Baker Mayfield Free Agency Watch | Landing Spots and Free Agency Outlook

by Matt Babich · Contracts & Free Agency
Free Agent Quarterback

PlayerProfiler is home to the very best dynasty rankings and tools in the industry. Our Dynasty Deluxe package includes complete Dynasty Rankings, Rookie Rankings, Trade Analyzer, Draft Planner, Mock Drafts, and more. Check it outThis is PlayerProfiler’s 2024 Free Agency Preview! This year, we’ll be providing you with player-by-player insights as we approach the Free Agency period opening March 13th. In the last edition, we broke down the free agency outlook for Josh Jacobs. We’ll continue this series by examining the potential landing spots and outlook for free agent quarterback and Buccaneers signal caller Baker Mayfield.

2023 Review

Despite coming up short in the Comeback Player of the Year voting, Baker Mayfield was a true surprise in 2023. Throughout his trials in Cleveland, Carolina, and Los Angeles, it looked like the former No. 1 pick would never return to a starting-caliber QB. However, he proved it was the disarray of  Cleveland and Carolina (along with several injuries) that prevented him from excelling.

Baker was himself to his truest form, excelling in racking up 20 (No. 10) Money Throws as well as 31 (No. 8) Danger Plays. He’s a mid-tier quarterback in terms of his accuracy, but still executed at an elite level. The Tampa QB finished No. 7 in Expected Points Added Per Pass Attempt among QBs with at least 250 passing attempts. With a star-studded supporting cast and offensive coaching staff, he was also empowered to achieve career highs in passing yards and touchdowns.

We’ve seen Baker excel with forward-thinking coaching staffs, and struggle with ones of lesser competence. In the absence of Dave Canales, his future is now in question. The important question – more so than where he’ll sign – is who will be his coach?

Most Likely Landing Spots

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dating back to before Tom Brady was leading the offense, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had an identity. They are perennially a fast-moving, downfield passing attack backed by a physical defense. Just like Mike Evans, Baker Mayfield fits the Bucs’ identity well. Baker is scrappy, motivated, and willing to take risks in an attempt to make big plays.

After nearing an NFC Championship appearance, and still wielding an aging roster, the Bucs’ front office is likely thinking they’re still within their championship window. They have enough money in the bank to place franchise tags on Mayfield and Evans, retain the mold of their roster, and run it back. Given their draft slot and the available free agent quarterbacks, it makes the most sense to retain the incumbent starter.

Las Vegas Raiders

Picking No. 13 in the NFL draft, it’s unlikely the Raiders get their hands on a day one starter in this year’s draft. It’s also unlikely Aidan O’Connell is good enough to be the team’s starter throughout next season. Could currently-rostered Jimmy Garoppolo be their guy? Possibly. We have yet to understand the relationship he has with Head Coach Antonio Pierce. The team is able to save $12 million in cap spending by releasing Jimmy G, the probable scenario seems to end in the release of the veteran signal caller.

Should Garoppolo get the ax and Mayfield hit the open market, it would make a lot of sense to insert Mayfield into the Vegas offense. He fits better into newly hired Offensive Coordinator Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Predictable, but vertical. Mayfield’s tenacity will also certainly mesh well with Pierce’s Raider Philosophy.

Atlanta Falcons

What do newly hired Head Coach Raheem Morris and Baker Mayfield have in common? The 2022 season with the Los Angeles Rams. Mayfield led the Rams through their last five games of the 2022 season. In the midst of some surprising performances, Morris went on the record speaking very positively about the journeyman quarterback.

Having the 8th pick in this year’s draft will make this interesting. They’re likely out of contention for one of the top-three quarterbacks. JJ McCarthy could be in play if they opt to trade back or he slips to round two. However, with this roster and the state of the NFC South, it makes more sense to get as close to a “sure thing” as possible.

Pittsburgh Steelers

What do Kenny Pickett + Mitchell Trubisky + Mason Rudolph + a playoff appearance get you? A wasted season with no shot at an upper-tier draft prospect. Mike Tomlin can opt to roll the dice with another subpar quarterback prospect, or he can chase a veteran quarterback with proven talent.

The Steelers always field an elite defense, and have a load of talented offensive playmakers. Inserting Mayfield into Pittsburgh would spark the offense. If anything, the ability to push the ball downfield and make plays is something this offense desperately needs. The team’s cap space will be a barrier, but savvy GMs find a way to cook the books.

Predicted Landing Spot

It seems that Mayfield is keen on returning to Tampa. Regardless of if you think the Bucs can compete for a title, bringing back the veteran is the right move if Tampa truly wants to compete this season. While the former No. 1 pick has certainly earned his pay-day, a $36 million contract via the franchise tag is a tough pill to swallow. 

Tampa Bay may opt to tag Mayfield as a last resort, but the two parties will likely work out a multi-year deal that gives the team more flexibility to maintain their roster in pursuit of a Super Bowl.