Now that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Baker Mayfield, what happens to Kyle Trask?
Even before Tom Brady retired back in February, we all knew there would be a new sheriff in town next season.
The only question is who will it be?
When the offseason began it seemed like Kyle Trask might be that guy, for a number of different reasons, but that may no longer be the case. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Baker Mayfield on Wednesday when free agency officially opened, creating a few different paths for the team moving forward.
Trask is the person most immediately impacted by Mayfield’s arrival, as it creates some competition for him and once again calls into question what his future with the team is.
During the NFL Combine Todd Bowles made it very clear that the presence of Trask didn’t preclude the Bucs from making moves at the position, and that the starting job wouldn’t simply be handed to him.
Nor should it.
What does Baker Mayfield mean for Kyle Trask’s future with Bucs?
Mayfield’s arrival reminds us all of the biggest question surrounding the Bucs moving forward: what is Kyle Trask’s future with the team?
We all knew that the Bucs would be adding someone before the season started as Trask wasn’t going to be the only guy all season. Mayfield being the guy the Bucs brought in means even more than before that Trask is going to have to earn the starting role next year and truly prove himself as the franchise’s future — if that’s what he’s destined to be.
For all of the possibilities that existed before, there are now two very distinct ways this whole thing can end.
Scenario 1: Kyle Trask beats out Baker Mayfield in training camp
This is the best case scenario, because it potentially provides the most stability moving forward.
If Kyle Trask wins the starting gig by beating out a veteran, then he’ll have truly earned the right to prove himself next season. Beating Mayfield is just the first step, as Trask could still turn out to be a disaster but it’s a big first step for the development of a guy who has yet to take 10 snaps in his career.
Don’t read too much into Mayfield’s contract and how it factors into whether or not that means he has the inside track to be the starter. If Trask beats him out, his deal can be chalked up to a pricey consulting fee as the long-term benefit of learning that Trask has what it takes to be the Bucs franchise quarterback far outweighs whatever the team owes Mayfield.
There’s also no guarantee that he’ll get paid the full amount of the deal. It’s been reported that his deal is really for more around $4 million with incentives getting him to $8.5 million. So this could end up being an even less expensive test than it seems.
Scenario 2: Baker Mayfield beats out Kyle Trask in training camp
This is less fortunate, for a number of reasons, but it at least provides some clarity. Trask losing out to Mayfield in training camp essentially closes the case on him being the future at quarterback for the Bucs and means the team can officially start looking elsewhere.
Mayfield could technically audition for the role at this point. If he balls out and Dave Canales revives his career the way he did Geno Smith then the Bucs could just roll with Mayfield moving forward knowing they have a former No. 1 pick who has finally realized his potential.
Either way, the Bucs will know that Trask isn’t the guy they need and can start planning accordingly. The front office can begin thinking of ways to try and trade up in the draft next year or begin to strategize what to do with a high pick if Mayfield isn’t able to make the team competitive.
Trask has two more years left on his rookie contract and the Bucs can save $1.4 million next year if they cut him post-June 1st. At that price though, Tampa Bay can just hang onto Trask and then let him walk in 2025 when he’s an unrestricted free agent without really needing to worry about much.