Analyst Predicts 2 Destinations for Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield could land with the Las Vegas Raiders if he doesn't return to Tampa.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield wants to stay with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and NFL analyst Rich Eisen believes it will likely happen but with one caveat.

“I think he is going to stay put,” Eisen said on “The Rich Eisen Show” on Wednesday. “I think the Bucs saw what they could get out of my boy. And I think my boy has shown what they can get out of him. And I think my boy stays.”

“Unless, if Mike Evans goes,” Eisen said.

Evans played a major role in Mayfield’s success in 2023 amid 79 catches for 1,255 yards and 13 touchdowns. Despite being a longtime Buccaneers, Evans’ contract talks with the team remain “far apart” according to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz, which means Evans could test free agency in March.

That could lead to Mayfield looking elsewhere. Mayfield said right after the season that he wants Evans back as a condition for returning.

“And the Raiders say, ‘you know what? Let’s trade pirate ship to pirate ship,” Eisen said about the Las Vegas Raiders going for Mayfield if Evans leaves Tampa. “Baker Mayfield in the AFC West? Baker versus Patrick Mahomes like it’s the Big 12 all over again — final score 60-50.”

Eisen referenced college football classic between the two quarterbacks in 2016 when Mayfield’s Oklahoma squad beat a Mahomes-led Texas Tech team 66-59. Mayfield could have an impressive pair of receivers in Las Vegas to pile up points with the likes of Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers.

The Buccaneers have $35.26 million in salary cap space to work with in order to keep Mayfield and Evans on deck next season, but both will command steep prices. Spotrac projects Mayfield for $27.1 million annually and Evans for $23.8 million annually.

Baker Mayfield Carries Risk vs. Reward: Analyst

If Mayfield stays with the Buccaneers, there’s no guarantee he will match his 2023 success.

As Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon put it, “It’s fair to wonder if that was a fluke” because Mayfield “was rarely close to being as productive” in his previous five seasons. Gagnon noted that “somebody will pay a quarterback premium to find out” if Mayfield will keep on the same career-changing trajectory as Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.

Once a mostly career-long backup, Smith impressed as a starter in Seattle and won the 2022 season Comeback Player of the Year award. Smith’s 2023 season didn’t go as well, but he still had a productive season amid 3,624 yards passing for 20 touchdowns versus nine picks.

Tampa Bay took one step already to help ensure Mayfield doesn’t drop off from 2023 with the hire of offensive coordinator Liam Coen. The two worked together in 2022 with the Los Angeles Rams, which keeps continuity on offense since Coen runs things similar to former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales.

Liam Coen Wants Baker Mayfield to Stay

Coen addressed his confidence over whether Mayfield will return day one on the job in an introductory press conference.

“I want him to be here,” Coen told reporters on February 6 via ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “It’s probably more ‘want’ than ‘know.’ He’s obviously a reason that I’m here. That’s real. … We know it’s a long way to go.”

“I think he wants to be here, he wants to work with me and do this with [Todd Bowles] and the organization. He has nothing but great things to say about this place. So hopefully that can get done,” Coen added.