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Baker Mayfield Joins The Reigning Super Bowl Champion Rams In A Smart, Intriguing Move That May Revitalize His Career And He May Start On Thursday Night

I blogged yesterday about Baker Mayfield getting waived by Carolina, and many deduced that he'd wind up with the 49ers given the recent injury to Jimmy Garoppolo. Turns out, Baker is still headed to the NFC West, but is instead landing with the Los Angeles Rams.

WOW. Like I wrote regarding the Niners as a potential fit, there are some similarities between the Mike Shanahan-inspired system Sean McVay runs and the scheme that Baker had a lot of success in with the Browns under Kevin Stefanski. Although there will be differences in terminology, play design and personnel, at least Baker should be familiar with some concepts, and it certainly helps to have some foundation in terms of footwork, reads, and the overall system.

Also at least somewhat notable:

Between the injuries he suffered in 2021 and the disastrous stint he had in Ben McAdoo's Panthers offense, the former No. 1 overall pick seems like a shell of the quarterback who led Cleveland to a playoff win. I haven't seen many QBs reach some of the heights Baker did, only to come out the other side playing like one of the worst players in the league, period. It's kind of baffling how his career has developed. The apparent savior of a 1-31 Browns era turned into a banged-up, broken-down scapegoat who was run out of town in favor of a predatory person, and then crashed and burned spectacularly at his next stop so as to be demoted to third string.

OH BY THE WAY! McVay's incumbent quarterbacks John Wolford and Bryce Perkins have been so bad that Baker might even get a prime-time start on Thursday night against the Raiders!

The Rams are having an awful season, yes. They've just placed their starting signal-caller Matthew Stafford on IR and will shelve him the rest of the year. They fucked themselves by not having a high first-round pick for 2023, but since acquiring Stafford via trade was the reason for that, I think they'll live with it. LA still has an excellent defense, an excellent culture, and no matter how bad their offense looks the rest of this year, it'll be graded on a generous curve due to Cooper Kupp's injury.

Provided Baker can stay healthy and the Rams can rebuild their in-shambles offensive line that PFF has ranked third-worst in pass blocking, landing in Los Angeles might be the best thing that ever happens to him. Of course, Stafford will enter 2023 as the starter, but hey, we've seen Baker have success before. He's not going to be in a shit show, toxic organization like he was with the Browns and Panthers. This seems like the perfect opportunity to clear out some of the head trash that must be kicking around his cranium, reset his football life and priorities, and screw his head back on straight.

Being a backup isn't really in Baker's DNA. Unfortunately for him, he's done nothing to merit a shot at a full-time starting gig. What the Rams give him right now is at least an opportunity to play four, maybe five games down the stretch to either secure their QB2 job next year, or audition for a leading gig elsewhere. If I were Baker, I'd park my ass in LA no matter how the rest of 2022 plays out, sign a cheap, one-year deal to back up Stafford, and really take in what a winning organization looks like whilst rebuilding my game from the ground up.

We've seen apparent bust quarterbacks rise from obscurity to stardom before. Ryan Tannehill overcame being chewed up and spit out by Adam Gase in Miami to flourish in Tennessee. We're seeing Geno Smith crush it in Seattle after years of minimal game action. Baker has the arm talent and competitive fire to achieve something like that someday. Haters have already written him off and 100% believe he sucks forever. Let's see how he does in easily the best environment he's ever been in since entering the NFL. 

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok