The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are rolling out a quarterback competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask this upcoming season, but things could look a lot different in 2024. The Ringer’s Sheil Kapadia noted the Bucs are a potential landing spot for Cardinals star quarterback Kyler Murray next year if things turn south in Arizona.
“FanDuel has the Bucs tied for the fourth-worst Super Bowl odds,” Kapadia wrote on May 9, 2023. “While NFL teams don’t outright tank seasons, being bad in 2023 might be the best thing for the Bucs if it means a high draft pick and a chance at either USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye. If the team is mediocre but the quarterback play is bad, the Bucs could opt against a rebuild and try to acquire a veteran (Kyler Murray?) next offseason.
“For now, it feels like the Bucs are catching their breath, buying a year, and making plans for 2024.”
Cardinals QB Kyler Murray’s 5-Year, $230 Million Contract Does Not Begin Until 2024
The Cardinals did everything they could this offseason to reaffirm the team’s commitment to Murray as their franchise quarterback. Yet, the pressure is mounting on Murray given the fact that the playmaker’s five-year, $230 million contract does not even begin until 2024.
Murray is coming off his worse statistical season throwing for 2,368 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 66.4% of his passes in 11 appearances. The Cardinals quarterback also rushed for 418 yards and three touchdowns.
Beyond production, there are concerns about Murray’s health after the signal-caller sustained a season-ending ACL injury against the Patriots last December. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the injury could sideline Murray for the start of the 2023 season.
“My understanding is he is going to take his time and make sure this thing is 100 percent right,” Rapoport detailed on January 29. “He is young. He’s got a long career. He’s not going to rush, so do not be surprised if we don’t see him to start the season or maybe even by the midway point. This injury has to heal perfectly.”
Bucs GM Jason Licht on Drafting a Quarterback: ‘Maybe Not This Year, But Maybe in the Future’
All this serves as the backdrop for why the Cardinals could look to move on from Murray next offseason. The question for the Bucs is if it is worth the risk to not only give up significant draft capital for Murray but take on his $230 million deal. Tampa Bay may prefer to find their future QB1 in the draft if Mayfield or Trask are unable to take a firm hold of the position this season.
The appeal of the top quarterback prospects like Caleb Williams and Drake Maye is not only their upside but the ability to build a contending roster around rookie contracts. Heading into the 2023 draft, general manager Jason Licht foreshadowed a potential quarterback move but hinted it could be in 2024. Tampa Bay opted to pass on the position completely in the 2023 draft.
“It’s the toughest position to find,” Licht remarked during an April 13 press conference. “It’s the most important position on the team. You see teams that in consecutive years take them in the top 10. We have an unknown in Kyle [Trask]. We have Baker [Mayfield], who has had some great years and now we’re hoping he shows up this year in that competition and we get the best out of both of them.
“I would not be afraid to take a quarterback – another quarterback – because you might as well have another shot at it. Maybe not this year, but maybe in the future.”