Update as of noon ET, Wednesday, March 15: "Buccaneers replace Tom Brady with former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield"
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting on with life after Tom Brady, which means they need a new quarterback. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, they're expected to target veteran QB Baker Mayfield to fill that spot once free agency begins officially Wednesday.
When free agency begins, the #Bucs are expected to target ex-#Rams QB Baker Mayfield as a potential starting QB option, per me and @MikeGarafolo. This could be competition for Kyle Trask, their former 2nd-round pick, who the team likes a lot. As TB plots life without Tom Brady… pic.twitter.com/9PmbTG0tYW
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2023
Mayfield and his longtime team, the Cleveland Browns, parted ways following the 2021 season, with the Browns trading him to the Carolina Panthers. He spent the first 12 weeks of the 2022 season with the Panthers, appearing in seven games and starting six. He won just one of those starts and was punted onto waivers, where he was picked up by the Los Angeles Rams. He spent the rest of the season with Los Angeles, winning just one of his four starts. Overall, the 27-year-old went 2-8 as a starter, and on the heels of a disastrous 2021, it seemed like his days as a roving backup QB were getting closer at rapid speed.
The Bucs may be throwing him a lifeline. Whoever Mayfield signs with next will be his fourth club in three years, and he hasn't played even close to peak Mayfield in at least as long. There may not be a lot of starting opportunities out there for him. At least in Tampa, he'd have the chance to compete against 25-year-old Kyle Trask for the job. And he'll get another opportunity (his third) to try to rediscover his form and revive his career.
Now, is that opportunity worth the possibility of being known as Tom Brady's replacement? It's a chance to start in the NFL, so probably, but with free agency opening Wednesday, we'll soon find out for sure.