Baker Mayfield

Bucs Name Baker Mayfield Starting QB

Tampa Bay’s quarterback competition has officially ended. Baker Mayfield was named the Buccaneers’ starter on Tuesday, per a team announcement.

During the offseason, Mayfield has appeared to be the favorite to win out over 2021 second-rounder Kyle Trask. The competition between the two has been close, however, and both signal-callers split first-team reps during training camp. Neither passer did enough to stand out above the other for the first preseason contest to be sufficient to determine a winner.

Trask drew praise for his arm strength and improved ball security during the summer, but the fact that Mayfield did not play in Tampa’s second preseason contest seemed to put the latter in pole position. Head coach Todd Bowles said after that game that both Trask and Mayfield would play in the preseason finale, something which appeared to leave the competition yet to be won by either passer. Instead, a firm decision has now been made, with the far more experienced quarterback getting the nod.

Mayfield, 28, signed a one-year, $4MM deal in free agency with the hopes of serving as Tom Brady‘s successor. The former No. 1 pick’s starting days in Cleveland were over once Deshaun Watson was acquired via trade, a move which eventually saw Mayfield dealt to the Panthers. A fresh start was needed, but it did not go as planned. Mayfield went 1-5 in Carolina and his performance led to his release in December.

A brief audition with the Matthew Stafford-less Rams ensued, and the Oklahoma product started four games in Los Angeles (including a win in his debut which came days after his arrival). It still came as no surprise that Mayfield was only able to land a low-cost, one-year deal on the open market. The former Heisman winner could very well be entering a make-or-break season with respect to his future as an NFL starter.

Trask, meanwhile, will begin his third straight Tampa Bay campaign on the bench. As Brady’s understudy, the Florida product only made one regular season appearance and he has just nine pass attempts to his name. The 2023 offseason represented his best opportunity to earn the No. 1 role – something which would have provided much-needed information for the team regarding how they would approach his long-term future in the organization.

A report from earlier this month indicated Mayfield would have a short leash if named the starter, given Trask’s showings in the offseason. It will be interesting to see if that holds true as all attention will now turn to the former’s ability to rebound from his 2022 performance and, potentially, secure a multi-year future in his new home.

Latest On Buccaneers’ QB Competition

AUGUST 20: It appears that this competition will indeed come down to the final preseason game. Mayfield did not dress for the Bucs’ second preseason contest last night, a victory over the Jets, and ESPN’s Jenna Laine understandably took that to mean that Mayfield was on the verge of being named the Week 1 starter (Twitter link). However, head coach Todd Bowles revealed after his club’s 13-6 victory that he expects both Mayfield and Trask to play in Tampa Bay’s preseason finale against the Ravens next week (Twitter link via Greg Auman of FOX Sports).

The third quarterback on the depth chart, John Wolford, suffered a neck injury during the second half of the Jets game and was carted off the field, as Laine detailed. Fortunately, Wolford has feeling in his extermities, and Bowles indicated that all will be well with the former Rams signal-caller.

Further underscoring the as-yet-unsettled status of the club’s QB1 comeptition, Bowles said that he was prepared to send Mayfield into the game in relief of Wolford. Bowles only called upon Trask because he was already warmed up after having played the entire first half (Twitter link via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times).

AUGUST 16: With Anthony Richardson having won the starting job for the Colts, the quarterback competition in Tampa Bay is the lone remaining one around the league where the winner cannot at least be comfortably assumed. Plenty is yet to be determined regarding where Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask emerge in the pecking order.

At the onset of training camp, the Buccaneers split first-team reps between the pair, something which came as little surprise. Mayfield came to Tampa Bay on a one-year, $4MM deal looking to avoid the disastrous end to his Panthers tenure from last season. The former No. 1 pick faces serious questions about his ability to retain a starting role in the NFL, and this Buccaneers opportunity may be his last if it does not go well. Trask, meanwhile, entered the league with relatively high expectations as a second-round pick, but he has yet to receive a starting opportunity.

Mayfield has long been considered the favorite to win the Week 1 starting gig, but his tenure in that role may not be permanent if things remain close between he and Trask. Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda reports that Tampa is willing to quickly install Trask as the No. 1 in the event Mayfield is tapped as the starter early but struggles to begin the season.

A final decision has not yet been made, and that will likely remain the case until after the team’s three preseason contests have been played. Mayfield outperformed Trask in the Buccaneers’ Friday loss to the Steelers, but Pauline notes the latter’s arm strength and his general lack of turnovers in camp could give him the edge to win the Week 1 start. The Florida product has expressed confidence about his readiness for the role despite having just nine regular season attempts to his name.

Regardless of who wins the job, Tampa Bay will be shorthanded in the receiving corps with Russell Gage out for the season. Fellow wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will be leaned on heavily by whomever starts the campaign under center, but it remains to be seen who that will be and how long of a leash they will be given.

Buccaneers QBs Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask Splitting First-Team Reps

The Buccaneers are continuing the evaluation process of their quarterback competition, one which has not been met with much fanfare considering the pedigree of Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask compared to predecessor Tom Brady. Both of the candidates are receiving considerable looks with the first-team offense.

Tamp Bay is alternating Mayfield and Trask with the starters and backups during practice, as noted by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Head coach Todd Bowles has, understandably, not been in a hurry to name a starter during the offseason with plenty of time remaining for one signal-caller to outperform the other. Trask said that he feels “the most ready” he has been to date in his NFL career, one which started in 2021 but has seen him attempt only nine regular season passes.

The former second-rounder has been pegged as the underdog in the competition so far, with Mayfield holding a substantial edge in experience and familiarity with the type of scheme being implemented by new offensive coordinator Dave Canales. A strong recent showing from Trask with respect to ball security, however, has helped him gain ground, per Greg Auman of Fox Sports.

A plan for how the pair will be used in preseason has yet to be sorted out, but exhibition games will obviously go a long way in determining whether Mayfield or Trask will get the nod for Week 1. The former acknowledged that earning a starting gig is nothing new to him, having had to supplant an incumbent at both the college and NFL levels. The Heisman winner and former No. 1 pick has not seen his pro career go according to plan, though, giving him signficant impetus to succeed with his fourth NFL team.

Mayfield signed a one-year, $4MM deal to compete for the starting gig after seeing his Panthers tenure flame out and serving as a Rams fill-in to close out the 2022 season. Winning the top job and delivering an encouraging performance would boost the 28-year-old’s value either on a new Tampa contract or on the open market next offseason. Plenty is yet to be determined ahead of the Buccaneers’ preseason opener next week, however.

“It’s been tight and that’s a good thing,” Bowles said of the competition, via Kristie Ackert of the Tampa Bay Times. “Obviously, you want players to compete for a spot. You don’t want anybody getting their spot. You want to earn your spot year to year. Both guys are having healthy competition. We’re just looking forward to the game.”

With neither passer standing out above the other so far, the situation in Tampa Bay will be worth watching through August. Considering the equal opportunities being given to each, a final decision on a regular season starter should not be expected for several weeks.

Buccaneers OC Dave Canales Addresses QB Competition

One of the key decisions the Buccaneers will need to make this offseason is their 2023 starting quarterback, something which will be made based on the result of a competition between two relative unknowns. Tampa Bay will be evaluating an inexperienced developmental passer in Kyle Trask alongside free agent addition Baker Mayfield, whose career has taken a number of unwanted turns since being selected first overall.

The latter joined the team on a one-year, $4MM deal in March. That base value is far lower than what Mayfield may have envisioned given his situation as the Panthers’ starter last summer, but things did not go according to plan in Carolina in 2022. Tom Brady‘s second retirement opened up another opportunity for the former Heisman winner, though, and Mayfield could be well-positioned to occupy another QB1 role.

However, there is support in the organization for Trask, whom the Buccaneers spent a second-round pick on in 2021. The Florida alum has made only two brief appearances in his career, but Brady’s absence opens the door to an extended look during the summer. When asked about the situation, new offensive coordinator Dave Canales addressed the obligation the team feels to both signal-callers.

“I think it’s partly just respecting the team, respecting what’s best for everyone, and then also respecting Kyle’s process,” Canales said of Trask during an appearance on Fox 13’s No Days Off podcast“You know, he comes in as the second-round pick with high hopes… Tom Brady’s been here, so he’s been able to learn from him. But at the same time he’s worked really hard to try to have an opportunity to show what he can do.

“On the flip side, too, I think Baker, would he love to be named the starter? I’m sure. But Baker also knows this is his road back, too. From Cleveland to Carolina and L.A… And so for him to be able to come out here to win the team over in his own right, to perform and to show them that he can be the caliber quarterback that he believes he can be, I think I owe it to both of them and to the team to put the best guy out there.”

Those remarks certainly leave the door open to either quarterback winning out the starting job, one which Mayfield should be considered the favorite for at this point. In any event, the Buccaneers’ offense will enter the 2023 campaign with tempered expectations under center, after the team declined to make a big-money investment at the position in free agency and elected not to draft a signal-caller.

In spite of that, playing out the coming season atop the depth chart would be critical for Trask and Mayfield. The former has two years remaining on his rookie contract, and his performance as a starter would go a long way in informing the team’s decision with respect to extending or supplanting him next offseason. The latter, meanwhile, would boost his stock considerably heading into another free agent period with a strong showing if he were to land the top spot.

Latest On Buccaneers’ QB Competition

Baker Mayfield added some late-season high notes with the Rams — most notably via a stunning 98-yard game-winning drive against the Raiders two days after being claimed off waivers — but the former No. 1 overall pick is coming off another down season on the whole. He ranked last in QBR by a substantial margin.

The Panthers benched Mayfield before his Charlotte tenure wrapped, and a quarterback once on the extension radar in Cleveland settled for a one-year deal worth $4MM in base value this offseason. Other teams pursued the former Browns playoff starter, however. The Ravens are believed to have made him an offer. But the Buccaneers offered appealing components that enticed the sixth-year veteran to take on the task of succeeding Tom Brady.

I finally had some [time] to think; I think that’s the key word,” Mayfield said, via’s Albert Breer. “And, yeah, just looking at it from a big-picture standpoint, I want to play this game for a long time. So where’s the next spot that’s going to be the most stable position, where I can come in and compete, and do the best I can to showcase what I’m capable of? This is a great opportunity to do so.

Normally when a spot like this opens up, it’s because bad things have happened. But this one, it’s just because Tom retired. So it’s a perfect opportunity for me.”

Mayfield said he targeted the Bucs early in free agency, per Breer. Although $4MM is nowhere close to what the expected free agency goal was when the former Heisman winner entered his contract year with Carolina, he will land on a team with two Super Bowl starters at wide receiver — Mike Evans and Chris Godwin — along with $10MM-per-year pass catcher Russell Gage. The Bucs also will have center Ryan Jensen back, after he missed most of last season with MCL and PCL tears (and a partially torn ACL), along with All-Pro tackle Tristan Wirfs in the fold. Tampa Bay needs more help up front, with a Shaq Mason trade following a rough year for most of the team’s blockers. But Mayfield did join a team with many accomplished players — and one that resides in what was last season’s weakest division.

Heading into his age-28 season, Mayfield may only need to beat out Kyle Trask, whom the Bucs chose 64th overall in 2021. Trask sat behind Brady and Blaine Gabbert for two seasons. Bruce Arians, who was Tampa Bay’s HC when Trask arrived, has offered praise for the third-year passer’s pocket presence, per Breer, who adds new Bucs OC Dave Canales is a fan of the catchable balls Trask throws. While the Florida product has supporters in the building, he has just nine career pass attempts. Still, Mayfield’s past two seasons would not stand to make him a prohibitive favorite here.

Sam Darnold retook the Panthers’ reins after losing a training camp competition to Mayfield, who finished with a QBR figure nearly 10 points worse than any other qualified passer in 2022. Mayfield did complete 86% of his passes and account for three touchdowns during a Christmas Day blowout of the Broncos, but he is attempting to shake off two disappointing years. Mayfield led the Browns to the playoffs in 2020, snapping one of the longest playoff droughts in NFL history (18 years), but suffered a shoulder injury early in the 2021 season. Mayfield’s struggles that year prompted the Browns to give Deshaun Watson an astonishing guarantee — one that kept him out of the NFC South — and complete the trade with the Panthers.

The Bucs will host Hendon Hooker on a pre-draft visit next week, but the team’s No. 19 overall draft slot would likely require a trade-up maneuver to land one of this year’s four higher-profile passers. Absent a high draft choice, the Bucs are set to hold a Mayfield-Trask competition during a season overshadowed by the Brady period’s dead-money bills. Tampa Bay’s $75.3MM in dead cap leads the league by nearly $25MM. This might be Mayfield’s last shot to prove he is an NFL starter. Doing so would mean a more interesting 2024 market or a Bucs extension.

Ravens Will Consider Round 1 QB; Team Made Offer To Baker Mayfield?

Tyler Huntley remains in place as the Ravens’ backup quarterback, but the team did not tender its two-year QB2 on the second-round level. Baltimore giving Huntley the low-end tender would not lead to compensation if the former UDFA signed an unmatched offer sheet.

As Huntley goes into a contract year, the Ravens pursued other options for either a backup QB or insurance against a Lamar Jackson departure. The team made an offer to Baker Mayfield, per An ESPN report in March indicated Baltimore looked into Mayfield and Jacoby Brissett. Mayfield signed with the Buccaneers, Brissett with the Commanders.

The Ravens faced Brissett last season, during the journeyman’s Deshaun Watson fill-in stop, and matched up with Mayfield for four seasons. Brissett signed a one-year deal worth $8MM ($7.5MM guaranteed); Mayfield inked a one-year, $4MM pact ($4MM guaranteed). Mayfield’s contract includes performance incentives. Each player will navigate in-house competition from inexperienced options — Sam Howell and Kyle Trask, respectively — but will be favored to win those jobs, unless a bigger name lands in Washington or Tampa.

Passing on a Ravens offer is logical for a quarterback hoping for a starter path. It cannot be assumed Jackson, despite his having issued a trade request March 2, will be gone. No team besides the Ravens has shown interest, and Ian Rapoport of adds (video link) the sides have talked recently. Jackson and the Ravens spoke around 10 days ago, which was around the time the former MVP made his trade request public. The Ravens have until July 17 to sign Jackson to a long-term deal, though the sides remain far apart on guarantees. Jackson having a clear route back to Baltimore, however, would naturally lead less accomplished passers elsewhere.

Many bridge- or backup-level QBs have landed gigs since free agency started, but a few notable names have not. Teddy Bridgewater remains available, as do Carson Wentz, Mason Rudolph, Matt Ryan and 11-year Ravens starter Joe Flacco. Of course, Ryan and Flacco — each 2008 first-round picks — would be going into their age-38 seasons and are on clear declines. Bridgewater, who is preparing for his age-31 campaign, would be a better option. Wentz, 30, is open to continuing his career as a backup, but three teams have jettisoned the former No. 2 overall pick over the past three offseasons. The one-time MVP candidate would make for a polarizing insurance option.

Jackson has stuck to his guns as a self-represented player in search of Watson-level full guarantees ($230MM). The Ravens have offered Jackson $133MM guaranteed — in a deal that included a $175MM total guarantee that would have shifted to a full guarantee early in the contract — but that proposal is no longer believed to be on the table. Still, it should not be expected Jackson will pass on a $32.4MM franchise-tag salary.

Since the franchise tag was introduced in 1993, only three players — defensive linemen Sean Gilbert (1997) and Dan Williams (1998) and running back Le’Veon Bell (2018) — have skipped a season and passed on a tag paycheck. All three secured multiyear deals the following year — Gilbert and Bell from different teams, while the Chiefs circled back to Williams — but it is the extraordinarily rare path to take for a tag recipient. Jackson would have until Week 10 to report Then again, Jackson has passed on collecting franchise-QB money in each of the past two years. His 2021 route was perhaps more notable, as Watson’s Browns guarantee had not yet entered the equation.

Discussing the draft (and only the draft, as Jackson questions were declined; Ravens officials did not mention his name) Wednesday, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said (via’s Albert Breer) the team would consider a quarterback. While this may not be the full truth, as DeCosta deferred to the team’s draft board including QBs with first-round grades. But DeCosta added more than four passers in this draft can be “significant quarterbacks in this league.” The Ravens have scheduled an Anthony Richardson meeting. As of now, Richardson is the only QB the franchise is using a “30” visit on, Rapoport adds.

Buccaneers Finalizing Baker Mayfield Deal

The Buccaneers’ Baker Mayfield interest will lead to a free agency agreement. The former No. 1 overall pick is wrapping up a deal with Tampa Bay, Tom Pelissero of tweets.

Mayfield loomed as an option for the Bucs, who were not linked to being big spenders at quarterback this offseason. The sides are set to agree on a one-year deal worth $8.5MM, Ian Rapoport of tweets. That looks to be the max value here, with Albert Breer of adding the base value will come in at $4MM (Twitter link).

This will provide Mayfield with another bounce-back opportunity and give the Bucs a veteran option to potentially succeed Tom Brady. While the Bucs are planning to give former second-round pick Kyle Trask a chance to win the starting job, Mayfield (69 starts) obviously laps the third-year passer in experience. Though, Mayfield has seen his stock dip dramatically since he was connected to a lucrative Browns extension in 2021.

Tampa will be Mayfield’s fourth home since July 2022. The Browns traded their four-year starter, after a drawn-out negotiation, to the Panthers last July. Proving a bad fit in Carolina, Mayfield ended up with the Rams to close out his fifth-year option season. Following an injury-plagued 2021 and an uneven Charlotte stay, Mayfield showed signs of life in Los Angeles. The Bucs will provide another opportunity for the 2017 Heisman winner.

Even as he did provide a spark to a depleted Rams offense down the stretch, Mayfield still finished last season with a league-worst 24.5 QBR figure. In Carolina, the 6-foot quarterback completed just 57.8% of his passes — at 6.4 yards per toss — and ended up benched for a Panthers team that started three QBs last year. Sam Darnold, who has since committed to the 49ers, ended up outplaying Mayfield in Carolina, despite the latter having won the training camp competition.

The Panthers waived Mayfield in December, and the Rams turned to the 27-year-old passer immediately after acquiring him. Two days after making the waiver claim, the Rams threw Mayfield into action early during a Thursday-night Raiders matchup. Mayfield struggled with his new team early in that game but reeled off one of the most shocking comebacks in recent NFL history, guiding his new team on a 98-yard game-winning drive — despite the Rams playing with a patchwork offensive line and without Cooper Kupp or Allen Robinson. Mayfield finished his Rams run, which also included a 24-for-28 showing against an upper-echelon Broncos defense, with a 63.6% completion rate and a passer rating well north of his Panthers sample.

Trask has made one career appearance — a Week 18 cameo in Atlanta — but has drawn praise from some Bucs players. He will be thrust into a competition with Mayfield, who is taking a steep pay cut from a fifth-year option salary he already reduced (to $15.4MM) to facilitate a trade out of Cleveland. The outspoken QB led the Browns to their first playoff berth in 18 years two seasons ago, coming back from a disastrous sophomore season under Freddie Kitchens. Mayfield ranked 10th in QBR in 2020 under Kevin Stefanski, throwing 26 TD passes compared to eight INTs, but he is far removed from that productive campaign.

The Bucs will see if new OC Dave Canales can harness some of what Stefanski did three seasons ago. The sixth-year veteran would seem to match up better with a Bucs team still housing several starters from Super Bowl LV. But after Mayfield’s struggles in his 2022 platform season led to a mediocre market, another uninspiring slate will likely take him off the QB1 radar for the foreseeable future.

Bucs Expected To Pursue QB Baker Mayfield

The Buccaneers are expected to pursue free agent quarterback Baker Mayfield when free agency opens this week, as Ian Rapoport of reports (via Twitter). Given its difficult salary cap situation, Tampa Bay is in need of an experienced starting QB option with a fairly low price tag, and Mayfield — whose market value is roughly $6.5MM per year on a two-year contract, per Spotrac — fits that bill.

Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick of the Browns in the 2018 draft, had an up-and-down tenure in Cleveland. After a promising rookie campaign and a sophomore slump, Mayfield appeared to breakout in 2020 in the offense installed by new head coach Kevin Stefanski. He led the club to an 11-5 record and a playoff victory, throwing for 26 TDs against just eight interceptions and posting a 95.9 quarterback rating.

However, a regression in 2021 precipitated the Browns’ aggressive pursuit of Deshaun Watson last offseason, and Cleveland ultimately traded Mayfield to the Panthers in July. Though the Oklahoma product beat out Sam Darnold for Carolina’s QB1 post, his time in Charlotte was an unmitigated disaster, and he was waived in December.

Mayfield rebuilt his stock a bit with a decent five-game run with the Rams to close out the 2022 season, though it seems unlikely he will simply be handed a starting job somewhere. In Tampa, he would at least have a real chance to become a starter again, as he would be competing with Kyle Trask, a 2021 second-rounder who has thrown a grand total of nine passes in his pro career.

The Rams’ apparent rebuild has led some to wonder if veteran starter Matthew Stafford would be traded in a cost-cutting move, something which would open the door to Mayfield being able to carry on from where he left off in Los Angeles. GM Les Snead recently made it clear, however, that Stafford is one of a few core players who are likely to be retained over the coming years.

That leaves Mayfield as one of many signal-callers set to hit the open market, one which already features Carson Wentz and Marcus Mariota since they were released by the Commanders and Falcons, respectively. Mayfield joins that pair in terms of highly-drafted QBs who have fallen well short of expectations given their draft stock, but who could still provide some upside under the right circumstances. Other options remain on the table for the Buccaneers, however.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Bucs have interest in not only Mayfield, but Jacoby Brissett and Blaine Gabbert as well (Twitter link). The latter served as Tom Brady‘s backup over the course of their three seasons spent in Tampa, so he would of course be a familiar face if he were to be re-signed. The former had a stint as the Browns’ starter while Watson was suspended in 2022, and will be looking to parlay that into a deal allowing him to compete for playing time.

The Dolphins will not be suitors for Mayfield, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Miami will have Tua Tagovailoa on the books for at least the next two years, since they are picking up his fifth-year option. However, a veteran insurance policy is expected to be a high priority for the Dolphins; their search will lead them away from Mayfield, but he still figures to have suitors aiming to give him an opportunity to resurrect his career.

Adam La Rose contributed to this post. 

NFC Free Agency Rumors: Mayfield, Williams, Cominsky, Gipson, Beachum

Former Browns and Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield was brought in as an emergency option for the Rams last year after an injury to starter Matthew Stafford and ineffective starts by backup John Wolford. Mayfield would go on to win two of five games for the Rams to end a disastrous season in Los Angeles, but after ending the year as the Rams’ starter, Mayfield is not expected to re-sign in LA, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

Breer posits that Mayfield will only want to play for a team that will allow him to compete for the starting quarterback job or for a system in which he believes he can unseat the starting quarterback. This could see the former Heisman winner headed back to Texas in Houston or any potential sites such as Atlanta, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, or Tampa Bay. As long as Stafford remains in Los Angeles, though, it appears that Mayfield will not want to remain as a solidified backup.

Here are a few other free agency rumors from around the conference:

  • Following an incredible breakout season in Detroit, there is reportedly mutual interest between the Lions and Jamaal Williams in signing a new contract, according to Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News. The statement comes from Lions executive vice president and general manager Brad Holmes who discovered the interest during preliminary discussions with unrestricted free agents. Williams led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns last season while also recording career-highs in touches (274) and total yardage (1,139).
  • Another Lion bound for free agency, versatile defensive end John Cominsky is set to earn an impressive new contract following a breakout year in Detroit. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Cominsky could earn over $5MM per year in a new deal. Waived last offseason by Atlanta, Cominsky received plenty of interest on the waiver wire with eight teams reportedly submitting claims. It’s no question of why as the defensive lineman’s breakout season came as he played through a broken thumb.
  • Following his first season in San Francisco, the 49ers are reportedly interested in bringing back veteran safety Tashaun Gipson, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic. Gipson had a resurgent season in the Bay Area reeling in five interceptions and returning them for a total of 141 yards, harkening back to his first few years in Cleveland. Gipson and longtime 49er Jimmie Ward are both bound for free agency, and San Francisco will likely strive to bring one of them back to start alongside second-year safety Talanoa Hufanga who earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2022.
  • Cardinals starting right tackle Kelvin Beachum is currently headed towards free agency after three years in Arizona. Freelance journalist and former Cardinals staff writer Mike Jurecki would like to see Arizona re-sign the veteran heading into his age 34 season, but it’s a big ask for a team that has capable starters in D.J. Humphries and Josh Jones at tackle. With two players already under contract, it’ll be difficult to convince the Cardinals’ brass to bring Beachum back. Beachum may have priced himself out of Arizona as Jurecki points out that there will certainly be a market for the veteran who is still playing well.

Ravens Rumors: Oliver, Robinson, Mayfield

As the Ravens face the offseason, the biggest free agency question on everyone’s mind is clearly what will happen with star quarterback Lamar Jackson. While everyone is focused on that, general manager Eric DeCosta and company have plenty of other free agents to deal with, as detailed recently by Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

One of the more intriguing free agents Baltimore must handle is tight end Josh Oliver. Acquired for a modest price from the Jaguars two years ago, Oliver was brought in to serve as a number three tight end behind receiving specialist Mark Andrews and blocking specialist Nick Boyle. Injuries to Boyle forced Oliver into a much larger role and over the past two seasons, Oliver has filled in and continued to improve.

At first glance, it seems like an easy decision for Baltimore to allow Oliver to walk as, despite waiving Boyle, the Ravens still have Andrews and two second-year tight ends in Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar behind him. Oliver may have carved out his role on the offense last year, though, playing in Boyle’s stead. While Andrews is a formidable blocker, Likely and Kolar were both elite receiving options in college. Oliver’s biggest impact and improvements this past season were in the running game as a blocker. At only 25 years old, it may make sense for him to find space on the roster of a team that has never shied away from its love of tight ends.

Here are a couple other free agent rumors out of Charm City:

  • Another question that Zrebiec poses in Baltimore surrounds free agent wide receiver Demarcus Robinson. Robinson was an under-the-radar signing late in the preseason for the Ravens, but he likely gave the offense more than they expected out of him. After catching a career-high 48 passes for 458 yards and two touchdowns, Robinson has appeared to have interest in returning to Baltimore. The Ravens are likely looking to upgrade their receivers room in every way possible, though, and currently, it’s unclear where Robinson fits. Robinson likely benefitted from the missed snaps of Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, both of whom found their way to injured reserve last year. If the team can add a few weapons and get a healthy Bateman and Duvernay, will they decide to bring back Robinson, as well?
  • One position that definitely makes sense for the Ravens to upgrade in free agency is backup quarterback. In a more recent breakdown, Zrebiec discussed why it would be important to sign an established backup. The past two seasons in Baltimore have ended with Jackson on the sideline dealing with injury. In the 12 games that Jackson has either sat out or left with injury in the last two years, the Ravens are 4-8, not including their lone playoff loss without Jackson. Teams like the 49ers and Cowboys displayed this year the value of having backup quarterbacks capable of winning games. Pushed into play due to injury, backup quarterbacks Cooper Rush, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Brock Purdy went a combined 16-4 in their regular season starts. While Rush is available, as are other options like Sam Darnold, Jacoby Brissett, and Andy Dalton, Baker Mayfield may make the most sense. Mayfield is an affordable option after flaming out a bit in Cleveland and Carolina, but he showed he still has the ability to compete in the waning games of the season with the Rams. He’s fairly young, having been drafted the same year as Jackson, while still experienced, and he specifically has experience in the AFC North. Mayfield also has a formidable talent for running the ball that wouldn’t require new offensive coordinator Todd Monken to switch things up too much when he’s in. Whether or not the former division rival is the answer, it’s become clear that backups Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown can’t carry the team when Jackson is absent.