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Major NFL Contender Is Trending To Land Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield

The headline news in the NFL on Monday is that the Carolina Panthers are releasing former No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield.

Even though Mayfield has not yet officially hit the waiver wire, many NFL followers believe they already know where he will end up.

While Mayfield is searching for a new team, the San Francisco 49ers are badly in need of a quarterback. 

Starter Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a broken foot during the team's win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, which is expected to end his season. Garoppolo had already taken over for Trey Lance behind center. Lance suffered a season-ending leg injury in Week Two.

So it's no surprise that Mayfield has been widely speculated to end up in San Francisco. That has only been bolstered by a report from ESPN's David Newton stating Mayfield asked the Panthers for his release.

"Baker Mayfield to the 49ers," former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III tweeted.

"Baker Mayfield, Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers," JJ Zachariason added.

NFL fans are not convinced that Mayfield to San Francisco would necessarily be a good thing, however. 

Mayfield struggled mightily to start this season. In seven games, he completed 57.8 percent of his passes and threw six touchdowns versus six interceptions. Among 35 quarterbacks with at least 200 attempts on the season, Mayfield ranks 34th in completion percentage.

Quite a few fans have specifically joked about 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, who started this season with the Panthers before being traded to San Francisco, being horrified at Mayfield following him to The Bay.

Despite the fact that it might seem online like a foregone conclusion that Mayfield will be a 49er by the weekend, several reporters who cover the NFL and the 49ers have pointed out that there are some complicating factors.

For one thing, the 49ers are currently 25th in the league waiver order. As Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus noted, both the quarterback-needy Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams are well ahead of them.

Plus, David Lombardi of the Athletic isn't sure the 49ers will view Mayfield as an upgrade over their current quarterback room, however barren it might be.

Rookie Brock Purdy played solidly in relief of Garoppolo on Sunday, completing 25 of 37 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The 49ers also signed journeyman Josh Johnson off the Broncos practice squad on Sunday night.

Throw in the fact that whoever signs Mayfield will owe the rest of his $1.3 million remaining on his contract (which expires following this season) and the 49ers might not claim Mayfield even if he falls to them in the waiver process.

"Baker Mayfield ranks either #31 or #32 (of 32 qualifying QBs) across the efficiency metrics," Lombardi tweeted. "He's been objectively terrible. Would be quite a reclamation project. I think the 49ers believe in Brock Purdy and his ability to avoid backbreaking mistakes more than that."

The intrigue around Mayfield will make him one of the more noteworthy waiver claims in recent NFL history. 

We should find out where he'll play the rest of this season after waivers run on Wednesday.