Bucs Have “Leg Up” On Baker Mayfield And Maybe Mike Evans, Too

February 9th, 2024

Tag, you’re it?

Joe knows who Ian Rapoport talks to with the Bucs.

And it is clear that Rapoport talks to Baker Mayfield (or his reps) and likely talks to Mike Evans’ people.

So, Mayfield wants to come back to the Bucs and the Bucs want him. The the Bucs want Evans back. And Baker Mayfield wants him back, too.

As Rapoport notes, it seems like all parties want to be in Tampa so by hook or crook this will all shake down.

What is interesting is Rapoport finds it likely that the Bucs may slap the franchise tag on Mayfield. Short of that, Mayfield believes the Bucs and Mayfield’s camp may work out something that would be in the ballpark of the cost of a franchise tag.

So Rapoport said Bucs fans should monitor what the Bucs do in less than two weeks, Feb. 20, when teams can slap the franchise tag on a player.

And remember, Mayfield told Joe this week at the Super Bowl Media Center that if he returns to the Bucs, it is a “pretty high” percentage chance Evans also re-signs.

27 Responses to “Bucs Have “Leg Up” On Baker Mayfield And Maybe Mike Evans, Too”

  1. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    Signing BOTH would be epic.

    Mayfield is obviously a keeper.

    Maybe they both agreed to take under market value.


  2. Proudbucsfan Says:

    It’s a shame that Baker didn’t win comback player of the year over Joe Flacco. What a bunch of BS

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘And remember, Mayfield told Joe this week at the Super Bowl Media Center that if he returns to the Bucs, it is “pretty high” percentage chance that so too does Evans.’

    And there’s absolutely no doubt that a player in the middle of negotiations for a very lucrative contract himself wouldn’t spin it in a way that benefits himself. Ya right, of course.

    Contrary to what many wishful thinking fans believe, the NFL salary CAP is very real. It was designed to ‘level the playing field’ and it’s accomplishing its’ purpose. Yes there are ‘loopholes’ that allow teams to manipulate the CAP situation for a year or 2 (or more), but eventually the bill comes due. For anyone who’s interested, there’s a very good article in RotoBaller titled ‘Understanding the NFL Salary Cap – A Guide of How It Works’ written in 2023 that’s worth reading IMO.

    In the Bucs’ case, we’ve painted ourself into a corner as a result of using those ‘loopholes’ to make a SB run in 2020 & 2021. We started feeling the impact of that in 2022 but more-so in 2023 (with Tom Brady’s retirement & $35 mil CAP Hit). Bucs actually started rebuilding last year (contrary to the party ‘retooling’ line), and that’ll continue through 2024 AND 2025 as a minimum.

    All any fan (or media type) needs to do is to look at how the 2024 – 2026 Bucs’ salary CAP projections lay out (in Spotrac or Over-The-Cap) and it’s very easy to see the impact of those ‘loopholes’ (using VOID YEARS to push the bonuses forward). THAT’S where the ‘bill comes due’.

  4. Drunkinybor Says:

    Cam jordan is talking major major shpit about Ryan Jensen. It’s on sports illustrated article. I hate that front running biotch jordan

  5. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Flacco played like 2 games Baker played all 17….such BS NFL awards are a joke.

  6. BucsDan Says:

    With my non paid view, Over the cap shows Bucs with $36M available this year, $104M available in 2025 (even with Shaq Barrett taking up $29M, Brady style), and $231M available in 2026. The available money in 2025 and beyond would allow the use of signing bonuses to pro rate the new deals. I do not believe this is ideal as the Bucs FO prefers the use of roster bonuses, but deals can always be renegotiated and signing bonuses turned into roster bonuses and per game bonuses to change Salary Cap accounting. Mike Evans has fine this twice, I believe. Just my opinion based on data that I am seeing.

  7. heyjude Says:

    Would love to see both signed.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    BucsDan … ‘Over the cap shows Bucs with $36M available this year, $104M available in 2025, and $231M available in 2026.The available money in 2025 and beyond would allow the use of signing bonuses to pro rate the new deals.’

    The ‘raw amount’ is highly misleading Dan. What’s really important is the amount a team has left AFTER subtracting the void years ALREADY in that number, AND the number of actual players under contract.

    For instance, in 2025 Spotrac shows the Bucs with 35 players under contract and $164.2 mil of salary CAP space for the Top-51 (he number that really matters to the NFL). BTW I prefer to use Spotrac because OTC projects the Practice Squad players in there for the out-years, and that’s a stretch IMO.

    Of those 35 players though, 13 aren’t really Bucs at all; they’re FAs who WERE Bucs but whose VOID YEARS count against the Bucs salary CAP. So we really have only 22 players under contract. And the VOID YEARS for those 13 players are eating up $62.3 mil of our salary CAP in 2025 … already. Restructuring more contracts and/or making new contracts with VOID YEARS built in will only exacerbate that problem.

    Bottom line is that with our remaining $164 mil salary CAP space for 2025 we’ve got to sign (or re-sign) 31 players to get us to the 53-man roster) … many of whom will be high $$$ types … PLUS cover injury losses (they’ll count against us) AND any Dead CAP that arises between now and then (from retirements. releases, etc). Sounds like a lot of money to us, but it’s scraping the bottom of the barrel to JL (for instance, the only 2025 players under contract making over $4 mil are Vea & Dean; IOW LOTS of high $$$ players have yet to be counted in for 2025).

  9. Zoocomics Says:

    @BucsDan… my man. I’m glad someone put some numbers on this. You are correct. So this is why it’s tough to franchise tag Baker I believe. By signing him to a 3 year deal, it provides are money people the flexibility in that you don’t have to distribute evenly. I bet the problem is you have to guarantee the contract in order for Baker to feel good about taking less money up front, and waiting for year 3?

  10. Marky Mark Says:

    The NFL has changed the rules over the years to be more like the 3 down CFL. That is pass happy and protect the QB. It has worked. See list beliw.

    Here’s the list of the 10 richest Sports Leagues in the world:
    National Football League.
    Indian Premier League.
    Major League Baseball.
    National Basketball Association.
    English Premier League.
    National Hockey League.
    LaLiga Santander.

  11. Todd Says:

    Joe, maybe make a polite request?

    You know how when you quote Peter King you add all that bold, red type?

    Can you do something similar with Baker Mayfield, just to rub it into all the idiots who voted Flaciddo over Bake for comeback of the year? Could you include: 2023 Comeback Player of the Year in front of Bake Mayfield (and perhaps some other descriptive goodies as well)?

    For example, “The Bucs did it! They just signed 2023 Comeback Player of the Year Baker Mayfield to a 3-year $100 million contract extension…”

    Pretty please?

  12. K_bassuka Says:

    Why is the media acting like is important to point out that Maybefield “Wants” ME13 back when in reality what’s important is whether or not ME13 wants Maybefield back, but then again ME13 has made bad QBs look good for years (Maybefield included).

  13. Todd Says:


    “Joe, may I make a pilot request?”

    Auto-text got me.

  14. Marky Mark Says:

    I think the Indian league is cricket but they changed the rules to speed it up. Soccer never changes its rules but Dortmund discovered in 2013 that if you put on the full field press Basketball style you win, and it speeds up the game to become a goal fest. Now al! Leagues do it. My point is the NFL is #1 because of the QB. Don,t save money for any one else. Sign Baker first and go from there. Is Baker inconsistent? Absolutely. When healthy he is average to above average in the regular season. But in the playoffs he is inconsistent from the regular season. He morphs to elite. Which iz why he is perfect for the weak NFC south. Just gotta make the playoffs. Jackson. Dak and Hurts are the opposite. They are Elite in the regular season which is good for the tough divisions they are in. But they crumble like stale cookies under the pressure of the p!ayoffs and morph down to Pop Warner level. Deer in the headlights. Throw 2021 out the window he was hurt. In 2022 he was hurt and with the dysfunctional Panthers. December with the Rams was above average especially when he destroyed The Broncos on Christmas. Pay the maN.

  15. Marky Mark Says:

    What a joke. Flacco plays 5 games and melts down like an iceberg in Greenland in the playoffs. Baker startz every game, and destrOys Philly in the playoffs then plays lions close. No credibility. The writers did not want to have to admit how wrong they were about Baker preseason.

  16. Since76 Says:

    Signing Mayfield for that kind of money means the bucs lose other talented players. The bucs were 9 and 8. With that talent. The bucs will be taking a step backwards for a marginally average QB who is inconsistent. This team can make a run if they were to keep the talent they have and draft well. Guess we will let all pros walk while signing average joes. Oh well its a bucs life.

  17. Obvious Says:

    In the interviews I saw, when baker was ask about “both or nothing”, Mayfield MADE IT CLEAR that each man has to and will do what’s necessary and right for each “individual”. HE never said that Mike wasn’t coming back without him. NEVER! A smile isn’t a certification of that being a truth.

    Now maybe he told “Joe” that, But he Did Not say that to anybody else. At least Not That I Saw or Heard from multiple interviews. And I was looking HARD for that arrogance! So Joe, you claim that Baker told You that if He signs up, the chances or “percentages” are High that they are a package deal? Hmm.. I agree with DR on that point.

    And hey, it might be true. (In a “sence”) But to say it on camera…….. That’s really putting your neck out there!

    Pretty BOLD of him to insinuate. Seems he only told you that . Now, “On Camera”, he didn’t say or suggest that once….. He didn’t insinuate it either. Now, I’m “guessing” that wasnt said to you on film?

  18. Tony marks Says:

    I don’t know why we keep coming back to tagging Baker. Of all the players he has indicated the most desire to stay, has a history of betting on himself ( so is amenabe to incentives) and is likely to be reasonable ( with a wife with a new child that most likely does NOT want to move again at this time )

    at pick 26 you are still at least a year away fom drafting a QB with a reasonable shot at starting and two years to develop that Qb so you are looking at three years

    so giving Baker some stability for a few years is unlikely to bite too hard and in turn you get a better figure and can structure to the cap.

    Tag him and you are in for the whole non-negotiated cap hit

    if you can sign Baker and winfield you have the tag to stop the most likely player to bolt _ -Mike evans. He’s ticked , his home town has probably a generational talent at Qb and I think more cap space. The idea of winning a super bowl for the place that you intend to retire to (and have roots in) must be very compelling.

    Further if you tag Mike you pretty much ensure he is a BUc for life because his age.

  19. Marky Mark Says:

    Take out the two injury years and Baker is above average in the reg season and elite in the playoffs. Hurts, Jackson, and Prescott are the opposite. Baker killed philly with Evan dropping a soft td pass right on his palms. Baker don,t need him. Any rookie will do.

  20. Lord Cornelius Says:

    @Defense Rules

    I dunno man I think you are a little too worried about the cap lol.

    In general there will be a lot of deals re structured or terminated that can massively impact 25′ and 26′. Like Shaq Barret – he is projected to cost $29.4M in 2025 cap space. There’s no way we are going to let it play out like that. Ryan Jensen is projected cost $11m of our 25 cap space. There’s $40m bang.

    As long as we draft well we shouldn’t have to worry about the cap IMO. The fact that we have a projected $230m in just 2 years shows how flexible we are lol. That means we have a lot of contracts coming off.

    I just checked the Rams for example – who went all in before we did for a SB – and they only have $178m in 26′ projected – which is basically the same as us if you take out Stafford’s $50m.

    We are fine.

  21. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Ideal scenario for me is Baker at a 3-4 year contract at ~$30m per year. That feels fair.

    He shouldn’t average more than the tag # or even at the tag # since we have that option. If I’m negotiating that’s how I’m presenting it. Basically somewhere between Geno Smith’s deal and the franchise tag #. If you don’t want the deal we will tag you and revisit this again in a year.

    3 years $100M with $50M guaranteed sounds good. That’s $25m more than Geno and Geno only got $40m guarenteed. Geno also is a bit older than Mayfield.

  22. Bojim Says:

    Let’s see how Baker shows his gratitude to the Bucs for giving him a chance to revive his career and find a team that he loves and pretty much loves him. Kinda like Canales didn’t.

  23. Asstrole Says:

    @Defense Rules Good article…thx for the refer

  24. Jeffs grandpa Says:

    Gotta save that tag for awj

  25. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Yeah they have a leg up, its called a franchise tag.

  26. brooks Says:

    Go for Murray!

  27. Donald G Says:

    You nailed it Markymark