One of the biggest moves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made this offseason was signing Baker Mayfield. Depending on who you ask, the optics of that decision vary greatly.
Mayfield was brought in to compete with Kyle Trask for the starting quarterback role this season. For some, though, it’s impossible to get over the optics of the Bucs going from Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield in less than a few months.
The fact of the matter is it’s a good deal for everyone involved. Mayfield has a chance to restore his reputation as a viable starter in the NFL while the Bucs get a hungry veteran who has the talent to make them a competitive team in a winnable division. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that we’re sitting here in seven months watching Baker lead the Bucs into Wild Card weekend as NFC South champs; in fact it’s very much a realistic possibility.
Of course, the flip side of that is Baker losing the starting role to Trask which then allows the Bucs to fully assess whether he has the tools to be the franchise’s future quarterback. Either way it’s a low-risk, high-reward gamble that everyone seems to be onboard with.
At least, that’s what the proper optics seem to be.
Mayfield signing with the Bucs was laughed at as a last-resort option for both parties back in March when every doofus on Twitter was making the same exact joke. It turns out that couldn’t be further from the truth, and the actual though process is a massively positive sign about the direction the Bucs are heading.
Baker Mayfield’s reason for signing with Buccaneers will fire up fans
Mayfield finally revealed what motivated him to sign with the Buccaneers this offseason, pointing to a few things that should make fans feel a lot better about the franchise moving forward.
“It needed to be a long-term thinking process. Looking at stable organizations, people who have had success, people that are built to have quick success here in the next couple of years and just evaluate that,” Mayfield said to CBS Sports. “This is obviously a place that has success for a long time, and from top down they run this organization extremely well.”
Not only did Mayfield sing the praises of Jason Licht and Todd Bowles, but he highlighted the newest addition to the leadership team. Dave Canales was hired as a first time coordinator to replace Byron Leftwich, and it was something that apparently piqued Mayfield’s interest.
“I was excited by the hire of [offensive coordinator] Dave Canales, and this system with these weapons,” Mayfield said. “It kind of became an easy decision.”
Mayfield also mentioned that he knew he was going to be on a one year prove-it deal, which should make it even more notable that he decided to sign with the Bucs. He was actively looking for the best opportunity for him to revive his career, and he specifically chose Tampa Bay to do it.
Mayfield’s praise of Canales as one of the reasons he decided to sign in Tampa Bay is beyond notable. Last year in Seattle, Canales was instrumental in helping Geno Smith revive his career and parlay an incredible season into a $75 million payday.
One of the persistent narratives from the national media this offseason has been how much of a joke the Buccaneers are now that Tom Brady is gone. Peter King and other experts are ranking them among the worst teams in the league and Todd Bowles is already an early favorite to be fired next season.
Despite this anti-Bucs agenda, Mayfield chose to sign here for reasons that directly contradict the negative sentiment. That’s perhaps the biggest takeaway, and should make Bucs fans feel a lot better about where the team is headed and how it’s really viewed within the league.