Baker Mayfield is running out of time in the NFL

Rumored move to Tampa could be his last opportunity to shine

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Baker Mayfield has maybe one shot left.
Baker Mayfield has maybe one shot left.
Photo: Getty Images

Now that Tom Brady is gone for good (supposedly), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a quarterback. It’s been reported by NFL Network that the Bucs have their sights set on former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. The Bucs could be looking at Mayfield to compete with former second-round pick Kyle Trask for the starting spot.

Mayfield has seen a continued fall from grace over the past couple of years. It’s strange because his supporters are so outspoken whenever he has that once-in-a-blue-moon spectacular game and then goes completely silent once he comes back to Earth. For all the hype around Baker, he still hasn’t quite lived up to it.

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In Cleveland, it was always someone else’s fault. Whether it was the front office for how the team was constructed or specific players like Odell Beckham Jr. (until his dad put Baker on blast), the blame usually falls on shoulders other than Baker’s. That rah-rah, chip-on-shoulder attitude was enough to propel Mayfield in high school and college, but it has barely kept his head above water in the NFL.

Slippery slope

Baker is on the Carson Wentz plan, as he’s also running out of opportunities. If Mayfield indeed winds up in Tampa Bay and fails to beat out Trask, or it just doesn’t work out for whatever reason, there won’t be too many teams knocking his door down to put him in the lead role again. Wentz lasted one year in Washington and the same amount of time in Indianapolis before his welcome was worn out.

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The former Oklahoma Sooner looks to be heading in that same general direction if he can’t get back on track in 2023. He doesn’t necessarily need to suddenly be great, just above average as he was during parts of his stint in Cleveland. Mayfield showed flashes sometimes of breaking through but could never jump that hurdle cleanly. Now he’s in danger of being out of the league sooner than later.

Teams may continue calling for another year or two, but Mayfield doesn’t feel like a long-term backup. In a similar fashion to Cam Newton, Mayfield doesn’t seem like he’d do well as just a backup for the next five years. One good trait is that he always wants to compete. If Mayfield fails this year as QB1 with whatever team lands him, that could be it for his prospects as an NFL starter. Then we’ll see if that ego of Baker’s can handle being just a backup with no real chance at touching the field all season for multiple years. Don’t be shocked if you see Baker in the USFL, XFL, or Arena Football League within the next few years. 

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