After being unceremoniously cast aside by the Carolina Panthers and his below-par season with the Los Angeles Rams, the offseason was pretty hard for Baker Mayfield, as he couldn’t find a decent team where he would be a guaranteed starter. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trusted the former No. 1 overall pick to take the reins from the legendary Tom Brady after he retired.
Both Mayfield and the Bucs have reaped the benefits of that partnership since. Mayfield is once again a guaranteed starter in a top NFL side, while Tampa is back in the playoff hunt. And the two parties are reportedly happy to continue with the partnership in 2024 as well.
However, because Mayfield is entering free agency after the end of the season, some problems might occur, stemming from the increased leverage he will have. That doesn’t mean that Mayfield will exercise his position of power in those contract negotiations, though.
Playing One of his Best Seasons since Joining the NFL
The quarterback seems very happy with his new home and has shown on multiple occasions, just how much the Bucs mean to him. He has also benefited from a $4 million base pay and will get $1 million from various play-time contract clauses. Mayfield might also trigger a $1 million NFC South clause if the Bucs win their division. So, he has already cashed in on the partnership better than he might have originally expected.
As for his performances on the field, the quarterback has recorded seven touchdowns in the last two games and had 13.6 pass yards per attempt in the game against the Green Bay Packers, better than any other quarterback in 2023 and a single-game career-high for Mayfield.
Another impressive metric for Mayfield this season is the number of games in which he had multiple touchdown passes and zero interceptions. He is currently at five, the same as his career-best from 2020, with chances to improve that in the Bucs’ next games.
Enjoying Life in Tampa
As for the Bucs side of the negotiations, they have the option of using the franchise tag for Mayfield, but would love to negotiate a deal with the quarterback and are confident they will do so. Tampa’s optimism stems from the fact Mayfield is finally happy with an organization after years of problems at other teams.
According to reports from inside the Bucs’ locker room, Mayfield regularly has diners with his offensive teammates, is happy to joke around with staffers and helps younger players during practice. His problems with his left shoulder also seem to be behind him, so everything seems to be going great for Mayfield at the moment.
If he extends his stay with the Bucs through 2024, Mayfield will be able to continue enjoying life in Tampa. However, before any of that happens both the Bucs and Mayfield will try to go as far as possible this season. Their chances seem pretty good, much better than many expected before the start of the 2023 season.