Perhaps the biggest lingering question surrounding this season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the team's plan at quarterback.
After the retirement of Tom Brady, Tampa Bay had the choice of signing a veteran quarterback or looking to the NFL Draft for Brady's replacement. As it turned out, the Bucs took the former, signing Baker Mayfield to a one-year, $4 million contract, and naming him as the starter four months later.
As much blame and criticism as Mayfield has received this season, the seven-year veteran has done a remarkable job in his first season as the Buccaneers' starting quarterback. Ahead of their Week 11 matchup against San Fransisco, Mayfield has completed 64.6 percent of his pass attempts for 2,143 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and only five interceptions.
In addition, Mayfield captained the Buccaneers to a 3-1 start to the season, defeating Minnesota 20-17 in Week 1 while leading Tampa Bay to double-digit victories over Chicago and New Orleans before the bye week.
Baker Mayfield is having one of the best seasons of his career
Although Mayfield and the Bucs endured a rough four-game losing streak that sunk them from first to third in the NFC South, Mayfield still played well against multiple tough defenses. During the four-game skid, Mayfield still completed nearly 61 percent of his pass attempts for just under 1,000 yards, five touchdowns, and just two interceptions, while posting an 87.1 passer rating even while being sacked nine times.
That's pretty darn good.
He's also thrived out of shotgun this year. With the increased use of inside zone runs with Rachaad White, Mayfield has been able to push the football downfield with an intended pass yards per attempt of 8.5 -- that's good for sixth-highest in the NFL. Similarly, Mayfield holds a 75.2 percent on-target percentage on his passes this season, currently a season-high for the QB.
Above all, Mayfield is a former No. 1 overall pick who is still just 28 years old, and appears to be entering the prime of his playing career.
While Mayfield still has struggled in some games and forgettable performances, the 6'1", 215-pound veteran is still a Top-15 QB in the NFL in a multitude of categories and is currently on pace to top his rookie season (3,725 PSYDs, 27 TDs, 14 Ints, 63.8% CMP) in pass yards, touchdowns, interceptions, and completion percentage. For that reasoning alone, it makes plenty of sense for Tampa Bay to re-sign Mayfield this offseason as the Buccaneers' QB1.