The Cleveland Browns brought in a fourth quarterback in Josh Dobbs this week, which has sparked renewed speculation that a Baker Mayfield deal could be near.
With the addition of Dobbs, the Browns now have four quarterbacks on the roster, with Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brissett and Mayfield making up the other spots on the depth chart. The Browns have been unable to find any takes for a Mayfield trade due to his salary but adding another quarterback has some thinking that something is in the works.
“Browns must have a deal for Baker lined up,” ESPN Cleveland host Emmett Golden tweeted.
Other tweeted a similar sentiment after the move, although a move does not appear imminent. It appears more likely that the Browns could move Mayfield closer to the NFL draft.
Mayfield’s Salary Sticking Point in Getting Deal Done
The Seattle Seahawks have been a team weighing trading for Mayfield but the sticking point has been the former top pick’s salary, which is just under $19 million for next season thanks to his fifth-year option.
Mayfield has shown the upside of being a strong starter in the league at times but is coming off a season where he was plagued by injury. He threw for 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while dealing with a torn labrum he suffered in Week 2 against the Texans.
“It does not seem like anyone is interested at this salary. The ‘at this salary’ part is key,” NFL insider Ian Rapoport said recently. “Because Baker Mayfield is unlikely to be traded at $18 million. If the Browns are able to eat some money, if the agent and new team can work out it out and come up with an answer to split or deal with Baker Mayfield’s salary, he will be traded.”
Some Believe Mayfield Could Start Games for the Browns
There’s a theory that the Browns are hanging on to Mayfield in case the NFL swoops in with a suspension for Watson, who is facing 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints by women alleging sexual assault and misconduct.
“I don’t get the sense the Browns are going to release him,” Rapoport said on NFL Network. “Certainly not imminently, maybe ever. And here’s why: Deshaun Watson may at some point be suspended. Baker Mayfield was a good enough quarterback to start for four years for the Cleveland Browns and would be their starting quarterback if they did not trade for Deshaun Watson. So there is a scenario where the Browns do nothing, Deshaun Watson gets suspended and Baker Mayfield ends up starting. It’s not great for anyone, but that’s at least in the mind of the Cleveland Browns as a possibility.”
The Browns gave up quite the haul to land Watson and paid him handsomely with a fully guaranteed deal. However, he’s not in the clear in terms of a suspension, although he will not be put on the NFL’s Commissioner Exempt List amid accusations of sexual misconduct, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.
“The civil cases were in play over the last year,” Goodell told reporters on March 29. “The only thing that’s changed is the criminal element has been at least resolved, and that was an important element in the context of the Commissioner Exempt List as discussed with the Players Association. So that was an important (decision as it relates to the Commissioner Exempt List).”