Patriots Urged to ‘Submarine’ Buccaneers for Projected $108 Million QB

One insider hopes to see the Patriots land Baker Mayfield (middle).

Getty One insider hopes to see the Patriots land Baker Mayfield (middle).

In the realm of possible outcomes for the Patriots offseason, this one would be a doozy. It’s no secret that the team is badly in need of a quarterback, nor is it a secret that the Patriots are sitting on the fourth-most cap space in the NFL, projected at about $66 million. If they truly wanted to, the Patriots could get aggressive at quarterback and land a veteran free agent—and one insider says he could see the Patriots doing just that with Buccaneers star Baker Mayfield.

In a section of a combination ESPN column about the upcoming offseason, insider Jeremy Fowler answered the question, “What is one more you want to see this offseason?” with the idea of Mayfield landing in New England.

“The Patriots submarine the Buccaneers by signing QB Baker Mayfield,” he wrote. “While Tampa is the clear-cut favorite to re-sign Mayfield, now a coveted free agent after a banner year with the Bucs, anything can happen in free agency. And the Patriots’ new brain trust — including lead personnel man Eliot Wolf and personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith — were part of the Cleveland regime that took Mayfield No. 1 in the 2018 draft. They believed in him.”

Breakout Year for Baker Mayfield

Mayfield, of course, was one of the great stories in the NFL last season, coming back from a lost 2022 season after he was traded away by the Browns and bounced to the Panthers and Rams. He signed a make-good contract last March and did, indeed, make good, finishing ninth in the NFL with 4,044 yards passing, and 12th in quarterback rating (96.0). He threw 28 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, leading the Buccaneers to the NFC South championship and a playoff win over the Eagles.

As Fowler mentioned, the Buccaneers are the clear favorite to re-sign Mayfield, who has said he wants to stay in Tampa Bay and values stability. But it won’t be cheap, and Tampa does have other salaries to dole out.

Mayfield is the No. 3 quarterback on Pro Football Focus’ free-agent list, and the site projects him to land a three-year deal worth $75 million. At Spotrac, Mayfield is projected to earn four years and $108 million, and at The 33rd Team, they see Mayfield getting a similar deal to Geno Smith—three years and $75 million.

Patriots Offseason Offers Plenty of Paths to a QB

Of course, it’s hard to say which way the Patriots will go at quarterback this offseason. As Fowler wrote, “Yes, the Patriots can take a quarterback at No. 3 overall. But who’s to say they wouldn’t still need a veteran? Or, if they believe Mayfield is a long-term answer in this case, they could draft Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. or trade back for more capital.”

The Patriots could go the trade route, and make a deal with the Bears, either giving up a ton of capital to get the No. 1 pick and draft, presumably, Caleb Williams or making a play for Justin Fields.

Or, the Patriots could scrap notions of draft-day trades or free agency, and simply take whichever quarterback falls to them among the group of Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels. This is the most likely scenario.

And, if they did try for a free agent, the Patriots could make a bigger splash by pursuing a player like Kirk Cousins. Or a lesser splash with a guy like Russell Wilson, who would come cheap.

There are plenty of options. “Submarining” Tampa for Mayfield is low down on the list, but it is a possibility.

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