The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback competition has been one of the most intriguing storylines of training camp.
But what if, behind the scenes, a decision has already been made?
Veteran Baker Mayfield and third-year quarterback Kyle Trask have been competing to see who will replace the retired Tom Brady to lead the Bucs offense.
There have already been numerous reports dissecting the “competition,” with head coach Todd Bowles weighing in on the matter with typical coach-speak (“We kind of have a good basis and ground basis of what we want to do,” Bowles said Wednesday, without revealing anything).
The team’s first official depth chart released Tuesday showed both players listed as QB1.
But Ira Kaufman of JoeBucsFan.com reported Thursday the decision has already been made that Mayfield will start the season opener.
“About this Trask and Mayfield competition, I was told pointedly and without much doubt, Mayfield’s going to be the starter in Minneapolis,” Kaufman said on his podcast. “That’s what I was told. With all due respect to Trask, who has had a good training camp and Mayfield’s struggled a bit, Mayfield’s getting the ball in Minneapolis.”
The Bucs open on the road against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1.
Of course, this is just one report, and in today’s media landscape, where reporters often rush to get information out, whether true or not, any report needs to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.
Yet Kaufman said his source insisted the decision favoring Mayfield has definitely been made.
“When it was told to me [that Mayfield would start Week 1] it was said in a definitive manner,” Kaufman said. “There was no equivocation. It wasn’t even said, ‘Well, depending on it could change in the preseason games; let’s see what happens.’ No, none of that. It was basically, ‘It’s Mayfield’s job. He’s got it. He’s going to be the starter against Kirk Cousins and those Vikings.’”
If true, this is not necessarily the end for Trask. The former Florida star can continue to develop and be ready to step in if Mayfield falters — and the former No. 1 pick has had a stumble or two in his career.