Why Might Baker Mayfield Not Prevent the Buccaneers from Drafting a Quarterback

Draft season heats up with quarterback stock on the rise.

by Nouman Rasool
Why Might Baker Mayfield Not Prevent the Buccaneers from Drafting a Quarterback
© Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently posited a fascinating theory regarding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft strategy, suggesting that despite the acquisition of quarterback Baker Mayfield on a three-year deal this past March, the team might still be in the market for a quarterback in the early rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Mayfield's contract, interestingly structured, leaves the Buccaneers with a potential $20M savings should they decide to cut ties after the 2024 season, underlining the fact that Mayfield's tenure with the team may not be as secure as it seems.

Adding to the intrigue is the current quarterback situation behind Mayfield. With Kyle Trask, an untested talent, and journeyman John Wolford being the only other quarterbacks on the roster, questions about depth and prospects at the position have arisen.

This scenario has led insiders like Ira Kaufman of JoeBucsFan to speculate on the Buccaneers' draft plans, including a potential pick of Washington Huskies' standout Michael Penix Jr. or Oregon Ducks' Bo Nix with the 26th selection.

Draft Pick Dilemma

However, this speculation comes amid a backdrop of rising draft stocks for quarterbacks, potentially sparking a run on the position that could leave the Buccaneers out of reach for their targets at the 26th pick.

NFL Media's Rhett Lewis, in a recent mock draft, anticipated this trend by placing Penix and Nix with the Las Vegas Raiders and Minnesota Vikings, respectively, well before the Buccaneers' first pick. This wouldn't be the first time General Manager Jason Licht has navigated the draft waters with an eye on quarterbacks.

In 2021, following Tom Brady's Super Bowl LV victory and amid discussions about the team's needs, Licht chose Kyle Trask in the second round. While the pick addressed a perceived need for a quarterback of the future, it also invited reflection on whether resources could have been better allocated to support Brady in what turned out to be his final seasons.

As Mayfield prepares to turn 29 and looks to build on a playoff victory in his inaugural Buccaneers season, the narrative around the team's quarterback strategy continues to evolve. Benjamin underscores that while Mayfield's contract suggests a commitment, it's not beyond reassessment, especially considering the team's past decisions and current quarterback market dynamics.

This situation illustrates the ever-present balance between immediate needs and future planning in the NFL, with the Buccaneers once again at the center of strategic speculation as the draft approaches.

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