5 quarterbacks Bucs can target if Baker Mayfield leaves in free agency

There's no guarantee Baker is back in Tampa, so what's 'Plan B' look like?

Tampa Bay Buccaneeers, Justin Fields, Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneeers, Justin Fields, Baker Mayfield / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
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This past week began with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signing longtime fan favorite and future Hall of Famer Mke Evans. Thankfully, he continues his career in pewter.

Many believe that means Baker Mayfield is a shoo-in at this point. He's coming back to the Bucs, right?

Well, not so fast. A recent report suggests that Mayfield isn't going to take a hometown discount in order to remain with Tampa Bay. So, the Bucs better be ready to pay up.

If they don't end up bringing him back, what options are out there for the Bucs? We tried highlighting the top five, whether it be in free agency, the 2024 NFL Draft or even by way of trade.

Sam Darnold via free agency

A somewhat forgotten man, Sam Darnold spent last year with the San Francisco 49ers as a backup to Brock Purdy. But, a year sitting and learning underneath Kyle Shanahan may have been exactly what Darnold needed to further his career.

As a former no. 3 overall pick back in the same draft we saw Mayfield selected in Cleveland, Darnold has bounced around as well. After being traded from the Jets to Carolina, he spent two seasons with the Panthers and actually played pretty admirably toward the end of the 2022 season.

With all the mediocrity surrounding Carolina for a few years, Darnold did what he could to prove he still belonged in this league, going 4-2 as a starter, throwing for over 1,100 yards with seven touchdowns and just three picks.

Darnold is still only 26 years old and, as a former first-round pick, I'm not sure we've seen what he's fully capable of just yet. After studying with Shanahan for a year, maybe he's being overlooked as a cheap free agent option who could see a similar resurgence as Mayfield did in 2023.