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Baker Mayfield will start Week 1 for Bucs vs. Vikings, has been NFL’s worst QB bet past three years

The last quarterback competition in the NFL is over as Tampa Bay #GoBucs coach Todd Bowles – among the favorites to be the first fired this year on a very hot seat – has named former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield over inexperienced Kyle Trask as the team’s Week 1 starter at Minnesota, which is a 6.5-point favorite. It would be been a huge upset for Bowles to risk his job on Trask.

This news hasn’t changed anything as Mayfield was expected to win the competition, but the ex-Heisman Trophy winner is 15-25 against the spread (37.5%) over his last three seasons while playing for the Browns, Panthers and Rams, the worst ATS record in the NFL by any QB during that time.

Baker Mayfield may be simply a one-year placeholder in Tampa.

Overall, Mayfield is 31-38 SU in his career as a starter in the league and was 1-5 last year split with Carolina and the LA Rams. Mayfield started the 2023 preseason opener for Tampa Bay and looked better than Trask, a 2021 second-round pick out of Florida, as Mayfield completed eight of nine passes for 63 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions over the course of four possessions.

The writing was clearly on the wall this past weekend in Tampa Bay’s second preseason game against the Jets. Trask got the start and was replaced by John Wolford – only for Wolford to get injured. Instead of putting Mayfield in, Bowles reinserted Trask (who did play well). No NFL coach would do that with his projected starter in a preseason game.

"Baker is our guy, right now, experience-wise and understanding the playbook just a little bit better," Bowles said.

Mayfield signed with the Bucs this offseason on a one-year deal worth $4 million, with incentives that push it to $8.5 million. He will be the first quarterback other than Tom Brady to start for the Bucs since Brady's arrival as a free agent in 2020. Mayfield is 1-0 in his career against the Vikings as he led Cleveland to an ugly 14-7 win in the Twin Cities in Week 4 of the 2021 season. “Led” may be inaccurate as he was only 15-for-33 for 155 yards with no TDs.

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