Baker Mayfield is on his fourth team in less than a year, a career trajectory the former No. 1 overall pick did not see coming.
Mayfield signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week after spending the 2022 season with the Carolina Panthers and the Los Angeles Rams following four years with the Cleveland Browns.
He’ll now be competing with second-round pick Kyle Trask for the right to replace Tom Brady as the starting quarterback of the Bucs.
He’ll have massive shoes to fill after the seven-time Super Bowl champion retired in February.
But the Heisman Trophy winner says he’s not out to be another Tom Brady.
“Listen, I’m never going to be Tom Brady,” Mayfield said Monday, according to ESPN. “There’s a reason he’s won so many Super Bowls. He’s the greatest of all time. There’s no doubt about that. I’m not going to try to be Tom. I’m going to be me. That’s what has gotten me to this point. We’re going to do it differently, but that’s what makes this league so special. Everybody puts their own touch on it.”
The past year has been a turbulent one for Mayfield, who was traded to the Panthers in the summer after the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson in a trade with the Houston Texans.
After starting six games for the Panthers, Mayfield was released and signed by the Rams, going on to start four games in Los Angeles.
“That’s definitely been a struggle,” Mayfield said.
“There were times where, kind of searching in the mirror thinking, ‘All right. What’s next? What do I need to do?’ But you’ve got to relate it back to your success. If I can review all the situations and experiences I’ve had and trust in those, and learn from them and not just harp on the negative stuff but take away just a little thing each time, that’s how you continue to grow. And I still believe that all the experiences I’ve gone through happened for a reason, and it’s going to help me in the long run.”
In Tampa, Mayfield will have the opportunity to prove that he’s a starting quarterback in the NFL, signing a one-year deal that reportedly could be worth up to $8.5 million.
Trask has never started an NFL game, while Mayfield has 69 starts under center in his five-year career.
“It’s not how I drew my career up by any means,” Mayfield said. “If I was to tell you how it would go based on the plan, I wouldn’t have said I’d put on three different uniforms in the year 2022, but that’s how it happens. You’ve got to learn from it, roll with the punches, trust in God’s plan. But I’ve grown a lot. I appreciate all the things that have happened throughout my journey. It’s helped me get here today. I want to play this as long as I can so I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way.”