Bucs Agree to Term with QB Baker Mayfield

Mayfield’s strong play and equally vital leadership led the Buccaneers to a third straight NFC South title, followed by a blowout win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the opening round of the playoffs. Tampa Bay’s season came to an end in Detroit in the Divisional Round but the Buccaneers took a tie with the Lions into the fourth quarter with a chance to earn a spot in the NFC Championship Game.

Mayfield originally entered the NFL as the first-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played four seasons in Cleveland and led the Browns to an 11-5 record and the Divisional Round of the playoffs in 2020. That season, he tossed 26 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions, finishing with a career-best passer rating of 95.9.

After swinging a blockbuster trade for former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in 2022, the Browns traded Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers in July. Mayfield won a training camp battle with Sam Darnold to be the Panthers’ opening-day starter, but that season quickly fell part with Head Coach Matt Rhule fired in Week Six and star running back Christian McCaffrey traded days later.

Mayfield was eventually waived in early December and claimed by the Los Angeles Rams, for whom he directed a comeback win over Las Vegas just two days after arriving in town. Mayfield started the last for games for the Rams and then became an unrestricted free agent in March. He signed with the Buccaneers, who were looking to replaced the retired Tom Brady, and won a head-to-head battle with third-year incumbent Kyle Trask for the starting job.

In Tampa, Mayfield helped the Bucs get off to an encouraging 3-1 start and was voted a team captain by his teammates in early October. He quickly won over the entire locker room with his gritty style of play and natural leadership skills. In December, after a 1-6 swoon had dropped the Bucs to 4-7 and the very fringes of the playoff race, Mayfield urged his teammates to start treating every subsequent game as a playoff contest. The Bucs would go on to win five of their last six regular season games, clinching the division crown in Week 18 with a 9-0 win at Carolina. Mayfield played the last couple weeks of the regular season through painful injuries to his ribs and ankle but still started all 17 games, plus both playoff contests.

In the playoffs, Mayfield added another 686 passing yards and six touchdowns. In the win over Philadelphia, he became the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in a playoff game, and he duplicated that feat the following weekend in Detroit. He then participated in his first career Pro Bowl and was named the Offensive MVP for the week.

In his career, Mayfield has completed 1,750 of 2,825 pass attempts (61.9%) for 20,332 yards, 130 touchdowns and 74 interceptions. He has thrown 26 or more touchdowns in three different seasons and surpassed 3,500 passing yards four times.

First appeared on www.buccaneers.com

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