Baker Mayfield will succeed Tom Brady as the starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His tenure begins Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Mayfield is a former No. 1 pick and has made stints with the Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, and most recently, the Los Angeles Rams. Many are counting Mayfield and the Buccaneers out, but Mayfield embraces the hate.
This is likely Baker Mayfield's last chance at a starting quarterback job. After leading the Browns back in 2020 to their first playoff win since 1994, things quickly went south. Cleveland traded him to the Panthers before last season and he earned the starting job. However, he had injury issues and the Panthers rotated several quarterbacks before eventually releasing him.
He ended up in Los Angeles to replace the injured Matthew Stafford and actually played very well. He even earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for leading the Rams on a 98-yard game-winning drive against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Now, he has one more chance to prove he can be a starter with the Buccaneers. The oddsmakers in Vegas aren't buying the Buccaneers this year however, setting their win total over/under at 6.5.
When asked how he feels about haters counting him out, Mayfield said “I can say with a smile on my face… yeah, please do.” Quarterback play is the biggest question mark for Tampa Bay this season. This roster still has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. However, the team needs to address WR Mike Evans' contract situation.
“The key pieces that were a huge part of that Super Bowl run, and their success recently, they’re all still here,” Mayfield said. “It’s a different hunger because, unfortunately, the narrative is that Tom’s gone and we suck.”
Mayfield is out to remind the football world why he was drafted first overall. The Buccaneers are out to prove they aren't going anywhere.