What's next for former Panthers QB Baker Mayfield? 4 logical waiver-wire destinations




  • In Sports
  • 2022-12-05 20:31:38Z
  • By Charlotte Observer
 

Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield has hit the waiver wire.

The Panthers waived Mayfield on Monday after the quarterback asked for his release. He will now be subject to waivers and can be claimed by another team at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Mayfield, who went 1-5 as a starter with the Panthers, has $1.35 million remaining on his contract, according to ESPN's Field Yates. If a team were to claim Mayfield, the new squad would inherit that sum, while also wiping the total from the Panthers' salary-cap charges.

With a handful of teams dealing with quarterback injuries following Sunday's Week 13 slate, Mayfield has a strong chance of being claimed this week. If he were to go unclaimed, Mayfield would become a free agent with the ability to sign with any team.

Here are four logical landing spots for Mayfield on the waiver wire:

Houston Texans

Waiver Priority: No. 1

Salary Cap Situation (per Over The Cap): $2.22 million

The Texans are well positioned to tank into the first overall pick in next year's draft. But there are still five games left on the schedule, and with two home matchups to host, Mayfield - an Austin, Texas native - could be considered an audience draw. The Texans don't have a long-term answer at quarterback, so seeing what Mayfield has to offer isn't a completely ridiculous roll of the dice.

Mayfield started his college career at nearby Texas Tech, and with the Texans putting an underwhelming product on the field, perhaps he can bring some local intrigue to the franchise. Mayfield is also an upgrade over Kyle Allen and Davis Mills, which could help the franchise evaluate its younger offensive players a bit better down the stretch.

Los Angeles Rams

Waiver Priority: No. 4

Salary Cap Situation (per Over The Cap): $4.47 million

The Rams shut down franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford last week. With Stafford on injured reserve, the Rams are forced to salvage their season with John Wolford and Bryce Perkins. Mayfield is at least an upgrade over those two inexperienced quarterbacks, and he could provide a spark down the stretch.

The Rams traded away their first-round pick in next year's draft, so there's little reason to tank during the final five games of the season. Sean McVay's offense is quarterback-friendly and could help Mayfield recoup some value heading into free agency this upcoming offseason.

The Rams claiming Mayfield could also prevent the San Francisco 49ers from grabbing the quarterback for a playoff run. That's as good of a reason as any to snatch Mayfield off the wire.

New Orleans Saints

Waiver Priority: No. 6

Salary Cap Situation (per Over The Cap): $2.42 million

Mayfield's lone win as a starting quarterback this season came against the Saints. In that matchup, Mayfield did a nice job in the passing game and made a couple of big plays to set up the Week 3 win. With New Orleans dealing with struggling signal-callers like Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton, perhaps a third veteran quarterback might appeal to their situation.

The Saints aren't very good and are looking up a few teams in the NFC South pecking order. However, the race for the lowly division crown is still wide open. That's why it might be worth it to snag Mayfield to see if he can provide a boost down the home stretch of the campaign. Dennis Allen, who was promoted to head coach this year, needs all the help he can get.

The Panthers also play the Saints in the season finale in New Orleans in January, so that could be even more incentive to bring in Mayfield and learn Carolina's secrets.

San Francisco 49ers

Waiver Priority: No. 25

Salary Cap Situation (per Over The Cap): $6.04 million

The 49ers seemed like NFC favorites before quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo broke his foot on Sunday in a win over the Miami Dolphins. Now, the 49ers, who are surging into the playoffs, need to rely on rookie Brock Purdy and well-traveled journeyman Josh Johnson at the position. Mayfield, who played in a Shanahan-style offense in Cleveland, could be just what the doctor ordered.

The 49ers are deep in the waiver-wire pecking order, but they still have a chance at Mayfield because of his salary. Mayfield's cost could turn off cap-strapped teams like the Saints and Texans, which might help Mayfield slip to San Francisco.

The 49ers have an exceptional team built around the quarterback position. Landing Mayfield would be the ideal pairing for the franchise and the quarterback.

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