Baker Mayfield has reached another stop on his bizarre NFL journey.
The first pick in the 2018 draft agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $8.5 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday. He’ll have the unenviable task of competing for the job just vacated by Tom Brady after the future Hall of Famer announced his retirement this offseason.
Mayfield’s career started out promisingly as he led the Cleveland Browns to an 11-5 record and a wild card win in 2020. However, his 2021 season was derailed by injury and the Browns traded him to the Carolinas. Panthers. There he fought, lasting only until December, when he asked for and was granted his freedom. Mayfield showed life with the Los Angeles Rams, who signed him after Matthew Stafford was placed on injured reserve. Although he had a negative overall record, Mayfield led the Rams to a thrilling 17-16 win over the Las Vegas Raiders and threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns in a 51-14 win over the Denver Broncos.
Mayfield is part of an unusual NFL roster: a former No. 1 pick who has played for three or more teams in his career. Here are some other notable top picks that have done the same thing since the turn of the century.
Drafted by the Houston Texans, Clowney made three Pro Bowls with the team before being traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2019. He joined the Tennessee Titans the following year, then had a bit of a renaissance with the Browns, recording nine sacks in 2021. .
Sam Bradford, recruited in 2010
Selected as the quarterback of the future for the St. Louis Rams, Bradford showed promise in his early seasons. Injuries caught up with him, however, and he suffered a season-ending ACL injury seven games into the 2013 season. Another ACL injury in the preseason ended his 2014 season before it began. . Bradford was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 and performed well, but the Eagles decided to trade to draft Carson Wentz, and Bradford was traded to the Minnesota Vikings. He had a league-leading 71.6 completion percentage with the team in 2016, and he started 2017 well before persistent knee injuries derailed him. He joined the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, playing just three games before being replaced.
Jake Long, recruited in 2008
Long spent five successful seasons with the Miami Dolphins, reaching the Pro Bowl four times, before signing a four-year, $36 million contract with the Rams. However, he suffered an ACL injury in 2013 and another in 2014, leading to his release in March 2015. Long played eight total games with the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings over the next two seasons before resigning. .
Mario Williams, recruited in 2006
Williams had one of the more typical career progressions on this list: strong seasons on his rookie deal with the Texans, then a great six-year deal with the Buffalo Bills. He was released four seasons into that deal, played one more year with the Miami Dolphins and then retired after being released.
Alex Smith, recruited in 2005
Smith struggled a lot with injuries early in his career, missing the entire 2008 season with a shoulder injury. However, he seemed to be putting things together in 2011, going 13-3 and leading the San Francisco 49ers to the conference championship round. The team signed him to a three-year contract that offseason, but a concussion in 2012 led to Colin Kaepernick replacing him. The 49ers traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs, with whom he made three Pro Bowls. The Chiefs ended up drafting Patrick Mahomes and Smith served as a mentor before a trade to the Washington Commanders. Smith suffered a horrible leg injury with Washington and missed the 2019 season as a result. He returned for one more season before retiring.
Carson Palmer, recruited in 2003
Palmer’s career is somewhat unusual in that his two long stints (with the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals) were interrupted by two years with the Los Vegas Raiders. His time with the Bengals ended acrimoniously, and the team traded him to the then-Oakland Raiders in 2011. Oakland barely missed the playoffs that season before going 4-11 in 2012. Palmer was traded to Arizona, where he ended up having one of his best years as a professional, leading the team to the 2015 conference championship game.
David Carr, recruited in 2002
Derek Carr’s older brother spent his initial five seasons with the Houston Texans, going 22-53 with 59 touchdowns and 65 interceptions, and was sacked 249 times. He signed with the Panthers, starting just four games with them, and then spent the rest of his career with the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers as a backup.
Michael Vick, recruited in 2001
At first, it looked like Vick would be with the Atlanta Falcons for life, as he made three Pro Bowls with the team and seemed to herald a new breed of mobile quarterback. However, his conviction for participating in a dogfighting ring landed him in prison, and when he returned, he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, playing with them for five seasons before injuries led the team to pick Nick Foles. Vick ended his career with brief stints with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.