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Baker Mayfield is a low-risk signing for the Rams

Baker Mayfield offers very little downside for remainder of 2022

NFL: Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams claimed quarterback Baker Mayfield off of waivers on Tuesday. With Matthew Stafford on injured reserve and both John Wolford and Bryce Perkins not playing well, bringing in Mayfield shouldn’t have come as a surprise. According to Adam Schefter, there’s a “shot” Mayfield plays on Thursday night against the Las Vegas Raiders.

At the very least, signing Mayfield is a very low-risk signing that doesn’t hurt the Rams in the short-term and could actually benefit them in the long-term. The Rams needed help at quarterback. It’s pretty clear that Wolford and Perkins are not the answer behind Stafford. With Mayfield, the Rams at least get a starting-caliber quarterback for the remainder of 2022. If things work out, Mayfield potentially becomes the backup quarterback in 2023.

However, right now, the Rams don’t need to look beyond the 2022 season when it comes to Mayfield. This isn't a four to five year commitment. For right now, they have Mayfield for four to five games.

While Mayfield hasn’t been good this season and hasn’t built a strong reputation from a personality standpoint around the league, there’s not a lot of downside here for the Rams. The worst case scenario is that the Rams lose the rest of their games to end the season, the Rams don’t re-sign him, and he nets them a fourth or fifth round compensatory pick while only costing them $1.5M for the remainder of the year.

There was a pretty good chance that the Rams were losing their remaining games with Wolford or Perkins. With Mayfield, they at least potentially net a 2024 fourth round compensatory pick in the process.

If things work out, Mayfield is the Rams backup next year or gives them insurance as Stafford potentially contemplates retirement following his two concussions. The absolute best case scenario is that Mayfield returns to his 2020 form. Best or worst case scenario, the Rams don’t end up badly in any case by signing Mayfield.

After leading the Browns to the playoffs and a playoff win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020, Mayfield dealt with a shoulder injury last season. The Browns then traded for Deshaun Watson and sent Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers led by Ben McAdoo and Matt Rhule. The situation in Carolina would have been difficult for any quarterback to succeed under.

Mayfield may not ever return to his 2020 level in which he ranked ninth in the NFL in EPA per play and tenth in completion percentage over expectation. However, with the Rams he gets the chance to show what he’s capable of in an offense that is more quarterback friendly than the one he was in.

The Rams don’t need to decide whether or not to keep Mayfield as a backup right now. All they need to do is get through the rest of this season and then they can evaluate what they want to do going forward.