The LA Rams discovered that young quarterback Baker Mayfield can play football well enough to win some games. But after a miraculous debut for the Rams, and a Christmas Classic butt-kicking of the Denver Broncos, Mayfield proved to be what his detractors had said all along. He can make some throws, but not all of them with any certain level of accuracy. He can manage the games, but in the LA Rams offense, the emphasis was more along the lines of a rushing attack than a prolific passing attack.
In the end, Mayfield played in five games for the LA Rams, for a total of 277 offensive snaps. He completed 82 of 129 passes for 850 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. It wasn’t a great showing, nor was it a bad showing. It was a solid showing for an NFL backup quarterback. The only trouble is, Baker Mayfield insists that he is an NFL starter.
Trouble, because the projected 2023 NFL Free Agency market appears to have some heavy hitters looking for new teams. Both quarterback Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo are due to test the market this year.
Raiders and other NFL teams will be shopping for a QB
The Las Vegas Raiders are just one team projected to shop the 2023 NFL Free Agency market for a new quarterback.
But this market is not filled with starting quarterbacks. The greatest competition for Mayfield will come from second-tier quarterbacks like Sam Darnold, Gardner Minshew, Nick Mullens, and others who have shown the ability to start in the NFL, but who won’t scoff at a backup quarterback role until his time comes.
I don’t know if that can be said of Baker Mayfield right now.
Ideally, Mayfield’s market is with a team that is drafting a franchise quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, but who needs an adequate veteran on the roster to start the season until the rookie is ready to take over. That is not the role that the LA Rams roster has for Baker Mayfield, which is why the Rams cannot count on extending Mayfield into 2023 or beyond.
How will the LA Rams address their backup QB position? If Mayfield lands a valuable contract, the Rams will have a chance at being awarded a valuable compensatory draft pick in 2024. But will it be worth the uncertainty of who backs up starting quarterback Matthew Stafford on the LA Rams roster?
The LA Rams will undoubtedly think the answer to that question is: yes.