When the Los Angeles Rams completed their waiver claim of former first overall draft pick Baker Mayfield, one question sprung to football fans' minds. Why?
After all, the Rams are nowhere near a playoff berth. And if the team wanted to sign Mayfield as a long-term project, they're only securing his rights to the remainder of this season. So, after the remaining five weeks, he'll be up for grabs once again.
For those who were perplexed by the move, ESPN's Adam Schefter provided further insight Tuesday. In a tweet, Schefter outlined three major reasons the Rams took a shot on the well-traveled Mayfield.
"Some of why the Rams claimed Baker Mayfield: They believe in his talent," Schefter started. "They need a QB with Matthew Stafford sidelined for the season and John Wolford dealing with a neck injury. And if Mayfield signs elsewhere this off-season, the Rams could get back a compensatory draft pick."
At the risk of editorializing, Schefter's third reason seems to mightily outweigh the first two in terms of macro significance.
Sure, the Rams- and likely all 32 NFL teams- believe Mayfield still has talent remaining. After all, we're four short year removed from Mayfield dazzling scouts and football fans alike with the Oklahoma Sooners.
And indeed, Mayfield fills a pressing need at QB. According to reports, Baker could start for coach Sean McVay as quickly as this coming Thursday.
But in today's NFL, draft picks are a commodity that is tough to match. And in the event that Mayfield performs well enough down the stretch in 2022 that the Rams receive a compensatory draft pick, that will have made this waiver addition well worth the while.
Sure, Mayfield could theoretically play well enough for the Rams to consider retaining him for 2023. But with quarterback Matthew Stafford on the books until 2027, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, A Mayfield-Rams reunion seems unlikely.
In total, it's a low-risk move for the ailing Rams, and one that just may result in a draft pick.