Quarterback Baker Mayfield agreed to a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that gives the former No. 1 overall pick an opportunity to start, according to multiple reports Wednesday.
The team is bringing back linebacker Lavonte David on a one-year deal for a guaranteed $7 million, NFL Network reported. Edge rusher Anthony Nelson also is coming back on a new two-year deal worth $11 million, according to ESPN.
Tampa Bay would become Mayfield’s fourth team in three years. The 27-year-old helped his chances by finishing last season strong after being claimed by the Los Angeles Rams.
The Buccaneers lost Tom Brady to his second, apparently official, retirement at the end of the 2022 season and are in the midst of a major roster overhaul due to salary cap restrictions.
ESPN reported Mayfield’s deal is for one season and worth up to $8.5 million.
Mayfield was drafted No. 1 by the Cleveland Browns in 2018 and became expendable with the team’s acquisition of Deshaun Watson last year. He was traded to the Carolina Panthers and opened the season as the starter before injury and ineffectiveness pushed him into a backup role.
As a rookie with the Browns, Mayfield had 27 touchdowns with 14 interceptions and had nine games with multiple TD passes. He had 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2020 before fighting through an injury-riddled 2021 season that prompted general manager Andrew Berry to kick the tires on a trade with the Houston Texans to add Watson.
With the Rams, Mayfield helped lead a game-winning drive two days after Los Angeles claimed him via waivers.
Mayfield’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds left stunned the Las Vegas Raiders, 17-16, in Week 14. He threw a total of four touchdowns with two interceptions and was sacked 17 times in five games with the Rams.
The Buccaneers were left with one quarterback, Kyle Trask, on the roster when Brady retired in February. Blaine Gabbert, the No. 2 quarterback for the Bucs last season, is an unrestricted free agent.
David, 33, started all 17 games and registered 124 tackles and three sacks in 2022. It was his ninth season with triple-digit tackles since the Buccaneers drafted him in the second round in 2012. He has 29 sacks, 12 interceptions, 27 forced fumbles and 18 fumble recoveries in 166 games (all starts).
Nelson, 26, played in all 17 games in 2022 (eight starts) and recorded 5.5 sacks. He has 11.5 sacks in 59 games (12 starts), all with the Bucs, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. He’s also was a regular member of the special teams.
–Field Level Media
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