Polarizing Former No. 1 Pick QB Pegged as ‘Name to Watch’ for Raiders: Insider

josh mcdaniels

Getty Josh McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Las Vegas Raiders have already struck out on Tom Brady and there’s a good chance there’ll strike out on Aaron Rodgers, as well. Even if the team decides to draft a quarterback, there’ll want at least one veteran with starting experience on the roster. Jarrett Stidham played well for the team over the final two games and he could get a look.

Head coach Josh McDaniels may want to take a chance on somebody with a bit more upside. According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, McDaniels was high on Baker Mayfield prior to the 2018 NFL Draft. He even held a workout with the quarterback that was kept under wraps. Florio believes that the Raiders could be a dark horse candidate to sign the former No. 1 draft pick.

“There’s one more name to watch. Just before the 2018 draft, McDaniels held a hush-hush workout with Baker Mayfield,” Florio wrote. “The Patriots liked him; they just weren’t in position to get him. Mayfield will be a free agent next month, and McDaniels personally witnessed what Mayfield was able to do with limited preparation on a Thursday night, when Mayfield erased a 16-3 deficit to beat the Raiders.”

Is Adding Mayfield a Good Idea?

Mayfield has become quite the polarizing player in his young career. He led the Cleveland Browns to their first playoff win since 1994 only to be cast aside for Deshaun Watson a year later. There was a time when he looked like the next great young quarterback but he’s been on three different teams in less than a year.

Mayfield started out the year with the Carolina Panthers but eventually lost his starting job before getting cut. He moved on to the Los Angeles Rams and led them to a come-from-behind win over the Raiders on Thursday Night Football. That ended up being his only win in Los Angeles. He’s now going to get his first shot to test free agency and can find a team that better fits his skill set and personality. That might not be the Raiders. McDaniels wants a smart quarterback who can stick to his playcalling. Mayfield is at his best when he can be a gunslinger. Adding him to be a bridge quarterback or a backup could be a smart move but the Raiders certainly shouldn’t add him in hopes that he’ll develop into a franchise quarterback.

Jarrett Stidham or Mayfield?

If the Raiders want to go the bridge quarterback route, they already have an option that was with the team. Jarrett Stidham acquitted himself well in two starts following the benching of Derek Carr. He’s a free agent but it wouldn’t cost much to bring him back. He knows McDaniels’ system well and he’s got the physical traits to justify taking a chance on him.

Mayfield has started 69 games, which is much more than the two that Stidham has started. He was a Heisman Trophy winner in college and the No. 1 pick for a reason. There were also times with the Browns when he looked like a franchise quarterback. Perhaps going to the right situation would unlock his true potential. However, he’s been known to cause headaches and hasn’t always been well-liked in the locker room. That’s a risky player to have if he’s not making an impact on the field. McDaniels may prefer going with Stidham due to his understanding of the playbook and he knows that the quarterback isn’t going to cause headaches off the field.

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