Last season, Baker Mayfield’s career looked to be at a low-point after he was released by the Carolina Panthers. Needing a quarterback following a spinal contusion injury to Matthew Stafford, the Los Angeles Rams signed Mayfield for the remainder of the season. Mayfield led the Rams to a few wins and helped resurrect his career while working with Sean McVay.
While it’s only one game, Carson Wentz will be looking to do the same on Sunday against the San Fransisco 49ers as the Rams rest Stafford an other starters. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Rams are four-point underdogs on the road. Both teams will be resting starts, but Wentz will be looking to put out good tape for teams
Just last season, Mayfield signed with the Rams and only threw for 850 yards over five games with four touchdowns to two interceptions. In three of those games, he threw for under 150 yards. Still, he impressed with him comeback win against the Las Vegas Raiders and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason, earning the starting role.
Sometimes, all it takes is one good start for teams to take a chance on a quarterback. In 2011, the Green Bay Packers went 15-1 and rested their starters in the final week. Matt Flynn threw for 480 yards and earned a contract with the Seattle Seahawks the following season.
Wentz will be making a start for the same team that passed on him with the number one overall pick back in 2016. After bouncing around following his fallout with the Philadelphia Eagles, going to the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Commanders, Wentz is in a similar spot as Mayfield was just last season.
The former number two overall pick was a free agent all season until the Rams signed him and it looked like he might be done in the NFL. Following Stafford injuring his thumb and going through the Brett Rypien experience, the Rams signed Wentz that week.
Wentz has been backing up Stafford ever since and waiting for his opportunity. The Rams will be resting players like Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, and Kyren Williams. Important players on the offensive line like Rob Havenstein, Joe Noteboom, and Alaric Jackson may also rest. It won’t be easy for Wentz, but if he plays well, it would make his performance that much more impressive. In the case that the Rams win, it would break a nine-game regular season losing streak against a division rival.
This could be another Mayfield situation or on the flip side, it could be Blake Bortles with the Rams 2.0. Bortles signed with the Rams as a backup in 2019 after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars looking to get his career back on track in McVay. He wasn't brought back in the offseason, but returned in 2020 after Jared Goff injured his thumb, backing up John Wolford.
Even if Wentz doesn’t exceed expectations and earn an opportunity with another team, he’ll still be looking to show the Rams what he’s still capable of as a quarterback in the NFL. There’s no guarantee at this point that Stetson Bennett ever returns to the Rams. Los Angeles could be looking for a stable backup quarterback and Wentz could be that guy if he shows that he can run the offense effectively.
While the Rams may not have a lot to play for in Week 18, Carson Wentz certainly does. Can he do enough against a stingy 49ers defense to open another chapter in his career?