Baker Mayfield sees chance to win, and to resurrect his career in Tampa

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The Bucs got a bargain this week, adding former fringe franchise quarterback and No. 1 overall draft pick Baker Mayfield for a base deal worth only $4 million.

Mayfield sees it an opportunity far more valuable than that.

Beyond his $4.5 million in incentives (the specific triggers have not yet been revealed), Mayfield sees Tampa as a place where he can win football games — and where he can turn his career around.

Despite Tom Brady being gone, the Buccaneers (as noted by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times) still have plenty of players who were part of the team that won a Super Bowl only 25 months ago.

That was big in his decision,” agent Tom Mills told Stroud.

Also big was the presence of new offensive coordinator Dave Canales, who was the quarterbacks coach for Geno Smith in 2022, boosting him to the comeback player of the year award.

“It’s the Geno Smith model,” Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken (who was Mayfield’s coordinator in 2019) told Stroud. “He came in and became the starter for one year and then got himself the big three-year contract. Baker wants that opportunity. He saw what Coach Canales did and wants to replicate it and get an opportunity to be a starter again.”

To do that, Mayfield first needs to beat out third-year second-rounder Kyle Trask. Mayfield, who has never lacked in confidence, surely believes he will.

He should be able to do it. In 2018 and 2020, Mayfield played extremely well. In 2021, a shoulder injury suffered while making a tackle (quarterbacks, please don’t make tackles) ruined the season for him and the Browns.

Last year didn’t go well, but how could it? The Browns squatted on him through the offseason program, and he basically split reps with Sam Darnold in Carolina in camp, under a dysfunctional coaching staff whose leader barely made it into October. Mayfield, who witnessed plenty of dysfunction in Cleveland, did a nice job of containing any frustrations he may have had.

Eventually, he landed with the Rams, providing after literally two days on the team one of the most exciting moments of the year in a fourth-quarter comeback from a 16-3 deficit against the Raiders to win the game, 17-16.

Coincidentally, the Buccaneers pulled off an identical feat only three days earlier, beating the Saints while down 16-3 in the fourth quarter. So maybe a little of that Mayfield moxie and magic can help the Buccaneers continue to rule the NFC South — perhaps even with a winning record this year.

14 responses to “Baker Mayfield sees chance to win, and to resurrect his career in Tampa

  1. Honestly, I wanted the Bucs to pick him up last year to be Brady’s back-up, get a year learning under the GOAT.

  2. At least you are owning he didnt have a shot with the panthers. The Browns screwed him there. Meanwhile our first year with out him and we win six games. Yet with him we got told we were a QB away from contention. One 250 mil QB later, the browns are a bad start from being gutted

  3. Trask is their best QB. Mayfield is a good backup. They’re set at QB, as long as they start the right guy.

  4. Somehow there are always tons of people ready to make excuses for this guy. He has about 80 games of film as an NFL starter there are no surprises one way or the other

  5. Best chance Mayfield had was in Cleveland. His fans give us it’s the franchise. It’s kind of what you have to deal with when you go to bad organizations, elevate it. What Burrow has done the last two years is what was expected of Mayfield, and he failed. The one year they won with him, they hid him. A number one overall pick shouldn’t be hidden on your team, and that Cleveland roster was far superior to what Burrow has played with the last two years everywhere except probably receiver.

  6. Tampa needs to rebuild.

    Mayfield needs to work on improving for a couple of years if he is to have any chance of becoming a legitimate starter who earns his spot rather than having it handed to him based on draft status.

  7. Glad to see him get a chance. Hopefully, for the Bucs’ sake, the Mayfield that can be awesome shows up, and is consistent. If he does take advantage of this opportunity, I see 8 years of constantly changing teams to be a modestly paid back-up or transition QB. That is not a bad career (I’d have taken it in a heartbeat if I had the talent and chance to do so!), but surely not what he envisioned for himself.

  8. Our hope is that Baker breaks the habit of letting his mouth start conflicts that his talent can’t stand.

  9. that Cleveland roster was far superior to what Burrow has played with the last two years everywhere except probably receiver.

    Still is. With Woods and the Special Teams Coach gone it will be proven.

  10. Rose colored glasses in the front office (again). Baker has some pretty bad habits to break when he is under pressure, and Licht/Bowles are “building” an OL that may not be anything but a speed bump (at 3 positions) for opposing defenses. Good luck with that combination.

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