It's hard to describe just how special this Tampa Bay Buccaneers season was, especially when it ended two games shy of the Super Bowl.
That context is everything, though, as to some the Bucs season ended the moment Tom Brady retired last February Too bad nobody in the locker room got the memo, because the Bucs went on to win a third straight division title and reset the culture in ways nobody thought would be possible.
A big reason for the success is Baker Mayfield, who re-energized the franchise and has seemingly found his forever home after bouncing around the league. The former No. 1 overall pick lived up to the billing this season in Tampa, reviving his career and reinvigorating a franchise that didn't have a clear path forward after the Brady era ended.
Now they have one, and it appears Baker will be captaining the ship moving forward. He more than earned the keys to the franchise, and while he still needs to work out a long-term deal he's not wasting any time trying to lobby the front office to make moves.
Baker Mayfield wants his future with Buccaneers tied to Mike Evans
Questions about Baker Mayfield's future in Tampa Bay have been present all season, but they've officially morphed from whether he should be here to how long the contract he'll get this offseason will be.
He didn't dive too deep into that during his postgame press conference following the loss, but did make sure to indicate that he'd like his future in Tampa linked to Mike Evans.
"He makes my life easy. He did all year. He did it today, over and over. To get everybody back, there have to be sacrifices made. This team's about winning. We have a group of guys who are all about that. If I'm back, I want Mike back," Mayfield said.
Smart man. Also, message received.
It's nice to see Baker wasting no time lobbying the front office for pieces to try and run this season back with next year, which is an indication he intends to re-sign this offseason. That's always seemed like a slam dunk, but it's in stark contrast to the way his predecessor ended his final postgame press conference last year.
It's also notable in that it sound slike Baker is willing to work with the front office on his own contract to ensure there's room to bring Evans back. The price on the star receiver didn't change much, and if anything it probably went up a little.
Baker backing Evans is a huge endorsement and it's a clear sign that he's ready to get business taken care of so a full offseason can be spent trying to build off the success everyone had this season.
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