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Buccaneers GM addresses Baker Mayfield backup rumors

Baker Mayfield to the Buccaneers — but in a backup role?

That doesn’t seem likely in Tampa Bay, where incumbent starter Tom Brady has returned after a 40-day retirement, but general manager Jason Licht didn’t exactly shut down speculation, either.

“I don’t want to talk about a player that’s on another team’s roster right now, but we may still add a veteran quarterback,” Licht said Wednesday on SiriusXM’s “Mad Dog Sports Radio” when asked about the possibility of adding Mayfield as a veteran quarterback to back up Brady.

“We’re going to have to see how it goes here.”

Blaine Gabbert had served as Brady’s backup for two seasons, and the Buccaneers also have second-year quarterback Kyle Trask as an option as well.

Mayfield, though, could be considered a backup for this season and a starter in waiting if Brady decides to actually retire next offseason or move on to a different franchise.

“Kyle is somebody that we’ve been really excited about, and his progression last year, as a backup quarterback, just learning behind Tom, learning behind Blaine,” Licht said. “We’re really excited about him and I think he’s just going to continue to develop. We had Blaine last year on our roster, and that could be a possibility still. We’re still checking out the entire market here, and we’ll see what happens here.”

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht at the NFL Combine in February 2022
Getty Images

Mayfield, meanwhile, has seen his NFL options dwindle in recent days after the Browns traded for controversial quarterback Deshaun Watson last week. The Saints resigned quarterback Jameis Winston, while the Colts — once Mayfield’s preferred destination — acquired former Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on Monday.

Elsewhere, the Seahawks remain a quarterback short after dealing Russell Wilson to the Broncos earlier this month, and have repeatedly been linked to Mayfield. Seattle could be interested in the Browns’ former first-overall pick, but “at the right price,” according to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.

Originally, the Browns had been looking for a first-round pick to deal Mayfield out of Cleveland, but it appears that’s no longer the case.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield on the sidelines in November 2021 during a Browns-Patriots game
Quarterback Baker Mayfield on the sidelines in November 2021 during a Browns-Patriots game
Getty Images

Mayfield, 26, took a step back last season — in part due to injuries — after he led the Browns to the postseason in 2020. He underwent shoulder surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

The quarterback is expected to be cleared for training camp, which begins this summer, a source told ESPN earlier this year.

As for which training camp Mayfield attends, stay tuned.

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