The struggling NFC East squad was pitched as a landing spot for Mayfield by Tony Kornheiser on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption on Tuesday following the Browns 26-14 loss to the Steelers.
“I think he’d be better off someplace else other than Cleveland. Baker Mayfield has shown flashes but he never burned,” Kornheiser said. “I suspect they are going to keep him but if I was the Giants, I might want him. Washington, Carolina, Houston — there are a lot of teams out there.”
Daniel Jones is the Giants’ current starter at quarterback but the team is going to welcome a new general manager this offseason, which could come with some significant changes to the roster. The team will also have to make a decision on picking up Jones’ fifth-year option, which would keep him in New York until after the 2023 season.
Mayfield Might Not be Major Upgrade for Giants
While his season was cut short by a neck injury, Jones showed some improvement this year, completing 64.3% of his passes for 2,428 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The turnover number was significant, considering he committed 39 turnovers in 26 starts over his first two seasons. And his struggles might not be entirely his fault, considering the offensive line has not been the best, running back Saquon Barkley has been banged up and his selection of weapons at wide receiver has been subpar.
The question the Giants would have to face would be whether or not Mayfield would be a substantial upgrade. The former top pick looked like a shadow of himself down the stretch as he nursed multiple injuries, the most notable being a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder that required a brace. Mayfield passed for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season as the Browns stumbled to a sub-.500 finish.
On top of that, Mayfield will be playing on his fifth-year option next season, which comes with a salary of nearly $19 million. That’s a hefty investment for the Giants to make without any guarantee of a long-term solution. Mayfield’s only real link to the Giants is his relationship with Barkley, who is one of his good friends off the field and went after him at No. 2 in the 2018 draft.
Mayfield to Have Surgery on Shoulder Soon
The Browns announced on Tuesday that Mayfield would not be active for their Week 18 finale against the Bengals, choosing instead to have the fourth-year QB get surgery as soon as possible on his ailing shoulder.
“Baker won’t play in this last game,” Stefanski told reporters on Tuesday, January 4. “We’re going to hold him out. He’s going to get surgery as soon as possible so that he can get back healthy as soon as possible.”
Mayfield was injured in Week 2 while trying to make a tackle on an interception and had battled to get on the field. He also dealt with knee, foot and groin injuries throughout the year.
“I’ve continued to lay it out on the line when I haven’t been healthy and tried to fight for our guys,” Mayfield said after the loss to the Steelers, in which he was sacked nine times. “Now it’s time for me to start looking at what’s in the best interest of me and my health.”
The Browns have a tough decision to make this offseason but it wouldn’t be overly surprising to see Mayfield wearing different colors next season.