Could Baker Mayfield Have A Drew Brees-like Turnaround?

Could Baker Mayfield Have A Drew Brees-like Turnaround?

The Bucs will start the 2023 free agency negotiating period on Monday by addressing the team’s biggest need this offseason: quarterback. Following Tom Brady’s retirement, Tampa Bay has just one quarterback under contract – 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport the free agent QB the Bucs will target will be journeyman Baker Mayfield.

Pewter Report has speculated that Mayfield could be a Bucs target over the past month with Bailey Adams writing about it on February 3 and Scott Reynolds reporting on the possibility on February 10.

The Bucs have two quarterbacks in consideration for the role of veteran free agent competition for Trask, who is entering his third year in Tampa Bay – Mayfield and Jacoby Brissett. If the Bucs chose Mayfield it will because of his sheer talent and upside. Both quarterbacks could command a one-year, prove-it deal worth between $5-7million with Mayfield likely being a bit more expensive.

Mayfield, who turns 28 in April, has played in 72 games with 69 starts, and has the mobility that would be perfect for QB waggles and bootlegs in Dave Canales’ new offense, which will be similar to Seattle’s. The 30-year old Brissett has similar mobility and has played in 76 games, but with 48 starts.

Baker Mayfield Has Stats Similar To Drew Brees At This Stage In His Career

Mayfield was the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 and guided the Browns to an 11-5 season in his third year in Cleveland. He’s passed for 16,288 yards with 102 touchdowns and 64 interceptions in five seasons while compiling a 29-30 record with the Browns, and a 31-38 overall record after stops in Carolina (1-5) and Los Angles (1-3) last year.

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Now entering his sixth season, Mayfield will be on to his fourth team. But believe it or not, his career path has some real similarities to that of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, as Pewter Report’s Adam Slivon illustrated on February 12.

A former second-round pick of the Chargers, Brees spent his first five years in San Diego from 2001-04 where he compiled a 30-28 record, including an 11-4 season in 2004. At the time, Brees was 27 and suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder in 2005 during his first season in New Orleans. Mayfield played through a similar torn labrum injury in 2021, which was his last season with the Browns.

When Brees joined the Saints he not only had a similar record to Mayfield as a starter – 30-28 to 29-30 – he also had similar touchdown and interception rates. Brees had thrown for 80 touchdowns and 53 interceptions with the Chargers, while Mayfield threw 92 touchdowns and 56 interceptions with the Browns.

Brees’ touchdown percentage during his time in San Diego was 4.5% while his interception rate was 3%. Mayfield had a 4.8% TD percentage and a 2.9% INT rate during his time in Cleveland.

Could Baker Mayfield Have A Breakthrough Season With New Bucs OC Dave Canales?

The Saints couldn’t have foreseen Brees becoming a future Hall of Famer back in 2005. But after 13 Pro Bowl seasons and a Super Bowl championship in 2009 that’s exactly what the 6-foot, 209-pound QB eventually became. Not to mention being one of the most prolific passers of all time in the NFL.

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Could Mayfield, who is built similarly at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, have a similar career turnaround in Tampa Bay if he joins the team in free agency this week? The Bucs would certainly settle for him to have a career renaissance in Dave Canales’ QB-friendly system like journeyman Geno Smith had in Seattle last year when he had a Pro Bowl season and became the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

It will be interesting to see how discussions go with Mayfield this week. If talks don’t progress to the point of agreement then Brissett could be the team’s fallback option.