AFC Contender ‘Darkhorse’ Trade Suitor for Browns QB Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield

Getty Images Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns have yet to find a trade partner for Baker Mayfield but the Tennesee Titans have been named as a darkhorse contender for the former top pick.

Trade speculation has swirled around Mayfield since the Browns dealt for Deshaun Watson in a blockbuster deal. However, there haven’t been many bites for Mayfield, which could lead to some interesting situations. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports said on You Pod to Win the Game that multiple teams would be interested in Mayfield’s services as a free agent if released.

“There’s interest in that guy. There are a number of teams interested — as many as 10 teams if he were a free agent,” Robinson said. “An AFC executive said to me, ‘Open it up and look at the two-year window. Who will need a quarterback in 2023?'”

One of those teams? The Titans, who could move on from Tannehill after next season with minimal consequences. The former 33-year-old is set to make $27 million in 2023.

Tannehill and the Titans dealt with some injuries in the wide receiver corps and his production waned last season. He passed for 3,734 yards, 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions — a sub-par ratio for any quarterback. His QB rating of 89.6 was significantly lower than it was the two years prior.

Despite that, the Titans finished with the top seed in the AFC but were bounced in the Divisional Round by the Bengals — a game in which Tannehill tossed three interceptions.

“Go look at Tennesee. They can get out from Ryan Tannehill after next season,” Robinson said. “There’s an exit there for them to get out of that contract. Let’s say Tannehill has a bad season next year. What — they’re not going to look at their options?”

Browns Remaining Patient With Mayfield

The addition of Mayfield would be an interesting one for the Titans, who currently don’t have a great backup option behind Tannehill. The question is if the Titans would be willing to pay Mayfield’s near $19 million salary for next season in a trade, or if they’ll go the wait-and-see route of other teams.

While the Browns haver Watson and Jacoby Brissett on the roster, the team does sound ready to simply release Mayfield and eat his salary.

“I wouldn’t say we have a specific timetable for the QB room,” Browns GM Andrew Berry reporters on March 29 at the NFL Annual Meeting. “Baker is a professional, he’s under contract and we have the (cap) flexibility whether he’s on the roster or not. So we don’t really feel pressed to rush into anything that’s suboptimal.”

Mayfield tossed just 17 touchdowns to 13 interceptions last season, limping to the finish line due to injuries as the Browns wrapped up the year 8-9.

Buccaneers Also Floated as Destination for Mayfield

Robinson also tossed out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a potential suitor for Mayfield, eyeing what will one day be a hole at quarterback when Tom Brady finally hangs up his cleats.

“Shoot, Tampa and Tom Brady. If they didn’t just learn over the last couple of months that they should start thinking about life after Tom … he gave them a little window,” Robinson said. “They have no excuse to think about life after Tom.”

It’s tough to see the Bucs trading for Mayfield, especially with just one year left on his deal. However, much of Mayfield’s future hinges on what the Browns ultimately decide to do with a less than stellar trade market.

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