Rams’ Baker Mayfield Called Option if Ex-$121 Million QB Isn’t Signed

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield dives for the first down on January 1, 2023 in Inglewood.

If Los Angeles Rams unrestricted free agent Baker Mayfield isn’t considered “Option A” for teams seeking a starting quarterback, he’s certainly an “Option B” for the upcoming 2023 free agency cycle in the event the first signing idea doesn’t fall through.

That’s where the New Orleans Saints and free agent Derek Carr both come in.

Sports Illustrated NFL insider Albert Breer mentioned this scenario involving the QB who handled the reins for the Rams from December 4 to January 8: Mayfield becomes the contingency plan for New Orleans if the former $121 million Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Carr isn’t signed. Breer wrote:

“Another quarterback to watch in free agency for New Orleans would be Baker Mayfield. 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.”

This would definitely be an interesting turning point for Mayfield if it happens…plus a 180 from him.

Mayfield Would Face Rivals From First Portion of 2022

If the Saints were to sign Mayfield, it brings him back to the NFC South — where he had a seven-game stay with the Carolina Panthers at the start of the 2022 season.

Mayfield came over via the blockbuster trade that sent him to Charlotte in late July. He went on to start in six games for the Panthers before being released. In those six games, Mayfield completed 57.8% of his throws for 1,313 yards and tied the number of touchdowns he had (six) with interceptions. He was also sacked 19 times and finished 1-5 overall as a starter.

Facing the NFC South slate, Mayfield only got to start in one division contest during his truncated time with the Panthers — against the team he’s now linked to. The former 2018 first overall pick went 12-of-25 for 170 yards and threw one touchdown in the 22-14 win on September 25, 2022.

He was listed as inactive for the 21-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 23, 2022 and did not play in the subsequent road game against the Atlanta Falcons won by the home team 37-34. He also did not play in the Thursday night contest on November 10, 2022 against the Falcons won by Carolina 25-15. The 13-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on November 20 would mark his final start with Carolina.

Could Carr Not Reunite With a Former Head Coach?

Meanwhile, if the Saints fail to land Carr, it prevents a reunion between the four-time Pro Bowler and one of his first head coaches Dennis Allen while with the Oakland Raiders.

Allen sent 2012 to 2014 with the franchise when they were in the Bay Area. And his final season was Carr’s rookie season in the NFL before being removed from his post after losing the first four games. The late Tony Sparano took over from there with Carr handling QB1 duties.

But now there’s this curveball involving the Saints and Carr: Connor Hughes of SNY revealing that the former Raider quarterback’s visit with the New York Jets “went very well.” Even older brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr added how Derek had a great trip to New York including “he went there to get a feel for how they work, from the top down, and everyone he met — he knew he would love (Jets head coach) Robert Saleh. He’s fantastic, and they hit it off, and they would love to work together.”

David Carr, though, adds how there’s still a lot of questions left to be asked including Derek getting to know how the front office with the Jets work.

How Much Intrigue for Mayfield?

One thing is certain for Mayfield: He’ll have an NFL home in 2023 as this time, he won’t have to worry about being a trade candidate this offseason.

But where he heads and who becomes the best fit, especially if he has a chance to be a starter, are the primary questions.

The Rams could still bring him back to have someone to turn to if Matthew Stafford goes down. But that means Mayfield officially will start the year as the No. 2 for the first time since his rookie season of 2018. His name was also linked to the Baltimore Ravens, but also as a backup to Lamar Jackson.

One other NFC South team, the Bucs, were mentioned as a possibility for Mayfield — which would put him in a spot where he can take over the reins bequeathed by Tom Brady. But now there’s one more NFC South suitor that bears monitoring.

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