Baker Mayfield is on the move again. The former first-overall pick was traded to the Carolina Panthers in July and recently requested that the 4-8 team waive the quarterback so he can get an opportunity to earn playing time elsewhere. That opportunity came on Tuesday when the Los Angeles Rams picked up his $1.35 million salary and added him to their active roster.
The Rams recently placed their preferred starting quarterback Matthew Stafford on the injured reserve for a spinal cord contusion injury that will end his 2022 season. In place of Stafford, Los Angeles backups John Wolford and Bryce Perkins have gone 0-3 in their three starts and posted 57 completions on 96 passes for 551 yards (5.7 yards per pass), two touchdowns and five interceptions. Among the 52 NFL quarterbacks this season with 30 or more pass attempts, Perkins ranks 52nd in Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt while Wolford ranks 47th.
Mayfield has started six games for the Panthers this season and hasn’t faired much better in 2022, but he has recorded 30 career wins over his NFL career. There’s a chance that another change of scenery could bring up Mayfield’s stats and it’s almost certain that he’ll be the most talented quarterback in the Rams’ quarterback room from the moment he sets foot in the building.
The fact that Los Angeles claimed him impacts the Green Bay Packers’ playoff perspective, too. It’s worth noting here that the San Francisco 49ers desperately need a quarterback after both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo went down with season-ending injuries this year. Currently, the 49ers are now relying on rookie Brock Purdy, the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, to push them into the postseason.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mayfield won’t practice with the Rams until Wednesday but may play on Thursday Night Football against the Las Vegas Raiders this week. That’s worth monitoring, as the Packers get Mayfield’s Rams after Green Bay’s Week 14 bye. Based on FiveThirtyEight’s playoff model, Green Bay’s playoff odds essentially drop down to 0 percent if they lose to Los Angels on Monday Night Football in two weeks. Depending on which version of Mayfield we end up seeing in that matchup, backup quarterback Jordan Love could be starting on Christmas Day.