NFL Rumors: 5 best Baker Mayfield destinations if he leaves the Buccaneers

Baker Mayfield should do everything in his power to return to the Tampa Bay Buccanners next year.

Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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Despite only a one-year sample size, it seems to work for Baker Mayfield in Tampa Bay. During his first season as their starting quarterback, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 9-8, won the NFC South for the third year in a row and won a playoff game. They played the heavily-favored Detroit Lions down to the wire at their place in the divisional round, but came up one possession short. Their season is over.

Tampa Bay may have found something special in Mayfield, a talented, but controversial quarterback who has had an up-and-down NFL career up to this point. He has not had the same amount of success as draft classmates Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson, but has been infinitely better than Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen. This past year showed us that yes, Mayfield is an NFL starting quarterback.

Because he signed with the Buccaneers for cheap on a prove-it deal, he may have priced himself out of town. He will have a robust market in his free agency, but I would suspect that Tampa Bay will do everything in its power to try and retain him. Otherwise, the future looks incredibly bleak for the NFC South franchise. Mayfield seems to have room to grow as a player and as a man, so invest in him, y'all!

If he were to somehow leave Gulf Coast Florida, here are five NFL teams who should try and sign him.

Baker Mayfield free agency: 5 best fits outside of Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5. Atlanta Falcons are only a great head coach and good quarterback away

I said it last year that the Atlanta Falcons should look at Mayfield. For whatever reason, the collective brain trust of Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith didn't listen to me, so here we are. The handoff from the Matt Ryan era to whatever this is has been nothing short of smooth. From the Deshaun Watson debacle, to Marcus Mariota being a quitter, to Desmond Ridder nonsense, it has been awful to endure.

With Smith out of the building in Flowery Branch, the Falcons could go in any number of directions in hiring their next head coach. They are interviewing seemingly everyone. While some people may argue they are the next team to hire a head coach, they seem further away from pulling the trigger than anyone would tend to believe. When it comes to Mayfield, it all depends on who the coach is.

I think Fontenot and owner Arthur Blank are smart enough to know what they have seen out of Mayfield over the last few years. They should know that he can play, and play at a high level. However, we cannot say the Falcons are anything more than a dark horse to land him right now in free agency because we don't know who their head coach is. Taking him from a NFC South rival would be sweet.

No matter who the hire is, Atlanta should at least entertain the idea of bringing Mayfield into the fold.