AFC Rival Ready, Willing to Sign Browns QB Baker Mayfield: Report

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Getty Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns looks to throw the ball during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

A new chapter was written Wednesday in the curious case of Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, this one featuring a long-time division rival.

The Browns are looking to trade their spurned signal caller for whatever draft compensation they can squeeze out of one of the NFL’s quarterback-starved franchises, with the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks lined up as the most likely suitors.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not been reported to be among the teams interested in dealing for Mayfield. However, NFL insider Jeff Darlington reported on the Wednesday, April 20 edition of ESPN’s morning show “Get Up” that if the Browns fail to trade Mayfield and end up releasing him, the Steelers will be waiting with open arms.

“If for some reason the Browns — and I don’t expect this to happen — were to cut Baker Mayfield, I think he signs with the Pittsburgh Steelers the very next day,” Darlington said. “Teams do still covet Baker Mayfield. They just don’t think that they need to give up as much as the Cleveland Browns are asking right now.”

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Updated Odds on Mayfield’s Next Team Released Wednesday

Baker Mayfield

GettyQB Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns warms up before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

The favorites to land Mayfield are currently the Panthers (+300,) followed by the Seahawks (+450), the Detroit Lions (+600) and the Steelers (+1000), per Bookies. com. Those odds echo Darlington’s sentiment that Cleveland is unlikely to simply release Mayfield, which is the most likely scenario that would see the QB ultimately land in Pittsburgh.

A primary reason for the Browns’ hesitancy to cut Mayfield is the nearly $19 million contract the team guaranteed him for the 2022 season. Cleveland would still owe Mayfield all of that money were they to release him. Furthermore, simply releasing Mayfield outright would also take any potential draft compensation in return for the QB’s services off of the table.

Because of those realities, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on “The Rich Eisen Show” last week that it is much more likely the Browns will deal Mayfield before the upcoming NFL Draft, scheduled for April 28, rather than after it. However, with potential suitors holding all the leverage, as Darlington noted in his report, Mayfield’s trade value continues to move in the wrong direction where the Browns are concerned.

Mayfield’s Trade Value Projected at Mid-Round Pick, or Worse

Getty ImagesQuarterback Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

Reports stretching back to March indicated that the Browns were, at different points in the process, hoping to fetch as high as a first-round draft pick and as low as a third-round selection in return for Mayfield.

The latest trade proposal from Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport suggests the QB’s value has fallen even further than that. Davenport on Monday proposed a deal that would send Mayfield to Seattle in exchange for the Seahawks’ fourth-round pick (No. 109 overall).

The trade market for the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft [Mayfield] is nonexistent.

That could change, though. There are two QB-needy teams ahead of Seattle in the draft order (Atlanta and Carolina) and two more (Detroit and Houston) that could draft a quarterback. It’s well within the realm of reason that by the time Seattle goes on the clock at No. 9, three quarterbacks have been drafted.

I know what the mock drafts say. But I also know that NFL teams lose their minds over quarterbacks. If the Seahawks get frozen out of the quarterback prospect they desire, taking a one-year flier on Mayfield is going to become a lot more attractive.

Since it became clear a little more than one month ago that Mayfield and the Browns are destined to part ways, the general expectation has also become that any trade will also include Cleveland paying out some portion of the quarterback’s salary. The highest projections of what it could cost Cleveland to deal Mayfield have been predicted in the range of $5 million.

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Steven Moutoux
Steven Moutoux
3 months ago

Browns will never release Mayfield just for that reason that the Steelers would scoop him up!

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