5. Baker Mayfield (free agent, Buccaneers)
I almost didn't include Baker Mayfield on this list because I think it's obvious that he's not exactly a "reclamation" project at this point. Mayfield finished third in the NFL Comeback Player of the Year voting in 2023 after a tremendous year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At this time last year, Mayfield was considered basically a bust. He finished out the 2022 season with the Los Angeles Rams where he looked much better under Sean McVay, and he parlayed that strong finish into a starting opportunity with Dave Canales and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense in 2023.
The way Mayfield played in 2023 wasn't lost on Sean Payton, and there could be a great opportunity for the Broncos to jump at the chance to sign the former #1 overall pick this offseason if he hits free agency. Mayfield could work well in Sean Payton's offense and perhaps he's proven after what we saw with Tampa Bay that he can be a viable option in the long term as opposed to just a year-to-year proposition.
What Mayfield has shown over the course of his NFL career is pretty remarkable, when you think about it. He came to a broken Cleveland Browns organization and helped lead them to the postseason. He picked up Sean McVay's offense in a few days and nearly hung 60 points on the Denver Broncos last Christmas. He took Tom Brady's chair in Tampa Bay and helped the Bucs dethrone the reigning NFC Champs in the playoffs.
I would love to see Mayfield work with Sean Payton, and I think Mayfield has the exact type of mental toughness, leadership ability, and ability to adapt that could make him a perfect fit.