The Panthers released quarterback Baker Mayfield on Monday. All teams have until 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday to make a waivers claim for the balance of Mayfield’s contract.
It’s five games, at a total financial investment of $1.349 million.
There are three categories of teams that could be interested. One, teams that would want him to play this year. Two, teams that would want to take advantage of the opportunity to spend five weeks with him, in order to evaluate whether to try to sign him for 2023. Three, teams that will want to keep him from landing with a rival.
Against that background, here are the teams to perhaps keep an eye on, in order of waiver priority.
Texans: They could have gotten Mayfield as part of the Deshaun Watson trade, and they didn’t want Mayfield. But that was when he was due to make $19.9 million for the full year. At $1.349 million for five games, why not kick the tires on him? Also, G.M. Nick Caserio was in New England when the Patriots apparently had interest in Mayfield, prior to the 2018 draft.
Rams: Matthew Stafford is on IR. John Wolford is the backup. Their next four games are scheduled for high-profile, nationally-televised, standalone spots. The league office is likely hoping that the Rams make a claim, since it will give people some reason to watch games that otherwise will be unwatchable.
Broncos: George Paton worked for the Vikings when G.M. Rick Spielman took a flier on Josh Freeman, after he’d been cut by the Buccaneers. Why did Spielman do it? Because there are too few franchise quarterbacks in the NFL. When you have a chance to potentially get one, you take it. Of course, the Russell Wilson angle makes that a little more delicate. But what if Mayfield currently is a better player than Wilson? That would have sounded crazy three months ago. It doesn’t today.