1983.

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