Short-Handed LA Rams Claim Baker Mayfield Off Waivers

Posted on: December 7, 2022, 09:21h. 

Last updated on: December 7, 2022, 10:32h.

The Los Angeles Rams were the only team to claim quarterback Baker Mayfield off waivers. That’s after the Carolina Panthers cut the former #1 pick in the NFL Draft on Monday.

Baker Mayfield LA Rams Waivers Quarterback Panthers
Quarterback Baker Mayfield, seen here playing in his last start with the Carolina Panthers, drops back for a pass against the Baltimore Ravens. (Image: Nick Wass/AP)

Mayfield will earn $1.35 million this season, and the Rams are on the hook for the remainder of his contract.

The Rams are 3-9 this season and in the middle of a six-game losing streak. They recently sent starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to the IR. The Rams won the Super Bowl last season, but won’t even qualify for this year’s postseason. Their last five games are somewhat meaningless.

It’s about acquiring talent,” Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen said about Mayfield. “Just getting somebody in here that we can continue to develop some competitive nature within the room.”

The San Francisco 49ers lost starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a foot injury on Sunday. But they weren’t interested in putting in a waiver claim for Mayfield.

The 49ers got a bit of good news on Tuesday when they discovered that Garoppolo didn’t suffer a Lisfranc foot fracture, so he could potentially return to the team in the postseason. The 49ers originally feared the worst, which would require season-ending foot surgery. Even with Garoppolo sidelined, the 49ers were confident in rookie backup Brock Purdy under center.

Hollywood Hangover

Champions typically experience a Super Bowl hangover in the first month or two. But the Rams saw their hangover last an entire season. Hollywood loves to gamble on a sequel, but there’s no Super Bowl sequel for the Rams this season.

Fans were concerned as early as the preseason when word got out that Stafford had an elbow injury. With a sub-optimal Stafford playing through the pain, the offense suffered at the start of the season, averaging 9.7 points per game in three losses. A nonexistent running game, however, proved to be their biggest problem on a long list of offensive woes, which included a subpar offensive line.

During the first half of the season, the Rams’ offense relied heavily on wide receiver Cooper Kupp. The Super Bowl MVP signed an $80 million contract extension in the off-season, and as bad as the Rams played, Kupp was clearly their top offensive weapon.

Kupp suffered an ankle injury in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10. With their postseason hopes quickly dashed, the Rams decided to shut Kupp down for the rest of the season.

The Rams also lost their top defensive star to an injury. Edge rusher Aaron Donald missed last week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks with a high ankle sprain. Donald had been an iron man during his entire career with the Rams.

Prior to last Sunday, Donald never missed a game because of an injury. He sat out a season opener in 2017 because of a contract dispute, and the Rams rested him in a meaningless Week 17 game at the end of that season so he could remain fresh for the playoffs.

McVay Shuffling the (Thin) QB Deck

Stafford battled multiple concussions in a season in which the NFL has been extremely strict with health and safety protocols. The Rams placed Stafford on the IR with a spinal cord contusion after he had two concussions within a three-week span. Although he’ll be eligible to return in late December, the Rams will probably keep him out for the remainder of the season.

Head coach Sean McVay gave both of his backup quarterbacks a shot. Bryce Perkins demonstrated some flashes of excellence, but John Wofford had experience and was a better game manager. Neither was able to end the Rams’ losing streak.

Wofford was listed on this week’s injury report with a sore neck, but McVay didn’t name a starter in Week 14. It’s unclear if Mayfield will get any playing time with the Rams after he quickly learns the playbook.

The Rams have a quick turnaround on a short week. They host the Las Vegas Raiders (5-7) on Thursday Night Football.

A reporter asked McVay if Mayfield could play against the Raiders.

There’s a shot,” said McVay.

The Rams are a +6 home dog against the Raiders, who used to play in Los Angeles and have a legion of fans in Southern California. As a result, SoFi Stadium should sound more like a home game for the Raiders, especially with so many fare-weather LA fans jumping off the Rams’ bandwagon.

If Mayfield doesn’t start against the Raiders, he’ll have four more chances to suit up for the Rams. The Rams have three more road games against the Green Bay Packers (Week 15), LA Chargers (Week 17), and Seattle Seahawks (Week 18). The Rams host their final home game of the season in Week 16 against the Denver Broncos on Christmas.