Heading into the final weeks of the 2022 NFL season, Baker Mayfield faced an uncertain future in the league. The Cleveland Browns, who took him first overall in 2018, traded him to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional fifth-round pick before the season. He struggled in Carolina and was ultimately released in April. At that point, things began to turn around.
Mayfield quickly signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Mayfield’s first game with Los Angeles came only two days after he was signed. In that game, he came off the bench and led the Rams to a come-from-behind victory. He started the final four games. In the five games with Los Angeles, Mayfield completed 63.6% of his passes, threw for 850 yards, threw four touchdowns, two interceptions and an 86.4 passer rating.
In the process, he might have also salvaged his career as a starter.
Jordan Schultz of The Score reported on Wednesday that Mayfield’s play and conduct might have opened the door for him to be a starter next season.
“Baker Mayfield not only played well for the #Rams, but was a consummate teammate and pro. League sources believe the former No. 1 pick will have another opportunity as a starter, maybe as soon as 2023,” Schultz tweeted.
The news drew a mixed response. Some fans felt that Mayfield was worthy of another chance to start. Others opined that he’s an underwhelming option.
Mayfield probably will get another opportunity. There are several quarterback needy teams and he’s still not that far removed from leading the Browns to a playoff win, something no other quarterback has done since 1994. Furthermore, he’ll be 28 in April. So, he’s still young enough to be a long-term option for a team if he plays well.
That said, he’s also got a lot of baggage. And with strong quarterback drafts coming in both 2023 and 2024, the next opportunity will likely be tenuous. So, if an opportunity does come Mayfield’s way, he’d be under a lot of pressure to produce quickly.