The Cleveland Browns have yet to find any takers for quarterback Baker Mayfield but veteran offensive lineman Joel Bitonio is confident the former top pick will find a new home and land on his feet.
Bitonio is the longest-tenured member of the Browns and a leader in the locker room. He was there before the Mayfield era and still remains a key piece of the stellar offensive line in Cleveland. He referred to Mayfield as “my guy” and showed some support for his former QB during the trying time, recalling some of the better moments of their time together.
“Baker is my guy. I still remember the Thursday night Jets game when he came in and helped lead us to victory. It was honestly one of the more special moments of my career because it had been so long since we won games,” Bitonio told reporters on Wednesday, June 15. “He’s a tough guy and he plays hard. He played his heart out for us and I’ll always respect that. He’s still a friend of mine and we text occasionally. I think, like everyone else, he’s waiting it out to see where he’s going. Baker did a lot for this franchise. He won a lot of games and was a great player for us.”
Mayfield has a career record of 29-30 as a starter but will always be remembered for helping lead the Browns to their first playoff victory in more than a quarter-century.
Bitonio: Chip of Baker Mayfield’s Shoulder Growing
The trade market has been slow for Mayfield, which has been less about his talent and more about his hefty contract and the Browns’ lack of leverage in making a deal.
Bitonio believes this whole situation will only fuel Mayfield, who loves to prove his critics wrong.
“He’s always had that chip on his shoulder and I’m sure it continues to get bigger and bigger,” Bitonio said. “A team is going to give him a chance. I know the contract situation is working itself out. Quarterback is such a scarcity in this league that he’s going to have a chance to play and perform.”
Mayfield has been excused from mandatory minicamp as the Browns search for a trade.
Panthers Showing Sense of Urgency on Mayfield Trade
“As minicamps begin today for the Browns and Panthers, trade talks between the teams continue surrounding QB Baker Mayfield, per sources. The main issue remains Mayfield’s salary and how much (or how little) teams pay,” Jones tweeted. “There’s urgency on Carolina’s side to execute the deal soon so Mayfield can get some time in minicamp with the Panthers. For the Browns, it’s the best offer they have. Talks ongoing.”
The sticking point has been Mayfield’s near $19 million salary, which the Panthers want the Brows to eat the majority of. They were negotiating a deal around the draft but Carolina wanted the Browns to pay $13 million to $14 million of Mayfield’s salary, per the Charlotte Observer. There’s a chance the Browns could bump that number up to get a deal done, or the Panthers could come to terms with the fact that they don’t have what they need in their QB room and pull the trigger.