It is the start of a new era for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as legendary quarterback Tom Brady has retired and the talented but mercurial Baker Mayfield will be replacing him.
The team still has stars Chris Godwin and Mike Evans at wide receiver, but its star offensive lineman will be making a significant change for next season.
Tristan Wirfs will be moving from right tackle to left tackle, and a big reason why is simply need.
“It’s official: Tristan Wirfs is moving from right to left tackle,” wrote Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “The two-time Pro Bowl player and All-Pro is switching positions because the Bucs didn’t address their biggest need in the NFL draft.”
The Buccaneers allowed the fewest sacks of any team last season, but more protection is in order, as going from Brady to Mayfield is a significant downgrade.
In five pro seasons, the former No. 1 overall pick has shown flashes of strong play, but he hasn’t been able to put it all together for an extended stretch of time.
Mayfield did set a record for the most touchdown passes thrown by a rookie, a record that has since been broken by Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert, but there have been questions about his maturity and other intangibles.
He was traded by the Cleveland Browns to the Carolina Panthers last offseason, and after a disappointing start to the 2022 campaign, he was released, then signed by the Los Angeles Rams for the rest of the year.
In a somewhat weak NFC South division, not to mention a conference that lacks the depth and talent of the AFC, perhaps the Bucs will have a shot at a wild-card playoff spot if Mayfield gets his act together and Wirfs succeeds in his new role on the left side of the offensive line.
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