Former No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached agreement on a one-year contract worth up to $8.5 million, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday.
Mayfield’s deal starts at $4 million, a source told ESPN’s Jenna Laine.
The Buccaneers needed a veteran quarterback with the ability to start to compete with 2021 second-round draft pick Kyle Trask.
General manager Jason Licht said at the NFL combine that the Buccaneers “have a lot of faith in Kyle.” But going from third string to a starter and following in the footsteps of seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady would be a tall ask for any player, let alone one who saw his first NFL regular-season snaps ever in Week 18.
The Buccaneers are also installing a new offense under new offensive coordinator Dave Canales, who was largely credited for helping revive Geno Smith’s career in Seattle. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Canales’ work had a “remarkable influence” on their quarterbacks.
Mayfield played the final five games of the 2022 season for the Los Angeles Rams, who claimed him off waivers from the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 6. In those five games, Mayfield completed 63.6% of his passes for 850 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in 2018, was playing on the final season of his rookie contract after the Cleveland Browns picked up his fifth-year option in April 2021. The Browns, who had acquired Deshaun Watson in a trade with the Houston Texans last offseason, traded Mayfield to the Panthers in July. He played in seven games in Carolina before he was waived.
At the time he was waived, Mayfield ranked last in the NFL in Total QBR among qualified quarterbacks with a rating of 18.2.
After the Rams’ final game of the 2022 season, Mayfield said he had no doubt that he was “good enough to be a starting quarterback.”
Mayfield has played for three teams in his first five seasons, becoming just the second player taken first overall in the common draft era (since 1967) to do so, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
In his career, Mayfield has completed 61.4% of his passes for 16,288 yards, 102 touchdowns and 64 interceptions.
ESPN’s Sarah Barshop contributed to this report.