Can LA Rams new QB Baker Mayfield lead team rest of the way?

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NFL salary cap projections for a top rookie quarterbacks

The NFL salary cap projections for a 2023 rookie who is selected among the Top 10 of the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft remain incredibly lucrative.  That range in total contract value (per runs from just under $22 million to a top value of $40 million. On a per-year basis, that translates into $4 million per year up to $7.25 million per year. Those are the salaries of rookie quarterbacks who may or may not pan out in the NFL. And those contracts come from a cookie-cutter approach, set for a four-year duration and with preset guaranteed money.

Now, how does QB Baker Mayfield stack up to all of that? While his overall record is 30-35 (and no win credited to him with the LA Rams because he did not start that game), he has a pretty good resume for a team in need of an NFL starter.

Mayfield has completed 1,326 passes out of 2,165 attempts (61.2 percent completion rate) for 15,668 yards, 99 touchdowns, and 62 interceptions. And with four more games remaining on the LA Rams schedule, those numbers could improve quite dramatically. But there is more to consider.

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Will Mayfield be back? Don’t count on it

Baker Mayfield is playing behind a bad offensive line, throwing to inexperienced receivers (for the most part), and handing off to you and somewhat ineffective running backs. All of those characteristics align with many of the worst quarterback-needy teams who have a chance to select a quarterback among the Top-10 picks of the upcoming NFL Draft.

The LA Rams offense, by virtue of so many injuries, is simulating almost identical conditions that a new quarterback will face on a rebuilding team in the 2023 NFL season. While other NFL free agent quarterback options like Gardner Minshew or Drew Lock will pique interest from NFL teams, both have the opportunity to compete in far more ideal conditions than those Mayfield will play under for the duration of this season.

We cited reasons before in an earlier article as to why Baker Mayfield may have already played himself out of the budget that the LA Rams have for a backup quarterback. This team has spent less than $900,000 on each of their two backup quarterbacks this season, and the team has committed so many dollars to the elite players on the roster, that there are no identifiable funds to suddenly invest more into a backup quarterback position in 2023.

Mayfield’s stock is already skyrocketing

Mayfield has impressed the entire NFL already and has four more games, three of which are slated to be viewed by the nationwide NFL audience. If Mayfield replicates his performance again, even if just once, the demand for his presence on NFL rosters could skyrocket this offseason. And as we have learned, the LA Rams lose bidding wars for popular free agents.

No matter how this turns out, the Rams organization benefits from the outcome. If Mayfield wins, the Rams finish the season with momentum and will likely be awarded a valuable compensatory pick for the 2024 NFL Draft. If Mayfield loses, he could be affordable to re-sign with the LA Rams, filling an immediate backup quarterback need. Meanwhile, the Rams’ 2023 NFL Draft picks appreciate in value.

Win-win. That’s why I love and appreciate LA Rams GM Les Snead. No matter what happens next, the Rams will benefit.

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