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Buccaneers' Jason Licht and Mike Evans Discuss Baker Mayfield's Free Agency Status

Both Evans and Licht reiterated that they wanted Mayfield back in a Buccaneers uniform for 2024 and beyond.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht took care of what was possibly his biggest free agency roadblock, officially re-signing Tampa Bay legend Mike Evans to a two-year, $52 million deal on Friday. There are still a few things left to take care of, though, and a big one is at the quarterback position. 

QB Baker Mayfield signed a one-year prove-it deal in 2023, but after one of the best campaigns of his career, he's looking to get a bag in free agency. The team understands this, and there is mutual interest on both sides — and despite being fairly confident in Mayfield's return it's not a guarantee. Both Licht and Evans talked about Mayfield's status in their press conference Friday, and they both had a lot to say about the veteran signal-caller. 

"Me and Baker, we played one season together. I feel like we can build on what we did last year, so hopefully, we can get him back. He's a hell of a player... they're going to handle their process, and I trust Jason and the front office, no matter what happens."

It will indeed be Jason Licht's responsibility to bring Mayfield back. The good news is that he seems fairly confident that the deal will get done, and he seemed to lump that confidence in with some other high-profile free agents the Bucs are looking to re-sign this offseason as well.

"I'm a confident person in general," Licht said Friday. "I'm confident that we're going to be putting our best foot forward. We'll have more pieces, I can assure you that.

Evans is confident, too. But that being said, he also supports Mayfield making the best decision for himself — even if that decision isn't with Tampa Bay. 

"I'm extremely confident," Evans said. "I'm not 100 percent, but he played really great for us last year. The city took him in, the players loved him. Hopefully, we get him back, but he should do what's best for him."

Evans also mentioned that knowing what the plan was going forward at quarterback was an important part of his decision to stay in Tampa Bay, and it's safe to say that he's a fan of Mayfield's. At the presser, Evans was asked about a story that came out earlier in the week that Evans wanted to play with an elite quarterback. 

When he was asked if Mayfield was a quarterback he would consider elite, he didn't hesitate to answer.

"Absolutely," Evans said. "Me and Baker, we have a really good connection. I think he's an elite quarterback."

You can follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells.

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