Predicting Baker Mayfield's Future

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - Any NFL columnist can speculate about Baker Mayfield's future. Only Walkthrough has the power to peer into that future and report back.

Friday, July 22, 2022: Cleveland Browns release Baker Mayfield

With training camp days away, the Browns announce Mayfield's release late on Friday afternoon. Mayfield, the 2018 PFWA Rookie of the Year, was absent for all of OTAs, but he would be required to attend training camp or else lose an accrued season of NFL service, according to the collective bargaining agreement. The Browns don't want him creating intrigue in training camp. Mayfield does not want to be someplace he is no longer wanted.

The Browns tried throughout the late spring and summer to swing a trade with the Carolina Panthers, but no one was interested. Not the Panthers, whose ownership wasn't about to toss drowning head coach Matt Rhule a fraying, expensive lifeline. Not Mayfield or his agent, who knew the Panthers were a no-win situation and did nothing (opening up talks for a team-friendly contract extension, for example) to lubricate the trade talks. Not other would-be suitors, who knew they could swipe Mayfield off the discount rack at their own terms after a release. Not even the Browns, who realized they might have to package a draft pick with Mayfield and his $18.8-million salary, Brock Osweiler-style, to get a deal done. Better to leave Mayfield by the curb in a Friday afternoon news dump and hope the story boils over than give up a much-needed future draft pick and get roasted by the national media.

Mayfield's release leads all the talk shows. Every regional media outlet runs a variation on the same story: Should [Insert Local Team Here] Sign Baker Mayfield? It's big news. A starting-caliber quarterback, a former first overall pick, is sitting on the open market. Where will Mayfield's journey lead him next?

Monday, August 8, 2022: Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign Baker Mayfield

"Is Baker Mayfield the Heir Apparent to Tom Brady?" the headlines read. Maybe. Or maybe Jason Licht sees the opportunity to kick the tires on a player that everyone once coveted, and Todd Bowles feels shaky at backup quarterback after watching Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask toss the ball around training camp for two weeks. Mayfield signs a reported two-year contract, but the second year includes a non-guaranteed bonus proration.

Another set of soundbites and talking points makes the rounds. "Byron Leftwich can UNLOCK Baker Mayfield's potential. Here's how." "Like Jameis Winston before him, Baker Mayfield seeks a second chance behind a living legend." The Brady-Mayfield pairing is the biggest story of the doldrums of the middle of training camp, when all the other news involves depressing ACL tears and dreary battles for the starting right tackle position.

Mayfield delivers a humble, low-key press conference about how blessed he is to work with Brady. "There were some other offers," he says. "But this is my opportunity to work with a legend and compete for a Super Bowl." Brady makes soothing sounds about welcoming his new protege.

Then Mayfield disappears into backup quarterback oblivion as Trask and Ryan Griffin take most of the snaps in Tampa's preseason games.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023: Buccaneers decline second-year option on Baker Mayfield's contract

"Baker did a lot of great things for us," Jason Licht says at his scouting combine media availability. "He was great in the quarterback room and the locker room. But with Brady back in 2023, we think it's best for Baker if he gets an opportunity elsewhere."

Insiders report that Mayfield "matured" during his time on the Buccaneers bench, though the sources and motivation for those reports are unclear. Mayfield himself sounds upbeat later that week on The Pat McAfee Show. "What happened in Cleveland is behind me. I control my own destiny now. I'll finally get to pick the right opportunity for myself, then make the most of it."

March 13, 2023: Adam Schefter reports that the New York Giants plan to sign Baker Mayfield

The Giants hold the second pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Most mock drafts have them selecting C.J. Bryce Young-Stroud, the quarterback from Ohiobama State. (Football Outsiders ain't getting in a spitting contest with college fans on this one.) But with Daniel Jones signing a one-year deal to back up Russell Wilson in Denver, the Giants need a better bridge quarterback than Tyrod Taylor.

Mayfield's reported two-year, $16-million deal ($8 million guaranteed) is one of the first major news stories of the legal tampering period. It's a great opportunity for the former first-round pick: keep Young-Stroud on the bench for a year, lead the rebuilding Giants to respectability, restore his somewhat-tarnished reputation, then shop his services to teams in need of a quarterback in 2024 like the Colts or Commanders. And hey, maybe Brian Daboll can UNLOCK Mayfield and turn him into Josh Allen.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023: New York Giants announce C.J. Bryce Young-Stroud as their new starting QB

Mayfield led the Giants to a 1-3 record before the bye, averaging 187 passing yards per game, with three touchdowns and three interceptions. The rookie took over during a second-half Sunday night blowout at the hands of the Cowboys and led a pair of scoring drives.

"Baker has done a heck of a job for us," Brian Daboll says during his first midweek press conference after the bye. "But Young-Stroud has been earning this opportunity since the first day of rookie camp."

The new Giants quarterback goes on to a typical rookie season. Mayfield is next seen mopping up a blowout loss in Week 17, completing 6-of-8 passes for 48 yards against a prevent defense in a meaningless fourth-quarter drive.

Monday, January 8, 2024: New York Giants release Baker Mayfield

"The move was expected, as the second year of Mayfield's contract was not guaranteed," ProFootballTalk writes. "Releasing Mayfield now will allow him to latch on with another team without waiting for the start of free agency."

A few regional outlets publish Should [Insert Local Team Here] Sign Baker Mayfield? stories. But the playoffs have started for many teams, while others are in the heat of a head coaching search. The fate of a quarterback who has barely played in two years, even a famous one, doesn't generate much engagement.

March 27, 2024: Los Angeles Chargers sign Baker Mayfield to a one-year contract

The news is an afterthought in the wake of Justin Herbert's five-year, $300-million contract extension. The defending AFC champions need a capable, affordable backup quarterback, and new Chargers offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, taking over for Joe Lombardi (now the Titans head coach), recruited Mayfield at Texas Tech. Kingsbury gives an interview suggesting that he could UNLOCK Mayfield's potential if necessary.

August 30, 2024: Los Angeles Chargers release Baker Mayfield

"The move was expected, as journeyman backup Trace McSorley outperformed Mayfield in training camp and appears to be a better fit in both the Chargers system and their culture," ProFootballTalk writes. "Releasing Mayfield now will allow him to latch on with another team before the start of the season."

Mayfield goes unsigned as the season begins.

February 4, 2025: Baker Mayfield tells Sirius XM Radio he wants to play in 2025

"I've been working out in Bradenton," Mayfield tells Alex Marvez while making the rounds on Super Bowl Radio Row. "I'm in the best shape of my life." Mayfield says he has started throwing to rookie receivers preparing for the 2025 draft at a performance facility. He also says he has had conversations with teams but is not ready to make any decisions. "It has to be the proper fit," he says. Mayfield scoffs at suggestions about the USFL or XFL. "I'm sure I have a lot of N-F-L football in me," he emphasizes.

Free Agency, 2025: Silence

No Schefter reports. No ProFootballTalk posts. No regional blogger musings. No Twitter rumors of substance.

Mayfield cannot function as a journeyman backup. There's too much baggage. Oh sure, some of that baggage is just lingering NFL insider gossip-mongering about his "maturity." But some of it is the sheer weight of having once been the Heisman Trophy winner, the first overall pick, a budding star with homeowners insurance commercials. Anyway, the NFL insider gossip-mongers are the ones making the decisions, so their predispositions are the only thing that really matters.

A top quarterback prospect who flops is less valuable to the NFL than some no-name who never succeeds. The NFL holds a quarterback's unfulfilled potential against him, even if Hue Jackson, Todd Haley, Freddie Kitchens, Jimmy Haslam, and shoulder injuries should bear a percentage of the blame for that unfulfillment. You can argue that Mayfield hasn't "flopped," of course, but the Browns just traded a kidney to move on from him, and quarterback-needy teams opted for guys like Carson Wentz such as Drew Lock instead of him. That's a "flop," folks.

And before anyone draws any other false parallels: Mayfield earns three chances to try again in our timeline, not zero.

And so it comes to pass that, three years from now, Mayfield is out of the NFL while guys like Nathan Peterman are still knocking around. Maybe that's pessimistic. Maybe Mayfield gets a real second chance and makes something of it. Maybe he can overcome the NFL's skepticism and what's left of his brash temperament and reinvent himself as a journeyman for hire.

Until then, Mayfield is more valuable to my colleagues and I as a talking point than he is to any team as a quarterback. He's a figure of curiosity and speculation who inspires strong opinions and reactions among fans. Which, again, is part of his problem.

Interest fades. New quarterbacks, heroes, and personalities emerge. Cam Newton is currently getting (mostly) passed by in the news cycle. Mayfield won't stand a chance.

But that doesn't mean our story needs a sad ending.

Summer, 2025: Baker Mayfield sgns five-year, multi-million dollar contract as a CFB broadcaster for Amazon Sports

The outspoken, cantankerous, occasionally self-effacing Mayfield soon becomes the Voice of Saturday Afternoon in America.

The Well-Showered Traveler: A Walkthrough Bonus Feature

You awake in a hotel room just after the break of after dawn. It was a fitful night of sleep: unfamiliar sheets, strange noises, fatty food, and boozy nightcaps in your belly. Perhaps you're sweating and/or shivering from a thermostat permanently set to "jet engine before takeoff." Either way, you feel stale, and you desperately need a shower before a long day of meetings, seminars, interviews, etc.

It's only when you step into the tiny hotel bathroom that you realize that the shower fixtures were designed by a team of futurists trying to imagine what alien sex toys look like.

I became a rather savvy business traveler in the COVID beforetimes. But I was also a somewhat particular and (when on my own dime) extremely thrifty one. I demanded that any hotel I patronized meet strict criteria:

  • Strong Wi-Fi.
  • I'm serious about the strong Wi-Fi.
  • A location as close to the event I was attending as possible.
  • Plenty of electrical outlets. At least 25 of them, ideally.
  • Relative cleanliness.

Yes, the order above matters. I can endure squalor if I can upload my articles easily and watch Civilization playthroughs during my downtime while the cockroaches colonize the baseboard. I once ended up at a motel in upstate New York where the hallways smelled of sawdust and insecticides and the bathroom door did not fully close. But the Wi-Fi cooked and I was six minutes from what I was covering, so all was well.

I have other hotel preferences, but none of them are requirements: a mini-fridge to store bottled iced coffee (no coffee shop opens early enough for me), a concierge desk to supply to toothbrush I inevitably leave at home. A "fitness center"—two stationary bikes and a bench in a broom closet, with a window opening to the lobby, making every traveler's workout a tourist destination—is a fun bonus: I can pack one set of workout gear I will end up sleeping in and then assure my wife that I did more during my business trip than work, eat, drink, sleep and watch, er, Civilization playthroughs.

Most of the amenities I seek are available to anyone with access to a credit card and Expedia. The hidden inconveniences of modern hotel travel are another matter. Paradoxically, the more posh the hotel, the more likely it is to feature:

  • Light switches that require a scavenger hunt to find and are as carefully camouflaged as the hidden panels in haunted houses that make the bookcase spin around to reveal the dungeon.
  • Television remote controls that look like they are designed to operate nuclear submarines. Turning the hotel television on is a chore. Navigating it past the tier of niche channels it defaults to (Angry Propaganda Network, Weird Surgery Channel, Always American Pickers Television, Angry Propaganda Network En Español, CBS) is a chore.
  • A complete lack of bathroom exhaust vents. And also, no Glade at the sundries counter. I'll spare you elaboration on this matter.
  • And of course, the topic of this essay: Shower fixtures based on Buckminster Fuller's Cinco de Mayo cocktail napkin sketches.

Last July, the folks at EdjSports hosted the Football Outsiders team for a summer conference. The boho NuLu neighborhood of Louisville is a fun-to-explore urban alcove that sells bourbon nearly everywhere. Bourbon and biscuits. Bourbon and greeting cards. Bourbon and mammograms. The temptations of great whiskey and Southern delicacies were too great for this old boomer, who awoke each morning with both a slight hangover and a dreaded case of the meatsweats. Alas, my new bosses expected me to be clean when I arrived for work each morning. So I approached the hotel shower that first morning like Archimedes slowly stumbling onto the tenets of the scientific method.

Inner concentric circle: Water on, pressure control. So far, so good.
Middle concentric circle: Distributing water from the overhead nozzle to the hand-held Waterpik thingy.
Outer concentric circle: Temperature control, with a little "C" and "H" stenciled randomly onto the tile nearby to instill a false sense of confidence.

Shower water is initially ice cold, of course, and stays that way until hot water travels through the pipes, forcing every bather to make temperature adjustments based on what we hope the results will be, not on what's coming out of the spigots. Furthermore, hotel showers have a habit of lurching suddenly between shocking extremes. I nudged the temperature control clockwise until I felt like a citizen of Pompeii in 79 CE. Then I nudged it counterclockwise: Vladivostok winter. Another nudge right: the ideal temperature to sterilize surgical equipment. Another nudge left: the recommended storage temperature for the Pfizer vaccine. Meanwhile, the overhead nozzle pressure maxes out at autumn drizzle, while the minimum pressure of the handheld Waterpik could be used by a crooked sheriff to disperse a protest.

After 10 minutes of experimenting with the shower like it was a Myst puzzle, I achieved the approximate temperature and pressure of a late-spring garden hose and figured that would be as good as it got. I used the overhead fixture for basic hygiene but the high-intensity Waterpik for trouble spots. I sounded suspiciously like Geddy Lee for at least an hour afterwards, but I was fit to encounter other humans.

As comfortable, clean, and convenient as the thoroughly modern hotel my employers generously provided for me was, I would have gladly traded that shower for separate hot and cold knobs and the reliable gurgle of something much more old fashioned, or even a corrugated tin tub, a nearby well, and a kettle. Unfortunately, when choosing non-resort hotels, there's a fine line between "rustic" and "I'm almost certain the folks next door are cops on a stakeout." Ultra-trendy fixtures are a small price to pay for knowing everything has been sanitized recently and none of your neighbors are on the lam.

I share all of this in the wake of the NFL's announcement that the scouting combine will remain in Indianapolis in 2023 and 2024. For me and many of my colleagues, that means manageable expenses, predictable schedules, and reduced travel anxieties. I have spent so many February mornings in Indy that I know the layouts of several of the downtown hotels, right down to their showers. That's not a small thing. The NFL has a habit of putting the media up in Le Chic Boutique for an event located 40 miles of clogged Interstate away, with the setting of a Borderlands video game in between. The combine was, and now still is, the one event where I know I won't need a Google map, a $30 Lyft fee, two Dramamine, and an hour of patience and grace just to fetch a sandwich from Panera.

I know I sound like Mister Sportswriter Complaining About Free Stuff, but a) the "stuff" often isn't free; and b) I don't want luxury and glamor, just comfort and convenience. Based on the NFL's decision to keep the combine in Indy, folks like Jerry Jones agree with me. Good God.

It's only healthy for even the most luxurious hotels to feel a little alien. It makes us that much more appreciative of everyday life. Even if traveling with loved ones, no ocean view or in-room jacuzzi can replace the tiny comforts of home: the sofa contoured to your body, toast from your own toaster, the familiar smell of morning on the front porch, and the cozy predictability of routine.

And boy, that first shower when you arrive home sure does feel good.


96 comments, Last at 31 May 2022, 11:31pm

1 And so it comes to pass that…

And so it comes to pass that, three years from now, Mayfield is out of the NFL while guys like Nathan Peterman are still knocking around. Maybe that's pessimistic.

That's damned pessimistic. You're better off running the single-wing than putting Peterman in a game. He's not just Bad Josh Allen, he's more like Chaotic Evil Josh Allen. He's, completely without hyperbole -- statistically one of worst QBs in NFL history. You or I could take the field and do better than Nathan Peterman, because immediately falling to the ground and wetting ourselves at least doesn't result in a turnover.

Busty high-drafted QBs aren't totally without prospect. Bradford was really effective backup for a few years. Alex Smith wandered the western NFL like Kwai Chang Caine. Carr kicked about for years. Goff is a fungible starter on a bad team. Winston did his penance.

Based on the Trubisky, Winston, and Smith legacies, it seems your best-bet is to fall in with a QB Whisperer and try to rehabilitate your reputation. Mayfield seems like a Reid kind of guy (scrappy, mobile, off the trash-heap) and KC needs a backup -- Henne was never good and is no longer young. I would say the Rams, but they seem to actually like Wolford. I kind of suspect he may end up in Seattle. He's sort of a Budget Russell Wilson, but doesn't challenge Carroll the way Wilson did.

I can endure squalor if I can upload my articles easily and watch Civilization playthroughs during my downtime while the cockroaches colonize the baseboard.

If you watch Alpha Centauri playthroughs, you get both at the same time.

Paradoxically, the more posh the hotel, the more likely it is to feature:

I think it was Julia Child who observed that the fancier the restaurant, the more people who have had their fingers in your food.

\The actual quote may have been “It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate, you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”

22 Nice "clone" performance

This isn't meant to be a slam, I liked your comment, made me smile.

I can actually hear Tanier doing a devil's advocate rebuttal to himself in it. And your's might be the better prediction.

2 If your gonna make Myst…

If your gonna make Myst references you should have used that for the light switches. 

But yeah, there doesn't seem to be much incentive to trade for Mayfield when they have to release him anyway, and you would need to give him a contract anyway so....

This makes me thing you could train GPT-3 to do sports writing however. 

3  That's damned pessimistic…

That's damned pessimistic. You're better off running the single-wing than putting Peterman in a game

No one signs Peterman to put him in a game. You sign him to run your scout team. Peterman's made less in his career than Mayfield would demand as a signing bonus, which is partly what Mike is trying to say - Mayfield might find himself out of the NFL because he wouldn't be willing to be at Peterman's level.

And, I mean, I don't blame him - barring insanity he's going to have earned $52M from the NFL. Staying in the league for $1M/yr more doesn't make sense.

edit: And to follow on that - Mike, I really think it's time to retire comparisons like this:

And so it comes to pass that, three years from now, Mayfield is out of the NFL while guys like Nathan Peterman are still knocking around. Maybe that's pessimistic.

Peterman's not a "journeyman QB." He's a scout-team QB that somehow got a start. He's kicking around because he's willing to bounce around as many teams as he can to make a living at whatever salary they'll pay him. We shouldn't even be talking about him having the same position as Mayfield, but we do. Saying "Peterman can get on a team, why can't Mayfield" is just a bad analogy - seriously, we shouldn't even be bringing up guys who are willing to risk getting hit by 260-pound cannonballs for ~$150k.

The canonical example here is Chase Daniel. For a historical comp for Philly fans, it's of course Koy Detmer.

4 No one signs Peterman to put…

No one signs Peterman to put him in a game. You sign him to run your scout team.

Is there value in that?

All your defense learns is that the opposing QB will throw turnovers your way at the rate Luigi's Mansion 3 throws hearts at you.

6 Is there value in that? Not…

Is there value in that?

Not a lot!

You're talking about guys that get paid $150k, live out of a hotel, and have no job security. Oh, and if something bad happens, you get to get smacked to the ground by a 260-lb world-class athlete with risk of life-altering damage.

All your defense learns is that the opposing QB will throw turnovers your way

That's not how the scout team works. Scout team doesn't actually react to the defense (other than what's scripted in the play). It's just there to give the defense looks.

34 That was an oops, it should…

In reply to by Raiderfan

That was an oops, it should've been $250k ($150k is what practice squad players used to make). Scout team QBs are often practice squad.

Peterman gets paid a bit more than that but you're still talking essentially vet min. I wouldn't blame Mayfield for saying "yeah, I'm not playing football for $1M/yr."

7 Not to mention

You can get tons of guys like him right out of college for the same or cheaper and they have more theoretical upside to surprise. 

12 Doing the textual exegesis just a bit too much, ya' think??

Who are you Chasing? So they're naming fish now? (as expensive as that kind is - leastwise was back in that 70s Hawaii-Five-O episode I saw - I guess you would name them)

Dudes, get a grip. We all know who Nathan Peterman is, and he fits perfectly what Mike's point is: Once Baker hits 'Journeyman Ceiling Status', he'll actually lose out to clearly lesser JCSes on jobs due to his former Chosen One status.


14 due to his former Chosen One…

due to his former Chosen One status.

No, he really won't. He'll lose out because he doesn't want to work for peanuts and he's got an ego bigger than his talent.

Mayfield wouldn't take Nathan Peterman's job. Why would he? You think he oh-so-loves football so much that he'd be willing to work for under $1M/yr with the long-term goal of being a quarterback coach or trainer? C'mon. Mayfield wants to be a celebrity. He made more than that making friggin' Progressive commercials, and he'd make more than that from ESPN as a CFB analyst.

Guys like Nathan Peterman aren't kept around for upside. They're kept around for the same reason anyone with marginal talent is kept around at a business - because they make sure to make their bosses happy and they'll do anything just to have a job.

The real "NFL journeyman" types are guys like Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jacoby Brisset, and I'm not actually sure Mayfield's better than them.

edit: the ego comment's probably unfair, it's completely rational to not bother with opportunities that don't make economic sense. We tend to think of players as willing to do "anything" to keep playing football but that's obvious nonsense.

18 Fitzpatrick is hard to…

Fitzpatrick is hard to evaluate because he's so much like Winston -- he averages out to about average despite never spending any time there. He's nothing but super-high highs and super-low lows.

Mayfield is definitely better than Brissett (who tops out as below average even on good teams). He's probably better than Taylor is now. He's a lot like his 2021 backup, really -- he's sort of a more dependable Case Keenum. (And both of them have gotten good rosters to conference championship games, so their ceiling isn't all that low) Minshew has sort of similar numbers, but he's more obviously of the useful-backup ilk.

They are basically the quality of a league-average starter, but for whatever reason teams don't treat them as one. (Fitzpatrick gets this, too)

26 Mayfield is definitely…

Mayfield is definitely better than Brissett (who tops out as below average even on good teams)

Brissett's year with the Colts wasn't tremendously different than Mayfield's years with the Browns. Don't get me wrong, I'd say Mayfield's a better option than Brissett too, but there's definitely some uncertainty there. "Definitely" is strong wording.

But it's not just the 'raw' numbers there that matter - Brissett, Taylor, and Fitzpatrick have all bounced around from organization to organization and system to system and parted on good terms for the most part.

How much Mayfield can pivot to that will probably go a long way to whether he'll stay in the league, but there's also the second question of "does he want to." Economically it doesn't make that much sense.

29 The way I looked at Brissett…

The way I looked at Brissett was based on team strength.

He was bad on a so-so Miami team. He was so-so on good new England and Indianapolis teams. (Indy is 38-27 in their Luck, Rivers, Wentz years and 11-19 with Brissett, and his advanced stats are consistent with that)

Mayfield was so-so on bad Browns team and pretty good on good Browns teams. With last year, you need to make an estimate of what was injury and what was talent. Although it's useful to observe Favre's lost year in New Jersey for what a throwing arm injury does to a QB.

I thought Keenum was the interesting comp. He and Mayfield have a ton in common.

81 ' whether he'll stay in the…

' whether he'll stay in the league, but there's also the second question of "does he want to." Economically it doesn't make that much sense.'

I could seriously see him sitting at home to collect $18MM for this season and then formally filling out retirement papers.

42 And both of them have gotten…

And both of them have gotten good rosters to conference championship games, so their ceiling isn't all that low

Mayfield has not made it through the divisional round yet. While Keenum did, it required one of the most improbably plays in NFL history to get there. I don't know that it speaks much to their ceiling.

57 Reports say Peterman is a…

Reports say Peterman is a great film QB room guy. His upside could be Josh Johnson, who has a very long career as the third/fourth string quarterback (and has worked for so many coaches that ass-kissing was probably not a factor). 

Maybe Tanier's point wooshed, but the former #1 guy doesn't get a chance to be the savvy veteran strategist backup. He either makes it or the league will bump him out the door. 

60 Ive never understood this

What's "a great film QB room guy" anyway? Vague but mostly sounds like...a coach! Hire him as coach so he doesn't take up a roster spot and have to fit under a salary cap!

former #1 guy doesn't get a chance to be the savvy veteran strategist backup.

Also, uh Jameis? 

63 Coaches can't actively be…

Coaches can't actively be participating in certain drills/activities. Teams have gotten in trouble for this before - it's there to prevent you from having coaches act as "hidden" roster spots.

71 "film QB room" is just a…

"film QB room" is just a phrase, they just mean a guy who can help break down plays and tendencies from the quarterback's perspective. Continues to practice-field stuff as well.

No one should be wanting Peterman anyway in the end. 

No one ever wants their third-string/practice squad QB on the field during a game. You have him because you need multiple QBs to actually run a practice to reduce the load on the guys you actually care about.

Same reason New England pulls tricks like only having QBs on the roster during the week.

82 Oh my gosh

"film QB room" is just a phrase, they just mean a guy who can help break down plays and tendencies from the quarterback's perspective. 

That's literally a coach lol. 

Continues to practice-field stuff as well. at it.

No one ever wants their third-string/practice squad QB on the field during a game. You have him because you need multiple QBs to actually run a practice to reduce the load on the guys you actually care about.

Literally just pick up any UDFA. You didn't pick the 28 y.o. up pre-draft for a reason. Try something new for once instead of signing the same guy as a sacrifice. 

84 You want someone you know,…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

You want someone you know, and who knows your system well. UDFA rarely are perceived to have those qualities. There's a reason BB signed Hoyer year after year after year.

85 What does Nathan Peterman know about Chicago?

His best friends uncles brothers wife is neighbors with the defensive coordinators sons running back coach in high school? lol

I guess I'll just say it: I dont care what Jarrett Stidham knows about Mcdaniels system. Bill also just spent a 4th after drafting one in the 1st. Oh and Mac started the whole year and did decently without knowing the system. Maybe knowing the system is kinda insignificant. 

86 Why do you think Peterman…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Why do you think Peterman sucks at practice? Because he sucks during a game?

Have you ever *been* to an NFL practice? I've seen guys who are great players be totally useless during practice (because they don't care), and I've watched crap players help others.

Practice is different. Bringing in some random guy isn't going to do the same thing.

87 Lol

Yeah I'm sure Aaron Rodgers is purposefully bad in practice, Nathan Peterman is God and UDFAs try to throw with their feet because they're too stupid to know how to throw without a pacifier. 

What a great defense. "You don't know for sure, but a team he's never been on does, therefore anything is possible!" 

The margins gained on this argument is crazy lol

88 Aaron Rodgers currently isn…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Aaron Rodgers currently isn't at practice, so every other quarterback on the roster is infinitely better than him.

Which - again - is part of the point. Starting QBs shouldn't be going all out at practice all the time. Defensive drills, for instance, definitely don't want the starting QB at all. If the starting QB's got a slight injury, you don't want him out there working with guys. Plus, again, practice is just different than games. There's no actual pressure, for instance.

I don't know why you think teams give a crap about the in-game potential of the scout team QB. Just go to any open NFL practice. They don't care. The guy's just running an offense so the defense has something to see.

89 Wow


I don't know why you think teams give a crap about the in-game potential of the scout team QB.

Yeah exactly and you're defending Nathan freakin Peterman. Because you somehow think a team he has literally no connection to him knows he's a god in practice?  And are paying more for the vet? All because he might know a coach?


90 Because you somehow think a…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Because you somehow think a team he has literally no connection to

I'm not defending the Bears signing Peterman, I'm defending someone signing whoever the hell they want at scout team QB because cost-wise it's pointlessly pathetic. You're literally complaining about a team spending 0.25% of the salary cap. Whatever.

The Bears doing something stupid at QB is just de rigeur.

93 Ah the purveyor of nfl practices you must be

A coach isn't a film guy? Yikes, that surely is great lol

The teams that knew Peterman wanted nothing to do with him anymore. But SOMEONE should sign him to throw against air unlike those IDIOT UDFAs! Ugh they're soooo stupid not knowing the system. Takes em like 11 years!

96 Tell me more Pat Bowlen

UDFAs clearly arent worthy of such things as game film or throwing the ball in practice. Ugh.

THANKFULLY we KNOW Nathan Peterman is good at em. How? Well, I'm the Chicago Bears or someone! I knew his HS coach!

83 Hey

But does Cam count with last year as well? 

What HOFr is dwindling? Bucs and Pack already have other QB plans and shouldn't waste their time/money. Just missed Big Ben. Colts signed Foles for...yet another year of Reich supposed fixing behind Ryan. IDK. He'll find a place though. There is a precedent.  

5 The career path you…

The career path you described is Sam Darnold's, not Mayfield.  Baker has had more success; I could see the whole thing working out more the way it worked out for Drew Brees, especially since Baker was playing injured last year.  I also think he goes to Seattle or Pittsburgh if he's released; winning coaches, and the only one of those QBs who could keep him from starting is Trubisky, and even that is unlikely.

The most unrealistic thing in your scenario, Mike, is the Chargers going to the Super Bowl.

10 would be surprised if Pittsburgh took him

Mayfield may be better than all 3 of those guys, but that room would be too crowded.

I honestly think if he IS released, Baker's best move would be Dallas. For the minimum on a one-year contract. Dak is proving injury prone. He's guaranteed 18 million regardless, and he is NOT getting more than that. Dallas pays the minimum, and Cleveland pays the rest.

If he's intelligent at all, and he is, he knows irrelevance is potentially just around the corner for him. But Sooners fans would make the trip for him, he is the favored son much more than Kyler Murray. He just seems like he would fit there as a backup for a year, with the potential for multiple spot starts at a minimum. And Jerry would revel in the publicity!

17 you may be right, but the…

you may be right, but the last two months must be humbling him more and more every day. If he'd landed with Carolina or the Falcons or the Seahawks already he might be ready for vengeance, but right now he's staring at being closer to the New Orleans Breakers QB than the Saints QB. Even a cocky guy like Baker must be have at least a little pause for reflection and thought after that.

28 but the last two months must…

but the last two months must be humbling him more and more every day.


   It's only humbling if he looks at it that way.   Alternatively, he could be looking on it as being maliciously shafted by an evil owner and just needs a change of scenery to show what he can do.   IMO Seattle is the only place there is any chance (however remote one might think it is)  for that to happen.

39 Mayfield may be better than…

Mayfield may be better than all 3 of those guys, but that room would be too crowded.


Well then, maybe Seattle or Pittsburgh could cut somebody.  Because if I ran either of those teams, I'd sign Mayfield in a heartbeat.  I don't understand most of this thread or the pessimism around him; he was decent at worst for three years, and then stunk while playing injured, for a team that has been more incompetent than the Jets for about two decades before Mayfield got there.  And the stuff about his attitude, seems like a lot of BS to me.

45 Ok, I have to admit I forgot…

Ok, I have to admit I forgot the Steelers drafted Kenny Pickett in the first round.  I forgot any QB got drafted in the first round this year.  Not sure if I would have drafted Pickett, although I did like what footage I saw from his last year in college.  But Seattle would be stupid not to pick up Mayfield.

48 not really

Years 2-3 Mayfield was decent at best, not at worst. Especially Year 2, his play was pretty indecent.

Had Mayfield after Year 3 been anything more than a decent QB, they'd have picked up his Year 5 option.

51 Uh, they did pick up his 5th…

In reply to by BigRichie

Uh, they did pick up his 5th year option (and it made sense at the time to most of us, but it's a big part of why he's in the situation he is now.)

53 Injury prone...

Might be an overstatement, but given the last two years, i would think acknowledging the need for a better quality backup than Gibert or rush or whatever the new guys name is should be apparent. Mayfield on the minimum would be a great fit for both of a legit starting opportunity for Mayfield doesn't open up 

I agree with some of the sentiment here that Mayfield Should be getting more bites than he is given his history. I mean he would be an immediate upgrade for Atlanta, Carolina, Seattle, nyg, and Houston. Maybe nyj too. But since they haven't bit, why not Dallas? Makes more sense than tanier's choice.

54 NY and HOU want to focus on…

In reply to by NYChem

NY and HOU want to focus on developing Z.Wilson and D. Mills, and the latter actually had similar stats to Baker this past year

Caserio not taking back Baker in the deal, and telling his favorite team growing up to deal with Baker somewhere else, has turned out to be a complete backbreaker for CLE, as every other QB megadeal lately has involved taking the other one back, although rumor is that HOU has been revisiting.

55 I guess for the min

In reply to by NYChem

going back home wouldnt be bad. 

But probably not feasible or desirable for Baker at the min. No chance of him starting like other places. So I doubt it's worth pursuing the controversy it'd cause. 

56 Dupe

In reply to by NYChem

Also they should probably focus on surrounding Dak with the best to try and win a title before something collapses. 

69 Sorry

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Too late.

8 Honestly

Seattle should just cough up a (conditional?) 7th (if they eat half of it).

Baker-Geno, roll with the punches. More upside than Lock

23 I dont think

Tampa needs to waste more money on QBs. They need to just let the room be and  focus on surrounding Brady for another title run.


That said, yes, “comfort & convenience” aren’t even a big deal, I’m sorry, you get to cover football for a living. I said it 🤷‍♂️
That said, Baker’s sad tale to me proved my “Tebow was railroaded” narrative with the key difference being Baker wasn’t trusted by Lincoln in the end of his college year yet went #1, whilst Tebow’s coach always trusted him yet he barely made the first round.

15 I am a bit surprised people…

I am a bit surprised people have turned SO sour on Baker in one year. One could read the Browns willingly hitting the eject button on Baker as the ultimate vote of no confidence. On the other hand, it was for Deshawn Watson. 

Its also an interesting peek into the reality of what happens when you play hurt. Assuming the reports are true, Baker played through a shoulder injury. If he seeks the path of self preservation, he gets labeled soft, selfish, and not a team player. Playing through injury and now his perceived value has sunk like a stone.

Tanier has clearly made a clear prediction. Baker is a bad QB who will be out of the league in a few years. Based on his four year stretch to date, I don't think it proves Baker is a bad player. I guess personality is one of those things that gets you blackballed. 

21 I wonder if that's real,…

I wonder if that's real, though, and not just self-serving team narrative parroted by writers who need to feed the company line to preserve their access.

We know a WR flipped out on him. Antonio Brown disrobed and walked out on Tom Brady -- WRs are crazy. That wasn't even top-3 for dumbest thing a WR did last year.

27 There was the whole Hue…

There was the whole Hue Jackson kerfluffle. It's funny because I'm sure Browns fans loved the idea of Mayfield being like "we hate you for going to our rival" thing, but it was wildly unprofessional, if you think about it. Mayfield's been very vocal about his opinions during his time in Cleveland - that part's not a team narrative.

20 His best year was 2020, with…

His best year was 2020, with 545 DYAR.  That's....pretty average. That includes the "playing hurt" theory for the next year. But yeah, considering his upside was Deshaun Watson(base exp for #1 pick), the Browns clearly think it's not likely.  And that's including the fact that Watson could be suspended for a decent number of games. 

He probably could be a replacement or slightly better level starter, but that depends on him accepting that.  Also, given that everyone likes the next QB class, you have to balance trying to unlock(TM) Mayfield vs getting a high pick in a QB rich draft. 

Still, I think he convinces someone to let him start after being released. 

31 But yeah, considering his…

But yeah, considering his upside was Deshaun Watson(base exp for #1 pick)

Hilariously, I think Baker Mayfield is actually the base expectation for the #1 pick. I mean, the funny thing is that Mayfield had the 4th highest QBASE projection of any prospect. So you'd immediately hear that and say "man, he was a miss." Except QBASE had his mean projection at ~500 DYAR/yr, which is... basically exactly right.

I mean, the exact timing would likely make it a miss, but he's... pretty much about what you should expect from the top rated QB.

33 He actually exceeds…

He actually exceeds expectations!

1st overall is worth ~ 9 AV per year, eyeballed for a QB. Mayfield is worth 11.25. Which actually puts him atop the heap over the last decade.

Fans, even us, have a really poor sense of what a given draft pick is actually worth, and what "average" actually looks like.

35 True, but nobody drafts a QB…

True, but nobody drafts a QB for them to be average (ok, except maybe NE). 

Looking that .draft picks since 1983(got tired, so stopped, skipping 2021). Of 19 QB picked no 1.

 4 clear elites. (Peyton, Aikman, Steve Young, Elway )

2 on a good elite trajectory (Burrow, Murray)
3 Guys who had a good trajectory but crashed and burned. (Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Vick)

 8 above average guys (Matt Stafford/Ryan, Alex Smith, Eli, Carson Palmer, vinny testaverde, drew bledsoe)

Some average guys: Goff, Jameis Winston, Jeff George

And the rest were busts: Sam Bradford, Jamarcus Russel, David Carr

Having 3 guys flame out due to injuries or off field issues hurt things a fair bit. 

Some of the classifications are debatable but Mayfield is clearly at the low end of that, one of the last two tiers. While fan expectations are inflated, #1 picks are often above average


41 I've never found the mean…

I've never found the mean value of QBs drafted high particularly meaningful. 

When the outcomes are so extreme and so franchise altering, think about alternate universes with Peyton Manning swapping with Ryan Leaf, the mean value isn't helpful.

I prefer to think of it as lottery tickets.

64 Why? The only reason you…

Why? The only reason you have such a bipolar performance distribution is because teams give up on guys. The underlying performance distribution is almost certainly smooth - it's just that you abandon guys because you think you can do better, so they all collapse to "career over."

So the question is where's the point at which you should give up on a player because you think you can do better than him? That point will end up being around the mean value.

Which is why Mayfield's interesting, because he's basically right around that point (actually slightly over), which means that other factors start to come into play. I don't know why people dismiss the whole personality thing (I certainly don't) considering he's been very vocal in Cleveland, which certainly isn't just media or teamspeak.

74 Yeah

I think especially for QBs teams may put some weight on the personality. As the default team leader. i wonder if teams shy away from the cocky and progressive(TM) attitudes of a Baker Mayfield, especially as still a young gun. Great QBs have often been vocal and visibly fiery, but it seems to emerge more and more AS they get great, not from day 1 like Baker.

What teams tolerate from a multi-MVP Aaron Rodgers they may not tolerate from a first year/replacing Brett Favre Aaron.

75 Don't pay much attention to…

In reply to by NYChem

Don't pay much attention to Browns media but is he really that bad? Just seemed like the usual confident, mildly' cocky type. Not like he's gonna come out and say "I'm actually not that good at this." Is he actually that much different from anyone else?

76 The Hue Jackson thing was…

The Hue Jackson thing was fairly unique. When the head coach is fired standard thing is to downplay everything and keep things civil, because, well, it's a business. You don't know who you're going to work for in the future.

I mean, Trevor Lawrence's biggest comment on the whole Urban Meyer thing was "there’s been a lot of drama." Whereas Mayfield literally stares down Jackson during a game (dude, focus) and rants about the guy in a press conference afterwards and continues to whine on Twitter later.


43 Pennington was drafted 18th…

Pennington was drafted 18th.  I don't agree with your assessment of Andrew Luck either; he was a star who retired too soon to be considered Hall of Fame worthy.  It seems that the retirement was a choice, and not forced on him by injury.

52 "Playing through injury and…

"Playing through injury and now his perceived value has sunk like a stone."

Except that if he had sat out the injury early on in the 2021 season, and the Browns had still gone ahead with acquiring Watson, then Baker would've entered 2023 training camp with essentially a 31-month gap on his resume if he didn't get a trade or release.

Really was a no-win situation.

77 I think that people who saw…

I think that people who saw potential of him breaking into the upper tier did so by looking at his latter part of 2020 when the Stefanski scheme started to really click and the team had the Chiefs on the ropes*, and the first two games of 2021 before he turned into Baker Labrum.  (Also went blow-for-blow against Herbert a few weeks after.)

*Yes, I know they couldn't stop the Chad Henne Show in the last 1/3 of the game, failed last Baker drive, etc etc. but momentum was moving their way even before Mahomes went down; also, not going to get into the Sorensen hit.

24 I grew up in the Jeff George…

I grew up in the Jeff George era. When a guy has the talent to be the number one pick, there will always for a qb coach who thinks he can be the one to resurrect the player until he plays himself out of the league. George got like five chances before finally fizzling out. In a qb driven league Baker will get at least two or three more.  

25 The difficulty enhancer for the Hotel Shower Rigamarole...

... is glasses. My default strategy is to examine the controls, try to memorize exactly what I need to manipulate, take my glasses off, end up in the Pompeii + Vladivostok zone, put my glasses back on to figure out how to avoid those extremes, have my glasses fog up immediately as part of the Pompeii after-effect, consider wiping off my glasses with the slightly too moist cloth I put nearby already because I've done this once or twice but just remove my glasses and wing it, and then decide "Ah, screw it, I've taken really hot/cold showers before, I'll live with whatever the water temperature ends up being as I fiddle with the controls every 30 seconds."

Disclaimer: I was not part of the Louisville trip.

50 Boom!

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

You win the internet today.

58 Reminds me of this business…

Reminds me of this business hotel near Dullas which was like 2001 fancy. Glass shower with inscrutable modernist controls, but no door or curtain. The showerhead blasted water directly right out the door onto the floor and sink counter. I just threw down every towel they had and called it a day. Oh the wifi was extra money and awful too. 

59 Mike the Prophet

    He's been around so long he's seen every kind of NFL event repeat a dozen times. I've been following NFL very closely 12 years, pretty close another 10, and not as close for another 10 yrs before that.  I see the same patterns; Tanier prophecies are often NOT what I want and I try to dismiss it and it happens anyway.  
    What he said about Derrick Henry last week is what he kinda said about all my favorite backs; (always powerbacks) since Sean Alexander; Micheal Turner, Brandon Jacobs, Demarco Murray, Adrian Peterson puttering around for 5 years now, you get the picture. 

    So here I go again: Maybe he's wrong about Baker Mayfield!  He'll get a second chance! Like Trent Green when he got 'bledsoe'd' by Kurt Warner in 1999; he had a great run with Vermeil in Kansas City a top 3 offense for a few years.  A run heavy offense with Priest Holmes and then Larry Johnson; but Trent's passing was like 8 Yard Per attempt brilliance.  

61 I would be surprised if…

I would be surprised if Mayfield didn't get a chance somewhere. The browns will release him(thus eating his salary), and he'll go someplace on short money for year.   I can't think of a top pick who hit the backup circuit right after their first contract. They usually get at least one more chance. Or are  so bad they just fall out of the league.  

Still, the only option seem to be Seattle. (Didn't draft a QB and you can make an argument Mayfield is better than their starter) They may just be tanking however.  If he wants a starting job, he may have to wait for an injury. 


72 I was removing teams that…

I was removing teams that either had an established (better) starter or a young guy they would want to develop. But yeah, Panthers are a weird case. Can't really consider a third rounder QB of the future(it happens, but super rare).  Honestly, I would put them in the quite-possibly-tanking category.  My guess was they would be more likely to throw Corral out there and see what he can do if/when Darnold struggles as a they know they aren't gonna be competitive.

Normally, teams will take a chance on a guy with pedigree(high pick), but less incentive to try that with a good draft comming up. 

78 Well, the Falcons and…

Well, the Falcons and Panthers are both in the same boat, but the Panthers might have some incentive to try being competitive a shot since they started off so well last year. The Falcons don't really have any incentive (and boy, it shows).

79 Well, people are continuing…

Well, people are continuing to look at SEA as being perhaps more willing than CAR to make a move because Carroll is seen as "too proud to tank," and because SF would probably not want to trade JimmyG in division.

Detroit (John Dorsey connection) has also been rumored, although the situation would basically be the Panthers Darnold/Baker double reclamation projects on steroids, what with Goff and his salary.

Besides HOU revisiting, or the Winston-under-Brees-style remedial year in TB, I have continued to see ATL rumored as a possibility even with Mariota.

95 Inspired!

"Shower fixtures based on Buckminster Fuller's Cinco de Mayo cocktail napkin sketches."