Baker Mayfield Sounds Off on His 2023 Status With the Rams

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield during the Rams' December 25, 2022 home win over Denver.

Baker Mayfield has won over the Los Angeles Rams the last three games by snapping their losing streak and helping give the franchise their most dominating performance this season against the Denver Broncos on Christmas Day.

But how long will he be a Ram? Especially since he has this title after the season: Unrestricted free agent.

Mayfield addressed his future with the L.A. media on Wednesday, December 29 and included how much thought he has put into where he’ll be in 2023.

“I’m a free agent after this, so I really haven’t given it much thought, to be honest with you,” Mayfield said to the reporters inside the Rams’ locker room in Thousand Oaks. “Just trying to roll with one day at a time. We’ll see. Should be interesting, but all that doesn’t start till March anyway, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Here’s where Mayfield’s real focus lies.

“[Just] continuing the improvement and being comfortable in the system and just showcasing my abilities and just the ability to lead,” Mayfield said.

How Much Intrigue Could Mayfield Draw in Free Agent Cycle?

When the Rams claimed the former No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 draft off waivers on December 6 from the Carolina Panthers, the Rams represented the only team to place a claim on the embattled QB who was now on his third NFL team in 2022.

But the new question becomes: How much intrigue could Mayfield draw through the upcoming free agency cycle set for March 15, 2023?

Mayfield could resurface as an appealing name for a QB-needy team. Perhaps there’s an NFL team re-evaluating their options behind center once the season wraps up. However, it appears one is already in that exact thought process in Las Vegas.

The Raiders announced that longtime franchise quarterback Derek Carr was benched in favor for fourth-year backup Jarrett Stidham for their upcoming home contest against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, many across the NFL landscape have begun to wonder if Carr becomes a trade candidate for the upcoming offseason. Given Mayfield’s persona, his attitude can fit at a place known for utilizing polarizing personalities. And if Mayfield continues his trajectory with the Rams, he could look appealing elsewhere…especially in the Silver and Black. But this move only happens if: The Raiders do indeed move on from the player they drafted in the second round in 2014 and recently awarded with a three-year, $121.5 million deal, plus Mayfield can possibly come over if the Rams opt to not retain him.

The New Orleans Saints are another facing a quarterback conundrum. Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston don’t appear to be the long term answers there and the former is a UFA in 2023. The Saints recently thrived with 6-foot tall QB in Drew Brees. Perhaps they bring in someone with a similar stature in Mayfield.

If there is one more spot that may be worth a look if Mayfield wants to be a starter, there is Indianapolis. The Colts have developed this streak of bringing in past veterans like Phillip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan. All three, however, had truncated tenures in Indy. Dependent on who the Colts lure in as full-time head coach over interim Jeff Saturday, the franchise could turn to the draft instead with names like Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson projected to be taken in the first round.

How the Rams May be Able to Keep Mayfield

For Ram fans who hope Mayfield stays even as a UFA, there’s workable elements that could make it happen.

Perhaps Mayfield doesn’t command a high market for 2023. That can give the Rams leverage to hand him a one-year deal to stick around. Although, the Rams are set to have $1,772,534 in salary cap space for 2023 per Over the Cap. Yet, the Rams have 16 unrestricted free agents for ’23 outside of Mayfield. Not resigning all can certainly clear up more room to give Mayfield a workable deal.

Of course, adding Mayfield can give some assurance that the Rams have someone to turn to if Matthew Stafford isn’t healthy. Stafford has already said on his wife Kelly’s “The Morning After” podcast that he’s not retiring. The other QBs not named Stafford or Mayfield are also free agents with John Wolford in the restricted category and Bryce Perkins an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA). Mayfield, if he doesn’t generate a buzz in free agency, can help provide depth to Stafford if lured back.

For Mayfield, he’s thinking about the L.A. Chargers in the next game and finishing out. But the thoughts elsewhere have already begun on where he will be.

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