NFL Free Agency Rumors: Could the Patriots or Vikings Try to Sign Baker Mayfield?

The New England Patriots need a new QB, and they reportedly are interested in free agent Baker Mayfield. But what about Kirk Cousins?

Could the New England Patriots be Baker Mayfield’s fifth team in four seasons?

Such an outcome feels unlikely. However, a new report indicates the Patriots at least have some level of interest in Mayfield, who’s set to hit free agency on March 13.

How the Patriots Reportedly Feel About Baker Mayfield

Mayfield is coming off a breakout season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom he led to the second round of the NFL playoffs. The 28-year-old set himself up for a major payday, completing 64.3% of his passes for 4,044 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 10 interceptions.

And the quarterback-needy Patriots are interested, according to Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald.

“Mayfield has supporters from within the Patriots organization, per sources, but there are some impediments to signing him,” Kyed wrote Friday. “It’s not a surprise that Mayfield is liked by members of the staff.

“He was drafted by a front office that included current Patriots de facto general manager Eliot Wolf and coached by offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and quarterbacks coach T.C. McCartney with the Browns. Patriots senior personnel advisor Pat Stewart and senior offensive assistant Ben McAdoo spent time with Mayfield with the Panthers, as well.”

Ultimately, the expectation is that Mayfield will be back in Tampa next season.

“League sources expect Mayfield to return to Tampa Bay, provided his free-agent salary demands — which could exceed $40 million annually — don’t price the Buccaneers out,” Kyed and Herald colleague Andrew Callahan reported on Thursday.

What About Kirk Cousins?

Kirk Cousins arguably is the top quarterback set to hit free agency. But the veteran signal-caller also will turn 36 in August and is coming off a torn Achilles.

The Minnesota Vikings reportedly are intent on re-signing Cousins. Plus, Cousins probably isn’t a good fit for New England.

“The Patriots have not yet shown interest in Cousins, per sources,” Kyed wrote. “The Vikings free agent … is likely to sign for even more money than Mayfield.”

Before suffering his injury, Cousins completed 69.5% of his passes for 2,331 yards and 18 touchdowns to go along with five interceptions in eight games.

New England Owns the No. 3 Pick in the 2024 NFL Draft

The Patriots likely will field trade offers for the third overall pick. But multiple reports indicate they’ll use the pick to select their next franchise quarterback.

“The Patriots really want to draft a quarterback with the No. 3 pick,” The Athletic’s Jeff Howe wrote Thursday. “The front office wrapped up its pre-free-agency meetings a week ago and seems to be on the same page that the best way to jump-start this rebuild and yield long-term success is to find a young quarterback in the NFL Draft to build around.”

Mark Daniels of MassLive painted a similar picture.

“According to multiple sources, the Patriots are planning to draft a quarterback with the No. 3 pick,” wrote Daniels, who added New England also prefers to sign a veteran backup eager to help a rookie QB.

However, it’s worth noting that Kyed and Callahan reported some of the Patriots’ top decision-makers might not be on the same page.

“That plan is news to multiple high-ranking personnel evaluators within the team,” Kyed and Callahan wrote of the MassLive and Athletic reports. “According to sources, such a decision has not been communicated throughout the Patriots’ front office.

KEEP READING: NFL Draft Rumors: Report Reveals Patriots’ Plans for No. 3 Pick, Mac Jones Trade

“Director of scouting Eliot Wolf recently led pre-Combine meetings where scouts deliberated drafting a quarterback at No. 3, sources said.”

The consensus around the league is the top three picks will be used on USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye, and LSU’s Jayden Daniels — in some order. The Patriots met with all three prospects this week at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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