How much would Baker Mayfield cost the Rams to re-sign?
The Rams’ primary offseason needs are obvious. They could use offensive line help, pass rushers and a defensive back or two, but backup quarterback is an overlooked position that needs addressing.
When Matthew Stafford went down with a concussion and then a neck injury last season, we saw how far the offense dropped off without him under center. Just about every team that loses its starting quarterback for an extended period of time tends to struggle and regress on offense, but the Rams fell way off without Stafford.
John Wolford doesn’t look like the answer at QB2 and Bryce Perkins is athletic but limited as a passer. Baker Mayfield is the only one who managed to look somewhat capable in Sean McVay’s offense, winning two of his five games with the Rams.
Unfortunately, Mayfield will be a free agent in March so the Rams will need to re-sign him if they plan to keep him as Stafford’s backup. There’s little question about whether they’d like to do that, but as always, it comes down to money.
With limited cap space, the Rams will need to determine how to best use their assets. Mayfield will also need to decide his plan for 2023, whether that’s competing for a starting job elsewhere or accepting a backup role for a year in Los Angeles.
If he were to take a reasonable deal as a backup for the Rams, it would be for significantly less than the $15 million a year he was making on his previous deal. Teddy Bridgewater is one of the top-paid backups and he’s making $6.6 million per year. Even that would be too much for the Rams to pay Mayfield as a backup.
A more reasonable cost would be $3-5 million for one season, potentially with some incentives built in – just in case he does have to fill in for Stafford. Jacoby Brissett was making $4.65 million on his deal with the Browns. Case Keenum and Geno Smith both averaged $3.5 million per year, as did Joe Flacco.
That’s the range for a quality backup quarterback in the NFL right now, and that’s about what the Rams should feel comfortable paying Mayfield. ESPN’s Matt Bowen mentioned re-signing Mayfield as a way for the Rams to improve in 2023, writing that “a one-year deal in the $4-5 million range would be reasonable.”
Stafford is as tough as they come at quarterback, but he’s 35 years old and is coming off a spinal cord contusion that caused him to miss the end of the season. He’s also dealt with bumps and bruises in the last two years with the Rams – and throughout his career – most of which he’s been able to play through.
It’s time for Los Angeles to invest a little more heavily in the backup quarterback position, and Mayfield has as much upside as anyone else they could sign.
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