HomeSportsNFLTop NFL Suitor Emerges for Baker Mayfield in Free Agency

Top NFL Suitor Emerges for Baker Mayfield in Free Agency

by Nick Schultz
Baker Mayfield
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

It sure sounds like Baker Mayfield is close to finding a new home. And if it happens, he’ll have some big shoes to fill.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have emerged as a target to sign Mayfield in free agency, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported Sunday. Mayfield started last season with the Carolina Panthers before they released him and he signed with the Los Angeles Rams to finish out the year.

It’s an intriguing solution to Tampa Bay’s quarterback situation now that Tom Brady retired — and, apparently, is staying that way. The only quarterback on the roster is former Florida standout Kyle Trask, who Tampa Bay selected in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Trask has only appeared in one game during his NFL career, completing 3 of 9 passes for 23 yards.

Baker Mayfield has had an interesting journey in the NFL

If the Buccaneers opt to sign Mayfield, they’d not only get a former No. 1 overall pick, but someone with much more experience under center. Mayfield started his career with the Cleveland Browns, throwing for more than 3,000 yards in each of his four seasons there. But after Cleveland traded for Deshaun Watson, Mayfield requested a trade and wound up at Carolina.

With the Panthers, Mayfield started the first four games before suffering a foot injury and missing time. He appeared in two more games before getting his release from Carolina and signing with the Rams, where he made an instant impact.

Just days after signing with Los Angeles, Mayfield started a Thursday Night Football showdown with the Las Vegas Raiders and led the Rams to a come-from-behind 17-16 victory. He sealed the win with a 23-yard pass to Van Jefferson with just nine seconds left to play.

Tampa Bay is coming off an up-and-down season in 2022 with Brady under center. The Bucs finished 8-9 overall, but snuck into the NFL Playoffs, where they lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round. Now, a big offseason is underway with Brady retired and multiple staff changes taking place, including a new offensive coordinator. Tampa Bay fired Byron Leftwich and hired former Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales to the role.