Rams 2023 free agency preview: Market will dictate whether Baker Mayfield returns

Baker Mayfield is among the many backup quarterbacks who will hit free agency this offseason and he could have a chance to sign with a team that wants to make him a starter again. The Los Angeles Rams liked what they saw from him late last season, but they have a starter in Matthew Stafford and may not be able to meet the contract demands that Mayfield seeks.

What will ultimately decide whether Mayfield returns is the free-agent market. If another team wants him as a starter, he should jump at that opportunity. If there are no takers, he could pick the best possible situation for himself as a backup – and that may just be the Rams.

2022 stats

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

12 games (5 with Rams), 10 starts (4 with Rams)

  • 60% completion rate

  • 2,163 yards

  • 10 touchdowns, 8 interceptions

  • 6.5 yards per attempt

  • 79.0 passer rating

PFF grade: 50.6 overall

Analysis

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Mayfield joined the Rams toward the end of the season after being waived by the Panthers, taking over as the starter with Matthew Stafford out with a back injury. He played five games with the Rams but technically only started four after replacing John Wolford early against the Raiders, during which he led Los Angeles to a miraculous comeback victory in the fourth quarter.

It was an up-and-down tenure for Mayfield in L.A., playing well against the Raiders and Broncos but struggling in his other three games. He wasn’t careless with the ball like he has been at times in the past, but he did display some accuracy and timing issues – though that could have partly been due to his lack of time in the Rams offense.

Rams depth chart

Starter

Backup

Reserve

Reserve

Matthew Stafford

Baker Mayfield*

John Wolford*

Bryce Perkins*

*pending free agent

Positional need: Low

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Compared to the Rams’ other positions of need this offseason, backup quarterback isn’t a huge priority. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if the Rams made it a bigger priority than they have in recent years, but the Rams can get by with a journeyman veteran or even a rookie.

Mayfield would just be an ideal re-signing because of his potential as a former starter. With Stafford suffering a spinal cord contusion at the end of last season, the Rams would be wise to make sure they have a capable player behind him on the depth chart.

Prediction: Leaves in free agency

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Mayfield really struggled as a starter in Carolina last year, seemingly killing his chances of ever becoming a starter again. But even as underwhelming as his stats were with the Rams, he did show signs of life in Los Angeles.

With the Rams’ salary cap situation, it’s reasonable to think another team will offer him more money than Los Angeles feels comfortable giving him, even if it’s just as a backup. And he’s a good candidate to be signed by a team that plans to have a competition for the starting quarterback spot.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire