Baker Mayfield heads to Tinseltown.
The Rams placed a waiver claim for the quarterback released by the Panthers on Monday. Los Angeles went fourth overall, meaning the Texans, Bears and Broncos chose not to add Mayfield to their rosters.
The difference in Mayfield’s career compared to two years ago is astounding.
In the 2020 season, Mayfield and the Browns went 11–5 and entered the playoffs as the wild card team, defeating the division rival Steelers in the first round before losing to the Chiefs 22–17 in the divisional round.
However, last season was a big disappointment in Cleveland. The team dropped three of its last four games to finish 8-9 and miss the postseason.
Last season, Mayfield, the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, was in limbo. The team exercised his fifth-year option a year ago, but the two sides could not reach an agreement on a contract extension.
The Browns, in a stunning move, traded a package that included three first-round picks to the Texans for Deshaun Watson. They then immediately fully guaranteed a $230 million, five-year contract for the quarterback, who was embroiled in a scandal after being accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen massage therapists in Houston.
Watson has not been charged with a crime and has settled all but the initial civil lawsuits in the matter. He returned to action for the Browns last Sunday after serving an 11-game NFL suspension.
Mayfield said he felt “disrespected” by the Browns — not because they traded him, but because he felt the organization was deceptive in its communication with him about the matter.
Although the Browns traded for Watson in March, Mayfield took until July to trade to the Panthers.
Mayfield beat out fellow 2018 first-round pick Sam Darnold to join the Panthers early in the season, but the team didn’t live up to expectations. Head coach Matt Rhule was fired after a 1-4 start; the team went 1-5 this season in games started by Mayfield.
This week, Mayfield asked the Panthers for a release and they obliged because he wasn’t part of their long-term plans.
The defending Super Bowl champion Rams were effectively eliminated from the playoffs after a 3-9 start. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was placed on IR after suffering a neck injury shortly after being diagnosed with a concussion.
The Rams aren’t fueling the tank for a better pick, as the Lions traded a first-round pick from the Stafford trade before last season.
The other quarterbacks on the Rams roster are John Woolford — who started two games for the team in Stafford’s absence — and Bryce Perkins.