TAMPA, Fla. — Looks like Baker Mayfield will be calling Tampa his new home as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to terms with the unrestricted free agent quarterback.
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, started his career with the Cleveland Browns before landing with the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams in 2022. Licht confirmed that the team agreed to a one-year contract.
"Baker is a tough competitor who plays with the kind of passion and confidence that you look for in a quarterback," Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht said in a statement. "He’s a young veteran with good upside who should thrive in our new offensive system with receivers like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage. He had an impressive 2020 season when he led the Browns to their playoff appearance and did some good things during his brief stint with the Rams at the end of last season. I know from speaking with him that he is excited to come in and compete for the starting job."
NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero was the first to report the move on Wednesday, citing sources.
"The #Bucs are finalizing a deal with former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, per sources," Pelissero's tweet read. "Mayfield finished his fifth NFL season strong after landing with the #Rams. Now he gets a chance to take over for Tom Brady in Tampa, and is still only 27."
Minutes later, ESPN Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter also announced Mayfield's agreement with the Bucs.
"Former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield reached [an] agreement today on a one-year deal worth up to $8.5 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, per sources," Schefter tweeted. "Mayfield is now in line to be Tom Brady’s successor."
The transaction comes as the Bucs announced the release of running back Leonard Fournette and tight end Cameron Brate.
CBS Sports said it's expected that Mayfield will have a chance to compete for the starting quarterback position vacated by Tom Brady last month. The Bucs do have Kyle Trask, who was a second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
After a prolific career at Oklahoma, winning the Heisman Trophy award, Mayfield has struggled in the NFL. His career record is 31-38 throwing 102 touchdowns with 64 interceptions. Tampa Bay is hoping to tap into the man they saw in 2020 when he threw for 3,563 yards with 26 touchdowns and eight picks. He even helped the Browns win their first playoff game since 1994.
Buccaneers new offensive coordinator Dave Canales recently helped Geno Smith turn into the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He will have a new task trying to resurrect Mayfield's career after stumbling through the first five seasons.
At least the cupboard is not bare in Tampa Bay. Mayfield has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage as receivers. Rachaad White will take a larger role at running back with Ryan Jensen and Tristan Wirfs anchoring the offensive line.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old has the opportunity to lead the Buccaneers to their third straight NFC South championship. If it does not happen though, the Bucs can pivot easily in 2024 with a better salary cap situation. The 2024 NFL Draft arguably has a better crop of quarterbacks entering the league, too.
Following the announcement that Mayfield was headed to Tampa Bay, 10 Tampa Bay Sports Director Evan Closky polled Twitter users — love it or meh?