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Buccaneers name Baker Mayfield as starting quarterback for 2023 season

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason quarterback battle is officially over.

Head coach Todd Bowles announced Baker Mayfield would start the Week 1 opener at the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 10.

The result of the offseason battle with Kyle Trask is no surprise. Mayfield always had a leg up after inking a one-year, $4 million contract with an additional $4.5 million in incentives.

"There's a lot that goes into it," Bowles explained to reporters on Tuesday. "I can't sit up here and give you every detail. We go through minicamp, training camp and OTAs and we love everything Kyle has done. He's gotten leaps and bounds better than he has in the spring and he's continuing to get better, and we're excited about him.

"Baker is our guy, right now, experience-wise and understanding the playbook just a little bit better. Kyle's on the come, but we like both guys, we like where we're at. Baker's one, Kyle's two."

Added Mayfield: "I expect to be the starter. I know how talented I am, I know what type of leader I am. Now, it's just time for the real thing. We're about to have the real games and everybody is excited here."

The 2018 No. 1 overall pick is set to be the opening-day starter for his third team in three seasons. Mayfield spent four up-and-down campaigns with the Browns, helping Cleveland win a postseason game in 2020. He was traded to Carolina last offseason following the Browns' acquisition of Deshaun Watson.

Mayfield opened the season as the Panthers' starter but struggled to stay healthy and produce behind a leaky offensive line. He played seven games for Carolina before his eventual release and signing with the Los Angeles Rams midway through last season. Mayfield showed he can still make plays in the right offense, including a spirited comeback against the Las Vegas Raiders in his first game with the Rams.

The Bucs inked Mayfield this offseason with designs on the 28-year-old taking over Tom Brady's gig. When protected, Mayfield can still make NFL throws, owning a plus deep ball that should work well with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at his disposal.

Trask's preseason performances were solid, if unspectacular, elongating the competition. However, Bowles keeping Mayfield on the bench the entire second preseason game signaled the competition was over in all but name.

Now it's official. Mayfield will take the field with the starters in Minnesota. How long he holds onto the gig will be determined on the field.

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