ESPN insider predicts depressing outcome for Buccaneers quarterback battle

An NFL insider predicts how the Baker Mayfield-Kyle Trask QB battle will go, and it’s pretty much a nightmare scenario.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pittsburgh Steelers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially in preseason mode, the time is nearing for a decision to be made on who will be the starting quarterback.

It’s a decision we’ve all known about since February. As soon as Tom Brady announced his retirement, it forced the Bucs to enter a new era and it’s one that still doesn’t have a clear-cut captain. Baker Mayfield was signed in free agency to compete with Kyle Trask but all that training camp has offered up is more questions than answers.

In practice, Mayfield looked like he was getting outplayed by Trask who appeared to be closing the gap more than anyone had anticipated. During the Bucs first preseason game against the Steelers, things looked a little different.

Mayfield didn’t play much but he made the most of his snaps, while Trask looked less like the guy we’d seen thus far at training camp and more like a guy who wasn’t quite ready for the starting gig.

It’s a small sample size, but some folks are already looking ahead and making a call on how the battle will end up Playing out.

ESPN insider predicts depressing outcome for Buccaneers quarterback battle

NFL insider Dan Graziano took a look at some of the quarterback situations around the league and predicted how each of them might end up going. For the Buccaneers, Graziano wasn’t as harsh as we’ve heard some national pundits be when talking about the team, which somehow makes his prediction even more of a nightmare scenario.

Graziano believes Mayfield will ultimately win the starting job ahead of Week 1 but it won’t be his for long.

"Mayfield starts Week 1 but doesn’t do anything to dazzle anyone. Trask gets some starts at some point because the team needs to know what, if anything, it has in him. The Bucs are one of the worst teams in the league, deal away veterans at the trade deadline (Mike Evans, anyone? Chris Godwin?) and contend for the No. 1 pick in the draft — where they can really find their Brady successor," Graziano wrote.


To be fair, this is sort of a full-circle prediction. We’ve gone through various iterations of folks making a call on how the Bucs quarterback situation will play out but all of it has led us back to Square One.

When Brady retired, the default assessment of the Bucs was that they’d tank for Caleb Williams — or whoever ends up atop the NFL Draft quarterback class — after a season of listless play at the position. Like Thanos, talk of the Bucs tanking for a top quarterback is inevitable.

What stands out more is Graziano suggesting the Bucs might be so bad they have a fire sale at the trade deadline. This sort of thing is rare in football, but the idea of Tampa Bay trading away Mike Evans or Chris Godwin is the most depressing part about the prediction.

The Bucs have only played one preseason game and it’s impossible to get a reliable read on anything at this point. Still, if there’s one constant around the Bucs it’s that folks on the outside are seeing more ways the season goes poorly than ways it ends up being a surprise success.