I saw a great nugget on Mayfield that he has a chance to become the first NFL quarterback to start for three different teams in one calendar year. In 2022, Mayfield has started for the Cleveland Browns (at the end of last season), the Carolina Panthers and he is expected to make his first start for the Rams Monday night in Green Bay, where the temperature should be in the single digits.
The Rams are 4-9 and hey, still technically alive for a playoff spot (really) but their season is over.
Mayfield was signed last week after being waived by the Panthers. He became an instant folk hero engineering a game-winning 98-yard touchdown drive to beat the Raiders. He entered the game after one series and finished 22-35 for 230 yards. That’s not that bad.
Rams coach Sean McVay, realizing that he basically doesn’t have any other quarterbacks – Matthew Stafford and John Wolford are hurt – has said that Mayfield will be the starter for the Rams the rest of the way.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Does Mayfield, just 27, have a future with the Rams or somewhere else? What can he reasonably do in this last four games?
Mayfield And The Rams?
The Rams have four games left. They get the Packers, then the hapless Broncos on Christmas, then the Chargers on New Year’s Day and finish up against the Seahawks. The Chargers and Seahawks are each fighting for playoff spots.
Mayfield and the Rams is a shotgun wedding, a marriage of convenience. The Rams needed a quarterback. Mayfield needs a place to play.
These final four weeks of the season are huge for Mayfield going forward. He certainly wants to be a starting quarterback in the NFL again, and with four good performances, he can make his case. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft which means he’s going to get more chances than he probably deserves.
But could his future be with the Rams?
The Rams have already locked up a lot of money with Stafford, and he did win the Super Bowl last year. But Stafford looks like an old gunslinger. If he comes back (and suddenly it’s an if) he’s the starter, and it’s doubtful the Rams would pay a premium for Mayfield to be a back-up. This means these last few weeks are probably Mayfield’s only time with the Rams.
In other words, don’t buy those Rams No. 17 jerseys just yet.
Mayfield And Somewhere Else?
Mayfield will be 28 by the time the 2023 season starts. He will be a free agent again in the off-season, but what NFL team will be in the market for a quarterback? It’s not as many as you think.
The Steelers look like they found someone in Kenny Pickett, the Bears now have Justin Fields in a good place (maybe). The Patriots have Mac Jones, the Falcons are turning things over to 2022 draft pick Desmond Ridder.
I count seven, maybe eight teams, who may be in the market for Mayfield in 2023:
- Jets – Mike White is a back-up. Zach Wilson is a….I don’t know and neither do the Jets.
- Colts – Desperately need a real quarterback. Matt Ryan is Matthew Stafford two years from now. He’s shot.
- Commanders – Ok, this is a maybe, because I like Taylor Heinicke and Washington’s defense is sneaky good.
- Bucs – Tom Brady is going to retire. Maybe. Or Maybe Not.
- Panthers – Well, Mayfield isn’t going back there.
- Saints – Woof. Maybe the worst quarterback situation in the NFL, but they do have some offensive pieces to play with.
- Rams– Again, I put them in the maybe category. Is Matthew Stafford going to come back or what?
Mayfield And The Best Fit In 2023
It’s obvious, right? There’s an NFL franchise out there that desperately needs a spark, an identity and has no quarterback whatsoever.
They’re also the worst team in the league, but Mayfield can’t be picky.
It’s the Houston Texans.
The Texans are 1-11-1, and I do think they are trying to build through the draft and by improving the defense first. They gave Davis Mills a shot for almost two years at quarterback, but he’s a backup in the NFL. They’re playing in front of no fans with no juice.
Mayfield grew up in Austin, Texas. He went to Lake Travis High School, about a three-hour ride from Houston. He started his college career at Texas Tech as a walk-on, won the quarterback job then transferred to Oklahoma.
The Texans have cap space. They are probably a year away from being a year away, but it’s a perfect Homecoming and spot for Mayfield.
Mayfield And The Future
For Ram fans it’s kind of a double-edged sword here. We want Mayfield to do well and get some wins to end this miserable season on a high note, but the better Mayfield plays, the more expensive he will be and the odds of him sticking with the Rams decreases.
It’s almost like Mayfield is a rent-a-player that you see in Major League Baseball during the trade deadline. The Rams needed a quarterback. Mayfield needed a place to play.
I’m also worried Mayfield could get hurt playing for the Rams. I mean the offensive line is still a shambles. Stafford and Wolford didn’t walk into doors you know, they got hurt on the field.
Let’s enjoy the Mayfield experience while we can, but, take my advice and don’t buy those No. 17 jerseys.