Is Baker Mayfield Coming Back to the Buccaneers?


The Buccaneers and Baker Mayfield definitely had an up and down season in 2023. There were a lot of highs, and some lows. As I have stated ad nauseam, he definitely has his issues and quirks.

However, the Bucs absolutely need to bring him back. Despite his flaws, he still got the team to the playoffs and even took them to the divisional round. The team also seemed to rally heavily behind Baker, and I do not think that you can just give that up.

The reason that there has recently been speculation is that there was reporting that Baker wants $40 million a year. This came from Tony Pauline and quickly spread through the aggregate accounts, but it’s unclear what his sources are to this situation. He seems to be a mostly draft guy and has experience covering the NFC East. So, if he does have sources, they don’t seem obvious.

When I wrote about Baker before and his contract extension (found here), I said he deserved the Geno Smith contract. However, he actually had a far superior year than Geno Smith and won a playoff game, unlike the Seahawks in 2022, so he honestly deserves more. Spotrac has his market value at $27.2 million a year, and I think that honestly is a little low as well.

The thing that gives me hope that Baker will stay is I think he does want stability. He never really had that with the Browns or anywhere else he went. Not only that, but he seems to genuinely love Tampa. He has gone to several Lightning games and Rays games and has just embraced the city. And for the most part, the fanbase has embraced him.

A few other observant people have pointed this out, but Baker had given an interview with RGIII and others after his Pro-Bowl competition, and one of the things he mentioned for coming back to Tampa is OC. Very important since that would be the guy calling plays for Baker. However, when talking about that, he happened to say that “we” lost Dave Canales and not Tampa. Seeming to imply that he considers himself a Buc still. I could be reading too much into it, but that seems like a guy that wants to be back.

Todd Bowles wants Baker back, Mike Evans wants Baker back, and Baker wants Baker back. Now, if these reports about $40 million are true, I think that may be too high for Licht. However, I would also say that the Buccaneers really wouldn’t be able to do much else. They can’t draft an immediate starter at 26 and the only guy I think would be better is Kirk Cousins in FA. And he would definitely not be cheaper. I trust this FO to give a deal that will be good for Baker and the Bucs. I want the bakery to be open for another season.

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