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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Michael Penix Jr. via 2024 NFL Draft

With the Bucs not selecting until pick no. 26 in the first round, it's going to be difficult to have any real shot at one of the top prospects like Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels or J.J. McCarthy. As it stands, Oregon's Bo Nix might be the next man off the board and he very well could go before the Bucs pick.

At no. 26, though, Tampa Bay could have a real shot at landing Washington's Michael Penix Jr., who is coming off a strong Combine performance. The Bucs did meet with Penix, too, who is a former Tampa Bay Tech High School standout. This would be quite the story for Penix and the Bucs, with a potential homecoming in the future.

Last season with the Huskies, Penix threw for 4,903 yards, 36 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. His Combine performance was one of the better performances, regardless of position. Folks were impressed with his quick release and how effortless his throwing motion appeared, even as a lefty.

In the end, Penix might be the most realistic (and best overall) option for the Bucs if they don't get Mayfield.