Getty Todd Bowles could make a big move for the Buccaneers before the draft.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could make another big move before the NFL Draft, as the Cleveland Browns look for a trade partner for quarterback Baker Mayfield.
While quarterback Tom Brady, 44, is returning for another season, the Bucs do not have him under contract beyond 2022. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport sees the Bucs as a suitable destination for Mayfield.
“Tampa would be a great place. That would be an interesting place and not crazy and would probably make some sense,” Rapoport said on the “Rich Eisen Show” on Thursday, April 14.
Mayfield became expendable when the Browns traded for DeShaun Watson, a quarterback the Bucs wanted before Brady retired on March 13. The Bucs don’t have a clear quarterback succession plan if Brady retires or leaves in 2023.
Bucs backup Blaine Gabbert hasn’t been a full-time starter for more than half the season since 2012, but the Bucs considered him to start in 2022 before Brady’s return. Second-year quarterback Kyle Trask has no gaming experience. Ryan Griffin is also inexperienced: four passes in two 2019 games.
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A high asking price for Mayfield
The Bucs could still be in the running for Mayfield because it will cost the Browns $18.8 million in 2022, according to Spot Trac.
It could rule out Mayfield’s favored option for a trade. Rapoport said the Seattle Seahawks seem unlikely for Mayfield, though the quarterback described it as his preferred destination on the “Ya Neva Know” podcast.
“I don’t know how much interest Seattle has at that price. If the price drops and the Browns are willing to eat a lot, maybe we’re talking. But I don’t know anything about that,” Rapoport told Eisen. “My meaning is [Carolina] Panthers would be a good place. Or a really good endorsement place, where he would come in as an endorsement of $7 million or $6 million and be the heir apparent somewhere.”
The Bucs likely need the Browns to absorb a significant portion of Mayfield’s contract for the trade to work. Such a deal could come before the draft, which Rapoport described as the next “real deadline” for teams to make a big move.
“If you are a team that could think about taking [a quarterback]Do you say, ‘We’re going to take Baker Mayfield, who has a very high ceiling, a pretty high price tag that the Browns will probably eat up a little bit, and we’re good at quarterback’? That could happen before the draft and that will set up some draft meetings and shake things up a little bit,” Rapoport told Eisen.
Mayfield showed potential in Cleveland
Mayfield has potential. He threw for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns as a rookie in 2018 followed by 3,827 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2019.
He reached his best quarterback rating of 2020 with a 95.9 mark while throwing for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns. That included a playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. His 2021 season didn’t go so well amid a shoulder injury, as he put up 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns in 14 games.
“I feel disrespected,” Mayfield said on the “Ya Neva Know” podcast. “One hundred percent because they told me one thing and they completely did another. I’m on that right now. I tried it because I’ve had four different head coaches in four years, a bunch of different coordinators.”
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