Baker Mayfield is already racking up wins for the Buccaneers this offseason

Led by Mayfield's uncanny playstyle and presence in the locker room, Tampa Bay has been able to replicate their success with him under center after the retirement of Tom Brady two years ago.
Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Ahead of the 2022-2023 season, few believed that Tampa Bay could maintain their success following the retirement of Tom Brady that offseason. Two years later, and the Buccaneers have continued to enjoy success in the NFC behind star quarterback Baker Mayfield, winning their third straight NFC South division title in 2023.

In his first season as a Buc, Mayfield, the 2023 NFL Most Improved Player of the Year, became the second player in Tampa Bay franchise history to throw for more than 4,000 yards, 25 or more touchdowns, and ten or fewer interceptions in a single season, joining Brady in 2022. In addition, Mayfield ranked in the top 12 for passing touchdowns (7th), passing yards (9th), completions (10th), and passer rating (12th).

This offseason, Tampa Bay signed Mayfield to a three-year, $100 million contract extension, locking him in as the Bucs' franchise quarterback beyond the 2027-2028 year. Although Mayfield is only 28 and entering the prime of his career, several Buccaneers teammates have noted how refreshing and enjoyable it is to have Mayfield as their QB1.

Baker Mayfield's teammates keep signing his praises, which is a fantastic omen for 2024

During a recent appearance on “The Jim Rome Show,” Bucs defensive lineman Calijah Kancey made it clear that he loves having Mayfield as his quarterback:

With remarks of his teammates wanting to run through a wall for Mayfield, it's clear that the seven-year veteran has fit just right in at Tampa Bay. For a younger quarterback to do so is becoming few and far between more recently, and is something that some of the greatest quarterbacks have succeded at during their respective careers.

The top example of this is Brady, Mayfield's predecessor. While Brady managed to win seven Super Bowls, three regular season MVPs, and five Super Bowl MVPs during his 22-year career, Brady has been highlighted by several of his Patriot and Buccaneer teammates as one of the most wholesome and honest teammates they've played with.

“To me, that was the most important thing. And whether you’re talking about my rookie year or my last year, I mean, it was always the same. This guy was able to relate to me, and we have a good friendship," said Jerod Mayo, Brady’s teammate from 2008 to ’15, and a coach for Brady’s last year in Foxboro. "And even though we don’t talk on a daily basis, when we see each other, it’s like we’ve never left.”

“It’s scary because as good as a football player as he is, he’s an even better friend, even better person,” said Danny Amendola, Brady’s teammate from 2013 to ’18. “He’s been like a big brother to me. … Whether it’s been getting out to Montana or going to the [Kentucky] Derby or just having us over for dinner, he’s always the same. He’s always there to help. He’s actually like a big brother to everyone.”

While Mayfield hasn't had the same level of success as Brady had in his career, the evidence of his leadership and unshakable spirit has meshed well with the entire Bucs' roster and was a key reason in Tampa Bay's success last season. Even with Atlanta vastly improving in free agency and the draft, Mayfield and the Bucs are one of the most well-rounded teams in the conference are led by one of the polarizing quarterbacks in the league.