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Buccaneers’ Baker Mayfield Cashes In On $250K Bonus in Eagles Upset

HomeSports NewsBuccaneers' Baker Mayfield Cashes In On $250K Bonus in Eagles Upset

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers shocked the NFL world on Monday night, throttling the heavily favored Philadelphia Eagles 32-9 in the NFC Wild Card round. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Bucs’ midseason castoff acquisition, notched a $250,000 incentive bonus with the upset victory.

Mayfield’s Incentive-Laden Deal Paying Off

When Tampa Bay signed Mayfield to a one-year, $4 million contract in December, the deal contained numerous incentives tied to Mayfield’s playing time, production, and team success. Having met several benchmarks already, the veteran QB has raked in over $1.5 million in extra income above his base salary.

Monday’s playoff triumph triggered a $250,000 bonus, rewarding Mayfield for helping lead the Bucs to their first postseason win since their 2021 Super Bowl campaign. With his late-season resurgence, Mayfield has earned every penny and then some.

From Dismal Depth Chart to Postseason Hero

The Buccaneers entered this season with lofty expectations after returning the core of their championship roster. But their passing game crumbled as aging quarterback Tom Brady finally showed signs of decline. After getting off to a lackluster 3-5 start, Tampa dismissed head coach Todd Bowles.

Still, the Bucs languished at 6-10 when Bowles inserted Mayfield into the lineup in Week 14. The former No. 1 overall pick delivered a much-needed spark, going 5-2 down the stretch to sneak into the playoffs. Along the way, he compiled over 1,700 passing yards and 10 touchdowns.

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With the franchise’s first playoff home win since their Super Bowl season, Mayfield is etching himself into Tampa Bay lore. Not bad for a player nobody else wanted mere months ago.

Exiled by Browns, Panthers, before Bucs Took a Flier

Mayfield’s road to redemption in Tampa Bay was anything but certain. The quarterback became expendable in Cleveland last season after the team acquired controversial star Deshaun Watson. The Browns shipped Mayfield to Carolina, but the rebuilding Panthers released him after just seven ineffective appearances.

Briefly signed by the Los Angeles Rams as injury insurance, Mayfield requested his release to seek a starting opportunity elsewhere. The playoff-hopeful Buccaneers took a low-risk flier on Mayfield in December, and the move has paid enormous dividends.

With his late-season breakout, Mayfield has likely priced himself out of returning to Tampa on another one-year deal. But his arrival solved the Buccaneers’ immediate quarterback quandary.

Dominant Performance Fuels Upset over Eagles

Given Tampa’s uninspiring track record and Philadelphia’s NFC East title, Monday’s playoff tilt shaped up as a mismatch. However, Mayfield exploded out of the gates, leading the Bucs to an early 9-0 advantage.

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While the team’s suffocating defense rendered Eagles QB Jalen Hurts ineffective, Mayfield never let up. He routinely carved up Philadelphia’s leaky secondary, finishing with 302 passing yards and 3 touchdowns without a turnover.

Two scoring strikes went to emerging wideout Jaelon Darden, while Mayfield’s third TD toss came on a pinpoint deep ball to Mike Evans. On all three plays, Mayfield displayed the quick decision-making and accuracy that escaped him in Carolina.

Behind Mayfield’s precision passing, the Bucs dominated time of possession and never trailed. The final score failed to indicate just how thoroughly Tampa Bay outclassed the NFC’s top seed.

Bucs Face imposing Divisional Matchup at Dallas

With the playoff monkey off their backs, can the Buccaneers author another postseason run? It won’t come easy, as Tampa must travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys in the Divisional Round.

Dallas boasts a fierce defense that will test Mayfield unlike any opponent this season. And if Mayfield withstands that pressure, emerging Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott presents another hurdle on the opposing sideline.

Ultimately, the Bucs will need another balanced effort with takeaways from the defense and a strong ground game supporting Mayfield through the air. But with his play elevating Tampa’s offense, Mayfield at least gives his team more than a puncher’s chance at a monumental upset.

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Playoff Success Boosts Mayfield’s Free Agent Value

Win or lose in Dallas, Mayfield has likely priced himself into a long-term contract this offseason. The Buccaneers would surely love to retain the quarterback who helped right their wayward season.

Spotrac projects Mayfield’s next deal at 4 years, $65 million. But with his rejuvenated production since donning a Bucs jersey, that may underestimate the QB’s true market value. This postseason run could potentially push Mayfield’s next contract over $20 million per year.

Of course, cap-strapped Tampa must weigh Mayfield’s cost against other roster needs and an aging core. The front office may also ponder acquiring a higher-upside quarterback through the draft. But at just 28 years old, Mayfield appears to have plenty of good football ahead if he can maintain this play.

After reviving both his career and the Bucs’ season, Mayfield has become invaluable in Tampa Bay. Monday’s playoff victory underscores the shrewd, season-saving acquisition of the formerly discarded quarterback.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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