Home » Bruce Arians thinks Buccaneers will have both Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans back next year

Bruce Arians thinks Buccaneers will have both Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans back next year

One of the biggest surprises of the 2023 season was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers going back to the playoffs despite the team having lost Tom Brady last offseason. In the first year of the post-Brady era, Baker Mayfield signed with Tampa on a low-cost, one-year deal, then had one of the best seasons of his career to lead Tampa back to the postseason.

Recent reports have indicated that the Bucs and Mayfield want to work out a new contract to keep him around a while longer, and team advisor Bruce Arians believes that they’ll be able to do just that.

“I think he loves it here,” Arians said, per The Tampa Bay Times. “The job he did, I mean, the job Todd (Bowles) did with the new coordinator (Dave Canales), new play-caller, new quarterback and the ups and downs. To be the only NFC team to go to the playoffs four years in a row? That’s very satisfying, for me especially.

“To watch everything as the season unfolded, and then to come in December and January to really put it together … I mean, we came really, really close. One drive away from the (NFC) championship game. I loved the job Todd did and Baker did.”

The Bucs ultimately bowed out against the Detroit Lions in the divisional round, then saw Canales take the head-coaching job with the division rival Carolina Panthers. If Mayfield comes back for one more go-round, he’ll be working with a new offensive play-caller. According to Arians, though, he should still have the same No. 1 receiver in franchise legend Mike Evans

“Nothing at all,” Arians said when asked if there is any sign of Evans slowing down as he hits his 30s. “I don’t think there’s going to be any doubt that he’ll continue, especially if we’re fortunate enough to keep him and Baker together, because they’ve got that good rapport already. I don’t see that there’s any downside to Mike at all. He might even get better.”

Evans is a free agent this offseason and is coming off yet another Pro Bowl campaign, having racked up 79 catches for 1,255 yards (his 10th consecutive 1,000-yard season) and a league-leading 13 touchdowns this year.