Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles spoke with Rich Eisen and was very clear about what Baker Mayfield’s role with the team is heading into training camp.
It’s only been a few months since Baker Mayfield joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it’s still unclear how he’ll fit into the team’s future.
We have an idea of how he’ll fit, as the expectation is that Mayfield will compete with Kyle Trask for the starting quarterback role. Assuming he wins that battle, the Buccaneers are hoping Baker is able to make the team competitive in the NFC South, a task that isn’t nearly as tall as some in the national media are making it out to be.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, Mayfield needs to win the job. The circumstances under which he came to Tampa Bay have led some to believe the scales are already tipped in his favor. Mayfield was signed for $4.5 million guaranteed despite the fact that Tampa Bay didn’t — and still doesn’t — have a ton of cap flexibility or money to spend.
There’s also the enormous hole on the depth chart at quarterback that plays in Mayfield’s favor as well.
Despite how things might be lining up for Mayfield to be handed the starting job, Head Coach Todd Bowles wants it known that nothing is further from the truth.
Todd Bowles sends clear message about Baker Mayfield’s role with Buccaneers
Bowles was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show this week and commented on the quarterback battle that will be happening in Tampa Bay this summer.
While some may believe Mayfield has the inside track to winning the starting role, Bowles made it clear that it’s a job that must be earned.
“We don’t have a starter right now,” Bowles said. “We know Baker has played in games and Trask has not, but we’ve watched Trask over the years and we like some of the things he does, and we’re going to give him the chance to play and compete and see who comes out. We told Baker this coming in — it’s not anything new that he doesn’t know.”
It doesn’t get much clearer than emphatically stating that the team doesn’t have a starting quarterback. Bowles is doing more than just making a statement of fact, he’s sending a motivational message to Mayfield.
For as much promise as he affords, Mayfield has more bad seasons under his belt than successful ones. Whether that’s a symptom of his surrounding cast or Mayfield’s fault — or a little bit of both — he hasn’t done much to outright earn a starting role.
That’s a humbling thing for a guy who is a former No. 1 overall pick who has an ego the size of Mayfield’s. None of that is a bad thing, but it’s clear that Bowles isn’t going to let outside narratives control what he does with his team, and if Mayfield is going to be under center in Week 1 it’s going to be because he earned the right to do so.