The most realistic (and logical) option for the Buccaneers now is Baker Mayfield

The most realistic (and logical) option for the Buccaneers now is Baker Mayfield

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have decided to keep wide receiver Mike Evans in the fold for a couple more years, announcing an agreement on an extension Monday. Now Baker Mayfield is sitting around waiting for that same call or text from his agent with the same news Evans received. It only makes sense after the duo’s first year together, which wound up going much better than anyone outside their facility could’ve imagined. In fact, unless the Buccaneers have a clear-cut better option, it’d be insane if they didn’t bring Baker back.

“This is a good sign for Bucs offense. You don’t sign Mike Evans if you don’t plan on signing Baker Mayfield.” – Keyshawn Johnson

It really is amazing the difference one trip around the sun can make. This time last year nobody (not even Baker) knew what the future would hold for Mayfield. Last spring, he was coming off a campaign where he’d managed to win just two games in stints with two teams and his stock was probably the lowest it’d ever been. He bounced back in 2023 proving his detractors (including me) wrong by leading Tampa to a division title and making his first Pro Bowl.

So, Mayfield has earned a new contract from the Bucs and then some. It won’t set the market or break any records, but it makes even more sense knowing that Evans is coming back. Evans’ future was up in the air entering the offseason, but with the announcement of his extension, you’d think the franchise would want to keep this good thing going in that miserable NFC South division.

Tampa really came out of nowhere to win the division with a 9-8 record last season. There weren’t many who predicted them finishing with a winning record especially once it was confirmed that the quarterback battle in training camp would be between Mayfield and Kyle Trask. Some even questioned whether Mayfield could beat out Trask in camp. Well, he did that and more.

Now it’s time to give him his due. That doesn’t mean the Bucs should go overboard on the deal, but he deserves an extension, nonetheless. Johnson hit the nail on the head on “Undisputed” Monday morning. Keeping Evans means Tampa Bay should be inclined to do the same with Mayfield. With the start of the new league year just around the corner (March 13), we should know more about Mayfield’s future in Tampa, or elsewhere, soon. However, with other teams, like division rival Atlanta, showing interest, the Bucs brass shouldn’t wait too long.

Unless the Bucs have something up their sleeve in free agency or on the trade market, expect Baker’s NFL home to be in Tampa Bay for the foreseeable future. Of the top free-agent QBs on the market this offseason, Mayfield ranks third according to Pro Football Focus, sitting behind only Kirk Cousins (1) and Ryan Tannehill. If Cousins wasn’t coming off an Achilles injury, he’d be a good option for Tampa, but it’d be hard to sell him over Mayfield right now to that fan base.

Maybe Tannehill would have been a much better option a couple of years ago but at this point, he’s probably not the guy you want to hitch your wagon to. The Bucs could find a QB in the draft, which would be wise anyway, but the odds of a rookie QB coming in and overthrowing Mayfield are slim. Twelve months ago, it would’ve sounded crazy, but at this time Baker Mayfield is the best option the Bucs have for another successful season. Now, we just sit back, wait and see if the organization makes the right call. 

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.