Replacing Tom Brady: Tampa Bay Buccaneers appoint Baker Mayfield as starting quarterback

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had been looking to find a successor at quarterback for the recently retired Tom Brady, are turning to Baker Mayfield, head coach Todd Bowles announced Tuesday.

In Tampa Bay, Baker will follow Brady. Mayfield, 28, had been battling with third-year passer Kyle Trask for the starting job, splitting first-team snaps in practices. 

Mayfield started Tampa Bay's first preseason game, a 27-17 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Trask started its second exhibition game, a 13-6 win over the New York Jets.

Mayfield was held out of the latter game, but he compiled an 8-of-9 passing performance for 63 yards and a score in the opener.

"We love everything Kyle has done," Bowles said. "And he's gotten leaps and bounds better than he was in the spring and he's continuing to get better and we're excited about him. 

But Baker's our guy right now, experience-wise and just understanding the playbook just a little bit better."

The first-string offense, including Mayfield, will start in Saturday's preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens, Bowles said.

In March, Mayfield signed a one-year deal worth up to $8.5 million, one month after Brady announced his retirement.

 Mayfield most recently played for the Rams, starting four of five games and completing 63.6% of his passes for 850 yards with four touchdowns against two interceptions.

Tampa Bay is Mayfield's fourth team in three seasons.

After winning the Heisman Trophy in December 2017, Mayfield became the first overall selection of the Cleveland Browns in the NFL draft the following spring. 

He began his career on the bench for Cleveland but was named the starter Week 4 of that season. He would go on to win the 2018 Pro Football Writers of America Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Mayfield requested a trade from Cleveland as the team began its pursuit of Deshaun Watson, and the Browns eventually shipped Mayfield to the Panthers in July 2022 for a conditional draft pick.

 Mayfield began the season as the starter and posted uneven performances before he suffered a high-ankle sprain in a Week 5 loss against the San Francisco 49ers.

Once Mayfield was healthy enough to return, he was eventually benched. Then, in December, the Panthers waived Mayfield and the Rams claimed him the following day, 

where he played the remainder of his fifth-year option until he became a free agent. Mayfield will make his Buccaneers regular season debut Sunday, Sept. 10 against the Minnesota Vikings.


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