Former Panthers QB Baker Mayfield claimed by Rams: What it means for his future

Alex Slitz/alslitz@charlotteobserver.com

Baker Mayfield is headed to Los Angeles.

Mayfield was claimed off waivers by the Rams on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Carolina Panthers waived Mayfield on Monday after the former starting quarterback asked for his release.

The Rams, at 3-9, were fourth in the waiver-wire pecking order. Los Angeles will acquire Mayfield and his remaining $1.35 million salary, which will come off the Panthers’ salary cap.

Despite a miserable stint in Carolina, the Rams clearly see a salvageable talent in Mayfield, who can immediately compete for playing time with John Wolford and Bryce Perkins. Franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford (back) was placed on injured reserve last week, and Wolford and Perkins have offered lackluster results in his absence.

Mayfield appeared in seven games — making six starts — for the Panthers, but he was demoted to third-string quarterback shortly ahead of his release request.

Sam Darnold — who led the Panthers to a blowout win over the Denver Broncos in Week 12 — will start on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Former starter P.J. Walker will serve as Darnold’s immediate backup.

Mayfield completed 57.8% of his passes for 1,313 yards, 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with the Panthers. Carolina traded a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns to acquire the former first overall selection in July.

Due to his release, the Panthers will only have to surrender a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Browns. The Rams will not owe anything to Cleveland or Carolina for claiming Mayfield.

With little shot at the playoffs, the Rams are rolling the dice on a former starting quarterback with a notable draft pedigree and plenty of experience. It was a worthwhile move to claim Mayfield, as he can provide insurance at the quarterback spot on a cheap deal that will expire in March.

For Mayfield, his latest “fresh start” will give him the opportunity to prove his worth ahead of free agency. If he can bounce back from a brutal stretch with the Panthers, he could create a rosier outlook on the open market next year.