Baker Mayfield signs 3-year deal to stay ‘home’ in Tampa

Feb 1, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) participates in the NFL Pro Bowl Skills Competition at the UCF NIcholson Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield weighed multiple options and soon realized Tampa was “home,” leading to his decision to pass on free agency and sign a three-year deal to return to the Buccaneers.

“God had a plan for me, saw it through, and the group we had made it so special last year — a big reason I wanted to come back here,” Mayfield said Wednesday after putting his autograph on a contract worth up to $115 million.

Mayfield, who turns 29 in April, had options to leave but wouldn’t confirm reports the Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots put offers in front of the former No. 1 draft pick.

“This is life-changing money,” he said when asked if he left money on the table. “I’m not going to act like otherwise.”

Mayfield signed a one-year, $4 million contract a year ago and was told by general manager Jason Licht that he’d need to win the job in a competition with returning quarterback Kyle Trask. He was named the starter over Trask in the preseason and led the Buccaneers to the NFC South division title, a playoff win over the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, and into the fourth quarter of the NFC divisional playoffs at Detroit with a chance to beat the Lions in an eventual 31-23 loss.

Licht credited Mayfield’s leadership, competitiveness and toughness as the reason the offense didn’t sink despite injuries and significant changes on the offensive line.

“He’s a 10 on the prick scale,” Licht said, prompting Mayfield’s ear-to-ear smile.

“I’ll take that. Thank you,” Mayfield said.

After a vagabond existence, going from the Cleveland Browns to Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams within a nine-month span before Licht opened the door to him being Tom Brady’s replacement last March, Mayfield said family was a major factor in re-signing. He shared with Licht and assembled media he was planning to make Tampa his permanent home regardless of the outcome of free agency. He and his wife, Emily, are expecting their first child, a daughter, next month.

“It’s a weight lifted off of our shoulders from the traveling journey that we’ve been on the last couple of years. For us knowing how much we truly loved being here,” Mayfield said. “So it’s a weight lifted off our shoulders — just knowing that we can settle in and truly make a difference whether it’s with the organization and throughout the community, that we can truly be rooted and have a boots-on-the-ground mentality and make a difference and see that through. It’s a special feeling.”

–Field Level Media

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