Browns Considering Scenario With Baker Mayfield as Starter

Getty Images Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns have yet to trade Baker Mayfield and there is a scenario where the team starts him next season, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The Browns have had a tough time finding suitors for a Mayfield trade, with his nearly $19 million salary being the sticking point. Rapoport said there’s a possibility the Browns just hang onto the former No. 1 overall pick and decide to start him if Deshaun Watson is handed a suspension from the NFL.

“I don’t get the sense the Browns are going to release him,” Rapoport said on NFL Network on Friday. “Certainly not imminently, maybe ever. And here’s why: Deshaun Watson may at some point be suspended. Baker Mayfield was a good enough quarterback to start for four years for the Cleveland Browns and would be their starting quarterback if they did not trade for Deshaun Watson. So there is a scenario where the Browns do nothing, Deshaun Watson gets suspended and Baker Mayfield ends up starting. It’s not great for anyone, but that’s at least in the mind of the Cleveland Browns as a possibility.”

While that might make sense to an extent, the sides may be too far apart to make something like the amicable. Mayfield requested a trade before the Watson move went through and was considering sitting out, per Mary Kay Cabot of The Browns also brought in a strong backup option in Jacoby Brissett to hold down the fort if Watson is out.

Restructuring Mayfield’s Deal Key to Finding Trade

Rapoport said the major issue in finding a trade partner has been Mayfield’s salary and a deal is unlikely to get done if something is not done about that. The Browns have no leverage in the situation and teams around the league know that.

“It does not seem like anyone is interested at this salary. The ‘at this salary’ part is key,” Rapoport said. “Because Baker Mayfield is unlikely to be traded at $18 million. If the Browns are able to eat some money, if the agent and new team can work out it out and come up with an answer to split or deal with Baker Mayfield’s salary, he will be traded.”

Mayfield has shown the upside of being a strong starter in the league at times but it coming off a season where he was plagued by injury. Mayfield threw for 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while dealing with a torn labrum he suffered in Week 2 against the Texans.

He was especially bad down the stretch of the season, tossing seven interceptions in his final three games. However, Mayfield was visibly hobbled not only by the shoulder injury but also a string of lower-body injuries that made him less effective.

Browns Officially Introduce Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson Introductory Press ConferenceGeneral manager Andrew Berry, head coach Kevin Stefanski and quarterback Deshaun Watson addressed the media on March 25, 2022.2022-03-25T18:57:01Z

The Browns officially introduced Watson during a press conference on Friday and the quarterback took some time to talk about the numerous allegations he’s facing.

“I understand the whole circumstance is very difficult, especially for the women side of the fans in this community. I am not naive to that. I know these allegations are very, very serious,” Watson told reporters on Friday. “Like I mentioned before, I have never assaulted any woman. I have never disrespected any woman. I was raised by a single-parent mom, who has two aunties as her sisters, and that is who raised me. I was raised to be genuine. I respect everyone and everything around me. I have always defended that, and I will continue to stand on that.”

Watson made a trio of Pro Bowls while with the Texans, leading the league in passing during the 2020 season.

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