A “Bridge” To What?

March 20th, 2023

What’s on the other side?

Joe has been hearing the following lately and is trying to figure out the answer.

Some folks refer to new Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield as a “bridge” quarterback. A bridge to what? Joe’s trying to determine.

The latest Joe has seen “bridge” used in reference to Mayfield and the Bucs comes from none other than Purdue-basketball-confused, combine-fatigued, Bavarian pretzel-chomping, teeth-brushing, haircut-fascinated, Circa-bewildered, elf-rattled, green-lawns-frowning, soggy-socks-wearing, Daylight-Savings-Time-scared, crossword-puzzle-puzzled, Elon-Musk-peeved, Barstool-Sports-triggered, almond-milk-sipping, hot-dog-eating-contest-protesting, mock-draft-scowlingL.L.-Bean-wearing, tennis fans’ advocate, Second Amendment abolitionistMike-Florio-arguingparrot-insensitivechewing-with-his-mouth-opensoup-gulpingCalifornia-train-romancing, anti-football proliferationouthouse-admiringairline-nappingsteerage-flyingYogi Berra-worshipingurinal-picture-takingvideo-game-playingTaylor-Swift-listeningpickpocket-thwartingBucs-uniform-frowning, Allie LaForce-smitten, Big-Ten-Network-hatingpedestrian-bumpingolive oil-lappingpopcorn-munchingcoffee-slurpingfried-chicken-eatingoatmeal-lovingcircle-jerking, craft-beer-chugging, cricket-watchingscone-loathingcollege football-naïvebaseball-box-score-readingNPR-honkfilthy-hotel-stayingfight-instigatingbarista-training, Budweiser-tolerantbaseball-scorecard-keeping, pasta-feasting, vomit-dodging scrooge, Kay-Adams-following, Coors-Light-souring, pineapple-upside-down-cake-eating social activist and NFL insider of NBC Sports fame Peter King.

In his recent “Football Morning in America” column, King gave a brief rundown on each team’s free agent haul (or empty pockets). King lauded the Bucs but added he thinks Mayfield is only a bridge.

Kudos to Tampa Bay for keeping its two best free agents, corner Jamel Dean and linebacker Lavonte David. Baker Mayfield, on his fourth team in 15 months (true fact: he played with Cleveland on Jan. 9, 2022, and has meandered to the Panthers, Rams and Bucs since), seems like a bridge to 2024 to me

A bridge to what? If you are suggesting a bridge to Southern Cal quarterback Caleb Williams or University of North Carolina QB Drake Maye, unless Maye shows up drunk at practice and pukes on Mack Brown’s shoes, Joe cannot see him falling past No. 5 in next spring’s draft.

Are the Bucs planning on hocking the farm to trade up to get Maye or Williams? Because the Bucs have too much talent to tank.

They are caught in no man’s land — unlikely good enough at quarterback to win big and too talented to lose enough. This plants a franchise squarely in quarterback purgatory.

Perhaps someone at One Buc Palace has beer goggles for Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers or Washington QB Michael Penix.

Or is King thinking the Bucs will go quarterback shopping next year like they did this spring? Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill are expected to hit free agency.

Joe guesses Mayfield could have a good year and get the franchise tag, but that salary could be over $35 million, so Mayfield would have to have a Pro Bowl-like season to justify that.

So like others, Joe is wondering what is on the other side of this mysterious bridge.

40 Responses to “A “Bridge” To What?”

  1. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    Kyle Trask

  2. Voice of Truth Says:

    I want to be optimistic too, but we aren’t too far from top 5 draft category

    A couple injuries at key spots and this is a 3 win team – at full strength maybe 6 wins

    Probably the weakest qb room in the nfl

    A defense that is scary thin at multiple positions – no pass rush and paper thin at DT – no SS on the roster still

    A new OC with a completely revamped Line – no depth at WR, 3 smaller backs in a run first O

    Still the worst special teams coach in The NFL bar none

    A HC that averages 6.5 wins per season in a half decade sample size, 5 of 6 losing record seasons as a HC – lucked into the playoffs once and got curb stomped

    This is a set up for 24 season run and we don’t have to tank, look at the roster and the sideline and that is all you need to see

  3. Bucs since 76 Says:

    We should trade Mike Evans for a number one pick in 2024 and a two this year. He is getting old and his trade valve is as high as it will ever be. However, I don’t see that happening as if Bowles doesn’t win this year he is toast.

  4. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Baker is a bridge to the playoffs, the main HUUGE question mark is the bucs new OC that has never called an offensive play on any level; but hopefully he is better than Byron. The bucs have an easy shot at 9 wins coming up and it will be due to Baker and the new OC, I think the bucs fandom should be positive about Tampa Baker

  5. GABUCBALL Says:

    Honestly, I believe they will take best tackle available in 1st round possibly Broderick Jones, then taking a Tanner McKee in 3/4 as a development prospect…I think they want to take Hooker as that prospect but he will go earlier than they think and will be off the board by 2nd round.

  6. Thomas Edrington Says:

    Bride Over Troubled Waters — with apology to Paul Simon…

  7. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    LOL…….Kyle Trask is a bridge to a backup career QB to another NFL team in 2024………sorry kyle trask lovers.

    It would be amazing if Baker did do well this season and is talked about as “comeback player of the year” this season.

    ….but, I doubt it…..seriously, I highly doubt it.

    The O-Line is still highly suspect, and Baker will struggle behind this O-Line this season. Hopefully, the address the O-Line is the draft is a big way assuming that there are quality players that fits the Bucs needs when they draft at their current positions.

  8. Joe Says:

    Bride Over Troubled Waters — with apology to Paul Simon…

    Ira will like the reference.

  9. MadMax Says:

    Or Bo Nix with a later pick

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Voice of Truth … ‘I want to be optimistic too, but we aren’t too far from top 5 draft category’.

    Part of me agrees with just about everything you said, but another part of me chooses to stay ‘cautiously optimistic’ because there are still so many unknowns in the eq

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Voice of Truth … ‘I want to be optimistic too, but we aren’t too far from top 5 draft category’.

    Part of me agrees with just about everything you said, but another part of me chooses to stay ‘cautiously optimistic’ because there are still so many unknowns in the equation. We MIGHT end up in the 3-4 win category, get a high draft pick for 2024, and grab our future franchise QB. Or we MIGHT get this thing chugging along reasonably well, end up with 10-11 wins, and make the playoffs. I’ve long said that once in, you never know what’ll happen (like us winning the SB as a wildcard in 2020?).

  12. HC Grover Says:

    Bucs need a bridge over the Bowles debacle. They are at least 2 years after his destruction from a winning season. Maybe a time machine would help. A collapse leading to his exit would speed up the recovey period.

  13. Who Says Says Can't Say Says:

    Mayfield has never had receivers like Evans and Godwin. He won’t be terrified to take a sack like Brady was, that hurt the team last year a lot. So he’ll get the ball to those guys, and it won’t be 3 yard Brady passes either. Could be a lethal combo they’ve built here. Hardly a bridge.

  14. Hodad Says:

    Last time I saw Williams play he stunk up the field. Two words for Caleb over hyped!

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    Glazers sell the team to Anthony Molina who tags Sonny Weaver as GM. But this time QB Bo Callahan is the #1 pick, son of Harry Callahan.

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    In a fantasy world, Mayfield achieves his destiny and becomes the hottest QB in the NFL.

  17. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Everyone who does not win the super bowl is in a bridge situation of some kind. But what else would you call Mayfield? No one believes he is a championship QB. His stats are remarkably like JW so I guess he’s a bridge to turnovers and losses. Gotta be heading somewhere I guess.

  18. Brian Says:

    Draft Hendon Hooker!

  19. Cover deuce Says:

    A bridge to saving Todd Bowles’ job – that is to say, a bridge to nowhere. They should have just wiped the slate clean. They could have suffered a bit this year, paid down the SB credit card and been right back in the thick of it in 2024. Instead they’re choosing to prolong the mediocrity to shore up a bad HCs job security.

  20. Larrd Says:

    Peter King has become toxic.

  21. stpetebucfan Says:

    Baker Mayfield led the sorry Brownies to a playoff win over the arch rival Steelers in PITTSBURGH!

    Mayfield does not have to be “Brady good” or “Mahomes good” or “Burrows good” he just needs to be “Dilfer good” or “Johnson good”.

  22. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It seems to me with all these teams drafting QBs and some already with franchise QBs….the Bucs should be able to snag one without giving up the farm.

  23. Beej Says:

    I view Mayfield as one of those Nick Foles types– has to be in the correct environment to be effective. Otherwise he’s below average

  24. Ds Says:

    we really tank we need the bridge to teddy bridgewater

  25. Infomeplease Says:

    Defense Rules…I like your choice of words “cautiously optimistic”!! Let the Bucs assemble the team, learn the play book, play some games, make adjustments, and play more games. Then we can see what we have, may have, or don’t have!!

  26. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Beautiful photo of the Skyway Bridge.

  27. Goatfarmer Says:

    Part of me thinks that everything that needs to be said, has been said. But another part of me thinks, nothing has been said.

  28. Buc king Says:

    You ever suggest trading Mike evans again you will have a forever enemy in me…..

  29. Brandon Says:

    The Bridge is to Teribithia… it just is.

  30. Canabuc Says:

    The bucks this year are a very interesting team to me. We actually have a talented large core group of players. However what we are lacking is depth and a couple of key starters at keep positions..

    For discussion sake let’s ignore the quarterback and bridge comment for a second and look at the rest of the lineup.

    If we look at our offensive line as a group I would argue it is no worse than it was last year and assuming health should be better. I am also of the belief that Jason light is not finished and will either draft a starting tackle or get somebody from the second round of cuts on a cheaper deal.

    I think we still have one of the top receiving corps in the league. I feel like Otton in his second year will be a very good tight end. He had the same number of catches as Rob Gronkowski did as a rookie. Tight ends notoriously take some time to develop and I think he did quite good in his first year. I am quite certain that we will again sign either a cheap tight end that is more of a blocking type tight end or draft somebody this year..

    The running game does need a third body but I like Chase Edmonds as a change of pace type back and also will help in the return game. Rashad White did show that he has the ability to be an every-down back. We will likely draft a bigger body back or sign one that can be our short down and distance back.

    So if we look globally on the offensive side of the ball if we assume that we get decent to good production from our quarterback for which I think Baker Mayfield in the right system can provide us, I think we will actually be a significantly better offense under Canales this year then we were last year with Byron Leftwich even though we had the goat at quarterback.


    We have an excellent one to punch at cornerback but need a bit of depth as we have Zion McCollum in the Delaney as our three and four. Again I suspect that we will either draft somebody in a strong year of corner banks or pick up a cap casualty after the draft for some depth. I know Todd Bowles likes a hybrid player that can play safety and then move into the nickel slot as well and there are a few guys that the bucks are shown interest in in this draft that are very suited to that position. Speaking of safety we do need at least one more safety drafted and one more free agent safety signed. The fact that Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal have yet to sign with another team leads me to believe that at least one or both of them will come back on cheap deals for depth. I am predicting that if he is still there branch will get drafted by the box and we will then have a strong tandem at safety or there is that safety out of FSU who I know bowls also likes for that hybrid position.
    Inside linebacker we are set at and similarly strong as last year. With the signing of Gaines who should be younger and provide a little more upside than we got from Hicks last year I think our interior defensive line won’t be terrible but I do see us potentially either drafting somebody on the line or hopefully Logan Hall has had a year in the weight room to gain some weight and put on some muscle and given that he did not come from a very NFL ready college program perhaps might be a significantly upgraded player in year two.

    My guess is for the draft:

    Top 3 rounds will be hybrid nickel corner/safety, offensive Tackle, Edge rusherOLb as I am not sure Barrett will contribute much this year. Then we might trade up with some later picks to get a defensive lineman space eater, an interior linebacker, a big body running back ( guys you can get in day 3 as rotational pieces). Then last couple picks will be a gamble on a speed receiver and a kicker in round 7.

  31. Bucsfanman Says:

    I’m the (unfortunately!) eternal optimist when it comes to the Bucs. This team is too good to be talking about top 10 draft picks. I mean “3 wins”?!!! Come on!

  32. GrafikDetail.com Says:

    isn’t Lamar Jackson a free agent next year, also? Why wouldn’t the Bucs pursue him?

  33. sasquatch Says:

    I’m not worried about what’s on the other side of the bridge right now. We’re not tanking, so let’s drop the Caleb thing.

  34. gotbbucs Says:

    All we had to do last year was lose the Carolina game, and we would have had a top 10 pick this year.

  35. OrlandoBucFan Says:

    I think people are making a big deal about Mayfield jumping around with three different teams over the last 15 months. Mayfield was embroiled in some drama with the Browns, who ended up signing Deshaun Watson, so Mayfield was traded to the Panthers. When the Panthers decided to tank, they granted Mayfield his wish to be released. His short stint in LA was never going to be permanent.

    What the Bucs have with Mayfield is a quarterback who is young, has played in a lot of games in a short time, and who has led a team to the playoffs and a playoff win. If you look at his stats as a starter for the Browns, they’re not bad. In the right system with talent around him, why can’t Mayfield be a good starting quarterback in the NFL? I am not talking about Mayfield being a transcendent talent; he could be a quarterback who can help the Bucs make the playoffs consistently.

    We’ll have to see how things play out in the preseason, but I would not bet against Mayfield being a success with the Bucs. My bigger concern is our head coach.

  36. Joe Says:

    isn’t Lamar Jackson a free agent next year, also?

    Could be.

    Why wouldn’t the Bucs pursue him?

    Why didn’t the Bucs pursue him this year? Teams are allowed to backload contracts.

  37. Vancouver Buc Says:

    A Bridge to…when TB12 comes back in October

  38. TampabayDJ82 Says:

    Buc King – I am with you on the that ! Don’t ever mention trading one of the greatest Bucs of all time in Mike Evans !! He’s a future first ballot H.O.F WR and needs to be a Buc for life… Some people need to lay off the meth

  39. Crickett Baker Says:

    “True fact”. True fact? That “couldn’t of” been worse.

  40. Usfbuc Says:

    @Joe we didn’t go after Lamar because we have too many holes to fill. Jason learned his lesson with Winston. Build the team first, then get the QB. That allows you to maximize the window for the team to win a Super Bowl