Bucs Hoping To Beat The Free Agency Dinner Bell

February 14th, 2024

Free agency creeping closer.

Talk about burying a story!

On the busiest day for football, NFL Network decided to pull their own version of a Friday news dump with a story near the bottom of an NFL.com article published on Super Bowl Sunday. The NFL Network “Insiders” on NFL+  noted that within the next four weeks, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht hopes to solve a key puzzle for the 2024 Bucs.

The free agency dinner bell rings in less than a month, March 13. And by then, per the “Insiders,” Licht hopes to have Bucs pending free agent quarterback Baker Mayfield signed.

Coaches around the league admire Mayfield’s competitiveness and skill level, so he’ll surely have interest on the market — perhaps even from AFC South-rival Atlanta, where former Rams assistants Raheem Morris and Zac Robinson are now in charge.

Tampa Bay would like to nip all that in the bud by doing a deal before the market opens. There have been no substantive talks to this point, though that’s likely to change in the coming weeks leading up to the combine right before the start of free agency.

Joe thought it was interesting the Bucs allegedly have not had “substantial” talks on Mayfield. There have been some talks. Otherwise, the Bucs wouldn’t have asked Mayfield for his take on potential offensive coordinators.

Joe thinks Bucs fans may want to see what happens next Tuesday, Feb. 20. That’s the first day franchise tags can be placed on players.

Not only would that move keep other teams away from Mayfield, it buys Licht more time to get a contract done so Licht does not absolutely have to sign Mayfield by March 13. But certainly Licht would rather save the franchise tag for another free agent, if necessary. The tag can only be applied to one player and the deadline is March 5.

47 Responses to “Bucs Hoping To Beat The Free Agency Dinner Bell”

  1. TomBucsFan Says:

    Go Bucs

  2. HC Grover Says:

    Combat at the Chiefs Victory rally in Kansas City. WTF is going on in the NFL?

  3. Saskbucs Says:

    Honestly, if the tag is being used, it should be used on Evans or Winfield to buy time to sign them. They will have a lot more serious suitors March 13th than Baker will. Falcons are potentially a real threat for poaching him but no other team in the league is. On the other hand 5-6-7 teams are probably in line to offer a contract to the other Bucs FA I mentioned.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    And franchise tagging Baker immediately subtracts $36 mil from our salary CAP, leaving us with close to $0 for the time being. Kinda limits our ability to negotiate with other FAs perhaps?

    Mayfield’s Market Value per Spotrac is $27.1 mil. Sure some team (like the Falcons) MIGHT come along and overpay, say in the $35-$40 mil range for say 3-4 years. But that can’t be the Bucs; nor should we try to match it. We’ve got too many other priority mouths to feed. Guys like Winfield & yes, McLaughlin. And HOPEFULLY Evans & LVD (both are in unique situations this year, and ‘other considerations’ may result in them not re-signing with the Bucs). Stuff happens.

  5. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Don’t use the tag until you have no choice. Then pick the most important to the team of those who have not signed.

  6. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Hopefully, if we end up using the tag, it will be on McLaughlin because he is the cheapest 😉

  7. Hodad Says:

    I see Atlanta either moving up in the draft for a QB, or trading for Fields. No team but the Bucs would give Baker a big deal.

  8. WyomingJoe Says:

    If the dimwits on this site think that Baker will sign for under $30M they’re beyond delusional. I think that Baker would have 4-5 other teams interested if the Bucs aren’t.

    Also, I heard that one of the Joes thinks that the Bucs should draft a QB in the 1st round (even if they sign Baker) and if/when Baker beats him out, they could then use him as a trade chip. Yeah, that sounds logical. Pick a QB low in the first round and then trade him for – what- a 3rd … AT BEST! How naive.

  9. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I suspect Baker will sign for about 33 million a year. It’s the sweet spot. Right between Geno and Daniel Jones contract’s.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Wyoming Joe … This is the time of year when some of the dumbest scenarios start bouncing around. And some even gain traction.

    The salary CAP is VERY real, and JL doesn’t have the luxury (like fans & media do) of just disregarding it. The penalties for doing so are severe, and can really screw up TEAM BUILDING.

    Bucs have too many MUST HAVE players right now to go overboard on any one of them. Quality sites like SPOTRAC & OVER-THE-CAP spend a lot of time I’m sure trying to figure out what a player’s Market Value is. In Baker’s case, they came up with $27.1 mil. A RANGE of $25-$30 mil pretty much puts that in the center. Spending OVER that detracts from what you can afford to pay other priority FAs (and the Bucs have several). If some other team wants to outbid us, hey, so be it. That’s on THEM. Doubling down at the table when dealing with a weak hand is not a winning strategy.

  11. BakerBucs Says:

    Baker Baker almost like the undertaker.welcome to dummyville so the dummies keep the drummy suggestion just call the glazers then u will know facts no yacks just facts plz.look.in the phone book for their #

  12. Zzbucs Says:

    Sometimes fans don’t use the brain.
    As defenserules says the cap is not a joke.

    Not an easy position for JL.

    Hard to say and define who is the most important FA we shoul sign.
    Evans and Windield IMO, but there are as many opinions as fans.

    The only thing I know is that there is not big money for everyone.

  13. Lakeland Steve Says:

    Baker wants to play for the Bucs especially if they resign Evans. Why not tag Evans and try to hammer out a deal with him. Baker will probably do a team friendly deal if he knows Evans will be there.

  14. Boss Says:

    Anyone basing comp on other teams bad decisions is nutzo.

    27 mil max. Let him go the falcons and pad our DBs stats and our win column. His Dana int days will not last.

  15. Boss Says:

    Dancing days….it will catch up with him as will the picks

  16. DBS Says:

    Sometimes fans don’t try to be the class know it all. We admit we have no idea what the players or the front office have on their minds and out smart them. We have no idea how they are going to work the finances. But Licht and his people are in charge so I myself believe they know what they are doing.

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Okay Boss, I’ll take the bait…Who would be your starting QB for the Bucs in 2024?

  18. Dave Pear Says:

    Boss is obviously suffering from a severe closed head injury and is insane.

  19. BakerFan Says:

    Boss Says.. Let him go the falcons and pad our DBs stats and our win column. His Dana int days will not last.

    You sure the DB’s would be able to catch it. That one in Detroit was about the easiest pick 6 I have ever seen, end zone to end zone and he blew it.

  20. BakerFan Says:

    I think every one wants to make it happen, but this could easily slip away as well as Evans and / or Winfield.

    If Licht can do 5/5 he is a star, 4/5 dang good job, 3 /5 Average No Magic, 2 /5 Bucs will be in rebuilding mode.

  21. SB~LV Says:

    40 is the going rate for his play last year

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    You know it’s a quality insider report when they say the Falcons are in the AFC South.

    But yeah, I’m certain the Bucs will try to get something done – they just need to not overpay since getting back Winfield and Evans are the top priorities. In any case if the Bucs want Mayfield back, he’ll be back. If he ends up in Atlanta, well, that says what they actually think of him – and if that is the case, they need to bid up as high as possible first.

    But I certainly assume he’ll be back – which I’m fine with, so long as they structure the deal with reality in mind – and the reality is the vast majority of ‘bust’ QBs who have a career year, end up returning to the mean. So you pay perhaps more than you might otherwise for the ability to cut him after a year – BUT you also have the ability to keep him should he improve on last years 18th QBR and 20th in scoring performance.

  23. Marky Mark Says:

    The Glazers can supplement cash salary with non cash Man united stock.

  24. Saul Says:

    Bro just signed Evans Mayfield and Antoine just sign them and get this s*** over with

  25. WyomingJoe Says:

    Baker’s deal will be $105M over three years, plus incentives. And that still would be a bargain. Just to name a few, he’s better than Gino Smith, Carr, Love, Lawrence and certainly Jones.

    I know that the Bucs can’t pay him $50M a year because that amount of money is only given to Elite QBs who won Super Bowls. Guys like Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen and Deshaun Watson. Oh, that’s right, none of those “Elite” QBs have won a Super Bowl.

    So, if the Bucs are fair with him, Baker will be fair with them.

  26. The Fighting Schianoes Says:

    Hey Grover,

    What the hell is going on in the NFL? How about what the hell is going on in the United States you moron.

  27. Pittbucfan Says:

    Coming weeks? It better start in the coming days! Got 4 key FA that almost need to be brought back! (Baker, Evans, Winfield, David)

  28. beeej Says:

    “The Fighting Schianoes Says:
    February 14th, 2024 at 7:42 pm
    Hey Grover,

    What the hell is going on in the NFL? How about what the hell is going on in the United States you moron.”


    ANY blue city

  29. UKBuccaneer Says:

    It’s only the 48th mass shooting of 2024 (45 days)

  30. Allbuccedup Says:

    Hopefully he will remember opening up the checkbook is not always going to work. If you pay Mayfield 30 mil and he plays like 5 mil its not like hes got a proven track record just saying.

  31. The Fighting Schianoes Says:


    Name a city major metropolitan city that isn’t blue genius.

  32. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    Tag Mike Evans?

    SMDH. Hallmark fans. Emotional fans. Stop it, Midol fans.

    Need a QB. Can’t win without a QB. Hit the lotto with Brady and got very lucky with Mayfield falling into our lap.

    Let’s get behind Baker. Hopefully Evans takes a hometown discount.

  33. Capt.Tim Says:

    Sign Mayfield now, and for a loooong time.
    Wanna lose Evans? Let Mayfield turn into a bidding war.
    Signhim for 7 years.
    Then sign Evans and Whitfield Jr.

    Draft a pass rusher, Center, Guard,.
    Resign Mike Edwards.
    Sign FA RB,WR, CB.

    Rule the South for years to come

  34. beeej Says:

    Miami KINDA purple

  35. stpetebucfan Says:


    “I see Atlanta either moving up in the draft for a QB, or trading for Fields. No team but the Bucs would give Baker a big deal.”

    There has been a lot of chatter recently about Fields to the Falcons. It perhaps makes more senses than Baker because of the price difference and Fields cheap contract. There is the talk about what the Falcons would have to give up to get him. While Field’s salary will be a bargain his price may not given his improvement over the second half…then again…The marked improvement as a passer that he has shown during the second half of the season still isn’t translating to winning time. Fields ranks last in passer rating (22.1) while trailing with less than four minutes to go.

    IMHO again the verdict is out. Fields MAY be a “franchise” QB going forward with decent coaching (absent in Chicago) and a great team around him…while perhaps not yet great the Falcons have definitely improved their talent.

    Baker OTOH is clearly a proven success given the right team and coaches. But is he successful enough to lead the Bucs into the future.

    All the cap talk will probably have a lot to do with Baker even getting the chance but the fact they consulted him about the new OC means at least JL is motivated to resign Baker.

    That brings it down to Wyoming Joe..”think that Baker will sign for under $30M they’re beyond delusional. I think that Baker would have 4-5 other teams interested if the Bucs aren’t.”

    I take Wyoming’s point but I’m more optimistic. First I’d love to know which 4 or 5 teams he’s talking about with a draft loaded with a reported historic haul of QB’s who would be CHEAP. Secondly do those teams have the appeal of the Bucs for Baker in all the other critical areas. Home, comfort with staff and teammates, a real chance to be part of a winning run…

    Time will tell but I think JL gets Baker on a team friendly deal and let’s hope ME13 is part of the deal. Winfield is a DONE deal. He is the single most important signing…Wirfs has another year or he would be as well.

  36. Pickgrin Says:

    The Fighting Schianoes Says:
    Name a major metropolitan city that isn’t blue genius.

    LOL – Tampa, Fl

  37. GhostofBrady Says:

    Defense Rules Says:
    “And franchise tagging Baker immediately subtracts $36 mil from our salary CAP, leaving us with close to $0 for the time being. Kinda limits our ability to negotiate with other FAs perhaps?”

    Actually that’s $36M + 2.3M = $38.3M cap hit for franchise tagging Baker. The incentives he got from 2023 roll into 2024 with the tag. Even if they tag him, they can still negotiate for a long-term spread until the season starts. In a perfect world, no one gets tagged and all the key contributors agree to long-term (2-4 year) deals that let us field a great team next year and in 2025. Let the void years hit in 2026 and 2027. Renegotiate and kick the can down the void years again if we have success to keep the party going beyond those years. The cap grows each year because more people watch the NFL and pay for it. Key players deserve to make more money like actors who act in $1B movies deserve more money. So long as NFL inflation continues, it’s not a bad idea to keep our team competitive by keeping the good ones at market value and rolling the dice in the draft to find future fill-ins.

    I like trading this years 26th pick for a second rounder this year plus a future #1 in 2025 from a team we project will suck it up next year (bottom 10). Use that pick to find a first round QB in 2025 to Jordan Love mentor under Baker. In 3-4 years the league will be littered with Shanahan and McVay offenses. Baker will do just fine in that market if we don’t renew him again and move on to with top 10 draft pick QB. There are plenty of serviceable to potential star OL, DE and WR we can draft with two 2nd round picks.

  38. beeej Says:

    I’d gladly bet a paycheck Trask is a serviceable QB, and he’s STILL on his rookie contract next year. That allows us to use our picks for players who will be on the field

  39. David Says:

    Listening to Baker over the last 2 weeks, I’d be surprised if he does not sign by then with Evans to follow.

  40. Gipper Says:

    Baker will be playing for Pitts in 2024 and leading Steelers past Browns and Ravens to win division championship. This is best situation for all as Baker haters will get their man Trask and Baker will get to play for a team that historically has a strong defense. Have a feeling that should Baker end up in Pitts, Steelers will be stronger and Bucs weaker in 2024.

  41. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    chance of mayfield not being a buc next yr?


  42. Defense Rules Says:

    GhostofBrady … ‘So long as NFL inflation continues, it’s not a bad idea to keep our team competitive by keeping the good ones at market value and rolling the dice in the draft to find future fill-ins.’

    I totally agree with ‘keeping our team competitive by keeping the good ones at Market Value’. It’s when a team OVERPAYS on one or more high value players that they end up compromising someplace else. And that almost always ends up biting them in the butt.

    Just 3 players on the 2023 Bucs were a good example:

    o Ryan Jensen: lost for season (injury) … 2023 CAP Hit $5.9 mil with 2024 CAP Hit of $6.0 mil.
    o Russell Gage: lost for season (injury) … 2023 CAP Hit $4.4 mil with 2024 CAP Hit of $13.4 mil.
    o Shaq Barrett: played in 2023 but ineffective … 2023 CAP Hit of $10.8 mil with 2024 CAP Hit of $14.2 mil.

    So their 2023 CAP Hit (for very minimal productivity) was $21.1 mil. Their current 2024 CAP Hit is $33.6 mil . And none of that counts their VOID YEAR costs of $25.5 mil in 2025, $14.5 mil in 2026, and $9.1 mil in 2027. Just the VOID YEARS for those 3 (totaling $45 mil) will probably eat up the inflation factors in Bucs salary CAP for 2025-2027. And they almost surely won’t even be playing for us.

    I trust JL (and especially Mike Greenberg BTW) to negotiate the best financial deals possible for 2024, while keeping a keen eye on the impact of that for 2025-2027. Mortgaging the future by using VOID YEARS will catch up with us eventually (I’m thinking 2025 but might not be until 2026). OVERPAYING for any player will accelerate that, and keep us from fielding a competitive team at some point in the future. Like you said, ‘Keeping the good ones at MARKET VALUE’ is the key.

  43. Ringer Says:

    Personally I don’t see the doom and gloom if we don’t overpay Baker and ride with Trask. He did very well in TC and had many observers thinking he may have even outperformed Baker. They made the right decision to start Baker obviously with the team results and his season stats. But the team didn’t light up the scoreboard and so I think Trask taking over would not result in a big drop off of offense. Plenty of games where BM had a clunker. Trask is unproven yes but made huge strides and he competed and was successful in the most elite conference in college football. He’d have more than a good chance to be as successful as BM was. Guy just needs to be given a real opportunity. For the record I hope we keep Baker but just don’t think we have to blow everything up if we can’t sign him.

  44. Bucnjim Says:

    This deal was struck a long time ago before the first contract. 4 years $110 million! $20, $25, $30, $35 with a fifth-year option. Half guaranteed. Let’s see how close I am.

  45. Bucs fan in NC Says:

    Here’s hoping we don’t sign Baker…. I know… Blasphemy right? I like Baker, but, did he instill enough confidence to be a 30mil a year QB? Not in my opinion. I’d rather go after a Russell Wilson, who would love to have an Evans and Godwin…. and would be on a prove it deal (like Baker) which we could afford. One day, buying the championship with Tom, kicking the salary cap can down the road, has to bite us (maybe this is the year)

  46. No Mercy Says:

    It’s so amusing to me that the Bucs might overpay for a guy like Bake who was being dismissed by every other team in the league after one good year….. LMAO. Please just call us the Tampa Bay Giants for now on. They made such a great decision with that Daniel Jones contract, something that will keep them irrelevant until his contract is over

  47. Davyboy Says:

    That shows you how much the experts really know No Mercy. They aren’t dismissing him now are they?? You are one of them aren’t you?