4 best Baker Mayfield landing spots in NFL free agency

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield at the Pro Bowl
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ decision not to place the franchise tag on star quarterback Baker Mayfield will more than likely lead to him testing the waters in NFL free agency.

Fresh off the best performance of his career, the former No. 1 pick is looking at a lucrative pay day. Whether that’s with the Buccaneers or another team remains to be seen.

What we do know is that starter-caliber quarterbacks rarely hit NFL free agency. While a return to Tampa Bay always made the most sense, Mayfield will have his options. Here is a look at four ideal landing spots in free agency.

Related: Top takeaways from the NFL franchise tag deadline

Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-sign Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield, NFL rumors
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

As noted above, this always made the most sense. Mayfield led Tampa Bay to a surprise appearance in the NFL Playoffs and a wild card win over the Philadelphia Eagles in his first season with the team. Statistically, the previously-embattled signal caller was great.

The franchise tag value for Mayfield this season would have been $38.3 million. Perhaps, the two sides can split the difference on a long-term deal. That is to say, $35 million annually over three years. With Tampa having exhausted a lot of cash to re-sign Mike Evans, it makes sense to retain the star receiver’s quarterback.

Related: 2024 NFL salary cap tracker

New Washington Commanders brass goes big-game hunting

Incumbent Commanders QB1 Sam Howell is likely to be traded here soon. New general manager Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn don’t have a built-in relationship with the young quarterback. He also struggled with turnovers a season ago (21 INT).

Most have Washington going quarterback with the No. 2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, there is another option in play here. The team could get a huge haul in a trade down from that position, furthering its rebuild in the process. Meanwhile, the Commanders have a league-high $96 million to spend under the salary cap. Why not use a nice amount of that on Mayfield?

Related: Baker Mayfield and the top 2024 NFL free agents

New England Patriots find Mac Jones replacement

Baker Mayfield
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Mixed signals have been the name of the game from the Patriots’ new brass following Bill Belichick’s departure from the organization. New England has been linked to a trade down from the No. 3 spot in the coming draft. It has more recently been linked to some of the top quarterback prospects in the annual event.

What we do know is that Mac Jones will not be back with the Patriots next season. That’s almost a foregone conclusion. In this scenario, the Pats use some of the $78.48 million they have to spend under the cap on Mayfield. In turn, they either trade down from the third spot or surprise by selecting star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. to team up with Mayfield.

Related: Highest-paid NFL quarterbacks of 2024

Baker Mayfield heads to the Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta has been bandied about when it comes to pretty much every quarterback available in free agency or on the NFL trade block. Most recently, talks have turned to the Falcons surprising by signing Kirk Cousins away from the Minnesota Vikings.

This assumes that Cousins and the Vikings don’t come to terms on a long-term contract ahead of free agency. That’s still very much up in the air. Either way, Mayfield would be an absolutely tremendous fit with the likes of Bijan Robinson and Drake London as skill-position complements in Atlanta.

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