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Baker Mayfield makes sense for the Buccaneers

The Bucs are expected to pursue the free agent quarterback to compete for the starting job with Kyle Trask

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Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

According to multiple reports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to make a run at free agent quarterback Baker Mayfield “for the right price” to come in and compete for the starting job with Kyle Trask;

According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs are also expected to have interest in free agent quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett, Drew Lock, and the potential return of Blaine Gabbert.

For the Bucs, their best bet is Baker Mayfield for quite a few reasons.

Mayfield, who spent last season with the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams, is the best of the budget quarterbacks that can push Trask in a legitimate, open competition. Mayfield won the first playoff for the Cleveland Browns since 1994 back in 2020 with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers where Mayfield went 21-for-34 for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Then in 2021, he tried to play through a shoulder injury - albeit unsuccessfully - which led to his departure from the Browns.

The Panthers season could be chalked up to a lost year. Between the dysfunction that was Matt Rhule and the fire sale that still somehow resulted in the Panthers competing for a playoff spot in the NFL’s worst division - so Mayfield was granted his release then landed with a Rams team that was without Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford, and Allen Robinson so he led a come-from-behind victory with wide receivers like Ben Skowronek, Van Jefferson, and Tutu Atwell.

To say that Mayfield has faced a lot of adversity would be an understatement and that he has a chip on his shoulder would be a fair assessment.

I say all that to say this; if Mayfield comes in and there truly is an open and fair quarterback competition, the Bucs will benefit regardless of the outcome. No, signing Baker Mayfield does not guarantee he’s the starter. What it does guarantee is that whoever emerges as the starter will have earned that job - and the trust of new Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales - in the process.

It also means that should the Bucs’ brass be right in their excitement about Trask’s potential and he ends up the starter, the Buccaneers immediately have one of - if not, the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. 69 starts, 16,288 passing yards, 102 touchdowns, 64 interceptions, and an additional 660 yards and 6 touchdowns rushing plus playoff experience. All of that, sitting behind a young quarterback in case Trask gets injured - or just as an extra voice to help Trask become acclimated to the NFL game given how little actual experience Trask has.

The Buccaneers were interested in Mayfield last off-season during Tom Brady’s brief retirement so it makes sense that they’re interested again. Now, it’s a matter of making the price work and making sure that Mayfield is ready to earn his spot on the team.

Finally, let’s be honest - wouldn’t we all enjoy seeing insurance commercials of Baker living in the pirate ship?

For more on this and all things Tampa Bay Buccaneers check out James Yarcho and David Harrison on the Locked On Bucs Podcast!