Baker Mayfield hopes he can return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2024 season.
“It would mean a lot to me,” Mayfield said after Sunday’s 31-23 loss to the Detroit Lions in the divisional round, according to Greg Auman of Fox Sports. “I would love (to be back).”
Mayfield, who played for three different teams in 2021 and 2022 combined, revived his career after signing a one-year contract with the Buccaneers during the 2023 offseason. The 2018 first overall pick set career highs this campaign with 4,044 yards and 28 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, helping Tampa Bay win the NFC South. Mayfield then threw for three touchdowns in a wild-card victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 28-year-old passed for 349 yards and three touchdowns versus Detroit but threw two interceptions, including a pick with 1:35 left in the fourth quarter while trying to lead a potential game-tying drive.
“It sucks. I feel like my heart just got ripped out,” Mayfield said of Sunday’s loss, according to Sara Walsh of NFL Network.
Mayfield praised wide receiver Mike Evans, whose contract also expires this offseason. Evans – the Buccaneers’ all-time receiving leader who topped 1,000 yards for a record 10th straight season in 2023 – put on a show versus the Lions, catching eight passes for 147 yards and one touchdown.
“He makes my life easy. He did all year. He did it today, over and over,” Mayfield said of the 30-year-old Evans, per Auman. “To get everybody back, there have to be sacrifices made. This team’s about winning. We have a group of guys who are all about that. If I’m back, I want Mike back.”
Other key Bucs players who could test the open market in 2024 include All-Pro safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and linebacker Lavonte David.