Baker Mayfield begins new chapter with Buccaneers: 'I'm not going to try to be Tom' Brady
Baker Mayfield signed his new contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, and it didn’t take long for him to be asked about replacing future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
“Listen, I'm never going to be Tom Brady. There's a reason he has won so many Super Bowls. He's the greatest of all time. There's no doubt about that,” Mayfield said during his introductory press conference in Tampa Bay.
"I'm not going to try and be Tom. I'm going to be me. That's what's gotten me to this point. We're going to do it differently.”
Mayfield, a former No. 1 draft pick, feels settled and optimistic about his new opportunity with the Buccaneers, a one-year deal that will reportedly pay him $8.5 million — especially because of how last year panned out.
Mayfield bounces from Browns to Panthers to Rams
Mayfield was rehabbing after offseason shoulder surgery a year ago and did not know what his future would hold before the Cleveland Browns, who drafted him in 2018, traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Mayfield ended up with the Carolina Panthers in training camp, but he was waived in December. A day later, he landed with the Los Angeles Rams — who were floundering their way through a disappointing title defense last season — to play through his fifth-year contract option.
With the Buccaneers, Mayfield will compete with Kyle Trask for the starting quarterback position under second-year coach Todd Bowles.
And Mayfield is ready for the next chapter of his NFL career.
“It's not how I drew my career up by any means. If I was to tell you how it would go based on the plan, I wouldn't have said that I put on three different uniforms in the year 2022. But that's how it happens,” Mayfield said. “So, you gotta learn from it, roll with the punches, trust in God's plan.
"But yeah, I've grown a lot. I appreciate all the things that have happened throughout my journey, and it's helped me get here today. And so, I want to play this as long as I can. I've learned a lot of lessons along the way.”
Mayfield has chance to change narrative with Bucs
Mayfield has an opportunity to help the Buccaneers navigate life after Brady, who spent the last three seasons of his career in Tampa Bay and helped the franchise win the Super Bowl in 2020.
The NFC South was one of the weakest divisions in the NFL last season, but Mayfield’s addition could help Tampa Bay compete with their counterparts.
The New Orleans Saints welcomed new starter Derek Carr this offseason, while the Carolina Panthers traded for the top pick of next month's 2023 NFL draft. The Atlanta Falcons own the No. 8 pick in the draft.
Mayfield said he sees this new opportunity as another chance to make a name for himself. And a chance to show his biggest critics how much he’s changed from his days as a Heisman Trophy winner in Oklahoma and from his first seasons with the Browns.
“Everyone wants to talk about years ago, how I used to be,” Mayfield said. “If you haven’t realized that I’ve changed a lot, that’s all right.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Baker Mayfield signs with Buccaneers, says he'll 'never' be Tom Brady