With just three weeks left to play, the NFC playoff race is heating up. While the Los Angeles Rams control their own destiny, Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccanneers making the postseason could also end up being beneficial.
According to Nick Korte of OverTheCap, if Mayfield and the Buccaneers make the postseason, it could boost the Rams’ 2024 compensatory pick for the quarterback. Right now, they are projected to get a sixth round pick, but that could get boosted to a fifth if Mayfield gets the Buccaneers to the playoffs.
Baker Mayfield making the playoffs could also be good news for the Rams, as it could boost the 2024 compensatory pick they are set to get for his departure to TB from the 6th round to the 5th round.— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) December 24, 2023
They might need him to earn more than just another $1M, though... https://t.co/wJgtdtx0Ab
As it stands, OverTheCap’s current projection is that Mayfield would need to get his APY salary to over $6M for his contract to break into the fifth round range. The Buccaneers only signed Mayfield for a base of $4M in free agency. However, with incentives in his contract, it’s possible that he breaks that $6M threshold.
Mayfield has already earned $1M in playing time incentives and the playoffs would get him to $6M. According to Korte, Mayfield can also get $250k per playoff win. A victory in the wild card round could be enough to boost his contract to the fifth round in the 2024 comp pick formula.
With that said, Mayfield also has up to $1.5M in performance incentives that could also get him above $6M. It’s unlikely that Mayfield hits the yards, completion percentage, or yards per pass marks needed. However, he could still hit the touchdown mark where he’s right on the bubble. Mayfield would need to rank fifth in the NFC and 10th in the NFL.
Ironically, the one quarterback that’s poised to knock him out of this range for touchdown is Matthew Stafford. It may be more beneficial for the Rams to score via Kyren Williams in the run game over the final two weeks.
That won’t be something that the Rams are thinking about as they look to make the postseason. It certainly is an added twist nonetheless.
The Rams and Sean McVay helped Baker Mayfield revive his career last season. After Stafford went down with an injury midseason, the Rams claimed Mayfield off of waivers when he was released by the Carolina Panthers. Mayfield helped the Rams win two games and famously led a game-winning drive in his first appearance against the Las Vegas Raiders.
With a potential to have up to $70M in cap space this offseason, it’s unlikely that the Rams will benefit as much from compensatory picks in 2025. As it stands, they are projected to receive five between Matt Gay, Baker Mayfield, Nick Scott, A’Shawn Robinson, and Greg Gaines. Four of those are projected to be sixth round picks with one seventh. Depending on how Mayfield and the Buccaneers finish the season, they could end up with one extra pick in the fifth.