3 most surprising quarterback projections from ESPN's offseason predictions

As always, it figures to be a wild offseason for NFL QBs this year.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Nic Antaya/GettyImages
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1. Baker Mayfield getting (close to) $100 million

Mayfield's an unrestricted free agent this year, and after a stellar season in Tampa put him back on the map, here's what ESPN thinks will happen:

"Using Geno Smith's deal from last offseason as a template but factoring in some cap inflation, I'm doing three years and $80 million with escalators that can bolster the contract up over $100 million. Mayfield will be 29 years old when next season kicks off (Smith signed his new deal last year at age 32), has two playoff wins under his belt and threw for 4,000 yards this past season."

That is ... a ton of money. A ton of money. And maybe that's more or less the going rate for free agent QBs that have playoff wins under their belts these days, but still – that's a ton of money. The years make more sense: at 29, there's no reason to believe his production is going to fall off a cliff anytime soon, but three years is a nice safeguard just in case they do. The deal also allows the Bucs to retain All-Pro wide receiver Mike Evans on the franchise tag, which feels just as, if not more, important to running 2023 back.