Proposed Trade Has Baker Mayfield Landing With Saints

Baker Mayfield

Getty Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The Cleveland Browns have a decision to make on the future of Baker Mayfield and a team like the New Orleans Saints could come knocking to see if the former top pick is available.

The Saints have no certain plan for the quarterback position going forward and Mayfield’s future in Cleveland was muddied this year after a disappointing, injury-riddled season. Greg Cosell of NFL Films and ESPN floated Mayfield as a possibility to take over behind center in New Orleans to The Athletic in a roundtable discussion. It should be noted that Cosell was interviewed before head coach Sean Payton announced he was stepping away.

“I don’t know what the Saints think of Baker Mayfield, and he might not be available. But to me, Baker Mayfield has traits that would fit with the Saints,” Cosell told Larry Holder of The Athletic. “Now, Baker has some reckless tendencies and [is] undisciplined, but I think the way in which he plays stylistically fits Payton’s system. Much more than Russell Wilson.”

Mayfield Trade Has Significant Upside for QB-Needy Teams

Payton is gone but Mayfield is still an intriguing option for teams that are without a surefire option at quarterback. Despite his down year, he’s shown significant upside in two of his four seasons, leading the Browns to the Divisional Round a year ago. Mayfield is also on the final year of his rookie deal, so if it doesn’t work out, then there is no commitment other than his $19 million for this season.

The question for the Saints would be whether or not they feel Mayfield is an upgrade over Jameis Winston, another top overall pick who was solid before he tore his ACL eight games into last season. Winston won five games as the starter, notching 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. He will be a free agent this offseason and will likely draw a significant amount of attention.

Meanwhile, the Browns have a few options. The team could keep Mayfield and hope he bounces back, eventually agreeing to a long-term extension. After all, Mayfield noted that he felt everything would work itself out if the team was winning.

Another option would be to bring in a proven, veteran backup to push Mayfield and provide a change of course if needed. Or, the Browns could decide to make a blockbuster move and land an established starter via trade.

Baker Mayfield Seeking Bounce-Back Following Surgery

It’s been a mixed bag for Mayfield since being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft. He played for three coaches in three years before finally finding stability with Kevin Stefanski at the helm. However, last season quickly went off the rails, with Mayfield injuring his shoulder in Week 2 while trying to make a tackle on an interception. He missed just two games last season due to the injury — a Week 7 tilt against the Broncos and the Browns’ season finale against the Bengals with the postseason out of reach. He also missed one game after testing positive for COVID-19.

Mayfield had surgery on his shoulder on January 19 and is expected to be ready for training camp. He shared a message following the procedure.

“Surgery went great. Was a complete success,” Mayfield said in a video posted to social media. “Now it’s on to the road to recovery. It’s one of those steps to get back to my true self. … This is not the end of my story.”

The next chapter of Mayfield’s story is shaping up to be an interesting one.

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