If Baker Mayfield does indeed leave the “Rams House,” the Los Angeles Rams are already being called to add a quarterback once compared to Mayfield himself — plus add a former teammate of his.
Cameron DaSilva of Rams Wire on USA Today wrote down this name as a “perfect QB trade target” for the Rams on Tuesday, March 14: Matt Corral of the Carolina Panthers, who per the NFL Network’s Mike Giardi on Tuesday, March 14 reports that the NFC South team is willing move their 2022 third round draft selection who was teammates with Mayfield from July 2022 until Mayfield’s release in December.
“Heard from multiple sources that the Panthers would be willing to move last year’s 3rd round draft pick, QB Matt Corral. Cost won’t be high,” Giardi posted.
DaSilva sees it as a prime opportunity for the Rams to capitalize.
Why Corral is Called a Fit
Interest in Mayfield is beginning to re-heat up — as teams have tried to take advantage of the league’s legal tampering period before the official start of free agency on Wednesday, March 15. Already, QB needy teams like the Atlanta Falcons (Taylor Heinicke), San Francisco 49ers (Sam Darnold) and the Las Vegas Raiders (Jimmy Garoppolo) have began the process of addressing their need there.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are considered the top suitor if the Rams can’t retain the unrestricted free agent. And the Bucs, with Tom Brady in retirement and Kyle Trask all who remains under contract for next season, are in dire need of an extra signal-caller. But if Mayfield drifts, DaSilva says Corral is an ideal backup plus, general manager Les Snead and company can work some previous connections they likely made there during the 2022 season.
“If the Rams want to get a little bit creative in their search for a backup to Matthew Stafford, they could look on the trade market where Matt Corral may be available for the right price,” he wrote. “The Panthers are a team the Rams have had previous trade talks with after they tried to swing deals for both Christian McCaffrey and Brian Burns, so there could be a front office connection already established.”
Again, the former Ole Miss Rebels QB was once compared to Mayfield by nfl.com draft expert Lance Zierlein — mostly for being an undersized quarterback “with a big heart who has learned to play with better maturity and control without losing his edge.”
Corral drew intrigue from NFL teams for posting astronomical numbers in the always stout Southeastern Conference — tossing 49 touchdowns and just 19 interceptions in his last two seasons in Oxford. He was also lauded for being a quick processor on the field and for his competitive fire.
Could Rams Still Turn to the Draft?
Perhaps, though, the Rams may take advantage of this year’s QB draft class and take in a young QB to develop for down the road.
Already, Tennessee’s dynamic dual-threat Hendon Hooker has been called a fit for Sean McVay and the Rams offense. There’s also Jake Haener of Fresno State, who has a near identical stature to Mayfield and has risen on mock draft boards. Another California QB who’s climbing on mock boards is Tanner McKee of Stanford — who has drawn intrigue for his towering size at 6-foot-6, his arm strength and for his field intelligence.
However, if the Rams go the trade route, what would be the ideal exchange with Carolina?
“The Rams would be getting a former top-100 pick for potentially a fifth- or sixth-rounder, assuming the Panthers would take that in a trade. Even if the Rams had to give up a pair of Day 3 picks – of which they have eight – it would be a smart move rather than drafting a rookie quarterback with one of their late-round picks,” DaSilva said.
But luring in Corral also brings back a local standout to the L.A. region, as Corral starred at nearby Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village and then one season with Long Beach Poly.