By Gio Annatelli, The Game Day
The Los Angeles Rams went all in last year, acquiring all of the pieces needed to win a Super Bowl. The big one was trading away Jared Goff, the former No. 1 pick, to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford, another former No. 1 pick.
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And Stafford helped lead the Rams to their first Super Bowl victory since 1999.
Los Angeles entered this season with winning a Super Bowl again as the goal. Stafford signed a four-year extension in the offseason, but he underwent an elbow procedure that was bothering him all last season.
The Rams and Stafford saw their fair share of struggles as injuries plagued him, and the team went 3-6 with Stafford under center.
The Rams turned to John Wolford and Bryce Perkins, both of whom struggled to get anything going. Then, when the Carolina Panthers released Baker Mayfield in December, Los Angeles jumped at the chance of signing him.
In his first game with the Rams, Mayfield helped orchestrate a 98-yard game-winning drive against the Las Vegas Raiders just two days after being claimed. Mayfield struggled in the following game against the Green Bay Packers but bounced back commandingly against the Denver Broncos.
So with how well Mayfield has played with the Rams, the question remains – should Los Angeles sign Mayfield to a long-term deal this offseason?
The Rams Need To Keep Mayfield
With how well Mayfield played with the Rams, this may have been a tryout for him to become a starter next year with another team. However, it wouldn’t be a smart move to let Mayfield walk.
Both Wolford and Perkins are restricted free agents at the end of this year, but Mayfield is a significant upgrade over the two. Though Stafford is signed with the team through 2026, he will be turning 35 in February, and injuries this past year have raised a few red flags.
On the other hand, Mayfield turns 28 in April and still has plenty of football left to play.
Mayfield played well to start his career in Cleveland, eventually leading the Browns to their first playoff appearance in 18 years. However, after that, Cleveland began to fall apart, and while Mayfield struggled, he was ultimately used as the scapegoat for their failures.
This past offseason, Mayfield was traded to the Panthers, hoping a fresh start would change things. He was named the Week 1 starter, but poor play and injuries eventually led to him being benched and eventually requesting his release.
In Sean McVay’s system, Mayfield has shown great promise. McVay is the best coach Mayfield has had in his career and can probably shape him into being a star again.
In five games with the Rams (four starts), Mayfield has completed 62.7% of his passes for 850 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. It’s a major upgrade from his time with the Panthers, where in seven games played (six starts), Mayfield completed 57.8% of his passes for 1,313 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions.
The Rams can sign Mayfield to a long-term contract, with most of the money coming in incentives. However, the organization needs to be thinking about the future, and Mayfield could be the one that brings them back to the Super Bowl down the line.