Former NFL GM Harsh On Baker Mayfield But Doesn’t Believe The Bucs Are Tanking

April 3rd, 2023

Former GM not a fan.

A former NFL general manager and coffee fetcher believes the Bucs made an awful signing with quarterback Baker Mayfield. But Joe believes the guy has a hidden reason.

Certainly on The “Ira Kaufman Podcast,” Joe has mentioned that many NFL analysts are not trained journalists. Objectivity is foreign to them if not toxic. They are employed to bring analysis and opinion and sometimes those come with significant bias, or are even influenced by nepotism.

A good example is Michael Lombardi’s recent comments on Mayfield. In a recent edition of his podcast “GM Shuffle,” Lombardi, a former Browns general manager and coffee fetcher for Bill Walsh, Al Davis and Bill Belicheat, wondered aloud what Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht saw in Mayfield.

Lombardi didn’t try to hide his skepticism.

“I wonder if they watched the tape [of Mayfield]?” Lombardi asked. “I thought Baker was not very good at all last year. He was one of the worst quarterbacks I watched.”

Seems kind of harsh. Perhaps Lombardi only watched Mayfield’s tape from his Carolina days. That would make sense. Joe suspects that is the reason why Lombardi shat on Mayfield. Here’s the background:

Last year, an assistant Mayfield worked under with Carolina was passing game specialist Matt Lombardi. His dad happens to be Michael Lombardi. Yup, the same guy Joe is quoting above.

Now it wouldn’t be good for family business if the elder Lombardi thought Mayfield had the tools. If he said that, the logical questions would be, “Well, how come your son couldn’t get anything out of him or coach him up?”

No sense in dad helping son kill his career. So Mayfield stunk in Carolina because of Mayfield, not his coaches. See how this works?

After the elder Lombardi had his say about Mayfield, Lombardi’s co-host Femi Abebefe asked Lombardi if Mayfield is then a tool to help the Bucs tank and perhaps line themselves up to draft Caleb Williams (#CollapseForCaleb) or Drake Maye.

No, Lombardi said. He believes Licht and Todd Bowles (Lombardi is a huge Bowles fan — they both have ties to Bill Parcells) are trying to be competitive while shedding salary.

“Obviously, if you are Todd Bowles and you have the first pick in the draft, you are not making it,” Lombardi said. “He’s not certainly doing that. They didn’t sign Jamel Dean if they were going to cave. They still have some good young talent.

“I think they are trying to get their cap in order and still be competitive. Maybe get to 10-7. Make the playoffs. Can’t get fired, but still have a chance. I think that’s kind of where they are going.”

Joe knows Licht, and all solid NFL scouting departments, already have reports written and projections made on who will be the top players coming out in the 2024 draft. Perhaps they believe Quinn Ewers or Michael Penix can be solid NFL quarterbacks and the Bucs will be in a better position to grab one of those two?

Of course, if Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales resurrects Mayfield’s career, the Bucs likely have found their quarterback for the next five seasons or more.

30 Responses to “Former NFL GM Harsh On Baker Mayfield But Doesn’t Believe The Bucs Are Tanking”

  1. Fansince76 Says:

    Dave Canales – Unknown
    Mayfield – Unknown in Canales offense
    Bucs offense = very scary until we see it
    Lets all pray this works out!
    Defense will be good.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘And sometimes, those opinions come with a significant slant, bias or are even influenced by nepotism. No sense in dad helping son kill his career. Mayfield stunk in Carolina because of Mayfield, not his coaches. See how this works?’

    No idea which one of the Joes wrote this, but you should be embarrassed. You accuse ‘NFL analysts’ of ‘slant & bias’ then proceed to do exactly the same thing yourself. Talk about pure SPECULATION and reading into things! Wow, that’s running amok with these Mayfield articles Joe. Whoa!!! Joe didn’t say there was a darn thing wrong with analysts coming at things with bias, or being influenced by nepotism. Joe’s only pointing out the reality. Joe is a Bucs fan and is influenced by that bias every second of every day. The difference is that Joe is happy to talk about Joe’s bias and having objectivity within a framework of fandom.–Joe

    PERHAPS Mayfield stunk it up in Carolina because … oh ya, he’s Baker Mayfield. Carolina had relatively few weapons to surround Mayfield with, and on his own Baker showed with Cleveland over 4 years that he can’t carry a team. Quite the contrary it appears to me; he showed pretty clearly that he’s not a franchise QB. And half a season with Carolina (1-5) and half of the same season with the Rams (1-3) doesn’t provide any reason to change that assessment.

    Mayfield’s still a QB who with 5 full seasons as a starting QB under his belt has fairly consistently thrown for 61%, who averages 20 TDs against 13 INTs & 34 sacks plus 7 fumbles a season, and who is not very adept at 4th quarter comebacks (7 in 5 years is not that impressive to me … Brady gave us that many in just 2021 & 2022, and we needed every one of them).

    Can Kyle Trask or whoever’s behind Door #3 do better? I have no idea if they can or can’t, but I sure would like to find out in a FAIR COMPETITION among ALL our QBs. And despite the slant & bias I seem to be reading on JBF nowadays, I believe that’s exactly what Bowles & Canales want also, because it’s THEIR careers that hang in the balance when it comes to making the best decision for the Bucs going forward.

  3. Lt. Dan Says:

    Nepotism? You caught me off guard for a minute with that one Joe. Then it hit me….The Carr brothers. Good point.

  4. Letsbucinggo Says:


  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There has to be a all-in emphasis to improve our running game……whether it be beefing up the Oline, scheme…..drafting a top RB……but it must improve.

    If Brady can look worse with our offense…it stands to reason that Mayfield and Trask would struggle also.

  6. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Pardon me if Lombardi’s opinion means nothing to me. And just an observation: some of you guys are starting to get nasty, acting like Joe dropped a deuce in your lunch box. It’s unbecoming and childish. Grow up.

  7. Bobby M. Says:

    Mayfield was the best value for our situation….he’s shown ability, has upside and has been to the playoffs. His personality is marketable and he’s a great barometer for seeing what we have in Trask.

  8. Statistically Insignificant Reader Says:

    Jason told anyone who would listen he was bringing in a cheap veteran QB to compete with Trask and whoever else signed as QB. Give Jason some credit here. He accomplished the cheap veteran QB competition knowing full well Mayfield nor Trask are not the savior of this team. Licht told all who would listen the team was playing on the inexpensive this year, paying off the Superbowl, paying off Brady and the rest of the expensive retreads. not signing any more expensive retreads. Saving some money and getting ready for 2024 QB sweep stakes.
    Licht has created the perfect scenario.
    Mayfield does well he’s a genius.
    Trask does well he’s a genius.
    Fan base going rabid over which qb will lead them to the promise land.
    Stick to your plan Jason.
    Pass that Man another beer.

  9. Buc4evr Says:

    Mayfield was the Only QB available on the cheap. This is a roll of the dice. If it works great, if not it’s a high draft pick next year. Nobody is thrilled about going to war with Mayfield, but it is what it is.

  10. SOEbuc Says:

    Jason Licht does not tank, we just have no money and very slim chance that we would have multiple super star picks. I’m happy the Bucs aren’t as stupid to say “tankforCaleeb”. We didn’t have to tank, but does anyone remember a Bucs first pick super star QB named Jameis Winston??? Not that stupid to try to go from worst to first. If anything, they “could” totally suck, but not tank.

  11. Goatfarmer Says:

    There’s a reason Lombardi is “former.” Grandpa Vince is shaking his head.

  12. Joe Says:

    There’s a reason Lombardi is “former.” Grandpa Vince is shaking his head.

    He’s not related to Vince Lombardi.

  13. lambchop Says:

    This is actually a well thought out explanation. Anyone who watched Baker get thrown into a new offense with the Rams and play better than expected, would not think this was a tank job.

    Baker also went through a laundry list of HCs and OCs in Cleveland. And with Stefanski, he did well….until he didn’t.

    The report is that he was childish and immature, got on the nerves of teammates, and divided the locker room by his second year under Stefanski. Player and coach didn’t get along in 2021, but I think it was because Baker was under a lot of pressure to live up to being the #1 draft pick. This is probably the best locker room of guys he’ll have after the Rams.

    Now, we have to see if there’s some sense of urgency in Baker to mature and handle success, if it comes, with a little more graciousness. I could easily see him go either way – being successful year 1 and continuing that trend knowing he won’t get many more chances with other teams, or become a self-righteous jackhole his second year if he plays well in his first year.

    A lot of this will depend on how Canales handles Baker and how Todd reigns things in if it looks like it’s going sideways. I don’t have a lot of trust in Todd demanding structure with his team.

    I’m glad this is a one-year prove it deal for Baker. Except, if that one year becomes good, there’s no telling how year 2 will be. But, hopefully, the team (not the coaches) pick up on Baker’s intangibles as a leader to either vouch for him or say they need to move on even if he is successful. The best situation is it leaves the Bucs with options going into 2024.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … Came across a fascinating tidbit yesterday researching something on Tom Landry that shows just how small the NFL coaching ‘fraternity’ really is (or at least used to be). Turns out that Landry started his coaching career in 1954 with the NY Giants as their DC. His offensive counterpart on that Giants team? None other than the great Vince Lombardi. Small world.

  15. lambchop Says:

    The other thing that set that Baker-Stefanski downward spiral is that Stefanski supposedly missed an offensive meeting that Baker thought he should have been available for. Stefanski was the HC, he had more one his plate than a spoiled brat to appease. The difference here is that Canales will certainly be all-in with the offense as he’s not the HC…..yet.

  16. lambchop Says:

    The worst possible situation is if Baker and Trask play equally well leading up to the start of the season and Trask becomes the starter or we start playing musical chairs at QB. Lose-Lose. Baker will be unhinged if that happens. So, the Bucs have pretty much pinned themselves in a corner to ride or die with Baker. Sorry, Kyle Trask fans.

  17. Goatfarmer Says:

    Well then Grandpa Vince (he’s somebody’s grandpa) wants to revoke the use of his proud name by such a doofus!

  18. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    Could be we’re getting inside baseball from coaches who saw it up close.

    Works both ways.

  19. Joe Says:

    Joe … Came across a fascinating tidbit yesterday researching something on Tom Landry that shows just how small the NFL coaching ‘fraternity’ really is (or at least used to be). Turns out that Landry started his coaching career in 1954 with the NY Giants as their DC. His offensive counterpart on that Giants team? None other than the great Vince Lombardi. Small world.

    Yup. And go look at Paul Brown’s coaching tree (same era as Landry/Lombardi). Bill Walsh was his offensive coordinator. Don Shula and Chuck Noll both played for Brown. There are many Walsh and Noll branches coaching today whose roots trace back to Brown.

  20. Joe Says:

    FYI for those wondering about the Lombardi name.

    Joe Lombardi, former Saints, Lions and Chargers offensive coordinator who now is the Broncos offensive coordinator is Vince Lombardi’s grandson.

    Michael Lombardi and his coaching kids are not related to Vince Lombardi.

  21. Mike Johnson Says:

    I thinl Bowles just needs to go all out to secure his Defense now. Sure, get an O lineman but…try to have a Defense That can get off the field.

  22. Goatfarmer Says:

    I get all those Lombardis confused. Except Michael and Matt. They’re idjuts. And people talking to them probably assume they’re blood to the real Lombardi line.

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Seems kind of harsh.” – Joe

    Truth hurts.

    60% losing percentage.

    Jameis Winston 2.0

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    “I wonder if they watched the tape [of Mayfield]?” Lombardi asked. “I thought Baker was not very good at all last year. He was one of the worst quarterbacks I watched.”


    He’s being way too nice. I also watched his tape and he was THE worst in the NFL last year, and the insanely low QBR backs up the film. When you’re 10-points worse than the 2nd worst guy, and you played enough snaps to qualify for season rankings, you’re insanely awful. Not only was he the worst last year, by a mile, he’s also has the worst QBR of any QB over the last two years combined.

    Maybe, hopefully, he turns it around, but there’s a reason the Rams didn’t even bother to make him an offer and he’s on his 4th team in 12 months.

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai – Mayfield can only wish he was as good as Jamies. He’s not, he’s not even in the same league.

  26. Mike Anthony Says:

    “Maybe, hopefully, he turns it around, but there’s a reason the Rams didn’t even bother to make him an offer and he’s on his 4th team in 12 months.”

    Oh stop with that fake news. He is and was greatly loved in LA. Mcvey raved about him. However Baker made it clear that he wanted to be a starter. Stafford is already on the books in the 35-45 million range. Go ask denver. You can’t bench a guy making that kind of money. To think they picked him up last year on waivers to start over their two healthy Qbs then decided now after a solid stint with them they didnt want him as a back up is just silly.

    There are othrr decent reasons to not like Baker as a starting QB so do better and make one of those more rational arguments.

  27. Rod Munch Says:

    Mike Anthony – The Rams are LITERALLY telling everyone they’ll gladly take a ham sandwich in exchange for Stafford – and they LITERALLY did not make him an offer. Stop with the fake news that they love Mayfield so much – they don’t. They are shopping their starting QB while not offering Mayfield any deal at all. If they wanted to keep Mayfield, they could have easily done so, they could have said you’ll be the starter this year, if not, next year. They didn’t. They didn’t want him, and pretty much no one else did as well, that’s why he got a $4m/year deal, which is nearly min wage in the NFL. Heck, the Bucs wanted to pay Mike Glennon $7m/year to sit on the bench, and that was many years ago when that number was much larger. Mike White got a 2yr/$16m deal with the Dolphins.

    Mayfield stunk last year, he stunk the year before that, and he’s about to become the next Johnny Menzel unless he can immediately turn things around.

  28. Mike Anthony Says:

    TO fans in regard to the panther’s stint –

    I am an unapologetic Baker fan ( in sports I like rooting for people as well ). However It s quite possible Mayfield will never get back to his best year in Cleveland. Straight up – he was horrible in Carolina. The question is why was he so awful in Carolina and showed signs of brilliance in LA? Maybe it was low exectations , maybe it was a fluke

    However there is one other rational answer. Watch him in cleveland on youtube. If you have a scheme that sits him in the pocket – you take away his greatest plays. Baker thrives on back field movement – roollouts and play action. if you want him to be a dink and dunk passer or stand always in the pcket guy he tends to suck. He’s on the short side of QBs so likes to get out and see the field and he plays to occassionally sling

    Panther’s had their offense from the previous year for a tall QB who stands in the pocket. They never changed it to suit the above mentioned tendencies of Baker. It was more along the lines – this is our offense – play within it . However in LA Mcvey alredy had those movement plays in his play book and maybe because of the circumstances decided to let Baker play to his strengths.

    So will Baker suck in Tampa? IF Canales is a guy thast has his offense and wants a QB to play to it – Baker will probably stink the joint up. If its all about protecting the footballl and controlling the downs with short passes over the middle etc – he will also suck – the trajectory is lower on short passes and the number one complaint on him ( besides missing on fast throws) was batted passes ( some of which caused interceptions) However, with the talk I have see,n Baker seems to believe the offense will be crafted to the strengths of the players. I dunno if that will pan out as he expects.

    What the panthers didn’t do last training camp was wrap up the QB competition early enough to modify the playbook. they extended the competition because they had no intention of fitting the offense to the QB.

    So the first sign to look toward is how long is the QB competition lasting. IF its still a question mark with who will start a couple weeks before the regular seson the chances you will have Carolina Baker goes up

  29. Mike Anthony Says:

    “Mike Anthony – The Rams are LITERALLY telling everyone they’ll gladly take a ham sandwich in exchange for Stafford”

    Rod you are full of nonsese and don’t have a clue what you are talking about which is pretty standard these days on the interent. So ho hum . I followed the rams last year and they are not entertaning seriously any trade of stafford. Part of that reason is – he is pretty much untradable. He has a history of injuries and is unlikely to play every game in his last years under contract but still owed on average in the ball park of 30 million a year. They can’t even offer a starting QB pay because of cap space issues. Which is why you saw precious little from them in regard to ANY QB free agent

    Mind you Stafford is no scrub when healthy either but being undtradable as well seals that he is the starter for as long as he is under contract . (I see this being his last year only because I see him as getting injured again)

    go research some facts and you can finally make an intelligent post – the rams could not promise baker to start in a year because oooops Staffords contract has more than that left. Besides, do you really think anyone with intelligence buys yout premise of knowing what was discussed within the rams? Every year teams want players and never offer them a contract – for a fairly obvious reason – the player has indicated they don’t want the position. Baker made if repeatedly clear he was interested in starting not backing up. You clearly do not understand how professional sports works. teams preliminarily talk with agents and players. If there is possible interest then the talks continue and a contract is offered. if a player says – no not interested – then there is nothing offered. the end. There is no process by which every inquiry and or discussion is reported .

    However with the facts we do have we can see your argument is silly. Your claims is we shoudl ignore they not only wanted him a few months ago but signed him off waivers, then he played some solid games fo rthem and they decided – hey we like our present backups better – you know the ones we didnt trust in the first place so broughr baker in to start over them

    its a silly argument but I am learning online – one thar will unlikely change because the person offering it just can’t do better.

    P.S. Your comparison to Johnny Manziel is just the period to the hilarity of your lack of grasp.

  30. Brazen Zebra Says:

    Well, if you roll back the clock a few decades, I suspect Lombardi woulda said the same thing about Jim Plunkett joining the Raiders, “He’s a terrible quarterback, just look at the tape. He’s a wash-out with the Patriots and the Niners, and now the Raiders think they’re gonna resurrect a former overall number one pick? Not likely. Bad decision!” But, Plunkett did well with the Raiders. He won two Super Bowls with the Silver & Black. Not bad for a QB with a career completion percentage of around 52%. And, Baker Mayfield reminds me a lot of Jim Plunkett. Baker is a very talented QB who will definitely succeed once he finds the right environment. He brings some juice. He’s a low-risk gamble, a good decision by Licht and Bowles. I hope he wins two SBs just like Jim.