January 30, 2023

Injury-plagued LA Rams call for waivers for QB Baker Mayfield

Published 10:53 p.m. Tuesday, December 6, 2022

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams called quarterback Baker Mayfield on waivers on Tuesday, adding the former No. 1 to their options behind the injured Matthew Stafford for the remainder of the season.

Mayfield, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner and former Cleveland Browns starter, was released by the Panthers Monday at his request after seven disappointing games with Carolina.

The struggling Rams host the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night, and it’s unclear if Mayfield might be willing to take part for a team that already has backup quarterbacks John Wolford – who is struggling with a neck injury and other ailments – and Bryce Perkins Has.

“Gosh, you probably know as much as I do about that right now,” offensive coordinator Liam Coen told reporters when asked if Mayfield could play Thursday. “I can not tell you that. I haven’t spoken to him. I’ve only heard great things about him, his professionalism in Carolina and some of the things that happened there.”

Coach Sean McVay was not scheduled to speak to reporters Tuesday after acquiring a quarterback whose talents intrigued him after college in Oklahoma, but his two coordinators praised the acquisition.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” Rams defense coordinator Raheem Morris said. “This guy was a very good soccer player. Pretty much raised Cleveland from the ashes. This game is sometimes thankless. We have the chance to attract people who have nothing to lose and who can prove something is always great.”

Following league-wide speculation about Mayfield moving to the rival San Francisco 49ers or Baltimore Ravens, Mayfield will instead look to help out the injury-plagued Rams (3-9). Los Angeles has lost six straight games in what is proving to be the worst season in NFL history for a defending Super Bowl champion.

The Rams have almost no reason to tank for the remainder of the season since their first-round pick belongs to Detroit and they clearly need quarterback help. Stafford is almost certainly out for the season with a spinal cord injury, and Wolford and Perkins have been fairly ineffective, starting three of their last four games together, all losing. In Sunday’s loss to Seattle, Wolford went for 178 yards without touchdowns.

But it’s unclear how much help Mayfield can offer: He had a dismal season with the Panthers, who won him to a fifth-round pick in July after the Browns’ takeover of Deshaun Watson ended his ebb and flow in tenure Cleveland was a four-year starter and shaped the end of the franchise’s 18-year playoff drought in 2020.

Mayfield won the front row job at training camp with Carolina but went 1-5 as a starter while throwing six touchdown passes and six interceptions. He’s been outplayed by both Sam Darnold and PJ Walker in recent weeks.

McVay received frequent credit for developing Kirk Cousins ​​into a solid NFL starter during McVay’s tenure as Washington’s offensive coordinator. As head coach, McVay led the Rams to four successful seasons, three playoff berths and a Super Bowl appearance with Jared Goff at the helm. McVay then became the youngest coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl title last season after trading Goff for Stafford, who had one of the most impressive seasons of his long career.

Whether this latest partnership lasts just five games or longer, McVay will have an opportunity to decide if Mayfield can still be the quarterback McVay thought would come from Oklahoma.

“It’s an opportunity for evaluation,” said Coen. “They’re always looking for competition in any position and looking for a way to gauge talent. That was the goal. … We feel good about our room and the quarterback we have going forward for the Los Angeles Rams, which is Matthew Stafford, but we obviously feel pretty good about someone coming in here and competing at a high level for us.

Stafford, 34, is under contract through the 2026 season, but his injuries and two trips through concussion protocol – although the Rams have not confirmed Stafford has ever had a concussion this season – have sparked widespread speculation about how long he will last it will do plans to continue his career.

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