Grading Baker Mayfield’s 3-year, $100 million contract with Buccaneers - Sport News

Grading Baker Mayfield’s 3-year, $100 million contract with Buccaneers

Replacing a legendary icon is no easy feat. However, Baker Mayfield managed to pull that off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023. The Buccaneers were left with just Kyle Trask at QB after Tom Brady’s retirement and were in dire need of a gunslinger with experience.

Mayfield finished his 2022 season strong with the Los Angeles Rams but had flamed out with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers previously. Both he and the Buccaneers needed a fresh start.

Grading Baker Mayfield’s 3-year, $100 million contract with Buccaneers

Their union led to an NFC South title, a playoff win and a three-year, $100 million contract extension.

After a strong debut in Tampa Bay, Mayfield will be looking for a repeat in 2024. Whether the Buccaneers will be regretting their contract extension is up for further analysis.

Buccaneers’ Baker Mayfield contract Grade: B+
The contract Mayfield and the Bucs signed itself is plenty reasonable. It isn’t very long and isn’t worth top-flight quarterback money. Mayfield is projected to be the 16th-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL in 2024, via Spotrac.

Considering that the majority of quarterbacks below him are on rookie-scale contracts, that’s pretty good value for Tampa and a nice pay day for Mayfield considering where his career was before he arrived there.

Mayfield’s play warrants this extension as well. Mayfield finished 16th in the NFL in QBR and true passer rating in 2023, via playerprofiler.com. He was also ninth in EPA. In terms of EPA plus CPOE composite score, Mayfield finished with the 11th-best score among 30 quarterbacks with at least 320 snaps under center, via rbsdm.

It’s hard to see why exactly Mayfield can’t sustain this production. The Bucs just brought back superstar receiver and franchise icon Mike Evans on a two-year extension. Tampa could elect to let their other star receiver, Chris Godwin, walk and save some money, but that remains to be seen whether or not they will pursue that route.

One path Mayfield’s production could drop is the change Tampa’s seen at offensive coordinator. Former offensive coordinator Dave Canales left to take the head coaching job with the Carolina Panthers. Canales did great work with Tampa, but they should be able to move on just fine.

They hired former Los Angeles Rams and University of Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen to replace Canales earlier this offseason. Coen and Mayfield crossed paths briefly in Los Angeles in 2022. Mayfield had just arrived there to a battered roster but in the five games he played as a Ram, Mayfield completed 63.5% of his passes for 850 yards and three touchdowns to just two interceptions.

All in all, this is a fine set of circumstances for all parties. Mayfield continues to start as an NFL quarterback with roughly the same situation he found himself in when he arrived in Tampa Bay. The Bucs needed a quarterback to fill the gaping void Tom Brady left behind and found one.

The NFC South will be stronger in 2024, however. The New Orleans Saints finished with a better point differential than the Bucs in 2023. The Atlanta Falcons just got themselves a massive upgrade at quarterback in Kirk Cousins, assuming he stays healthy. The Panthers are unlikely to be as inept as they were a year ago.

The Bucs aren’t a lock to win the NFC South. But they’ll at least be in the conversation after retaining Mayfield. That alone makes the extension worth it and worth the solid B+ grade.

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