Details of Baker Mayfield’s contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been released, and it further proves what a great deal it is.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Baker Mayfield in free agency, it was easy to get a joke or two off.
Actually, Twitter had a field day with it. The optics of Tampa Bay replacing Tom Brady with Baker Mayfield were too good to pass up as fruit often doesn’t hang so low.
Lost in all the jokes about the Mayfield deal is how good it actually is.
Nobody is pretending the Buccaneers are signing Mayfield at the peak of his powers, but the general assumption seems to be that his best days are already behind him. After being cut by the Panthers and ending up with Sean McVay and the Rams, Baker had the highest completion percentage since his rookie season, tied a career low in interception percentage, and posted the third-highest quarterback rating of this career.
Sure, he didn’t play in a ton of games for the Rams so it’s a small sample size but one in which he didn’t look like a total disaster. It certainly doesn’t seem like a guy who is washed, and feels like something is there.
At the price the Bucs got him, why not take a shot and see if you can find out?
This is a deal entirely structured around upside. It’s deeply facetious and misguided to call Mayfield a replacement for Brady because he’s not all expected to be that.
What the Bucs need out of Mayfield is for him to compete with Kyle Trask and help them see if he has what it takes to be The Guy moving forward. In the meantime, the Bucs are placing a low stakes gamble that the best of Baker can be unlocked and offensive coordinator Dave Canales might be able to revive his career the same way he did for Geno Smith in Seattle last season.
Those are the pillars of the deal, and the contract details further prove that the Bucs sneakily made one of the most efficient signings of the offseason with Mayfield.
Baker Mayfield Bucs contract details (Updated)
Here’s the official breakdown of Baker Mayfield’s contract with the Bucs.
- Base Salary: $2 million
- Bonus: $2 million
- Incentives: $4.5 million
That’s a fantastic deal for the Bucs.
Mayfield isn’t expected to come in and be the starter, rather think of this as a $4 million consulting fee that could turn into an $8.5 million trip to the playoffs.
If Mayfield wins the starting job over Trask, that will essentially tell the Bucs all they need to know about whether or not he can be the guy they build around moving forward. At that point the front office can begin putting together a true succession plan for the post Brady era and start the search for a franchise quarterback.
Perhaps Baker balls out under Canales and it ends up being him. If not, then the Bucs will be exactly where everyone expected them to be — at the bottom of the NFC South and near the top of the NFL Draft order — but will have much more internal clarity about how to proceed.
On paper that will cost at least $4 million, but the clarity Baker might help provide is priceless for a franchise that can’t afford to squander everything it set up over the last three years.