The Cleveland Browns are in a tough place with quarterback Baker Mayfield, although a handful of teams could still get involved in a trade for the former top overall pick.
One of the squads in the mix is the Houston Texans — a franchise that finished 4-13 a year ago, held the No. 3 overall draft pick last month and just shipped their Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson to Cleveland to be Mayfield’s replacement. On top of that, there’s no surefire option on Houston’s roster, with Davis Mills currently holding down the top spot on the depth chart. The team also decided to not add a quarterback prospect in the draft.
Bleacher Report released a list of trades that should happen before the season begins and one of the more notable deals had the Browns shipping Mayfield to Houston for a seventh-round pick. Here’s what author Alex Kay had to say about the deal:
One franchise that Mayfield could still wind up with is the Houston Texans. The club lacks an established veteran after letting Tyrod Taylor walk in free agency. Team brass opted against taking a prospect in the draft, leaving Davis Mills, who went 2-9 in his 11 starts last year, as the projected QB1 in Houston.
While the 27-year-old played hurt last year and went just 6-8 in his starts, he still has the upside to emerge as a capable starter. Returning to his home state of Texas to play in a low-stakes environment for this rebuilding franchise could help rehabilitate Mayfield’s career.
Browns Being Patient With ‘Fluid’ Situation
The trade market has been slim for Mayfield, although that’s less about his talent and more about the Browns’ situation. Mayfield is owed more than $18 million for next season on his fifth-year option — a number that teams around the league have not been willing to take on.
That has become especially troubling for Cleveland because they have little to no leverage to make a trade happen. Despite that, the Browns are not prepared to make a panic move.
“What I would tell you is probably the same thing I told you guys beforehand, that is a fluid situation,” Browns GM Andrew Berry told reporters during the NFL draft. “We will deal with it day to day. My focus has really been on the guys who we acquired and who are going to be rookie players in the next fall.”
Panthers Have Not Closed Door on Mayfield Trade
Despite looking like they were out after the draft, the Panthers are still circling the wagons on a possible trade for Mayfield, per Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.
“My understanding is the door isn’t 100% shut on the Panthers and talks regarding Baker Mayfield, but I certainly received the impression that Carolina isn’t in any rush, nor are they pressed, per league source,” she tweeted. “They will roll as is, if need be, per league source.”
The Panthers added Matt Corral in the draft to a quarterback room that includes former first-round pick Sam Darnold and PJ Walker. Following the draft, Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer seemed to pour cold water on the idea of trading for a veteran like Mayfield.
“We’re happy with the group we have,” Fitterer said. “I never put an absolute on anything. [But] we came into this weekend with the intention of getting a quarterback, and that’s what we did. And we’re going to go with this group.”
If the Browns decide they’ll eat some more of Mayfield’s contract than previously disclosed, perhaps the Panthers — or another team — would have a change of heart on a trade. And while teams may be holding out for the Browns to release Mayfield, that situation is very unlikely, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.