Rams claim QB Baker Mayfield off waivers

Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
The former Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick in the draft is joining the Rams.

Former No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield is getting another chance to save his career, this time with the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Los Angeles Rams claimed Mayfield off waivers Tuesday, a day after the Carolina Panthers cut ties with the beleaguered quarterback just five months into their marriage.

The Rams (3-9) lost their sixth straight game Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks, with John Wolford starting under center. Matthew Stafford, who had been diagnosed with a concussion and neck injury a few weeks prior, was revealed after the game to have a spinal contusion that likely ended his season.

The Rams had Wolford and Bryce Perkins as the other quarterbacks on their roster, though Wolford is dealing with a neck injury and was listed as did not participate on Monday’s estimated practice report.

Though their chances of making a late run for a wild-card berth are close to zero, the Rams claimed the 27-year-old Mayfield for the closing stretch and inherited the $1.35 million left on his contract.

The Rams’ move also potentially blocked a quarterback-needy NFC West rival, the division-leading San Francisco 49ers, from being able to claim Mayfield because the Rams were ahead of the 49ers in the waiver order. The 49ers have lost quarterbacks Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo to injuries — though reports came out Tuesday that Garoppolo will not need foot surgery as originally expected and could be back for the playoffs.

ESPN reported that the 49ers did not put in a claim for Mayfield.

Mayfield started six of the seven games he played in this season, completing 57.8 percent of his passes for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns against six interceptions.

He was in his first season in Carolina, which acquired him from the Cleveland Browns in July for a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick. The pick will remain a fifth-rounder since Mayfield didn’t play 70 percent of the team’s snaps at QB.

The Panthers paid $5 million of Mayfield’s fifth-year option while the Browns paid about $10.5 million. Mayfield agreed to cut the remaining $3 million-plus off his fifth-year salary to facilitate the trade.

Mayfield is 30-35 as a starting QB in 65 starts as an NFL quarterback since being selected No. 1 by the Browns in 2018. He’s thrown for 98 TDs and 62 INTs for his career.

ESPN reported that Mayfield is en route to Los Angeles and could play as soon as Thursday, when the Rams visit the Las Vegas Raiders.

–Field Level Media

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