Rams claim Baker Mayfield off waivers after release from Panthers

Baker Mayfield has a new home – for now. 

The Los Angeles Rams claimed Mayfield off waivers on Tuesday, a day after the Carolina Panthers released the 2018 No. 1 overall pick, the team announced. Mayfield and Carolina parted ways once it became clear Mayfield, acquired for a 2024 conditional draft pick in July, would no longer be the team’s starting or backup quarterback. 

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is out for the season and backup John Wolford is dealing with a neck injury, leaving coach Sean McVay thin at the position aside from 25-year-old Bryce Perkins, who had not appeared in an NFL game until this season. 

Mayfield could be suiting up for his new team as soon as Thursday night against the Las Vegas Raiders, ESPN reported. The Rams, who are 3-9, will owe Mayfield a prorated $1.3 million portion of his salary and could receive a compensatory draft pick if he goes elsewhere this offseason. 

Mayfield’s tenure with the Cleveland Browns, the team that drafted the quarterback No. 1 overall in the 2018 draft, ended after they traded for Deshaun Watson in March and gave him the highest guaranteed contract in league history while he faced two dozen accusations of sexual misconduct. The Browns traded Mayfield to the Panthers in July.

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With Sam Darnold – taken two picks after Mayfield by the New York Jets – injured to start the season, Mayfield started the first five games for Carolina.

Mayfield completed 54.9% of his passes and the Panthers went 1-4, resulting in the firing of Matt Rhule. Mayfield suffered an ankle injury in a Week 5 loss to the San Francisco 49ers that kept him sidelined until Week 9. He made one final start for Carolina two weeks later, but the offense mustered a single field goal in a 13-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. On the year, Mayfield is 1-5 with 1,313 yards passing, including six touchdowns and six interceptions. He has completed 57.8% of his passes

Mayfield finished second to Saquon Barkley for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors 2018 while starting 13 games for the Browns. In 2020, he led the Browns to their first postseason appearance in 18 years and a playoff victory. 

A shoulder injury inhibited his 2021 season, while the Browns missed the playoffs, setting in motion the trade for Watson and the uncertainty surrounding the future of Mayfield’s career. 

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY