Buccaneers urged to sign former Pro Bowl quarterback to back up Baker Mayfield

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baker Mayfield / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

A year ago, there was uncertainty over which quarterback would start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Baker Mayfield emphatically ended that with an impressive debut season in Tampa Bay that earned him a $100 million extension.

The question now shifts to the backup position. Is Kyle Trask the answer as the Buccaneers' No. 2 behind Mayfield?

The former second-round pick hasn't had many regular-season opportunities. In preseason games last summer, Trask completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 509 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Thad Lewis said they "won't be scared of putting Kyle in" if Mayfield has to miss any time, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't actively search for a potential upgrade.

Even if Tampa Bay has confidence in Trask, it could make sense to add competition.

Should Buccaneers sign free agent Ryan Tannehill to back up Baker Mayfield?

One name to watch is Ryan Tannehill. The Draft Network's Justin Melo named the Buccaneers one of three potential landing spots for Tannehill, who remains available in free agency. Melo believes Tannehill would better fit the new offense led by Liam Coen.

"Tannehill is a significantly better fit to operate Coen's offense than current backup Kyle Trask," writes Melo. "Coen runs a variation of the West Coast Offense that Tannehill played in under Matt LaFleur, Arthur Smith, and Todd Downing in Tennessee. Trask's time in Tampa is running out."

It's an interesting point. Like everything in free agency, it comes down to the cost. If Tannehill is available on a reasonable contract, why not?

The Buccaneers have a roster capable of winning the NFC South. They can make a playoff run now, so it makes sense to have an experienced, capable backup quarterback who can lead the offense if Mayfield has to miss a few games.

Like Mayfield, Tannehill is a former top-10 draft pick and offers plenty of experience, with 151 career starts to his name. Tannehill struggled last season and only started eight games, but in 2020, he threw for 3,819 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions, with a 106.5 passer rating. The year before, he led the league with a 117.5 rating.

The Bucs wouldn't want Tannehill starting 10-plus games, but if Mayfield is out of the lineup for a game or two, Tannehill could provide solid cover.

Again, it comes down to how much Tannehill's contract would cost. If the Buccaneers can get him on a team-friendly deal, it's a move worth exploring.

More Tampa Bay Buccaneers news and rumors