NFL Insider: Baker Mayfield 'Absolutely' Option for Bucs After Tom Brady's Retirement

Erin WalshFebruary 2, 2023

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: Baker Mayfield #17 of the Los Angeles Rams throws the ball during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on January 08, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be searching for a new quarterback this offseason after seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady announced his retirement this week, and it appears the franchise is already beginning to consider its options.

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is "absolutely" going to be an option to replace Brady, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times said during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show.

"Absolutely," Stroud said (around the 50-second mark) when asked if Mayfield could be the next quarterback of the Bucs. "I think a lot of it depends on who the [offensive] coordinator is, but listen, they were looking last year for quarterbacks when Brady was out for those 40 days and Baker was on that list."

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With Brady retired, Rick Stroud (<a href="https://twitter.com/NFLSTROUD?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLStroud</a>) discusses which QB the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Buccaneers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Buccaneers</a> could set their sights on 👀 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBucks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBucks</a><br><br>For Rick's full appearance: <a href="https://t.co/ed41amWTwU">https://t.co/ed41amWTwU</a> <a href="https://t.co/d0IbqDy17D">pic.twitter.com/d0IbqDy17D</a>

Brady announced that he would be retiring "for good" in a video posted to social media Wednesday. The Buccaneers got three solid seasons out of Brady, who led them to a Super Bowl title in 2021, but now it's back to the drawing board for Tampa Bay at quarterback.

It's no surprise the Buccaneers are expected to consider Mayfield, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

The 27-year-old spent the first four seasons of his career with the Cleveland Browns, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft. His best season with the franchise came in 2020 when he completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns against eight interceptions in 16 games.

Mayfield led the Browns to an 11-5 record and a berth in the postseason for the first time since the 2002 campaign. Cleveland defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round.

Aside from the 2020 season, Mayfield's career in Cleveland was underwhelming, and he never lived up to his draft status. That led to the Browns acquiring Deshaun Watson in a trade with the Houston Texans ahead of the 2022 season.

With Watson set to take over as the team's starter, Mayfield requested a trade, and he was moved to the Carolina Panthers in July.

The Oklahoma product continued to struggle, completing 57.8 percent of his passes for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns against six interceptions in seven games. He was released by the Panthers in December and signed with the Los Angeles Rams, where he spent the remainder of the year.

Mayfield put together a respectable tenure in L.A., completing 63.6 percent of his passes for 850 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions.

However, given his track record of being less than adequate under center, the Buccaneers should make a run at a better quarterback. Las Vegas Raiders signal-caller Derek Carr is expected to be traded or cut, and San Francisco 49ers veteran Jimmy Garoppolo is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

If the Buccaneers don't sign, draft or trade for a quarterback this offseason, 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask would be in line to start in 2023.