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Surprise NFL team may reportedly challenge Tampa Bay Buccaneers to sign Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield rumors
Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a season where he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the NFL playoffs, while earning less than $10 million in salary and bonuses, quarterback Baker Mayfield is poised to cash in this offseason. While the Buccaneers are well-positioned to re-sign him, it appears there may be competition within the NFC.

Mayfield has already expressed interest in returning to Tampa Bay, even after the departure of offensive coordinator Dave Canales. The Buccaneers’ offense fit Mayfield perfectly last season and with the hiring of Liam Cohen, they have an offensive coordinator with some familiarity with Mayfield.

  • 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: Baker Mayfield contract extension cost revealed by NFL insider

However, starting the former No. 1 overall pick in 2024 will be much more expensive than it was a year ago. Coming off a Pro Bowl season, Tampa Bay reportedly could have to get into a bidding war with a fellow NFC team if it wants to bring Mayfield back next season.

NFL free agency rumors: Atlanta Falcons may pursue Baker Mayfield

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Reporting on Mayfield’s situation heading into NFL free agency, Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda mentioned the Atlanta Falcons as a team to watch this offseason for Mayfield. He went on to note that Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank is very willing to spend what it takes to upgrade at quarterback.

Atlanta would be an ideal landing spot for Mayfield. He’d join a Falcons’ offense featuring a No. 1 receiver in Drake London with one of the best running back pairings in the NFL led by Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier. Upgrading at quarterback could also help unlock tight end Kyle Pitts, especially with a quarterback who targeted tight end Cade Otton quite frequently down the stretch in 2023 with the Buccaneers.

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers cap space 2024: $36.891 million in cap space

Related: Grading NFL coaching hires 2024

Mayfield would also have some familiarity with the new Falcons coaching staff. Atlanta’s offensive coordinator Zac Robinson served as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams from 2022-’23, working one-on-one with Mayfield during his brief stint in Los Angeles.

Mayfield might still prefer to re-sign with Tampa Bay if the contract offers are close, but the Falcons’ desperation to finally achieve some stability at the position could push Blank to offer $38-$40 million per season on a multi-year deal.

Related: Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft picks 2024

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers free agents 2024: Mike Evans, Baker Mayfield, Antoine Winfield Jr, Lavonte David, Devin White

If that happens, it becomes a trickier situation for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers might have to consider using the franchise tag on safety Antoine Winfield Jr., which would allow both Mayfield and wide receiver Mike Evans to test the open market. With only so much cap space to spend, a strong offer from the Falcons or another quarterback-desperate team could sway Mayfield to leave the Buccaneers.

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