It's been a season of gambles for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but one of the first ones the team made seems to be paying off.
Baker Mayfield hasn't been perfect but he's been exactly the type of quarterback the team needed in the wake of Tom Brady retiring. Pundits have talked about his moxie, but his energy has been one that the tea sorely needed and has benefited from more than a few times this year.
Lest we forget his first Angry Run of the season when he helped push the Bucs over the edge for e Week 1 win. That's something that has carried throughout the season, even winning hasn't come easy, and is perhaps the reason the team is still in the mix this late in the year.
Many doubted that Baker would do much of anything with the Bucs after he signed with them back in March, but it's starting to look like he might be the long term answer at quarterback. That's at least what it sounds like he'd like based on his comments this week.
It sounds like Baker Mayfield wants to stay with Buccaneers in 2024
After the Bucs big win in Atlanta on Sunday, Mike Florio reported on Football Night in America that Baker told him he wants to stay with the Bucs beyond this year.
"He love it [in Tampa Bay]," Florio said. "He told me he wants to stay."
It's a message that got delivered more than just second-hand, as Mayfield wasn't shy about telling everyone his feelings about the Bucs wihle speaking to the media this week.
“I love it here. That’s a big reason why I chose to come here – organization-wise, the team, the guys, everybody around,” Mayfield said this week. “I’m having fun playing football. I’m enjoying that. That’s something that, if you get a chance to pick or choose, this is a good place to be.”
Baker's feelings seem to line up with what the Bucs sentiment was before the season. Former NFL GM Rick Spielman visited Tampa Bay during training camp and came away with the impression that everyone got together with a long-term relationship in mind.
"He thought that [Tampa Bay] was not only the best opportunity for him now, but for the future. He's looking for a place where he can hopefully play well and finish out his career," Spielman said. "He's really out to prove he's the Baker Mayfield that was taken with the first overall pick."
Jason Licht has thrown his weight behind Baker when given the chance and Todd Bowles has called out the positives of having him around as well. Outside of a few games, it's hard to argue that Mayfield is the reason the Bucs have lost any games this year, and there have been instances like Week 1 where he's the reason they were able to win.
With the Bucs looking at a pick outside of the Top 20 right now -- something that will likely be the case if they win the NFC South -- it once again might be hard to draft a franchise quarterback. Unlike last year, though, such a thing isn't as daunting considering the Bucs might end up with a No. 1 pick at quarterback anyway.
In the meantime, there's a game against the Packers this week and FanDuel Sportsbook is giving you a $150 bonus if the Bucs win! Bet at least $5 (with a $10 deposit) on Tampa Bay to win right now and you'll get $150 in bonus bets if the Bucs get it done. Sign up for FanDuel now!