As we prepare for the calendar to roll over to a new year, folks are running out lists of things that give us one more look at the year we just had. In true blast-from-the-past form, the news of Russell Wilson getting benched by the Denver Broncos times up perfectly for the clocks to get turned back almost as quickly as it seemed they got pushed forward for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Despite how well Baker Mayfield has been playing lately, and with the team on the verge of clinching its third-straight division title, the Bucs have found their way into the Russell Wilson landing spot discourse.
Specifically, the Bucs are among one of the top destinations for Wilson if he gets cut this offseason.
Buccaneers listed as a top Russell Wilson landing spot
With news that Wilson is being benched -- and possibly released this offseason -- everyone is trying to determine what the future might hold. CBS Sports believes that Wilson's next stop might be in Tampa Bay as Baker Mayfield's replacement.
"What if Mayfield's camp is inclined to test the open market after settling for a one-year trial run last offseason," CBS wrote. "The Bucs won't be picking early in the first round of the 2024 draft due to their NFC South title bid, and their offensive coordinator, Dave Canales, oversaw a big year from Wilson with the 2020 Seahawks."
Oh boy, here we go.
It's as though everything Baker Mayfield has done is being ignored. The Bucs were a hot team to throw in lists like this over the offseason, from early mock drafts to teams with coaches on the hot seat, but to have it happen in the middle of the most successful stretch in over a year is annoying.
The line between where Baker is playing and the possibility of what Russ could provide is extremely thin, if not totally blurred. Are the Bucs really that much better with Wilson as quarterback than Baker? It doesn't feel like an upgrade, and all of the logic being applied to why Wilson works in Tampa Bay can be much easier applied to Baker.
Yes, Dave Canales coached Wilson to one of his biggest seasons in 2020 but he's also in the middle of doing that for Baker right now. Rather than have a new quarterback come in an re-learn the system -- as familiar as it may be to Wilson -- sticking with what's working feels like a much more sound plan.
Here's the other thing, everyone in the building loves Baker. It's all we've heard recently, from the early season hype from Jason Licht to NFL insiders noting how much the locker room relates to Baker and wanting to go to battle with him.
Perhaps crucially, the relationship is in such a great spot that it sounds like Baker might come back on a deal that doesn't totally break the bank for Tampa Bay. Anything the team would pay Russell Wilson -- which would be a lot -- it makes sense to just pay that to Baker, and at probably a fraction of the cost.
The idea of adding Russell Wilson might have been nice a year or two ago but there are just too many downsides and potential for upsetting the apple cart than it's worth.