Buccaneers targeting this OC candidate is the best way for them to keep Baker Mayfield

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pursuing Liam Coen as their next offensive coordinator will put the three-time defending NFC South champions in their best position to retain Baker Mayfield.

Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

It was always going to be tricky for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to retain Baker Mayfield anyway. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner and the former No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Browns entered the 2024 NFL season on his fourth team. He had his ups and downs in Cleveland over four years before really struggling in Carolina two years ago before finding himself again with the Los Angeles Rams.

While it was not a long run in Los Angeles playing for Sean McVay, it may have been the right time and place to save his once-promising NFL career. It was in Los Angeles where Mayfield first got connected with Rams' then-offensive coordinator Liam Coen. He went back to Kentucky to work for Mark Stoops this past year, while Mayfield signed for cheap to go play for Todd Bowles in Tampa.

With former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales taking over the Carolina Panthers, Mayfield might be on the move once again. Could he follow Canales to Charlotte? Maybe, but probably not. Bryce Young will be the Carolina starter. Plus, it wasn't like Mayfield's time in Carolina was worthy of getting a second stab at it. But the Buccaneers targeting Coen, oh, now that is big!

Coen returning to the NFL makes sense, but he is the latest former college coach to turn pro of late.

If he were to take the Tampa Bay job, he would join Jesse Minter (Michigan to Los Angeles Chargers) and Jeff Hafley (Boston College to Green Bay Packers) in this not-so-great trend for college football.

Liam Coen is the best way for Buccaneers to keep Baker Mayfield

Now that he has some leverage once again, I would venture to guess Mayfield will play for a team next year that will put him in the best situation to succeed offensively. It could have been in Tampa Bay playing, but it may even be more so now with Coen supposedly coming into the mix. There are two other teams that are contenders land him now, too: The Atlanta Falcons and the Las Vegas Raiders.

Atlanta just hired a bunch of guys of McVay's Rams staff to play for Raheem Morris, including their new offensive coordinator Zac Robinson. The Falcons were a potential landing spot for Mayfield last season, but the Dirty Birds opted to go with another journeyman of sorts in Atlanta area native Taylor Heinicke. Of course, the Falcons still have Heinicke and Desmond Ridder under contract in 2024...

If Mayfield were to leave the Buccaneers, the likeliest landing spot for him now has to be the Silver and Black. With Antonio Pierce hiring Kliff Kingsbury away from USC to be his new offensive coordinator, I could see guys with Texas Tech roots and deep Lincoln Riley connections working together. The Raiders need a quarterback. Mayfield could be the 21st century version of Ken Stabler.

Tampa Bay had to act fast to land a great offensive coordinator, and Coen seems to fit that bill, alright.

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