Buccaneers reunited Baker Mayfield with his old favorite Oklahoma target

A dynamic duo reunited in Tampa Bay
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly a decade since they were last teammates, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reunited their newfound franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield with one of his favorite targets while he was at Oklahoma. Mayfield had a lot of really good players to throw (and hand off) the ball to while he was at Oklahoma, but in his first year with the Sooners, he developed a special bond with wide receiver Sterling Shepard.

Unfortunately, it just so happened that as Mayfield's story was only beginning at Oklahoma, Shepard's was ending. Mayfield's first season at Oklahoma was Shepard's last, as he went off to the NFL in 2016 where he was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round (40th overall). He hasn't quite lived up to the billing of a second-round pick, but the New York Giants haven't exactly had the most stable quarterback situation since 2016.

Shepard has averaged a respectable 70 receptions for 774 yards and four touchdowns per 17 games played in the NFL, but he has been rather unavailable for most of the last three seasons.

Oklahoma teammates Baker Mayfield, Sterling Shepard reunited in Tampa Bay

In the one season they were together with the Oklahoma Sooners, Mayfield and Shepard connected for 86 receptions, 1,266 yards, and 11 touchdowns.

Now, those two are reunited in Tampa Bay where Shepard could potentially revive his once-promising NFL career.

Shepard will face an immediate uphill battle even to make the roster with the Buccaneers, but his history with Baker Mayfield -- as distant as that may be at this point -- is significant. Shepard has speed and playmaking ability at the position, and as long as he stays healthy, he could provide some valuable depth at a key position.

The Buccaneers spent big money this offseason to bring star receiver Mike Evans back into the fold. They've obviously still got Chris Godwin as the #2 receiver and Trey Palmer had a strong rookie year in 2023. The addition of Jalen McMillan in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft was one of the most underrated Day 2 picks across the league, but beyond those guys, perhaps Shepard has a chance to stake his claim early on a roster spot.

If nothing else, it's going to be cathartic for Oklahoma fans to see Mayfield chucking the ball to Shepard once again.