The Cleveland Browns have shown no indication that they’re unhappy with their quarterback situation with Baker Mayfield under center.
However, if the Green Bay Packers came knocking with reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers as a bargaining chip, would Browns GM Andrew Berry play ball?
That’s the question ESPN’s Bill Barnwell proposed in his latest article laying out the most attractive trade options involving Rodgers, who wants out of Green Bay.
In the proposed deal, the Browns would trade a 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick, Mayfield and tight end David Njoku for Rodgers and cornerback Josh Jackson.
“Upgrading to Rodgers would drastically alter the ceiling for the Cleveland offense, which might have a case as the second-best in football with him at the helm. The analytically inclined Browns would be able to create a more efficient attack by dramatically upping their pass rate.
The Browns will need to find their quarterback of the future, but they’ll expect to have four or five more years with Rodgers, who would reunite with former Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt in Cleveland.”
Berry has shown that he will be aggressive when it comes to making deals and said last offseason that he’d “pick up the phone” to hear out any offer.
“I won’t discuss any specific player in terms of trade opportunities, trade calls or anything like that,” Berry told reporters. “I did work under probably the strongest wheeler-dealer in the league under [Eagles GM] Howie Roseman and it’s something that you always pick up the phone and you listen to anything across the table.
“A lot of trade talk ends up being hollow across the NFL anyway. But again, we’re going to exploit any opportunity to improve the roster through any means necessary.’’
Browns Recently Picked Up Mayfield’s Option
The Browns recently picked up Mayfield’s fifth-year option, which means the former top pick in the 2018 draft is locked in for at least the next two seasons.
His 2022 salary will be $18.89 million and the next decision the Browns have to make is whether or not to lock Mayfield in for the foreseeable future with what will surely be a lucrative deal.
Mayfield, however, said he’s not worried about an extension. Instead, he’s focused on winning.
“The fifth-year option just happened so a long-term deal is a little bit on the back burner for me,” Mayfield said. “I am not worried about it. I want to go out and win games. I think everything happens for a reason so we will see what happens.”
Mayfield Primed For Big Year Thanks to Consistency
Due to the organizational chaos that surrounded Mayfield during his first two years in Cleveland — from Hue Jackson to Freddie Kitchens and everything inbetween — it was hard to evaluate what kind of quarterback he could be at the NFL level.
This season will be the first time Mayfield has the same head coach, coordinator and offensive scheme, which should only help him improve on his strong showing a year ago.
Mayfield passed for 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions last season, showing major improvement down the stretch and helping lead the Browns to their first postseason victory in over a quarter-century.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski, who calls the offensive plays, is expecting another leap from Mayfield this season with a year in the offense under his belt.
“I hope as he starts to listen to the installs with [offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt] and you are hearing it for not the second time – he has heard these plays over and over again,” Stefanski said. “We have streamlined concepts, and we have tried to adjust what we do based on his strengths and our players’ strengths. I would hope he is much more comfortable from that perspective. That is what time allows you to do – time together.”
So while Rodgers and his MVP resume might be tempting, it sounds like the Browns are all set under center and should be for some time to come.
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