Report: Baker Mayfield, Bucs expected to reach a deal 'in the next few days'

It sounds like despite all of the noise from potential competition, things are going to end exactly the way we all expected.

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Mike Carlson/GettyImages

It was a busy week for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but there's still one massively important outstanding task.

While the Bucs were able to franchise tag Antoine Winfield Jr. and re-sign Mike Evans, the team still needs to work out a deal to bring back Baker Mayfield next season and beyond. That's the hinge we all assumed the offseason swung on, but it's the last big thing the Bucs must do as free agency rapidly approaches.

The new league year will start on Wednesday, but starting on Monday other teams will be able to talk to Baker to try and pry him away from the Bucs. While the two sides still seem pretty far apart, it sounds like things will ultimately get worked out in the end.

Baker Mayfield, Bucs expected to reach a deal 'in the next few days'

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported on Sunday that he's heard from multiple front offices that the expectation is Baker Mayfield will sign a deal to return to Tampa Bay in the coming days. The legal tampering period opens on Monday afternoon,

Multiple teams I've spoken to over the weekend predict Mayfield and the Bucs will land on a three- or four-year deal at some point in the next few days. But this is a budgetary concern for Tampa Bay. Will the Glazer family, which paid the great Tom Brady $97.8 million over three seasons, be willing to pay Mayfield that kind of money," Fowler reported.

Last week it was reported that Baker and the Bucs were around $20 million apart in contract negotiations, which is a pretty sizable gap to close. We heard similarly grim things about how the situation with Mike Evans would play out, but a week after it was reported he'd be testing free agency he was holding a press conference announcing his return.

All along the likeliest outcome has been Baker returning to Tampa Bay. The Bucs made offseason decisions with him in mind, like hiring Liam Coen, and the return of Evans seems to sweeten the deal even further.

There's still a chance another team swoops in and offers him a Godfather deal, but there's so much goodwill and mutual respect built up between Baker and the Bucs that it's hard to see him leaving. Hearing that other teams are expecting the same only further indicates that this stressful journey will have a happy ending.

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