One of the biggest surprises of the 2023 season was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ return to the playoffs despite losing Tom Brady last offseason. In the first year of the post-Brady era, Baker Mayfield signed with Tampa on a low-cost, one-year deal, then had one of the best seasons of his career to lead Tampa back to the playoffs.
Recent reports have indicated that the Bucs and Mayfield want to work out a new contract to keep him around a little longer, and team advisor Bruce Arians believes they will be able to do that.
“I think he loves it here,” Arians said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “The job that he’s done, I mean, the job that Todd (Bowles) has done with the new coordinator (Dave Canales), the new playmaker, the new quarterback and the ups and downs. Being The only NFC team to go to the playoffs four years in a row? That’s very satisfying, especially for me.
“Watching everything as the season unfolded and then coming into December and January to really put it all together…I mean, we’re really, really close. A drive away from the (NFC) championship game. I loved that job. Todd did it and Baker did it.”
The Bucs ultimately lost to the Detroit Lions in the divisional round, then saw Canales take the head coaching job with the division rival Carolina Panthers. If Mayfield returns for another round, he will work with a new offensive player. According to Arians, however, he should still have the same No. 1 receiver in franchise legend Mike Evans.
“Nothing at all,” Arians said when asked if there was any sign of Evans slowing down as he entered his 30s. “I don’t think there will be any doubt that he will continue, especially if we are lucky enough to keep him and Baker together, because they already have a good relationship. I don’t see that there There’s nothing wrong with Mike. He might even get better.
Evans is a free agent this offseason and is coming off another Pro Bowl campaign, having racked up 79 catches for 1,255 yards (his 10th straight 1,000-yard season) and a league-leading 13 touchdowns this year.