With Tom Brady unlikely to stage another NFL comeback, could the Buccaneers turn to Baker Mayfield to fill their void at quarterback?
It’s a possibility that appears to be on the table. Although Mayfield experienced a stark fall from grace after a promising rookie season, he did finish the 2022 campaign strong and appears to have multiple suitors heading into free agency.
“The Bucs and 49ers came up most often when I asked around about quarterback Baker Mayfield’s market,” NFL insider Jeremy Fowler wrote in an ESPN column published Sunday. “Tampa Bay is looking at bringing in a veteran arm. Drew Lock, who was the backup in Seattle last year, is also an option there. And the 49ers need veteran help due to injuries to Trey Lance and Brock Purdy. Mason Rudolph would also make some sense there.”
In a vacuum, Mayfield probably would love the idea of playing for San Francisco. The 2018 No. 1 overall pick is best suited as more of a game manager, and head coach Kyle Shanahan seemingly can make any quarterback look great. But with Lance and Purdy aboard in the Bay Area, Mayfield might be discouraged about his prospects for playing time with the Niners.
That wouldn’t be the case in Tampa Bay, where it’s anyone’s guess who will be starting behind center in Week 1. Kyle Trask, a 2021 second-round pick, probably is the favorite but he’s far from a lock considering he’s never played a snap in the regular season.
So even though the 49ers boast a vastly better roster than the Bucs, it probably would behoove Mayfield to take his talents to Central Florida if he was forced to choose between the two.