An NFC West Team Has Claimed Baker Mayfield, but Not the One You Think


Questions Answered: Baker Mayfield, Close Game Madness, Akayleb Evans Out
Nov 27, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

On Monday following the Week 13 slate of games, news broke that the Carolina Panthers would be releasing former No. 1 overall pick QB Baker Mayfield. During the offseason, Carolina had traded for Mayfield, and this type of release was unheard of for a former No. 1 pick.

Even still, the release made on thing seem fairly clear: the San Francisco 49ers would be the team to claim him. The Niners had just lost Jimmy Garappolo for the season with a broken foot, and the only other choice currently on the roster was the 2022 Draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant”, Brock Purdy.

As if the only other option being the very last pick of the draft didn’t make this obvious enough, the Niners’ record sat at 8-4. They were poised to, at minimum, make the playoffs if not have a deep run. They were a clear fit for Mayfield.

Well, as things played out on Tuesday, the situation did occur where an NFC West team has claimed Baker Mayfield off waivers. Except, it isn’t the one that everyone thought it would be. Instead, the Los Angeles Rams took the fifth-year QB.

At 3-9, this feels like a strange choice, even if the Rams don’t have their first-round pick this year. LA doesn’t seem to have a massive amount of incentive to win games, especially considering they’re on track to pick No. 35 in the second round. This isn’t the equivalent of having a top 10 pick, to be sure, but there’s still some solid vale in that position.

So why do this? Well, perhaps they think Baker Mayfield could find a new resurgence with Sean McVay. With Matthew Stafford’s season being ended by injuries, perhaps LA is already planning for their next QB.

However, the more entertaining reason for this is that they simply didn’t want to help their division rival 49ers. San Francisco missing out on Mayfield means that they will in fact have to go forward with their seventh-round rookie Purdy.

Either way, this makes things better for the Vikings moving forward. With a proven QB, the 49ers are a legitimate Super Bowl threat. Without one, they likely prove much less of a threat going into the playoffs.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.


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