Buccaneers legend wants Baker Mayfield back, but not as the long-term QB answer

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

It seems everything about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offseason revolves around who will run the offense. Tha Bucs need to effectively replace Dave Canales, who left to coach the Carolina Panthers, but also need to lock in their quarterback for next season as well.

All signs point to that being Baker Mayfield, who proved he deserves another shot to show the team he has what it takes to lead them into the future. The locker room rallied around him in ways we didn’t expect, and the result was outstanding levels of success.

Tampa Bay was predicted to win just a handful of games in the wake of Tom Brady retiring, but ended up winning the NFC South and making it to the Divisional Round. If a few plays go the other way, we may be talking about the Bucs having made it to the Championship Game or even the Super Bowl.

That’s how well things went, and a lot of it has to do with Baker and the buy-in around him.

Now the team has a multi-million dollar question about what to do with him. The loss of Canales complicates things, but everyone still seems to agree the Bucs best path forward is with Baker at quarterback.

How long he has the keys is the other part of the equation that needs to be figured out.

Bucs legend Derrick Brooks wants Baker Mayfield back, but not long-term

Derrick Brooks dove into what the future might look like for the Buccaneers, and noted that he wants to see Baker Mayfield return. He doesn’t, however, view him as the long-term answer for the Bucs rather a shorter bridge option worth rolling the dice on.

“I really hope that the Bucs go down this road of really pursuing him. I really hope Baker understands the greater value is not just the economic piece in this case with him and figure out where he stands in that,” Brooks said. “Now, I say the ‘answer’ in terms of this: I think it’s a bridge. Do I think 10-year answer with Baker at quarterback? No. Do I think it’s 3 to 5? Yes.”

This seems to be the best possible outcome for all invovled. Baker deserves another shot, but tying the next decade to him seems risky. There’s a chance he delievers and the team experiences the sort of success it had this year and more, but that would mean making him the captain of the ship in Tampa Bay for the next chapter in franchise history.

Did he prove that much in just one year?

The flip side of that is not selling Baker short. He’s going to be a desirable option for teams like the Vikings, Falcons, and Patriots who seem like they’re ready to contend but need a quarterback to tie everything together. Baker’s success with the Bucs made more than a few teams regret not taking a chance on him last offseason, but now they have that opportunity this year.

Calling Baker a bridge seems like more of an insult than it is. Drafting a quaterback also doesn’t mean he’s going to be discarded in a few years for something better. Ideally the Bucs build what they failed to do with Brady — a savvy veteran who can help the team compete now while coaching up a young quarterback who can take over in a few years.

That seems to be what Brooks is suggesting, and it’s the type of math that adds up nicely for the Bucs.

More Tampa Bay Buccaneers news and rumors