Baker Mayfield Trade Rumors: Browns QB Drawing Interest from ‘Handful’ of Teams

AP Photo/David Richard, File

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker
Mayfield is reportedly drawing trade interest from a “handful” of
teams ahead of the 2022 NFL draft, which kicks off Thursday night.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com
reported a deal could happen “over the next few days,” with the
Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks among the possible landing
spots.

The Browns completely revamped their
quarterback room this offseason. A blockbuster trade brought in
Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans to take over as the starter,
while Jacoby Brissett and Joshua Dobbs were signed to handle the
backup roles.

Not only did it leave Mayfield as the
odd man out after spending the past four years leading the
Cleveland offense, but it left the team’s front office with basically
no leverage in trade talks.

Mayfield, who’s scheduled to make $18.9
million in the final season of his rookie contract, is too costly to
keep around as a reserve and hasn’t played well enough for another
team to pay anywhere near what the Browns invested to get him (No. 1
pick in the 2018 draft).

So while a trade could
happen in the coming days, it’s hard to imagine another team would be
willing to take on the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner’s entire cap hit (the
Browns would retain no dead-cap money in a trade) to acquire him.

Most likely, the leak suggesting
there are a “handful” of teams involved is probably coming from the
Cleveland side in hopes of drumming up some additional interest.

Mayfield is coming off a 2021 season in which he completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards with 17
touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He ranked 27th in ESPN’s Total QBR
and received a lackluster 63.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

While the 27-year-old University of
Oklahoma product posted better numbers in 2020, tallying 26 TDs and
just eight picks, the few teams still in the market for a potential
starter should wait out the Browns and try to sign him as a free
agent.

Giving up assets to acquire him in a
trade and then paying his $18.9 million salary is too risky for Carolina, Seattle or any other potential suitor.

Signing Mayfield to a short-term,
team-friendly deal as a free agent is a better option and could give
the quarterback a chance to hit the open market again next offseason after a possible bounce-back year.

It seems Cleveland is going to
hold out as long as possible in hopes that a trade option emerges, though.

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