Patriots Interested In Baker Mayfield

The expectation remains the Patriots will address their quarterback need by selecting a passer with the No. 3 overall pick. But Jerod Mayo‘s first roster needs help in many places. Trading down could potentially be an option.

If the Patriots are considering moving down, it would put them in play for one of the top free agent arms. They are indeed believed to be monitoring Baker Mayfield, with the Boston Herald’s Doug Kyed indicating the Buccaneers QB has some supporters within the organization. A number of connections exist.

In addition to the Patriots being connected to Mayfield interest back in 2018, a few staffers from the team that did draft him are working in Foxborough now. That includes de facto GM Eliot Wolf, who was with the Browns when they pulled the trigger on taking Mayfield first overall six years ago. OC Alex Van Pelt coached Mayfield for two seasons in Cleveland. So was QBs coach T.C. McCartney. Additionally, assistant Ben McAdoo and front office staffer Pat Stewart were with the Panthers during Mayfield’s woeful stay in Charlotte.

Outside interest in Mayfield will only stand to drive up the QB’s price in Buccaneers negotiations, which have begun. Tampa Bay has expressed interest in re-signing Mayfield for a bit now, but the cost is expected to skyrocket after his bounce-back season. Mayfield, 28, showed considerable improvement after an injury-plagued 2021 slate and a brutal 2022 showing in Carolina. The former Heisman winner showed flashes with the Rams and is coming off setting career-high marks in TD passes (28) and passing yards (4,044). He also mixed in a career-low 10 INTs.

The Bucs gave Mayfield input in their OC search, which ended with ex-Rams OC Liam Coen. They could use the franchise tag to keep the starting QB off the market, but with that number coming in beyond $38MM, such a move is not anticipated. Tampa Bay is expected to tag Antoine Winfield Jr., giving the team until March 11 to hammer out a deal with Mayfield and prevent him from exploring the open market. Mayfield is also interested in staying with the Bucs, but other teams are naturally curious about a potential agreement. The Falcons are believed to be among them, though they are squarely in the Justin Fields mix.

While the Patriots may have Mayfield on their radar, Kyed adds they are not believed to be interested in Kirk Cousins. The latter is seven years older than Mayfield and coming off a torn Achilles. Cousins’ steadier track record is also likely to make him a more expensive free agent. Cousins also would not seemingly align with Mayo’s first Patriots roster, which needs help across the board on offense.

Mayfield would better align here, but it would still be surprising if the Pats went in this direction. The team may be interested in pairing a free agent with a QB at No. 3 overall, putting Mac Jones in limbo. Mayfield would certainly be leery of a team considering a first-round pick, though given what it will cost to acquire the veteran QB, it would be highly unlikely a team would sign him and then draft a passer in the first round. Several bridge-level options will be available in free agency, and it is more likely the Patriots pursue one of them instead of ponying up big bucks for Mayfield.

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