HOUSTON, TEXAS – JANUARY 08: Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies throws the ball in the third quarter against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 08, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Amid growing speculation that Baker Mayfield is keen on hitting the open market, an NFL writer proposed a fascinating idea that would see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers replace the 28-year-old with a top 2024 NFL Draft prospect.
The cap-strapped Buccaneers lost Tom Brady to retirement last year and thus had to settle on a cheap one-year deal with Mayfield. The former first overall pick turned in the best season of his career, throwing for 4,044 yards and 28 touchdowns against only 10 interceptions.
Mayfield led the Bucs to a surprising NFC South division crown and followed it up with a dismantling of the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round. Though the season ended with a heartbreaking loss to the Detroit Lions in the Divisional Round, Mayfield rebuilt his value and set himself up for a fancy payday in 2024 free agency.
There are whispers that Mayfield will decide to hit the open market, prompting Matthew Davis of Heavy.com to propose the idea of the Bucs replacing Mayfield with Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.:
“Penix threw for more than 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns each of the past two seasons, but he also endured a pair of ACL tears and shoulder injuries in his 6-year college career.
The Buccaneers hold the No. 26 spot in the draft and could grab the former Tampa Bay Tech star in the first round or later if needed.”
Penix Jr. is widely regarded as a boom-or-bust prospect despite a historically-dominant season for the Huskies. The 23-year-old threw for 4,903 yards and 36 touchdowns, leading Washington to a national championship game appearance. There, they were ousted by Jim Harbaugh and the No. 1 ranked Michigan Wolverines.
While some scouts and analysts believe Penix Jr. will be a first-round pick, others are divided and see his value as that of a day two pick.