While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to figure out who is going to run the offense, the front office also needs to take care of who will be quarterbacking it. Right now Baker Mayfield seems like the logical answer, but his career year last season added a few zeroes to his price tag this offseason.
Baker's deal last year is going to go down as an all-time bargain -- the second time Jason Licht has pulled off that sort of trick. The Bucs gave Baker a deal that maxed out around $8M, and in return got a guy who has already been named the league's Most Improved Player and led Tampa Bay to the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
He also helped reset the culture in the wake of Tom Brady retiring, and seems to have firmly placed his stamp on the locker room. They buy-in from players and coaches is there, the respect seems to be mutual all around, and the question now becomes how much will the Bucs be willing to pay Baker to return next season and beyond.
NFL agent thinks Baker Mayfield will get $100 million deal
With so much uncertainty around the offseason, the one thing that seems pretty firm is that Baker will be getting a lot more than what he earned last season. It creates a bit of a fork-in-the-road situation for the Bucs as the more the team pays for him the closer the team's future is tied to its quarterback.
Former NFL agent and current CBS analyst Joel Corry stopped by WDAE in Tampa to lay out the type of deal he thinks Baker might be in line for this offseason. It won't be cheap, as Corry thinks something in the neighborhood of $100 million feels right.
“To me, there’s a compromise deal. It’s a Derek Carr-type deal,” Corry said. “Derek Carr on paper is $37.5 million per year, but when you look at the structure of the deal, that’s misleading. There’s $50 million in the last year of the deal. It’s really $100 million over three years, at best. It’s $60 million in cash over the first two years. It’s structured where he’s got a low cap number the first year, about $ 7.2 million because he’s got a $28.25 million signing bonus.
That's a lot.
Comparing the deal to Derek Carr is notable, because we've heard numbers tossed around but not direct comps. It still feels like a lot to give Baker after only one good season, and the pressure needing him to return shouldn't blind the Bucs into paying too much.
Jason Licht has established a nice track record of being able to navigate these waters, so Tampa Bay is in good hands. The best outcome could be a deal in the neighborhood of three-years, $80 million with incentives built in like they were in his contract this season that maxes the value out at a higher amount. That would get Baker closer to $100 million but would also have escalators that ensure the momentum built last year isn't lost.
Tampa Bay has some money to play around with this offseason thanks to taking its salary cap medicine last season, which might make figuring out Baker Mayfield's future contract a little easier.