What is the fantasy outlook for Baker Mayfield?

Latest fantasy outlook for Baker Mayfield

By: Jeremy Trottier

As most if not all of us know by now, former Cleveland Browns #1 overall pick Baker Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers this offseason.  With this, we will now get to see Baker with some more offensive weapons, such as Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore this season.  However, for those of us interested in fantasy football, he is somewhat of an enigma.  For two seasons he has been really solid, two seasons he has been very bad.

In this article, I will be covering the overall outlook of his season, both a ceiling and a floor, as well as my prediction as to what range of QBs he might score nearby.  So, without further ado, let’s start with his absolute peak:

Baker Mayfield 2022 Fantasy Ceiling – Top 10 QB

The absolute ceiling of Baker Mayfield would be roughly what we saw in 2020, except give him more weapons on offense.  Baker can play up to the level of a top 10 QB, as in that season he put up the following stat line:

  • 16 games played – all 16 started (11-5 record)
  • 305 completions on 486 pass attempts (62.8% completion rate)
  • 3,563 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions
  • 54 rushes for 165 yards and 1 touchdown

This is below his ceiling still, as that was with weapons that were good, but not amazing.  In order for Baker to hit his peak, he would need Christian McCaffrey to remain healthy for a good portion if not all of the season.  Having a top 5 back out of the backfield who is easily one of the best satellite backs in the league makes your job much easier as a quarterback.

The Panthers offensive line would also need to see improvements from last year, which it certainly should with the draft addition of Ikem Ekwonu.  They also need to find their true WR2, as Robbie Anderson is good, but had a down year last season without a doubt.  Potentially look for Terrace Marshall Jr. to make this leap next year and give Baker a shot at being this top 10 QB in fantasy football scoring.

Baker Mayfield 2022 Fantasy Floor – APPX. QB25-QB30

The absolute worst I could expect Baker to do would be something like last year but partially worse.  There are a few reasons why this could happen:

  1. Sam Darnold takes starts away from Baker at some point if he does poorly
  2. Baker re-aggravates his shoulder injury and either misses time or performs at a lower level
  3. Christian McCaffrey gets another injury and misses significant time
  4. The coaching staff performs as badly as they did last season and utilizes Baker incorrectly or does not have faith in him. 

These would be the main four reasons as to why I could see Baker failing this season, or at least not performing at a high level for fantasy purposes.  His floor could go even lower than 25th for sure if some combination of the above issues occur, specifically his injury being a bother and allowing Darnold or Matt Corral to start for a portion of the year. 

My expectations for Baker – QB13-QB18

I personally believe there is a median between his ceiling and floor that is where he will find himself this season.  A new scheme to learn, a head coach who has not proven much at this level, and some question marks at TE and WR2 lead me to believe he will struggle early in the year.  However, there is a good shot he finds his footing later in the season and recovers his fantasy value, especially for the fantasy playoffs. 

Baker is a good player to pick up in a dynasty league if available in case he performs well this year, as he could be used as a trade piece or even be used in a rotation, potentially in a 2 QB league.  In re-draft, he holds some value as a backup in case your starter performs to a low level, but other than that I would not rely on him as a full-time starter unless proven otherwise. 

Will the Panthers trade Sam Darnold?

Should the Panthers finally trade Sam Darnold?

By: Jake Rajala

The Carolina Panthers made a bold move to acquire the highly-talented, yet inconsistent Baker Mayfield. Mayfield may not be coming off his sexiest season (a career-low 17 passing touchdowns to 13 interceptions), but it’s certainly expected that the former Browns QB with 11 wins in 2020 will have the keys to the offense in Week 1. With that said, a fascinating question arises: will the Panthers trade Sam Darnold?

Darnold may be an NFL bust at this stage in his career, but he is still 25 years old. It’s quite true that Darnold’s youth is a positive factor, especially when he’s played with Adam Gase in New York and a Panthers offense that has missed Christian McCaffrey far too much. The former first overall pick Jameis Winston had awful turnover issues at Tampa Bay but proceeded to have his best seven-game stretch at 27 years old (5-2 as a starter). Darnold (who is a free agent in 2023) may not blossom in a new situation in 2022, but he could undergo Bruce Wayne-like training with a new, sharp offensive mind in 2022 or 2023 and then compete for a starting job after a season of development with his new squad.

It seems clear that the Panthers should feel excited with their QB room if Darnold exits the building. Outside of Mayfield, the Panthers also have Matt Corral (third-round pick in the 2023 draft). Corral isn’t only a viable QB2, but he has similar potential as Darnold (at least). Corral can also have a lot more reps with Darnold out of the situation.

Plus, the Panthers could opt to bring back Cam Newton as a veteran presence.

I really believe that CAR should push Darnold out the door for a late round pick. The San Francisco 49ers also haven’t traded away Jimmy G, so the Panthers could benefit from a few QB-needy teams that haven’t been able to acquire Garoppolo. The Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions may be interesting in reeling in Darnold. The Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be sneaky landing spots for Darnold — as he could aim to be the potential heir to Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady.

I fully expect Baker to be the QB1 for the Panthers in Week 1. Hence, I boldly believe the Panthers should deal away Darnold with their soonest opportunity. At worst, I forsee Darnold being exchanged for a late-round before the trade deadline. It’s honestly the dawn of a new era in Carolina — as Sam Darnold Baker Mayfield and a healthy Christian McCaffrey will look to bring the team back to the playoffs.

3 winners and 3 losers from the Baker Mayfield trade

Who is the biggest loser from the Baker Mayfield trade?

By: Jake Rajala

The Carolina Panthers officially traded for quarterback Baker Mayfield today. Per NFL.com, the Panthers are delivering a fifth-round draft pick in 2024 to the Browns for the big-arm QB. Mayfield is finally out of his personal Alcatraz (also known as Cleveland), while the underrated Panthers squad acquired a QB that should earn the keys to the offense in Week 1.

With that said, Mayfield (assuming he’s the starting QB) will be in full John Wick-mode in the Panthers contest against the Browns in Week 1. The Browns battle against the Panthers will be an exciting, dramatic, and competitive show-down.

With that enunciated, I’m going to simply untwine three winners and three losers from the blockbuster Mayfield trade.

Winner: Matt Rhule

The Panthers head coach, Matt Rhule, is walking on fewer eggshells after they upgraded the QB position — which previously featured Sam Darnold as the projected starter. Rhule will not only have Christian McCaffrey healthy, but he will have a talented quarterback that can utilize the weapons on a high level if he’s in sync and healthy. Rhule has a record of 10-23, but he should feel a lot more comfortable about the chance of having his first winning record in 2022 with the former Browns QB.

Loser: Sam Darnold

Darnold may express that he’s a “good” quarterback on “Bussin’ with the Boys”, but his 2021 performance was actually dreadful. The former USC stud threw 9 touchdowns to 13 interceptions while ousting a 4-7 record. Plus, the Panthers have a young, potentially better QB to couple with Baker in Matt Corral. Darnold, who is a FA in 2023, will likely be traded soon or looking for a new home after the 2022 season.

Winner: Robbie Anderson

Robby Anderson may not prefer Baker Mayfield in secrecy, but it’s obvious that Mayfield can help the deep threat more than Darnold. Anderson was one of the most under-utilized deep threats in 2021, so it’s time for the Mayfield-Anderson connection to thrive moving forward. Anderson recorded 15 YPC in 2018 and 2019, but he had a career-low (to say the least) 9.8 YPC in 2022.

Loser: New Orleans Saints

The Saints have a healthy QB-WR duo in Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas. Plus, they brought in the Honey Badger (who was All-Pro in 2020 and 2019). Although, they still have a brutal path in 2022 — seventh most challenging schedule. They may be really pushing for a wild-card spot next season, so it’s vital that they don’t cough up a loss against the Panthers.

Winner: Jacoby Brissett

Assuming Deshaun Watson missed at least a large chunk of 2022, Jacoby Brissett is guaranteed as the Browns temporary, starting QB. The 29-year-old QB has a golden opportunity to prove his worth with a Browns offense that features Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper, and Kareem Hunt. Perhaps Brissett can play well and earn an impressive contract with a team like the Jets in the 2023 off-season.

Loser: P.J. Walker

The Panthers 27-year-old quarterback, P.J. Walker, will have a brutal chance of making the Panthers roster with Mayfield onboard. The former XFL QB that threw a touchdown in a Panthers uniform last season will likely not be retained as a fourth-string QB. However, I trust that he will have another opportunity elsewhere at this stage in his career.

Ranking the NFC West teams right now

Will the 49ers thrive in the NFC West?

By: Jake Rajala

The NFC West is more competitive than a fight between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi (outside of their last-ever fight). The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers may have new faces at the quarterback position, but they should still be unpleasant teams to face. With that said, I’m going to simply rank the NFC West teams and untwine how successful the NFC West teams should be in 2022.

Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams improved in the back-end of last season and I expect them to continue to wreak dominance next season. I believe Allen Robinson is an upgrade over the more popular Odell Beckham Jr. The Rams will also have a healthy Cam Akers in their offense. The Rams team with the salary cap turned off also inked the future Hall of Famer Bobby Wagner — as the Rams could realistically have a Top-5 defense and the best run defense next season. It would be an understatement to say LA is well-equipped to click play on a 2022 season that yields the most difficult schedule in the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals were underrated entering the 2021 season — excluding a projection from Cynthia Frelund and my personal take on AZ entering 2021.

With that said I believe they are underestimated without DeAndre Hopkins in 2022. They may struggle to beat quality teams without D-Hop (as he has a six-game suspension), but they should still have vengeance and return to the post-season with their talented HC-QB combo, Hollywood Brown, and a healthy J.J. Watt. The Cardinals have the second-most difficult schedule next season, but I like their chances of making the playoffs as a wild-card team.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers were the biggest underdog in 2021, as they clawed their way to an NFC Championship appearance. Their Albert Einstein-like head coach still has Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, George Kittle, and a hulk in LT Trent Williams. Although, I don’t like their outlook with a young quarterback and a brutal schedule. I believe they won’t return to the NFC playoffs — as I believe teams like the Saints, Vikings, and Eagles are more logical wild-card destined squads.

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner fled the Rainy City this off-season. I honestly believe that the likely Geno Smith-led Seahawks could have a Top-5 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. It should also be noted that Jamal Adams is coming off his worst season and D.K. Metcalf is a potential trade candidate at the moment. Hence, It wouldn’t be a complete surprise if their WR was out of the building by the trade block and Adams was out of the west coast in potentially the 2023 season.

If the Seahawks get Baker Mayfield, they could be more likely to retain Metcalf. If Baker is in a Seahawks uniform and he is able to return to Pro Bowl-like form, they could move above the 49ers and be a darkhorse NFC team.

Baker Mayfield tribute and reflection

The reflection of Baker Mayfield as a Cleveland Brown

By: Ivan Mulinder

Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy in 2017 as the Quarterback of the Oklahoma Sooners, an award which is given to the most outstanding player in College Football. Going into the 2018 Draft he was the most successful quarterback ever in College Football in terms of his passing efficiency rating (which was 198.9) and he still ranks 6th today.

He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 Draft, a selection that came with extremely high expectations by most Browns fans who thought that at last, they had their QB who would lead them to glory. Baker Mayfield was certainly up to the challenge saying “I think if anybody’s going to turn that franchise around it would be me.” When asked why he’s the right man he said “Accuracy. I can make any throw.” Given his passing efficiency rating, he was right to be so confident.

Baker joined an extremely dysfunctional organization. Hue Jackson was the Head Coach and Todd Hayley was the Offensive coordinator. Over the last two seasons, the Browns had won 1 game, with only 4 wins in the last 3 seasons.

Since their return in 1999, they had only 2 winning seasons, the last in 2007, and the Browns had become the laughing stock of the NFL, a name synonymous with losing. Yet the Cleveland Browns had once been the greatest franchise and are proud owners of 8 Championships, with some of the best NFL players of all time having played for them such as Jim Brown and Otto Graham. Baker was the Browns 30th starting Quarterback since 1999 and he had a tough task ahead of him. The program Hard Knocks highlighted very clearly the incompetence and arrogance of Hue Jackson and the infighting between the Coaches. 

By Game 3 of the 2018 season, the Browns were in their usual run of form and were losing to the New York Jets 14-0 in Cleveland. Baker came on to thunderous applause and promptly led the Browns to a 21-17 victory, their first win in 19 games, completing 17 of 23 passes for 201 passing yards. Let’s remind ourselves of Baker Mayfield’s successes in Cleveland:

  •  He was the first Quarterback since 1961 to come off the bench in his debut, throw for more than 200+ yards and lead his team to their first win of the season. 
  • In week 5 2018 he won his first victory as a Browns starting Quarterback throwing for 347 yards and 1 touchdown in a 12-9 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. 
  • In Week 10 2018 he achieved a passer rating of 151.2 against the Atlanta Falcons. 
  • By the end of the 2018 season, Baker Mayfield set the rookie Quarterback record for passing touchdowns with 27.
  • The Browns 2018 record of 7-8-1 was their best since 2007. 
  • He won the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Award. 
  • In 2019 his peers voted him the 50th best player in the League. 
  • At the end of the 2020 season, Baker led the Browns to their first playoff victory 48-37 in Pittsburgh, which was their first playoff appearance since 2002, their first playoff victory since 1994, and first playoff road win since 1969.  
  • By game 2 in 2021 PFF said “From week 10 onwards last year Mayfield was the No2 graded QB in the NFL.” He was in the top 5 Quarterbacks in all their categories.

Baker’s overall NFL stats were a TD-Int ratio of 92-56, 14,125 passing yards, 61.6% accuracy, and an 87.8 passer rating. These stats do not reflect the adversity he had to fight against throughout his time at the Cleveland Browns:

  • He had 4 Head Coaches: Hue Jackson, Gregg Williams, Freddie Kitchens, and Kevin Stefanski each with their own offensive schemes. Hue Jackson and Freddie Kitchens are two of the worst Head Coaches you’ll likely see ever in the history of the NFL.
  • He had 3 Offensive coordinators: Todd Hayley, Todd Monken, and Alex Van Pelt.
  • By week 15 of the 2021 season, the Browns only had 8 players who had been active for all games. He had no quality Offensive Line to protect him.
  • In-Game 2 2021 Baker Mayfield suffered a season-ending injury to his shoulder. He completely tore his labrum, which led to a shoulder fracture, and he suffered rib injuries, a foot injury and a leg injury during the rest of the season yet continued to give his all to lead the franchise. 
  • He didn’t have his WR1 and WR2 to throw to throughout most of the 2021 season. Landry was out from snap 2 Game 2 and OBJ didn’t want to be in Cleveland. 

Despite all this, the Browns won 8 games with 5 losses and 5 points or less. They beat the Super Bowl Bengals twice including a 41-16 blowout. On January 11th Andrew Berry said, “We fully expect Baker to be our starter and bounce back.” On March 15th he was meeting with Deshaun Watson and Baker’s time with the Cleveland Browns was effectively over. Baker Mayfield achieved a lot in Cleveland, despite all that was aligned against him. He led the franchise through a turbulent and transitional period and I believe that wherever he ends up he will lead that franchise to much success. 

3 reasons why the Panthers shouldn’t trade for Baker Mayfield

Making the case for the Panthers to not trade for Mayfield

By: Jake Rajala

The Cleveland Browns are looking to trade away their former first overall pick in Baker Mayfield. They recently shocked the league and acquired Deshaun Watson for a hefty price (five year – $230 million dollar contract). It appears true that Watson will enter the revolving door, while Mayfield will exit the door.

There have been a few teams rumored to land Mayfield since Watson arrived in Cleveland. The Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been favorites to bring in Baker. With that said, I believe it would be uncharacteristic for Matt Rhule to reel in Baker. Here are a few reasons why the Panthers should not trade for Mayfield.

  • long-term fit

I don’t believe Baker will ascend into being an elite QB or revolt to being an excellent game manager for the Panthers until the Panthers develop a 2022 rookie signal-caller or a 2023 first-year QB. I believe Rhule’s seat is HOT, but I believe they are trying to fix something that will stay broke. I’d prefer them to add more ammunition around Darnold with their cap space, bring in a rookie QB (hope he can start soon for Rhule’s sake), and then try to win more games than last season. I don’t believe the mediocre and unfamiliar Baker will automatically be a “quality bridge QB for CAR in 2022”. If the Panthers overpay and acquire Baker, they could have a similar outcome as the Colts with Carson Wentz in 2021.

  • Please draft a QB in 2022

If the Panthers are hell-bent on drafting a QB in the 2022 draft like Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett, I believe it’s a terrible idea to bring in Baker. I really believe Willis or Pickett has a solid chance at beating out Baker in 2022 and likely 2023 at this moment. They should draft Willis in my opinion, let him compete with Darnold, and slowly incorporate him into game action in a “Taysom Hill-like role” in 2022. Willis could be a weapon with CMAC on option play early on, regardless of the pure starting QB.

  • Trade for a different QB

I would honestly like to see the Panthers acquire a QB like Jimmy G or Taylor Heinicke on a cheaper deal if they really want to add a modest veteran QB. I believe the potential and game management with Jimmy G in the Panthers offense outweighs Baker’s arm talent in Rhule’s aerial offensive attack. Garoppolo has a “Darren Sproles-like friend” in McCaffrey and he can also be lethal off the play-action game with Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore. If they aren’t in love with the ceiling of the 49ers veteran pocket passer, they should add a veteran QB that can potentially start in the near future on a cheaper contract like Heinicke.

Top QB options for Cleveland Browns in 2022

Who is the top QB option for the Cleveland Browns?

By: Jake Rajala

The former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst, Dan Orlovsky, claimed that the Cleveland Browns were the NFL’s most disappointing team after six games. The Browns were 3-3 after six games, yet it was clear they were underperforming. It’s safe to say the Browns didn’t impress Orlovsky or the rest of the dog pound in the last 11 games of the season. The Browns finished with a lousy 8-9 record, which was a step back from their 11-5 record in 2020.

The leader of the Browns, also known as Baker Mayfield, was largely responsible for his team falling off a cliff in 2021. The former first overall pick threw 13 interceptions, while only unveiling 17 passing touchdowns. It’s unclear if Baker will be the Week 1 starter for the Browns after his whacky 2021 campaign. The Browns could opt to go in a new direction at QB. The question is: what is the hierarchy of talent in the QBs available (including Baker)? Well, here are the top QB options for the Browns.

  1. Kyler Murray

I believe Kyler Murray is more likely to be traded than the more relaxed Aaron Rodgers and Future Russell Wilson. Murray has started the 2022 season on hot rocks and he seems furious about getting shipped out of Arizona. The Browns would have to cough up a lot of draft compensation for Murray, but I believe it would be worth it.

The talent and age (24 years old) of Murray make Murray the clear-cut favorite to be a Brown. Murray had a whopping 3,787 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns, and 423 rushing yards with the Cardinals last season.

2. Kirk Cousins

The Minnesota Vikings have a big decision to make with Kirk Cousins. The Vikings starting QB doesn’t want to take a pay cut, but the Vikings may not be completely ready to let him keep his current salary. The Vikings really need to rebuild the roster (defense/the secondary most importantly) and they could trade the expensive, 33-year-old QB in 2022.

There is no hiding the fact that the Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has familiarity with Cousins, as the Browns HC was his offensive coordinator for a season. Cousins likely wouldn’t put up unearthly numbers in Minny, but he could surely take care of the football and utilize his number one WR better than Baker. I would say the ceiling of Cousins doesn’t match a QB like Murray or Wilson, but I would expect him to bring the Browns to the playoffs in 2023.

3. Baker Mayfield

If the Browns can’t reel in a shiny, veteran QB, I would want to see them give Baker another chance in 2022. I would expect coach Stefanski to ride with Baker for another season than pull the plug on the whole operation and give the red carpet for Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis. Everybody might be ready to bring Mayfield to the top of a Mayan pyramid, but he has the experience, production (in some cases), and talent to potentially improve from the 2021 season and lead the Browns to a playoff berth. He may not ever hold the same ceiling as Murray, but I still expect him to come back with a chip on his shoulder in 2022 with the Browns or another team if a trade involving the Browns gunslinger is unfolded.

Best potential landing spots for Mitchell Trubisky in 2022

What is the best landing spot for Mitchell Trubisky?

By: Jake Rajala

The former second overall pick by the Chicago Bears Mitchell Trubisky has 10,652 passing yards, 64 passing touchdowns, and 38 interceptions in his career. Trubisky escaped Alcatraz, also known as Matt Nagy island, in the 2021 offseason. The former Bears QB suited up for the Buffalo Bills as a backup QB in the 2021-2022 season.

Trubisky gained time to sharpen his skillset and football mind as a young, backup QB. After a season of playing in Bills Mafia, Trubisky is facing free agency and ready to show he’s capable of starting in the NFL again. Bruce Wayne went to the Tibetan Himalayas to gain wisdom and physical strength in “Batman Begins”. It was safe to say that Wayne returned home with more confidence and ass-kicking ability. It’s time for Trubisky to follow a similar path as the caped crusader that beats up villains in Gotham.

The Bills QB can return as a backup QB to Josh Allen in the 2022 offseason or he can opt to join a team where he has a better opportunity to start. Here are a few clubs that would make the most sense to ink Trubisky.

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns will more than likely divorce with Baker Mayfield this offseason. Whether or not the Browns draft a QB in round one, it would be smart for Andrew Barry to sign a veteran QB. There is a sharp idea that Kevin Stefanski acquires his old QB Kirk Cousins, as well. Trubisky would be the best value QB in free agency that would be on the table for the third place AFC North squad. It’s also not a stretch to suggest that Trubisky could be an upgrade over their recent QB ability. Interestingly, here is a closer look at how Trubisky’s performance from 2020 compares to the Browns QB performance in 2021.

Mitchell Trubisky (10 games):

  • 205.5 passing YPG
  • 16 passing touchdowns
  • 8 interceptions

Baker Mayfield (14 games):

  • 215 passing YPG
  • 17 passing touchdowns
  • 13 interceptions

Trubisky could take the reigns in Browns and potentially be a more talented version of Baker and himself. The former Bear would have Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Jarvis Landry, and a defense led by Myles Garrett to help him reach the playoffs.

New York Jets

The New York Jets were so desperate for QB help in 2021 that they traded for their former mediocre signal-caller, Joe Flacco. The former Super Bowl MVP wasn’t the answer to their woes. The 2021 rookie Zach Wilson also vastly struggled last season with nine passing touchdowns to 11 interceptions. In Wilson’s favor, the Jets yielded a brutal supporting cast for the former BYU QB.

The Jets will need to add offensive line talent and a shiny weapon around their QB spot, but they will surely look to upgrade their QB position itself. Mekhi Becton, who was the Jets best offensive player in 2020, also missed 16 games in 2021. He has been rumored to be traded this offseason. The outlook for Wilson is very murky and they will need to bring in quality competition at the vital position. Flacco, who is 37 years old and many years removed from impressive production, is not the profile that should make Wilson sweat in a QB battle. The Jets should bring in Trubisky on a short-term deal and allow him to wreak havoc on his former AFC East squad. The Jets could even ink Trubisky’s former number one wideout in Allen Robinson.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a risky situation with Ben Roethlisberger retiring. Dwayne Haskins and Mason Rudolph left standing post Big Ben’s retirement, so the question mark is bigger than ever for Mike Tomlin. The Steelers have been linked to Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 draft, but it’s far from a guarantee if he will be remaining on the draft board at the 20th pick.

The AFC North squad that was gifted a holiday miracle with their ticket to the playoffs, could look to retool and not “rebuild” in the 2022 offseason. They proudly boast the 2022 Defensive Player of The Year T.J. Watt and weapons around the QB spot on offense (Najee Harris, Dionate Johnson, and Chase Claypool).

If the Steelers have a quality QB in 2022 like the old version of Andy Dalton in his early Cincinnati days, or the Alex Smith in his Kansas City Chiefs tenure, they would hold a high chance of returning to the playoffs. The more mature Mitchell Trubisky could utilize the Steelers weapons well and lead the Steelers to successful seasons ahead. The question is: how comfortable are the Steelers with his ceiling?

Honorable mentions:

Buffalo Bills

The Bills have to love the idea of bringing back Trubisky as the backup QB. According to Pro Football Rumors, the Bills want Trubisky back as the number two QB. He’s one of the top backup QBs in the NFL. The Bills are also a strong Super Bowl contender and it is logical for them to want a strong replacement for Josh Allen if he faces an unexpected injury. With that stated, it’s also wouldn’t be a major surprise if Allen misses time from an injury. The Bills starting QB commonly runs with the ball, so he easily faces endures countless big hits in the open field. Nick Foles was able to properly fill in for the Eagles when Carson Wentz went down with an injury. Trubisky has the potential to be a backup QB that can win pivotal playoff games if Allen suffers a devastating injury.

If a team like the Jets acquire a QB like Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, Trubisky could consider returning to his current elite organization. If the Steelers or Saints feel comfortable with a rookie QB joining their current QB room, then Trubisky could be passed on by those potential suitors. Although, I do expect Trubisk to first look at joining a team where he can sign a big deal and have a strong chance of having the keys to the starting offense.

New Orleans Saints

I expect the New Orleans Saints, who retained long-time Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael as the offensive coordinator, to keep Jameis Winston in the building for 2022 and potentially beyond. Although, there’s a chance that Winston is lured by a different team in free agency. If Winston is out, I would really foresee the Saints being aggressive for Mitchell Trubisky.

Carmichael would most likely prefer Trubisky’s pocket passing skills and age over the signing of Marcus Mariota or Tyrod Taylor. The Saints have been rumored to select a QB in round one for each of the past several years. They may need a talented rookie QB now more than ever, but they should ink Winston or Trubisky regardless of selecting a rookie QB in an early-round this year. They have a roster surrounding the QB position that is still built to compete for a Super Bowl trophy in the near future.

Kyler Murray trade destinations: Buccaneers top the list

The Buccaneers are the best Kyler Murray trade destination

By: Jake Rajala

The magician Kyler Murray, who made the Pro Bowl in 2020 and 2021, has recently cut ties with any relation to the Cardinals on social media. It appears that Murray is disgruntled with his situation in AZ and he could potentially want to be shipped out of the desert.

Murray is truly at the prime of his career. He’s 24 years old and he’s shown improvement in each season thus far. There’s hype around Russell Wilson and the potential magic he could yield on a team not named the Seattle Seahawks. Yet, it’s worth mentioning that Murray is nine years younger than Wilson and he nearly as talented as the Hawks QB at the moment.

It seems like a realistic possibility that Murray is fed up with Cardinals if he’s taken the steps to remove any Cardinals related love from his social media count in early February. If Murray finds his way out Arizona, where could the dual-threat QB land? Here are several landing spots for Murray that would make a ton of sense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bruce Arians is a man of simple taste. He likes to drink scotch and make mega-trades for quarterbacks. The eighth wonder of the world Tom Brady is no longer a member of the NFL after throwing for a career high 5,316 passing yards in 2021. TB12 may not be ahead of Michael Jordan, but he did go down as the greatest football player of all time. The Bucs offense still has juice surrounding the QB spot and Arians may be tempted to find a talented signal-caller and fight for the second Super Bowl berth in three seasons.

The Bucs have Mike Evans and likely Chris Godwin at the WR position. Ronald Jones will also be returning as the starting RB. The defense led by Lavonte David and Todd Bowles will surely be an impressive defense yet again. Arians, who is getting to the end of his career at age 69, could insert Murray into the starting gig and come out gunz blazing in 2022.

New Orleans Saints

The second NFC South squad to make the list would be a very logical landing spot for Murray. There appears to be a lot of love for the idea of Wilson landing in NOLA, but I believe the Saints would prefer Murray over Wilson. The Saints would really have to get creative to afford Murray, as they are ranked dead last in cap space with roughly -76 million. If they exchanged a few players and a couple of early draft choices, I still believe it would be worth it for the Saints.

Much alike the Buccaneers, the Saints have one of the most talented rosters surrounding the QB. If the Saints had Murray with 2019 Offensive Player of The Year Michael Thomas, Deonte Harris, an elite offensive line when healthy, and a Top 5 defense, the Saints would easily be Super Bowl favorites. They just have to get in touch with Murray to see if it’s a mutual interest and find a way to resolve their cap issues. Nonetheless, they should go the extra mile for Wilson Murray.

Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans were the number one seed with a non Top 10 QB in Ryan Tannehill. Tanny has been efficient, but he’s not a QB that can put the team on his shoulders. The Titans could include their QB in a trade to the Cards for Murray. Kliff Kingsbury would prefer to make a QB trade for Tannehill compared to Baker Mayfield in my opinion.

Mike Vrabel, who was the 2021 Coach of The Year, knows that Derrick Henry doesn’t have a lot of gas left in the tank. The Titans 6’4 235 pound RB can’t stiff arm the Titans to a Super Bowl berth by himself. Tannehill will eventually have to play like an elite QB and I’m not sure that he can outduel the likes of Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow moving forward. Tannehill is also nine years older than Murray. Vrabel should make a crafty decision to trade his QB with their second round pick for Murray this offseason.

Cleveland Browns

The divorce between Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns seems imminent. Mayfield’s ugly performance against Green Bay, where he threw four interceptions, proved to be the last straw for Kevin Stefanski and the Browns organization. When the Browns pardon Mayfield, they should target a more superb QB in return. The AFC North and NFC West squads should strike a deal with the two former first overall picks, while the Browns could send extra draft picks in the deal.

The Browns have very bright management with Andrew Berry, who was hired as the youngest GM in NFL history. Berry could include a first round pick with Baker to deliver to the NFC West squad. The Browns could take a similar jump that the Titans took in 2021 with Murray, Nick Chubb, Myles Garrett, Jarvis Landry, and Kareem Hunt. The Browns also are 12th in cap space, which is a very suitable position lure in a very expensive profile like Murray.

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers ought to be the ultimate wild card team to land Murray. The Sam Darnold experiment clearly didn’t work, as the former XFL QB PJ Walker looked more effective than him. Matt Rhule is on a hotter seat than nearly any other NFL head coach, as well. He knows that he needs to make a splash move and capitalize off the talent they have with the offensive weapons and ascending defense.

Murray and Christian McCaffrey would be a very dangerous combination in the backfield. The league’s fastest QB would also have Robby Anderson to take the top off of defenses. The Panthers could also elect to trade away McCaffrey in a deal for Murray, as he’s coming off of two injury riddled seasons. All in all, the time is ticking for Rhule to turn around the Panthers and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

Honorable mentions:

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers may be fascinated by the idea of playing with DeAndre Hopkins and AJ Green, while Murray could be the long term QB that Matt Lafleur desires. LaFleur has stated that Love isn’t quite ready to take the reigns, as well. Love hasn’t stood out in the pre-season and he put up a mere seven points in his start against the Chiefs on November 7th. A-Rod may not have imagined the idea of playing in Arizona, but it may be an idea that crosses his mind now. The Cards might even bring over Tae to play with Rodgers and Hopkins, which would really pin the AZ squad as Super Bowl favorites. J.J. Watt, who grew up in Wisconsin and played for the Badgers, could chase a Lombardi with another big Wisconsin football figure. The NFC West would flat out be entertaining if Rodgers joined the division featuring Stafford, Wilson, and Trey Lance.

Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos have juice with Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, and Tim Patrick, but they haven’t found a QB to utilize the weapons. Drew Lock’s rookie display in five games appears to be a fluke at this point, as he’s gone 4-13 over the prior two seasons. The Broncos have a Top 10 defense with or without Von Miller, but they can’t survive in the AFC West longterm without a talented QB.

The Broncos new head coach Nathaniel Hackett can find their answer at QB with Murray in and they can be more prepared to go to battle against Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert for the next decade. Teddy Bridgewater is also free agent who did well for the Broncos, but he has serious injury issues and a modest ceiling at best. Teddy B has only played one full season in his career and he hasn’t thrown more than 18 touchdowns in a single season. In addition, he has one winning season in his professional career.

Miami Dolphins

The young and motivated Mike McDaniels might have given an emotional (and cringy) call to Tua Tagovailoa, but that doesn’t mean Tua is his guy. The 38 year old head coach could send the athletic Tagovailoa to Arizona for the better dual threat QB in Kyler Murray. McDaniels is all too familiar with the ability of Murray, as they routinely clashed in the NFC West. It would be a gutsy move for McDaniels to send Tua out the door as soon as they shake hands, but it may be the right move.

Murray should be really fascinated about the idea of playing with Jaylen Waddle, Will Fuller, and DeVante Parker. The Dolphins can safely acknowledge that Josh Allen and Mac Jones won’t be leaving scoreboards with low points for many years to come. The Dolphins can’t be left in the dust in the AFC East and the acquisition of Murray would ensure that they are competitive in the ascending AFC division.

7 potential Tom Brady replacements if he retires

Potential Tom Brady replacements this offseason

By: Jake Rajala

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady surprisingly found his exit from the 2022 playoffs during the divisional round weekend. Brady, who has enjoyed a more successful NFL career than any player in the history of the game, has the most polarizing offseason of his career leading up to this point.

It’s unclear if the GOAT will chase another Lombardi trophy next season or call it a career. Brady spoke on his podcast “Let’s Go” about his thoughts revolving around his family and his passion for playing football. Brady expressed to his co-host Jim Gray, “Playing football, I get so much joy from it. I love it. But not playing football, there’s a lot of joy in that for me now with my kids getting older seeing them develop and grow. So all these things need to be considered and will be”.

It does appear like there’s a strong likelihood that Brady hangs up the cleats at 44 years old. If TB12 steps away from football, it will leave a massive hole on at the Bucs QB spot. The NFL world witnessed the Buccaneers old offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich arrive on the Jacksonville Jaguars doorstep with a near-perfect chance of being the Jags next head coach. If Bruce Arians loses his offensive coordinator and QB, it could be an enormous obstacle for the 2021 NFC South winners to overcome.

With that said, who particularly will be asked to fill in the shoes of the potential 2021 MVP if he departs? The 2021 first round draft pick Kyle Trask could be the favorite, but he will surely welcome competition. Well, I’m going to outline several candidates excluding Trask that could attempt to obtain the Bucs starting gig in 2022.

  1. Trade for Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield

I don’t foresee the Buccaneers rebuilding if Brady shifts his career focus elsewhere. Assuming Arians stays in charge, I for sure wouldn’t anticipate the Super Bowl-winning HC to pull the plug on the operation. I’d love to see the Bucs make a trade for a talented, young QB that can fit into Bruce Arians throw it around the yard offense. The acquisition of the gutsy Baker Mayfield may be a wise pickup for Arians. Mayfield isn’t only a champion of confidence and trash-talking, but he has an arm that makes the passes consistently required from the Buccaneers offensive playbook. In the 2020 season, Mayfield showed off his arm strength with the longest pass in NFL history.

The Browns QB threw a modest 26 passing touchdowns in 2020 and 27 passing touchdowns as a rookie in 2018. Mayfield took a step back in 2021, but it didn’t help that they shipped out Odell Beckham Jr. late in the season. Whether or not OBJ was an ailment in the scheme, he won’t have any issues with needing to feed Mike Evans the ball more than necessary. Arians has shown that he isn’t scared to ignore or cut players that can be distractions, too.

The Bucs will more than likely not be able to obtain Russell Wilson, plus it may not be wise to send the house for such a profile. The Wilson sweepstakes aren’t the be-all and end-all prize, too. Baker is also several years younger than Wilson and more than a decade younger than a QB like Aaron Rodgers.

Arians knows that he has a talented roster surrounding the QB situation and that he has a leg up on the three opposing NFC South teams. Arians can keep the gas on the pedal and find NFC South dominance and Super Bowl potential with Mayfield with the keys to the black and red Lamborghini.

2. Trade for Philadelphia Eagles QB Gardner Minshew

A Buccaneers trade for Gardner Minshew may seem safe and they would cough up less compensation with a push for Minshew compared to Mayfield. Minshew doesn’t have the same juice that Mayfield outputs, but he has some positive tools and lots of fire in him.

The Eagles QB impressively broke all sorts of Jaguars records with 21 touchdowns, 3,271 passing yards, and only 6 interceptions in 14 games as a rookie. Nonetheless, Minshew fell ill to the Jaguars prize of a first overall selection. The draft pick of Trevor Lawrence sent the quality and young Minshew packing from Florida.

Minshew doesn’t have a ceiling like Josh Allen or Mayfield clearly, but he can make a few splash plays and commit very few turnovers for a team. Minshew does also have injury issues that aren’t sexy for a player that isn’t quite proven. He wouldn’t be the perfect fit for Arians, nor would he appear to be a long-term fit. Still, Minshew could compete with Kyle Trask for the starting gig in 2022 and 2023.

3. Teddy Bridgewater – Denver Broncos

The free-agent pickings at QB for Tampa Bay are honestly slim in 2022. Jameis Winston will remain in New Orleans or sign with any team other than his ex-Buccaneers squad. The soon-to-be FA Marcus Mariota will be a diamond in the rough, but he doesn’t fit the Buccaneers scheme. I’d expect Mariota to go to the Packers, Jets, or a team that has a friendly scheme for him. The focus from BA (Bruce Arians) could switch to the crafty Teddy Bridgewater.

Arians witnessed Bridgewater’s efficiency and arm talent when Teddy B filled in for Drew Brees in 2019. The former Saints QB went 5-0 for Sean Payton and it clearly left a big impression on spectators and the NFC South. Matt Rhule gave Bridgewater an opportunity in 2020, but Bridgewater flamed out of Carolina and its Christian McCaffrey-less offense. McCaffrey was of course injured for much of the 2020 season.

Bridgewater struggled in CAR, but clearly showed improvement in a Denver Broncos uniform. The Broncos QB threw 18 passing touchdowns, 3,052 passing yards, and had a modest 7-7 record. Bridgewater is clearly improving his all-around skillset at 29 years old.

It would be ideal if Bridgewater took a prove-it deal and a trip to Tampa may be very tempting. Bridgewater could be added to compete for the starting gig regardless of a rookie QB or veteran excluding Mayfield.

4. Nick Foles – Chicago Bears

The addition of Nick Foles wouldn’t be sexy, but it could be a nice value pickup. If the Bucs add Foles, I believe it would be best if they make sure they have confidence in Trask to potentially start. Nonetheless, Foles has some gifts and playoff experience.

Foles isn’t completely washed up or a journeyman at this point in his career. He had some 4th quarter magic with the Bears last season and it wasn’t terribly long ago when he won the Super Bowl with Philly (2018).

The Bucs tower over the teams in the NFC South and it should be expected that they can reach the playoffs with a modest QB performance out of Foles in the regular season. The Saints, Falcons, and Panthers will all have serious question marks at their QB situation. Foles can take care of the football and hit the talented WRs down the field routinely. He will still have a superb and intact defense to complement him. Furthermore, they may be able to capture more playoff gold and victory in tight game situations if they magic from Nick Foles.

5. Tyrod Taylor – Houston Texans

Tyrod does check a couple of boxes. He is a quality backup QB and he can make production happen via his legs. Still, Taylor isn’t the most attractive fit for Arians’s offense. With some tweaking, Arians could then meet Taylor halfway.

Taylor showed out with the Bills Mafia in 2017, where he led them to a winning record. He also was supposed to be the starter in Los Angeles, until a medical job on him went haywire and he experienced an unfortunate injury. Taylor could make plays with his legs and big arm while taking care of the football and letting the defense be an elite unit.

Taylor is 32 years old, which is just a year older than the talented dual-threat Taysom Hill. Taylor could be an effective rotational QB like Hill if the Bucs opt to ride with a different veteran QB or Trask.

6. Joe Flacco – New York Jets

The Jets QB Joe Flacco also referred to as “Joe Cool”, hasn’t found superb success since winning a Super Bowl, recording insane playoff victories, and winning Super Bowl MVP. Flacco is also 0-5 over the past two seasons, so it’s clear that the football gods haven’t treated Flacco nicely.

Flacco is clearly on his last legs as an NFL player, but he has been hanging in there over the past few seasons. Flacco, who stands at 6’6, could be a quality QB2 behind Trask and someone that could big plays.

Flacco isn’t a starting QB, but he could be a nice fit as a QB2 and mentor to Trask. Although, he really could be a better version of Chad Henne (Chiefs backup QB).

7. Trade for Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr

I would be utterly surprised if the Raiders shop Derek Carr, so he falls at seven on this list. Yet, if Carr is on the used car lot, it would be a dream match for Arians to notch the talented AFC QB. Carr could really see his ability come to fruition if he’s in the Bucs offense.

Carr threw for a career-high 4,804 yards in 2021 and that number would look a lot different if his weaponry went from Desean Jackson and Bryan Edwards to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Carr is a free agent in 2023, so there’s some uncertainty on whether or not he will be a part of the Raiders long-term plans, but his 2021 season should silence that question for at least another season. Still, BA could make an unexpected mega-deal for a QB that fits his long-term vision the best and it might be Carr.

Honorable mentions:

Jameis Winston – New Orleans Saints

Jameis Winston would be the ultimate wild-card signing for Arians. It may seem that Winston could hold a grudge against the Bucs, but he did show a lot of maturity for choosing to go to the Saints as a backup QB. He may decide to throw away any beef with the Bucs and accept that a great fit is in place. It’s worth noting that he will have a better roster on his side. The QB that once threw for the most passing yards and passing touchdowns went to New Orleans to fix his turnover issues. He could make a return to TB as the new and improved former Buccaneers first overall pick.

Trade for Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock

The Buccaneers could see a low-risk high reward asset in Drew Lock. The young Broncos QB, who was outplayed by Teddy Bridgewater, was once seen as a QB with a plethora of potential in 2019, where he shined in limited game time. He went 4-1 while throwing 7 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. I’d fully expect Minshew to be the QB that’s sought out if a QB that isn’t overly talented is lobbied for. Lock is a QB that could be capable of taking the starting gig away from Kyle Trask, nonetheless.

Trade for Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Falcons could begin to rebuild, so they may view pardoning the very expensive Matt Ryan. The Falcons veteran QB isn’t the Matty Ice we once knew, but he is far from washed up. The 36-year-old QB threw for 4,400+ yards in 2020 and 2021. Ryan witnessed his old long-time buddy Julio Jones leave prior to the 2021 season and then his new WR1 Calvin Ridley unexpectedly retired early in the season. The combination of Ryan playing in the same division as the Bucs (NFC South) and price tag could make a trade very unlikely, but the Falcons might be desperate and BA could then take advantage of it.

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