Buccaneers, Baker Mayfield engaged in 'positive' contract negotiations

Everything seems to be coming together nicely for the Buccaneers.

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

One of the biggest free agent dominos fell on Monday and is landed in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers pulled off a plot twist and signed Mike Evans to a new contract before he hit free agency -- something that seemed likely to happen based on reports late last week.

All signs pointed to Evans testing free agency for the first time in his career, something he very much earned the right to do, but he ended up having a change of heart over the weekend. Rick Stroud shared that Evans texted his agent saying he wanted to be a 'Buc for life' which is something everyone took a giant step toward on Monday.

Evans signed a two-year, $52 million front-loaded contract, and now all eyes are on what happens with the next big pending free agent Tampa Bay needs to take care of. Baker Mayfield still doesn't have a new contract and is slated to hit the open market next week, but that doesn't mean he won't be back.

With Evans returning, the likelihood of Baker and the Bucs hammering out a deal increases and it seems like things are already moving in that direction.

Buccaneers engaged in 'positive' talks with Baker Mayfield on new contract

According to ESPN's Jenna Laine, the Buccaneers are indeed talking with Mayfield and contrary to somewhat negatively-toned updates are having positive negotiations with him.

"Sources said conversations that began at the combine between the Bucs and Mayfield 's agent, Tom Mills , were 'positive'. Licht characterized the union with Mayfield as the 'perfect marriage' for the Bucs," Laine reported.

The Athletic reported that Baker isn't interested in taking a hometown discount, although that never really seemed to be on the table. All along the Bucs have made it clear they want to pay their quarterback fair market value, although the price seems to keep going up.

Baker is projected to make somewhere around $100 million, if not more, but there's hope the teo sides can agree to something that works for everyone. There's a ton of mutual admiration and respect between the two sides, from the Bucs taking a chance on Baker when no one else would to how much he admires the structure the team has in place.

There are more ways this deal gets done than it doesn't, despite noise about the Patriots and Vikings being interested. The fact that talks are moving in a positive direction, and with Mike Evans back, seems to indicate it might only be a matter of time before something becomes official.

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