Baker Mayfield Dec 24, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield’s return was a successful one. So much so, that he was named the NFL’s Most Improved Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.

This is the first time a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has received the honor.

From the PFWA:

He started all 17 games and posted career highs in completions (364), passing yards (4,044), passing TDs (28) and completion percentage (64.3) as Tampa Bay went 9-8 overall and captured the NFC South title. Mayfield completed 364 of 586 passes and had a passer rating of 94.6. With Mayfield leading the offense, the Bucs won five of their final six regular-season games to win the division. He was selected as the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 15 after he posted the first “perfect” passer rating (158.3) by a visiting QB at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field as he completed 22 of 38 passes for 381 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-20 victory on December 17.


It has been an interesting journey back to the spotlight for the quarterback. The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018, Mayfield bounced between three different teams in 2021 and 2022.

He signed a one-year contract with a base salary of $4 million with the Bucs before the season. It’s still unclear whether or not he returns, but he should be in for a big pay day wherever he goes.

The team finished 9-8 on the season, but had their playoff dreams slashed on Sunday in the 31-23 loss to the Lions. Detroit advances to the NFL title game to face the San Francisco 49ers.

Head coach Todd Bowles gave plenty of praise to Mayfield after their season concluded. Even after having big shoes to fill.

“He didn’t take over for Tom [Brady],” Bowles said in his postgame press conference on Sunday. “Tom retired and Baker became a new quarterback on a new team with a new offensive coordinator. He took over for himself.”


About Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jess is a baseball fan with Reno, Nev. roots residing in the Bay Area. She is the host of "Short and to the Point" and is also a broadcaster with the Oakland A's Radio Network. She previously worked for and NBC Sports Bay Area.