Rams’ Baker Mayfield Now Listed as Possible Backup to Former MVP

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield of the Los Angeles Rams.

When Baker Mayfield enters free agency on March 15, he is expected to be among the top 10 free agent quarterbacks, able to land a starting job on several teams.

However, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic isn’t ruling out the possibility that Mayfield signs a deal to be the backup quarterback to Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens.

“I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss a potential Ravens-Mayfield pairing. I’d fully expect Mayfield to sign somewhere that gives him the best opportunity to be the Week 1 starter,” Zrebiec wrote in a February 13 story. “Maybe that’s staying with the Rams if there are questions about Matthew Stafford’s health. But if there’s not a decent starting opportunity available to him, the Ravens would represent a soft landing spot.”

He wrote that the Ravens will need a “contingency plan” — a backup with ample experience as a starter — in the event that Jackson, a former league MVP, sits out of all offseason activities (“and possibly all, if not most, of training camp,” Zrebiec wrote) if the Ravens place the franchise tag on Jackson while they continue to negotiate a contract extension.

Why Writer Wouldn’t ‘Dismiss’ Mayfield-to-Ravens Possibility

Per Zrebiec, the Ravens have expressed interest in Mayfield before.

“It’s well-documented that the Ravens liked Mayfield coming out of the draft. He has a good relationship with [Lamar] Jackson and he’s close with [former Oklahoma teammate] tight end Mark Andrews,” Zrebiec wrote.

The latter Raven gives additional leverage for a possible Ravens signing of Mayfield. Yet, a recent interaction captured by Zrebiec further points to the Ravens becoming a possible suitor.

“Ravens decision-makers have always liked and respected Mayfield. When the Ravens faced Mayfield and the Carolina Panthers in 2022, [Ravens majority owner Steve] Bisciotti jogged to the Panthers’ side of the field to hug Mayfield in pregame warmups. I’m not sure I’ve seen that before with a player that hadn’t already played for the Ravens and had a previous relationship with the owner. A lot would have to happen for it to become a reality, but it does make some sense on the surface.”

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported on February 13 that the New Orleans Saints now be targeting Mayfield in free agency.

“The Saints staff was high on Mayfield ahead of the 2018 draft, and those old draft evals can definitely have an impact down the road with guys as they get older and hit free agency, especially when there’s a need that can be tied to it,” Greer wrote.

Mayfield During AFC North Days

There would obviously be some familiarity with the AFC North environment for Mayfield if he were to head that direction.

That was also the area where he tasted his early NFL success before his trade from the Cleveland Browns.

He got Cleveland to snap its 18-game losing streak on September 20, 2018 against the New York Jets by throwing for 201 yards and leading the Browns to the 21-17 win. Mayfield’s first career 3,000-yard season was with Cleveland — and later became a string of four straight seasons of surpassing 3,000 yards. The last time he threw for more than 20 touchdowns was when he was facing AFC North competition as well.

Perhaps Mayfield will want another stay in L.A. as it’ll prevent him from suiting up for his fourth team since the July 2022 trade. Plus it’ll give him an offense that had similar protection schemes that he had with the Browns, which he explained to the L.A. media after his Rams debut on December 4, 2022.

But Baltimore presents a strong possibility for a return to the AFC North if there’s sudden changes in the QB room.

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