The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baker Mayfield have a mutual interest — that much is almost certain. But how mutual that interest is will entirely depend on how much each side is willing to give when it comes to money.
Mayfield was one a one-year deal worth $4 million in 2023, and obviously, he’ll be paid a bit more than that after throwing for 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with six playoff touchdowns to boot. He wants to come back, and the team would like to have him back, but what the two are willing to compromise on remains to be seen.
CBS Sports writer Joel Corry, who was a former NFL agent who represented the likes of John Randle and Patrick Surtain, threw his hat into the ring. And while some believe Mayfield would be likely to get a Geno Smith-style deal — that’s three years, $75 million with $40 million in guarantees — he believes that it could go higher. He pointed out the New Orleans Saints’ Derek Carr as a potential benchmark.
Here’s what he said about a potential deal like that:
Putting Mayfield in the same vicinity as the four-year, $150 million deal averaging $37.5 million per year Derek Carr received from the New Orleans Saints in March may be an appropriate compromise. Carr has $100 million in guarantees where $60 million is fully guaranteed at signing.
Having Mayfield with a $7.2 million 2024 cap number, like Carr’s first-year cap figure, would be beneficial to his desire to keep Evans in the fold. Evans was reportedly seeking in the neighborhood of $25 million per year before the season started when his contract demands weren’t met.
As Corry rightfully points out, the two players had a similar statline in 2023. Mayfield threw for 28 touchdowns while Carr threw 25, and he threw eight interceptions to Mayfield’s 10. That deal is perhaps a bit larger than some Bucs fans (and the Bucs themselves, for that matter) would be willing to pay, so if that is truly what he wants, Mayfield may just wait until March to see what other teams would be willing to pay him to play for them in 2024.
A big day for this contract is Feb. 19 — any time before that would be good for the Bucs can sign Mayfield and wideout Mike Evans to a deal to avoid dead cap money from an extension. Talks will certainly be in motion, so it will be interesting to see if the two sides can work something out.