TAMPA – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered a 31-23 defeat against the Detroit Lions in the NFL Divisional Round game.
Securing the NFC South by winning six of their last seven regular-season games, the Buccaneers surpassed expectations set by external media. As the offseason looms, a pivotal question surrounds the team: who will be the starting quarterback in 2024? Baker Mayfield, who signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay last offseason, showcased his prowess as a franchise quarterback, displaying poise and accuracy in critical moments. With a March free agency looming, Mayfield’s future remains uncertain.
Expressing his attachment to the team, Mayfield stated, “I love this group,” emphasizing his desire to retain key pieces and build on the foundation in Year Two of the system. Despite uncertainties, Mayfield commended the organization for the opportunities provided during the year.
Baker Mayfield, an NFL journeyman, led the Buccaneers to their third consecutive division title and a Divisional Round appearance. Winning the QB job in camp, Mayfield defied the odds, concluding the season with career-highs in games started (17), completion percentage (64.3%), passing yards (4,044), and touchdown passes (28).
Mayfield’s exceptional performance in the 2023 playoffs resulted in a record-setting passer rating of 106.3, the highest in Bucs’ postseason history for quarterbacks with at least 25 attempts. Setting new team postseason records in yards per attempt (8.9) and touchdown percentage (7.8%), Mayfield’s impact was undeniable.
Tampa Bay Head Coach Todd Bowles acknowledged Mayfield’s potential demand in the free agency market. While financial considerations and loyalty play significant roles, the Buccaneers might find a comparable range to Geno Smith’s contract with the Seattle Seahawks, which totaled $75 million over three years.
The possibility of a franchise or transition tag for Mayfield is on the table, though not an ideal scenario for the Buccaneers. The non-exclusive quarterback franchise tag could fetch Tampa Bay two first-round picks if Mayfield receives an unmatched offer sheet.
In a league grappling with quarterback challenges, teams seeking a veteran QB on the rise, akin to Mayfield, may find him a valuable asset. The offseason narrative for the Buccaneers, shaped by Mayfield’s future, adds intrigue to the evolving dynamics of the team.