After a season like that, Mayfield has some leverage; here's hoping he doesn't use all of it.
In a position to be paid, perhaps former Sooner will consider quality of life every bit as much as the number of years and zeroes attached to his next contract
Nobody should understand the value of good vibes, a good environment, feel and chemistry better than Baker Mayfield.
Adversity had yet to strike when he came off the bench as a 2018 rookie, setting the football world on fire on a memorable Thursday night in Cleveland.
Two seasons later, the franchise and city still on his side, and the Browns finally having hired an apparent serious coach in Kevin Stefanski, Mayfield enjoyed his finest professional season, one very nearly equalled this one now over, his first with Tampa Bay.
It ended Sunday afternoon at Detroit’s Ford Field, a 31-23 Buccaneers loss to the Lions in which, but for a virtual game-ending interception with 1:33 remaining, Mayfield was otherwise brilliant, not only completing 26 of 41 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns, but answering the Lions time and again to keep his team in it until 93 seconds remained.
The question is now “what’s next” for the Sooner Nation’s perennial favorite Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, who, in a who’d-have-thunk-it turnaround, is suddenly in the driver’s seat as he considers his next contract, one he’ll eventually sign after playing for four different teams and eight head coaches since becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.
Mayfield played this season on a one-year, $4 million deal, but the next one will be for more years and significantly more dough.
What will he do?
“It would mean a lot for me to bring back a lot of key pieces and get this thing back together in year two of the system,” he said after Sunday’s loss. “You could make huge strides, so I would love that.
“Obviously, who knows how it’s going to play out … but can’t say enough about this organization for the opportunity they gave me this year. So, just thankful, hoping it works out.”
Bucs coach Todd Bowles shared similar sentiments about the old Sooner’s future in Tampa.
“He most definitely has [earned the opportunity to return],” he said. “Obviously, it’s too early to talk about that and business is business, but Baker had a hell of a year. We love him, the guys love him and we’ll see what the future holds.”
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