Baker Mayfield and the Carolina Panthers have officially parted ways.
The Panthers released the 27-year-old quarterback on Monday — reportedly by Mayfield’s request — after just 12 games this season, only seven of which Mayfield actually appeared in.
The Cleveland Browns, who traded their former No. 1 overall pick to the Panthers during the offseason, get a 2024 fifth-round pick back in return, although it could have been a fourth if Mayfield had played 70 percent of snaps.
How soon Mayfield gets another chance to save his career remains to be seen, but there is at least one team that may be desperate for a starting quarterback: the San Francisco 49ers.
The Niners lost Jimmy Garoppolo for the rest of the season on Sunday after he broke his leg, leaving them with seventh-round draft pick Brock Purdy to take the reins.
Purdy is the Niners’ third quarterback this season and actually played admirably in relief of Garoppolo on Sunday against a formidable Miami Dolphins squad.
But will the Niners, who are 8-4 and in first place in the NFC West, really roll with Purdy the rest of the season or could they turn to outside help, such as Mayfield?
Mayfield has now been underwhelming in his last two seasons. In seven games this year, he completed just 57.8% of his passes for 1,31 yards and six touchdowns to six interceptions.
However, the Niners are so deep and well-rounded that Mayfield would not necessarily have to be heavily relied upon like he was in Cleveland and Carolina and he would be entering a new offensive system under Kyle Shanahan.
Even if the Niners do have interest in Mayfield, it may not necessarily mean he would take the starting role from Purdy, who is more familiar and well-versed with their playbook. At this point, the Niners are probably looking for QB depth and Mayfield could provide just that while they continue to roll with Purdy.
Of course, the Niners also signed veteran Josh Johnson from the Denver Broncos practice squad on Sunday night to provide such depth. Yet, they may not have known about Mayfield's release and could still be interested in taking a flier on him.
At the very least, the Niners take a flier on a former No. 1 draft pick and see if they can get anything out of him. If he falls through waivers without any team putting a claim in for him they can even simply just invite him to a workout and see if there is anything there.