“F THEM PICKS”. The Rams acquire a top-overall QB off of waivers

Rams

Typically, moving from Cleveland to North Carolina to Los Angeles would be seen as an upgrade. You work in a Factory of Sadness, proving yourself. Once you get an opportunity to free-yourself from the clutches of the midwest, you jump at the chance. Some people spend years of their life dreaming of the goal to relocate to a better situation.

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Then there is Baker Mayfield

The former first-overall pick of the Cleveland Browns was celebrated out of college. After a stop at Texas Tech, Mayfield transferred to Oklahoma. He won the Heisman his senior year, and was promptly drafted by the Browns in 2018.

Some analysts scoffed at the pick, saying that Mayfield lacked many traits that were becoming scouted for quarterbacks heading into the NFL. Some questioned his leadership, more questioned his arm strength. Most questioned his work ethic, size, and mobility.

These questions were around during his college career. Despite that, he found a welcome home in a city that was desperate to just be above .500.

Baker Mayfield makes his Progressive home

After being drafted, Mayfield started his career in Cleveland, as most rookie quarterbacks do. Just riding the learning curve.

His affable personality and charm led him to be a likable figure for a city that has been known for being a perennial underdog. After his first season, he secured an endorsement deal with Progressive insurance. The commercials were decently clever.

In his third-season, Baker led the Browns to their first playoff-win since 1994. Everything pointed towards the Browns FINALLY finding a franchise quarterback. At that point, the list of names on that now-famous Browns jersey of former QBs had to be approaching the ankles of the person wearing it. It finally seemed that a long-suffering franchise had found it’s future.

Browns gonna Brown. Rams gonna Ram

The next season didn’t really build-on the momentum, however. With a MASH-unit of injuries plaguing the team, the Browns finished the 2021-season with a record of 7-9. Baker was injured after his offensive-line and other critical position players were hurt throughout the year. The “future” turned into the scape-goat for decades of suck revisited.

Before this season, Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers. He would enter a QB competition with another discarded QB, Sam Darnold. While eventually winning the starting job, Mayfield was exposed without the talent that, when healthy, excelled his success with Cleveland. Mayfield was benched, and, not long after, asked for his release.

Mayfield was just claimed by the disappointing Rams off of waivers. The defending Super-Bowl champions have struggled to find footing this season, suffering the same rash of injuries that plagued Baker’s former team; the season before he was traded.

The waiver-claim is not as much about attempting to win, as much as it is about trying to put a quarterback on the field who can actually start an NFL game. The Rams’ depth resembles the kiddie-pool as opposed to an Olympic-diving facility. With the majority of their offensive talent injured, including Matt Stafford, the writing is on the wall for failure.

Depth is not a strength of the Rams. The now-famous “F THEM PICKS” chant that their GM famously yelled during their championship parade, is not aging-well. The Rams will surely endure a long-period of 3-14, 4-13 season to come.

There was a period of time when the Rams were signing, trading-for and risking the future to acquire big-name players to win at all costs. Pundits started to question the strategy of drafting and building talent. The importance of draft picks were suddenly questioned.

The “en-vogue” strategy seemed to be; “mortgage the future, forget the cap”.

As this season has shown, it isn’t a long-term formula for success.

When “F Them Picks” turns into “Claim Baker Mayfield off of waivers”, it might be time to “F the GM”.

 


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