Tampa Bay Buccaneers could target former No. 1 pick to replace Tom Brady
By Vincent Frank,
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have several decisions to make this offseason after a disappointing 8-9 campaign.
Obviously, the focus is going to be on who replaces the recently-retired Tom Brady as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback in 2023. A lot of that will be dependent on who head coach Todd Bowles brings in to replace Byron Leftwich as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Mayfield is one of a number of quarterbacks set to hit free agency that hopes to earn a starting job on the open market. At this point, he seems to be a stopgap option for teams looking to fill need short-term.
As for the Buccaneers, general manager Jason Licht will have to decide whether he believes this team can contend for a playoff spot without Brady in the mix. Tampa Bay is in salary cap hell right now ( currently $29.44 over the 2023 figure ).
Outside of Brady’s regression this past season, Tampa Bay didn’t look anywhere near like a legitimate championship contender. It ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing and had holes at all three levels of the defense.
The issue here is an inability to come up with a quick rebuild given the Bucs’ veteran-laden roster. Licht and Co. ultimately might draw the conclusion that finding a placeholder at quarterback could keep this team in contention. Remember, Tampa won the NFC South with an 8-9 record. No team is going to run away with that disasterclass of a division in 2023.
Baker Mayfield actually makes sense for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Mayfield was up and down during his time in Cleveland. The former Oklahoma standout threw 75 touchdowns compared to 43 interceptions in his first three seasons with the team. That included leading the Browns to a rare playoff appearance back in 2020.
Since then, it’s been downhill for the impending free agent. He fell out of favor with the Browns in 2021, posting a 6-8 record in 14 starts. Once the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson in a trade with the Houston Texans last offseason, Mayfield’s days in Ohio were numbered. Ultimately, Cleveland dealt him to the Carolina Panthers ahead of last season.
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