Baker Mayfield had the perfect response to Kirk Cousins getting a bigger contract

Winners know it's about more than just money.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages

It's been a phenomenal offseason so far for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Before the legal tampering period had even started the team was off to the free agent races having secured three of its most important players on new deals.

Antoine Winfield Jr. still needs a long-term deal, but that's going to get worked out soon. In the meantime, Tampa Bay brought back both Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans on extensions that cost less than $150 million in base salary -- which is an absolute steal.

The best part about it is that everyone is happy. Both Evans and Mayfield wanted to be back with the Bucs but each still got deals they liked. After free agency opened, though, some folks are trying to rain on the boat parade by comparing Baker's deal to the pricier one Kirk Cousins got from the Falcons.

Baker Mayfield brushes off how much the Falcons paid Kirk Cousins

In his (re)introductory press conference, Baker addressed what seems to be the elephant in the room for some. Not long after signing his $100 million extension with the Bucs, the Atlanta Falcons gave Kirk Cousins $180 million and $50 million more in guaranteed money.

Baker doesn't seem bothered at all. In fact, he addressed it in a way that framed it as having it both ways in terms of getting paid while also allowing for other moves to be made.

“Now, listen, this is life-changing money and I’m not going to act otherwise. It’s something that I’ve worked extremely hard for over the years and many years of football. I’m grateful for it. There’s nothing to be ashamed about," Mayfield said." There’s nothing to say, ‘Oh, well he got more.’ It’s not that mentality. Knowing that we have a chance to bring back some key pieces and make a further run in the playoffs, that’s important to me. I’m a winner at heart, I hate losing, so knowing that we get a lot of guys back and we can continue to build this for years to come is a special thing.”

That's not exactly a shot at Kirk, rather it's valid commentary on both the conversation around what player's get paid and how teams view their budget. Atlanta has almost $2 million more in cap space than the Bucs but only added one big free agent while Tampa Bay signed a quarterback ranked right next to Cousins and a Top 5 wide receiver -- among other moves.

Loyalty is the real currency, and it's something the Bucs have a treasure chest packed to the brim with.

All along it seemed like Baker and the Bucs were going to work out a deal, despite the outside noise insisting he was as good as gone. The same thing happened with Mike Evans, who was reportedly going to test free agency two days before he re-signed with Tampa Bay.

It says a lot about Jason Licht and the job he's done not only building a good roster but fostering an even better culture. There were so many questions about how the Bucs would navigate a post-Tom Brady world and it turns out the infrastructure was already in place for the team to come out on the other side.

The loyalty Tampa Bay has earned up extends beyond players they were trying to keep in-house. Jordan Whitehead, who started his career with the Bucs before leaving a year after winning a Super Bowl, came back in free agency this year.

Despite how negative people want to be about Tampa Bay, or how much the team gets written off, the fact of the matter is players want to be a part of the organization. Money is never an object, only the goal of winning matters here.

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