The Dallas Cowboys will be in the market for a reliable backup quarterback this offseason and former top overall pick Baker Mayfield has been pitched as an option.
Mayfield has had a difficult few years. He was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 by Cleveland, but after some up-and-down seasons, the Browns decided to go in a different direction, trading for Deshaun Watson and shipping Mayfield to Carolina. He didn’t fare well with the Panthers, eventually leading to his release.
Mayfield moved on to the Los Angeles Rams to fill in for an injured Matthew Stafford and proved he’s still a capable option in the right situation. Los Angeles went just 2-3 with Mayfield at the helm, with the former Heisman winner passing for 850 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. The highlight for Mayfield was his first appearance, where he led the Rams to a thrilling victory against the Las Vegas Raiders just days after signing.
Mayfield was pitched as an option for the Cowboys by Rocky Garza Jr. of Inside the Star, who pointed out that he could both provide an experienced arm behind Dak Prescott and perhaps provide some competition.
“Now a free agent, Mayfield will be looking for a new home, and you can bet he’s hoping it’s a starting gig somewhere. But would he start here in Dallas? Who knows. And to clarify, I’m not trying to stir up a QB controversy. But a Mayfield addition would not only make the QB room stronger. It would add some competition under Prescott,” Garza wrote. “Plus, he’s two years younger than Rush, and I feel better about Mayfield out there on the field if something were to happen to Prescott. Oh, and I almost forgot, there could be a chance that a Mayfield-CeeDee Lamb reunion occurs.”
Baker Mayfield Feels He’s Still a Starter
Mayfield’s career was hanging by a thread after he left Carolina but there’s a chance a team would take a shot on him after his stint with the Rams.
“I know I’m a starting quarterback,” Mayfield said on January 9. “I’m confident in that, and we’ll just see what happens.”
That being said, the idea of him threatening Prescott on the Cowboys depth chart is a little farfetched. While Prescott struggled with turnovers last season, he’s still among the more talented options in the league. Prescott passed for 2,860 yards, 23 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 12 starts last season and Dallas is all in on him being the future.
“Dak is going to be our guy for, hopefully the next 10 years,” Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said in early February. “You say that’s a long time because he’s already played seven. But I think Dak will play that long because he takes care of himself, and he’s driven to be great. We fully expect him to be here for 10 years.”
Cooper Rush Likely to Explore Starting Opportunities
The Cowboys were fortunate to have Cooper Rush available last season when Prescott missed five games with a thumb injury. The journeyman QB stepped up, going 4-1 in those starts, passing for 1,051 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions — all of those picks coming against the Philadelphia Eagles in his final start.
It’d be ideal for the Cowboys if Rush decided to stick around but it sounds like Rush is ready to explore his options with his stock at an all-time high.
“It will be exciting and we’ll see what happens,” Rush told Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. “I’ve never been a free agent before and we’ll see what happens. It’s uncharted territory we’ll get there when we get there.”
If the Cowboys don’t look to free agency to fill the void at backup QB, it’d likely be former third-round pick Will Grier filling the role.