NFL insider calls Baker Mayfield “excellent” fit for Falcons

NFL: DEC 03 Panthers at Buccaneers

To say 2024 is a pivotal offseason for the Falcons isn’t doing it proper justice. They’ve missed the playoffs for six straight seasons, just underwent a complete coaching staff change for the second time over that span, and plan to finally put some real investment into the quarterback position for the first time since trading Matt Ryan a few years ago.

The hiring cycle that ended with the return of Raheem Morris was a wild ride, but the real juice is just beginning. The quarterback decision is the single most significant determinant in the Falcons’ success next season, and the rumor mill is beginning to churn at light speed.

The Falcons have already been connected to just about every competent quarterback that could be available in the coming months. If you ask NFL inside Steve Wyche, Terry Fontenot and Raheem Morris hope to mortgage some of their assets to move up the board and select one of the top signal callers in the draft. I think I speak for just about everyone when I say that should be the #1 option, but it’s an option that may not be available if the top three teams hang onto their picks and take a quarterback themselves.

If that happens, the Falcons may have to pivot to free agency or potentially a trade. Justin Fields has been connected to Atlanta for months because of his hometown roots, and NBC Sports Chicago recently reported that the Falcons have even had conversations with the Bears surrounding Fields. How deep those discussions got is unknown at this point, but the Falcons are at least completing due diligence on the Harrison High School product.

On the free agent market, there are two names above the rest. Kirk Cousins is the best option available, even coming off an Achilles injury, but the Vikings have made it clear they will do everything in their power to retain him. That leaves Baker Mayfield as the next best option. It was announced earlier this week that the Bucs will not use the franchise tag on the former #1 overall pick, allowing him to test the open waters of free agency.

Like Minnesota, I see Tampa Bay doing everything they can to keep Mayfield, but money talks in this league, and Steve Wyche sees Mayfield as an “excellent” fit in Atlanta.

“If he’s available the first day of free agency I could see Atlanta being players on Baker Mayfield. He played in a system like Zac Robinson’s remember when he came to LA and he was really good. I mean he came in with four or five games left, started on a week’s worth of practice and was really good, and I think what Dave Canales did with him down in Tampa last year his confidence now is probably where it should be, so I think Baker Mayfield would actually be an excellent fit.” Wyche told 92.9 The Game. 

Mayfield is coming off a career year after signing a prove-it deal with the Bucs, tossing for over 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns as he led Tampa Bay to the playoffs and a win over the Eagles in the Wild Card round. Had the Falcons gone out and signed him instead of Taylor Heinicke last offseason, it’s likely Arthur Smith is still the head coach in Atlanta. He’s a much better fit on paper in Zac Robinson’s offense than a quarterback like Justin Fields and would cost no draft assets to acquire. He is also still just 29-years-old, so he could actually end up being a long-term fit if it works out, unlike Kirk Cousins, who is approaching 40.

Mayfield got a little bit of a bad wrap early on in his career after being drafted #1 overall, but he flipped that narrative on its head with the Bucs. He’s easy to rally around, is beaming with confidence, and even has a relationship with offensive coordinator Zac Robinson from their days with the Los Angeles Rams. If the Bucs don’t give him the multi-year offer he desires, the Falcons are a sneaky good landing spot for Mayfield, who would instantly make them favorites in a weak NFC South.

Photographer: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

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