Multiple NFL teams reportedly face staggering Baker Mayfield contract asking price in free agency

Baker Mayfield contract, NFL free agency
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hoped to re-sign Pro Bowl quarterback Baker Mayfield before he could hit the open market and draw significant interest from suitors. With the tampering period opening on Monday, there could now be a massive bidding war for Mayfield in NFL free agency.

Mayfield is coming off a career-best season with the Buccaneers. He signed a one-year, prove-it contract with Tampa Bay last season and then posted career-highs in completion rate (64.3 percent), passing touchdowns (28), passing yards (4,044) and finished with a 94.6 quarterback rating.

  • Baker Mayfield stats 2023: 4,044 passing yards, 7.1 yards per attempt, 28-10 TD-INT, 64.3% completion rate, 94.6 QB rating

Related: Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-sign Baker Mayfield to massive three-year contract

Long viewed as a near certainty to re-sign with the Buccaneers, it seemed even more likely when All-Pro wide receiver Mike Evans agreed to terms on a new deal. However, after retaining Evans and safety Antoine Winfield Jr, it appears Tampa Bay is at real risk of losing Mayfield in NFL free agency.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Mayfield and the Buccaneers remain engaged in contract talks but the two sides haven’t made progress on a new deal. There is also a “budgetary concern” in Tampa Bay, with some skeptical if the Glazer family would pay Mayfield more than the team paid Tom Brady (497.8 million over three seasons). Part of the worry is also tied to the need to sign Winfield Jr. and left tackle Tristan Wirfs to contract extensions that would make them two of the highest-paid NFL players.

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If Mayfield hits the open market, there’s a clearer read on the contract he will land. ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano noted that Mayfield’s price point could now exceed $40 million per season on a contract that pays. him for at least three seasons.

For context, a contract with a $40 million average annual value would at the very least put Mayfield in line with Matthew Stafford and Dak Prescott. He could even get closer to the Josh Allen contract, worth $43 million annually.

As for the teams to watch for Mayfield, it’s the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings. While either the Falcons or Vikings will land Kirk Cousins, that still leaves two quarterback-needy teams with money to spend that can compete with the Buccaneers in a bidding war for Mayfield.

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