Re-signing Baker Mayfield could be a bargain at a pricey position
For most teams with a question mark at QB, they'll typically look at and compare their options in the offseason, starting with free agency. This season, free agency will open on March 13th, and teams are expected to make major transactions with Kansas City DT Chris Jones, Miami DT Christain Wilkins, Jacksonville DE Josh Allen, Carolina OLB Brian Burns, and Cincinnati WR Tee Higgins all trending to hitting the open market.
Based on history, the QB class in free agency typically fluctuates on a year-to-year basis. This upcoming offseason, there are no standout options at the position that would present an obvious upgrade over Mayfield for Tampa Bay.
While Cousins does lead Mayfield in passing yards, touchdowns, and QBR, Cousins' 311 pass attempts currently ranks 11th in the league, even with playing one or two less games to other QBs. Under the play calling of head coach Kevin O' Connell, Minnesota's offense is heavily relied on the passing attack. This is the major reason why Cousins threw a career-high 4,547 passing yards on 643 pass attempts last season.
This season, Cousins's season was cut short due to a torn achilleas in the Vikings' 24-10 week eight win versus the Packers. At 35 years old, Cousins is still on track to be fully recovered in six to nine months, but the veteran QB may be approaching the end of his playing career.
Most important, though, are the financial implications of signing Mayfield. This season, the Buccaneers are paying Mayfield just $4 million, while the Vikings are paying Cousins $35 million. During the offseason, there will be QB-needy teams that are prepared to throw $20-$25 million to Cousins as a bridge or starting quarterback. With Mayfield already in fold, Tampa Bay should not be one of those teams.