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Buccaneers, QB Baker Mayfield have mutual interest in return for 2024

Baker Mayfield's career resurgence has the Buccaneers in contention for an NFC Championship Game berth on Sunday, and it appears the success this season will lead to continuity in Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers and Mayfield have mutual interest in him returning for the 2024 season, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday on NFL GameDay Morning.

Rapoport adds that Mayfield could potentially cash in on a long-term deal, but the franchise tag is still in play. Franchise-tagged quarterbacks netted a $32.416 million salary in 2023.

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That would still be a big jump from the one-year contract Mayfield signed in 2023, which was worth up to $8.5 million with incentives. Mayfield has shown up and showed out on the prove-it deal, turning in career-high numbers in passing yards (4,044) and touchdowns (28) while leading Tampa Bay to an NFC South title in its first season after Tom Brady's retirement.

Mayfield went on to throw three TDs in last week's upset win over the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles for his second career playoff victory. Rapoport adds that each playoff win for Mayfield in 2023 brings a $250,000 bonus, and he will look to add to that in today's Divisional Round game against the Detroit Lions.

Rapoport initially reported the mutual interest between Mayfield and the Bucs in Dec., but his continued strong play since could speak well for an extended partnership.

Mayfield's first foray into the free-agent market came with uncertainty following a quick fallout with the Panthers that led to his midseason release in 2022. He would get claimed by the Los Angeles Rams and saw four starts that showed potential was still there for the former No. 1 overall pick.

The Buccaneers are now benefitting from their chance on Mayfield, who might have found security in Tampa Bay for 2024 and beyond.

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