NFL Rumors: Baker Mayfield fit, Saquon Barkley goodbye, Falcons QB priority

  • Falcons' offseason priority is exactly what you expect
  • Giants essentially say bon voyage to Saquon Barkley
  • Patriots named possible fit for Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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NFL rumors: Patriots floated as potential Baker Mayfield fit

The New England Patriots are ready to flush away their memories of the Mac Jones era. Saddled with the No. 3 pick, all signs point toward new head coach Jerod Mayo's tenure starting with a rookie quarterback. The widely projected favorite is LSU gunslinger Jayden Daniels, fresh off his Heisman Trophy win. North Carolina's Drake Maye is a potential option too, depending on how the Washington Commanders' pick goes.

That said, New England has other options. Good options? Maybe, considered how much uncertainty is baked into a rookie QB. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler made a bold prediction for next season. He expects Baker Mayfield to end up with the Patriots in free agency. Mayfield could start over the Pats' new rookie QB, or New England could use the No. 3 pick to address a different need. Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. is widely proclaimed as the No. 1 overall prospect, irrespective of position. The Patriots' WR room is a mess.

"The Patriots submarine the Buccaneers by signing QB Baker Mayfield. While Tampa is the clear-cut favorite to re-sign Mayfield, now a coveted free agent after a banner year with the Bucs, anything can happen in free agency. And the Patriots' new brain trust -- including lead personnel man Eliot Wolf and personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith -- were part of the Cleveland regime that took Mayfield No. 1 in the 2018 draft. They believed in him. Yes, the Patriots can take a quarterback at No. 3 overall. But who's to say they wouldn't still need a veteran? Or, if they believe Mayfield is a long-term answer in this case, they could draft Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. or trade back for more capital."

As Fowler notes, several key decision-makers in New England were responsible for the Cleveland Browns selecting Mayfield No. 1 overall back in 2018. That particular decision didn't age well, but Mayfield came into his own last season. He led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the NFC South title in their first season post-Tom Brady. Mayfield earned his first Pro Bowl nod in the process, completing 64.3 percent of his passes for 4,044 yards and 28 touchdowns (all career-high marks).

The QB market in free agency has exploded in recent years. Mayfield could earn a contract in the three-year, $75 million ballpark, per CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones, which mirrors Geno Smith's contract with the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots would need to spend a large chunk of cash to land Mayfield. He's probably too expensive for a one or two-year bridge QB, so if the Pats take aim at Mayfield, expect the No. 3 pick to come up in trade talks or yield a non-QB.

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