The Bucs have another mediocre season
It might seem that the worst fate imaginable for the Buccaneers this year is to watch them sink to the bottom of the league. Nobody wants to watch another year of bad football, but something that could be even harmful to the health of the franchise is if the Bucs end up being nothing more than mid.
The Bucs being one of the worst teams in the league would be miserable, but it would at least put them in a position to draft a franchise quarterback of the future. Even if they don’t end up with the No. 1 pick, the higher the Bucs pick the more likely it is they’ll be able to trade up and get into a position get someone who can help turn the franchise in the right direction.
A fate worse than watching the Bucs be bad is watching them be good enough to compete but not enough to be serious about it. A season where the team finishes with 8 or 9 wins would be a total nightmare, putting them in a similar spot as they were this year in terms of being in the middle of the first round and too far away from being able to trade up without mortgaging the future.
This season shouldn’t be defined by hoping for the team to be bad enough to set up the long term future. If the Bucs are competitive but not quite good enough to win the Super Bowl then that could be palatable. There’s a big difference between being a few pieces away and winning a bad division and limping in to the playoffs as sacrificial lambs — again.
If the former plays out, the Bucs might be in a position where Baker Mayfield realizes his potential and can fill the need for a franchise quarterback. However, a repeat of last season will not only be miserable to watch but could be a nightmare that sets the team’s future back.