Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Why Albert Breer says “keep an eye on” Baker Mayfield to 49ers possibility

Mar 4, 2023 at 8:17 AM--

After Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a broken foot on December 4, everyone wondered if the San Francisco 49ers might put in a claim for Baker Mayfield, who the Carolina Panthers had just waived. The problem was that, even if they were interested, the Niners sat at No. 24 in the waiver wire priority order.

"We look into everything," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters in December when asked about Mayfield. "But that would surprise me right now, and we've got to discuss it this afternoon and stuff. I've always been a fan of his, but I feel real good about our players."

San Francisco didn't end up submitting a claim, opting to stick with rookie Brock Purdy for the remainder of the season. That ended up being a good decision. The 49ers reached the NFC Championship Game with Purdy helming the offense.

The Los Angeles Rams claimed Mayfield. The quarterback is scheduled to become a free agent this month, and one respected NFL insider suggests the 49ers might be more interested this time around.

"Niners GM John Lynch conceded this week that the timing of Brock Purdy's surgery on his injured right elbow could force the team's hand on looking for a veteran to throw into the mix," Albert Breer wrote in a feature for Sports Illustrated. "I don't, for what it's worth, think that San Francisco's going to break the bank. But I could absolutely see Lynch and Kyle Shanahan going in on someone like Baker Mayfield, who has experience in that type of offense and a boatload of starting experience. Keep an eye on that one."

With so much uncertainty surrounding Purdy and third-year quarterback Trey Lance, the Niners will undoubtedly look to add a veteran to the group. Purdy is facing at least a six-month recovery after he undergoes surgery to repair the tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. Lance is coming off a season-ending ankle injury. However, the uncertainty with him has more to do with the former No. 3 overall pick's inexperience.

With the end of Purdy's recovery timeline inching closer to the start of the regular season, it is becoming increasingly likely that Lance will start Week 1. The 49ers will want to insulate themselves at the quarterback position, especially after dealing with a rash of injuries in 2022. Could Mayfield be an option? Breer believes so.

Mayfield completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,163 yards, 10 touchdowns, eight interceptions, and a passer rating of 79.0 through his 12 games and 10 starts between the Panthers and Rams this past season.

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