The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are searching for Tom Brady’s replacement.
Their options aren’t great with a quarterback battle between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the starting quarterback is listed as Mayfield “OR” Trask on the team’s first unofficial depth chart.
Mayfield will start Friday’s preseason game, and Trask will start the next exhibition game.
The battle is underwhelming, and many expect the Bucs to miss out on the playoffs for the first time since the 2019 season, the last before Brady flew south from New England.
But there is a silver lining to losing the GOAT, says head coach Todd Bowles.
Appearing on NFL Network, Bowles said he senses a little less pressure on his group now that Brady is retired.
“It allows some guys to free up, especially the younger guys who probably just wanted to run behind the older guys and then not mess up as opposed to just playing the game they know how to play,” Bowles said.
“They’re saying the right things. They know our expectations are the same, but it’s a little different ‘cause it’s not as much fanfare.
“So, you concentrate more on inside the building, and you never look at the outside of the building. Before, you could look at the outside and you’re on every channel. Now, you’re looking at the outside and you’re not on any channel. So It helps from a close-knit standpoint inside the building — that they get closer together.”
Cameras followed the Bucs much more closely the last three seasons, and they caught Tampa Bay winning the 2021 Super Bowl, capping Brady’s first season with the team. It was his seventh title.
But the immediate future doesn’t look bright, no matter what kind of media pressure is on the team.
Trask, a second-rounder out of Florida in 2021, backed up Brady each of the last two seasons. When Brady announced his retirement “for good” in February, it seemed Trask would have a shot at becoming the starter.
Tampa Bay signed 2018 first overall pick Mayfield in March to a one-year deal, officially opening a competition.
Trask has just nine career passing attempts, all of which came in Week 18 last season. Mayfield spent last year starting a combined 10 games for the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams and hasn’t quite lived up to his draft stock.
In 69 career starts (72 games) with the Cleveland Browns, Panthers and Rams, Mayfield is 31-38 with a 61.4 completion percentage, 16,288 yards, 102 touchdowns and 64 interceptions.