After years of merely teasing football fans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller Baker Mayfield finally played up to his potential this season and put together an excellent year.
By throwing for 4,044 yards and 28 touchdowns, he earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and he led his team to the playoffs, where it dismantled the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, 32-9, in the Wild Card round.
Mayfield is about to become a free agent, and while most expect the Buccaneers to make him a generous offer, it isn’t a certainty that he will remain with them for next season.
He told Chris Broussard on FS1’s “First Things First” that he’d “love to be back in Tampa” and that being there helped him enjoy football again.
“I’d love to be back in Tampa,” Mayfield said. “I love playing there. It got me back to a good headspace and playing football and enjoying it again.”
“I’d love to be back in Tampa. I love playing there. It got me back to a good headspace & playing football & enjoying it again.”
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) February 7, 2024
Mayfield also talked about new offensive coordinator Liam Coen, whom he played five games for last season, and how he could benefit the Buccaneers next season.
Mayfield was the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft by the Cleveland Browns, and there were very high expectations for him, especially for long-tortured Cleveland sports fans, who were about to endure LeBron James’ second departure from the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
Some thought the QB could be the Browns’ equivalent of James, but he played well only in fits and spurts, and the Browns made the playoffs only once in his four years with them.
He was traded to the Carolina Panthers prior to last season, and after seven disappointing games with them, he was released and joined the Los Angeles Rams, where he played under Coen.
At age 28, Mayfield could be just starting out on an extended stretch of personal and perhaps team success.