Browns Trade Proposal Ships Mayfield to Struggling NFC East Squad

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield looks on during a 2021 game against New England.

The Cleveland Browns may have one last play to trade quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The team’s options to unload their unwanted signal caller have grown increasingly thin since the Carolina Panthers drafted Matt Corral out of Ole Miss and the Seattle Seahawks have reportedly all but dismissed the idea of bringing Mayfield into the fold.

However, Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network and the Move The Sticks podcast said there’s one option in the NFC that still stands out strongly to him as a potential landing spot for Mayfield, assuming the Browns are willing to pay out most the QB’s nearly $19 million guaranteed salary for 2022. Jeremiah laid out his thoughts on the Tuesday, May 3 edition of The Rich Eisen Show.

I think the options are [the Browns] are going to have to eat almost all that money and get a low pick, or they’re going to just have to outright release him.

The team that I mentioned was the [New York] Giants. You don’t pick up the fifth-year option on [QB] Daniel Jones. If you want to have a competition, maybe that gets the best out of Daniel Jones. Or maybe [Mayfield] just comes in there and flat out beats him out and off you go.

I know [the Giants] have got Tyrod Taylor there as well. But based off of accomplishments at their best in this league, I’d say Baker Mayfield has played at at higher level than those two guys have. So that was the one team that stood out to me.

Maybe Brian Daboll, [the Giants] first-year head coach; Joe Schoen first year general manager, maybe they don’t want to deal with a quarterback controversy, so to speak. But you could make a strong case [Mayfield] could win that job.

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NFL Insider Says Seahawks Out on Baker Mayfield

Pete Carroll

GettySeattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll reacts after defeating the Detroit Lions 51-29 at Lumen Field on January 2, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Early on in the Mayfield saga, it was thought Cleveland could unload his contract as a back-end NFL starter for a third-round pick in trade, paying little to none of the QB’s guaranteed money. But as the game of musical chairs played out over the course of free agency and the NFL Draft, the number of seats for Mayfield dwindled, his potential suitors understanding how little leverage the Browns actually maintained.

That leverage was weakened further when Dianna Russini of ESPN reported via the Tuesday, May 3 edition of the Ryen Russillo Podcast that the Seahawks are not interested in dealing for Mayfield.

“The Seahawks have been telling me from Day 1 they have no interest in Baker Mayfield,” Russini explained. “They’re riding Drew Lock, which we can talk about that another time. That’s their choice.”

Closet Mayfield Suitors in Position of Leverage to Wait Out Browns

Getty ImagesQuarterback Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

Mayfield mentioned the Seahawks as perhaps his most likely destination during a podcast appearance in April, one of the few times he’s spoken publicly on the situation in Cleveland. Seattle also made a good deal of sense considering how shallow the team is at the quarterback position, especially when there are two quality wide receivers on the roster in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

Removing both the Seahawks and the Panthers from the equation, as the Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts were removed earlier in the offseason, leaves the Browns with almost no moves to make. Yet still, Russini said they are determined to try and get off Mayfield’s money.

“The Cleveland Browns do not want to take on that contract,” Russini told Russilo on Tuesday. “They don’t want to pay for that. I don’t know the number they’re willing to go to, but the last I checked, which was about a week-and-a-half ago, they want nothing to do with that deal. If you want Baker Mayfield, you’re going to pay that money. Cleveland’s not going to try to split it up with you.”

The Browns appear then to playing an interesting game of chicken with the rest of the league, or at least the portion of it that would sign Mayfield on the cheap were he released. They’re saying they won’t budge on paying any portion of Mayfield’s contract, betting that an injury will occur somewhere in the NFL or that a suitor who was willing to pay for the QB all along will come out of the woodwork as the season nears and pressure mounts.

Teams that could use Mayfield or would be interested in taking a flyer on him, like the Giants or the Pittsburgh Steelers, the latter of which was recently reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, are waiting to take a swing at a first-string caliber signal caller who can be had for next to nothing. Those such teams are likely hoping that the Browns will throw up their hands and cut bait with Mayfield before training camp begins, when his presence in or around the organization would certainly be a distraction and could potentially prove culturally toxic.

The danger in waiting for a potential release is that, all of the sudden, there will likely be competition for Mayfield’s services where it hasn’t existed for months. But holding out a little longer, perhaps pushing the timeline for a Mayfield offer into June as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggested Wednesday, could allow a team like the Giants to stretch a bit more leverage out over the Browns, call their bluff and bring in Mayfield for something like half-price and a Day 3 draft pick in 2023.

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