A current QB who plays in the NFC South might be a near-perfect solution in the post-Russell Wilson era for Sean Payton and the Denver Broncos. And when you look into this possibility considering Sean Payton, it makes a ton of sense. Not only would this be a move that isn't as financially straining as Wilson's current contract, but the QB might actually be better than Wilson at this stage in their respective careers.
Controversial quarterback and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller Baker Mayfield is having a very strong year for Tampa and could be in line for a halfway-decent payday. In fact, Mayfield might even be having a better year than Russell Wilson. And then when you consider this, I think the scenario of Mayfield heading to Denver makes a ton of sense:
When you compare the production of Mayfield and Wilson in 2023, it's nearly identical. Wilson's completion percentage is slightly higher, but the QBs have the same record, the same amount of passing touchdowns and interceptions. Russell Wilson's passer rating is 97.5, while Mayfield's is 94.7. Mayfield has 3,315 passing yards to Wilson's 2,832. When you consider that each QBs leads the other in certain categories, both passers are about even this year in terms of production.
Baker Mayfield is also going to be significantly cheaper than Wilson and is just 28 years old, while Wilson recently turned 35. So, not only was Sean Payton a huge fan of Mayfield at one point, he likely still is and is probably already looking to see who he could replace Russell Wilson with. Mayfield isn't a slouch, either. He's won a playoff game and nearly led his Cleveland Browns team to a divisional round upset over the Kansas City Chiefs a few years ago.
Baker Mayfield also profiles closer to Drew Brees than Russell Wilson does, and I think Payton would also see that as a huge plus. Mayfield is currently playing on a one-year, $4 million deal. Even when he likely demands a richer contract from someone, it probably won't be over $20 million per season. Mayfield would give the Denver Broncos a fairly high ceiling at the position, would buy Denver some time in finding a franchise passer, and has legitimate production in the NFL, so this isn't just banking on a QB to finally put it all together.
I truly would not be shocked to see Baker Mayfield in Denver next year.
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