Training camp is officially upon us, and with it comes the much anticipated battle to see who will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback this season.
It’s a battle we’ve been looking forward to since Tom Brady announced his retirement back in February, as there’s no clear answer as to who it will be. Kyle Trask was talked about as a potential successor for a hot minute, as were rookies like Hendon Hooker and Will Levis. Ultimately the Bucs signed Baker Mayfield to compete for the starting job, something he seems to be the front runner to get.
Mayfield being the starter in Tampa Bay isn’t something everyone agrees with, though.
In a recent piece over at The Athletic, Mike Sando released his annual ‘Quarterback Tiers’ list and polled various GMs and coaches around the league. When it came to Mayfield, both his ranking and the comments about him reflect a guy who not many people are high on heading into the season.
NFL GM and coach slam Baker Mayfield
Mayfield ended up ranking No. 26 — which was in Tier 4 — but it was the comments from the coaches and GMs who were polled that stick out.
A common theme among those that Sando talked to was the belief that Mayfield’s best days are behind him.
“Mayfield is a low 3, on his way to being a backup," an anonymous offensive coach told Sando. "His accuracy has suffered, he takes too many risks, and it seems like his emotions negatively affect the way he plays.”
A current general manager who was polled had a similar comment.
“Mayfield moves well enough, throws well enough, does some things well enough but possesses no special ability,” one GM said. “He may win you a game because he may run around and people aren’t prepared, but at the end of the day, he is just a backup, in my opinion.”
While it’s clear that Mayfield reputation around the league isn’t great, he was under consideration by more than just the Buccaneers this offseason. A contending AFC team reportedly had Mayfield on its radar before he ultimately decided to sign with the Buccaneers and compete for a starting job.
All of the comments about Mayfield fit with a general sentiment that is being felt toward the Bucs as a whole. The team has already been counted down and out before the season has even started, and there’s a chip on everyone’s shoulder as a result.
It also highlights that Mayfield is in a make-or-break situation with the Bucs. He only has so many chances to prove he has what it takes, and it seems he might be down to his last chance in Tampa Bay. That could result in a version of Baker we haven’t seen in years, the guy who Cleveland thought it was getting with the No. 1 pick and a guy who can help make the Bucs a surprise team this season.
We already figured Baker was coming to Tampa Bay with a chip on his shoulder, but the comments from anonymous coaches and GMs essentially confirms it. What happens next is entirely up to Baker to prove one way or another.