NFL rumors: Patriots, Falcons QB backup plan about to be off the table

If Baker Mayfield re-ups with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it means teams like the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots must find a new backup plan at quarteback before free agency.

Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

Baker Mayfield needs to re-sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As I stated all of last season, it just kind of works for him leading the NFC South franchise. He just played his best football of his professional career out of Oklahoma. Now that he was a Pro Bowler on a $4 million contract, Mayfield is about to get paid. He will have other suitors, but nobody values him more than the Buccaneers do.

This is because he seems to be everybody's backup plan of note when it comes to the quarterback position. For the Atlanta Falcons, they probably want to either sign Kirk Cousins in free agency or possibly trade for a hometown hero in a deal with the Chicago Bears. As for the New England Patriots, they may be in play to draft either Drake Maye out of North Carolina or sign Russell Wilson for cheap.

To be fair, Mayfield would have done extraordinarily well linking up with either the Falcons or the Patriots. In Atlanta, he would join an offense coordinated by a noted Sean McVay disciple in Zac Robinson. They briefly crossed paths during Mayfield's brief team in Los Angeles in 2022. In New England, many friends of his are in the building from his playing days in Cleveland and in Carolina.

Right now, Aaron Jacobson of 95.3 WDAE down in Tampa is hearing that Mayfield will be re-signing.

Now that Mayfield is probably staying put, who is worse off with this news: Atlanta or New England?

NFL rumors: Baker Mayfield to re-sign with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

While I suspect that the Falcons will have a much better season than the Patriots next year, I think the news of Mayfield potentially going back to the Buccaneers lands way worse for the Dirty Birds. This is because he will be back in division for Tampa Bay, as well as putting even more pressure on Terry Fontenot and the rest of the Atlanta front office to get its next franchise quarterback this offseason.

New England should not only draft whoever is left on the board at No. 3 between Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels, but it actually serves them to bring in Russell Wilson on the veteran minimum. The Denver Broncos will be paying the bulk of his contract in dead money any way. It may blow up in their face, but he is the perfect stop-gap starter to eventually usher in either the Maye or Daniels era.

Overall, we can only hope that the Falcons and Patriots have other contingency backup plans to potentially signing Mayfield. I mean, they had to know he was surely going back to the Buccaneers, right? Regardless, Mayfield choosing to cash in his chip to return to Tampa Bay when he has this kind of leverage speaks volumes about the state of the Buccaneers franchise. Good times are still ahead.

While Tampa Bay's quarterback future looks to be right, Atlanta and New England must have patience.

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