Mayfield lands Buccaneers QB job, beats out Trask in competition to replace Brady

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield warms-up during a joint NFL football practice with the New York Jets, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Baker Mayfield was selected as the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ending the competition for Tom Brady’s old job on Tuesday.

The No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 NFL draft prevailed over third-year pro Kyle Trask, a 2021 second-round draft pick who spent the past two seasons as the third-string quarterback behind Brady and Blaine Gabbert.

Mayfield, who’s with his fourth team since July 2022, signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Bucs after spending the first four seasons of his career with the Cleveland Browns. He made six starts for the Carolina Panthers and four more with the Los Angeles Rams a year ago, going a combined 2-8.

Tampa Bay opens the regular season at Minnesota on Sept. 10.

“There’s a lot that goes into it. I can’t sit up here and give you every detail,” coach Todd Bowles said after practice Tuesday.

Mayfield started and played 1½ quarters of Tampa Bay’s preseason opener, completing eight of nine passes for 63 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 28-year-old didn’t play last Saturday against the New York Jets, when Trask started and wound up playing most of the game after third-stringer John Wolford was injured.

“We love everything Kyle has done. He’s gotten leaps and bounds better. ... And we're excited about Baker," Bowles said. "We like where we’re at right now experience-wise and his understanding the playbook just a little bit better.”

From the day he joined the Bucs and began learning the system installed by first-year offensive coordinator Dave Canales, Mayfield's experience figured to make him the favorite to replace Brady, who retired after last season.

While Trask has only seen action in one regular-season game, attempting nine passes; Mayfield is 31-38 in 69 starts and thrown for 16,288 yards, 102 touchdowns and 64 interceptions over five seasons.

Mayfield, who led the Browns to the playoffs once in four seasons in Cleveland, was not surprised by Tuesday’s decision.

“I expect to be the starter,” he said. “I know how talented I am. I know what kind of leader I am.”