We’re a little over a week into Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp, and the biggest storyline to follow remains the quarterback battle.
Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask are going head-to-head with the right to be the Bucs starter on the line, but the competition appears to be much closer than anyone anticipated. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler visited Tampa Bay recently and had some interesting takeaways, notably about how well Trask has been performing.
The idea has always been that Baker is the front runner to win the starting job, but it’s never been a certainty. Fowler doesn’t go so far as to say the Mayfield is in danger of falling behind in the competition, but he did note that Trask might be closing the gap more than people think.
Kyle Trask has ‘impressed’ Bucs coaches with ‘strong’ training camp
According to Fowler, Mayfield ‘holds much of the momentum’ through the first week at camp, but Trask is right there with him impressing the coaching staff.
"Trask has come on strong in recent days, deepening the intrigue,” Fowler reported. ”This battle needs much more time to play out, and nobody seems in a rush to name a starter. The Bucs have been impressed with Trask's improved mobility, to be sure."
Mayfield still appears to be the leader, and it’s likely that he’ll be named the starter ahead of the Bucs first preseason game next weekend. It doesn’t seem to be as much of a forgone conclusion that he’ll run away with the battle, which is a bit of an uneasy feeling.
Back when Baker signed with the Bucs, it was viewed at the bare minimum as a $4 million consulting fee. That was a bit reductive, but the idea was that he was only owed half the reported contract with the rest being tied to incentives. If Baker can’t beat out Trask, the Bucs won’t be on the hook for the whole contract, and will have essentially paid him to show up to camp and challenge Trask to see what he’s capable of.
That has been sort of a boiler plate description of the situation, but this is the first indication that it might be more in play as a realistic outcome than initially though. Of course, the Bucs have barely been at training camp and jumping to conclusions based on one positive report is shortsighted.
At the very least, the quarterback battle sounds more competitive than we thought, which is a good sign of the talent the Bucs have at camp this year.