Baker Mayfield’s future is not with the Cleveland Browns but that doesn’t mean the former top pick will be leaving the AFC North.
While news about Mayfield’s next stop has been slow, there has been speculation about other teams getting into the mix in what has been a two-horse race between the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk proposed a bevy of new homes for Mayfield, including the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Here’s Florio’s reasoning for why the Browns’ AFC North rival should have their eyes on Mayfield’s situation:
When the Steelers made quarterback Kenny Pickett the 20th overall pick in the draft, the door seemingly slammed on the possibility of Mayfield making a beeline to the ‘Burgh if he’s ultimately cut by the Browns. But with Pickett by all appearances not ready to play, isn’t Mayfield (if healthy) a better option than Mitch Trubisky? Mayfield definitely is. And while that would be an intriguing answer for 2022, it could throw a wrench in the plans for 2023, if the Steelers have a great year with Mayfield. Some would call that a good problem to have.
Steelers Would Need Baker Mayfield to be Released
It’s unlikely the Steelers would give up any assets to pursue a trade for Mayfield and it’s even less likely that the Browns would want to see their grudge-holding former QB twice a year. But Florio makes a good point that Mayfield would be an upgrade for the Steelers, who are moving on from Ben Roethlisberger after nearly two decades under center.
“The Browns have no plans to cut Mayfield, even if he’s still on the roster at the start of training camp in July,” Cabot wrote in May. “With Mayfield under contract for a fully-guaranteed $18.86 million, it makes no sense for the Browns to cut him and take the entire hit. They’ll subtract whatever he makes from his next team from that amount, but it wouldn’t make much of a dent.”
Baker Mayfield Mayfield’s Resume a Mixed Bag
Mayfield is coming off a down year where he completed 60.5% of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. But he played most of the year banged up, suffering a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder in Week 2 while trying to make a tackle on an interception. He had surgery this offseason but will be ready to roll for training camp.
Mayfield’s rough season has caused a bit of a recency bias but he’s shown his potential over his four seasons. He set the rookie touchdown record during his first season in just 13 starts and led the Browns to their first postseason win in nearly two decades in 2020.
There have been some talks about Mayfield sticking around in Cleveland and starting while Deshaun Watson is out if he’s handed a lengthy suspension. However, the QB poured some cold water on that idea while speaking to reporters at his youth football camp on June 28.
“I think for that to happen there would have to be some reaching out,” Mayfield told reporters. “But we’re ready to move on, I think — on both sides.”
The only question now is where Mayfield will end up, which should be resolved sooner than later with training camps opening up at the end of July.