Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield wants out of Cleveland. And who can blame him, especially after the Browns traded for his replacement: former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
But first the Browns will need to find a trade partner, which may be easier said than done, especially with some of the offseason quarterback movement having already taken place. To that end, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner recently expressed his thoughts about where Mayfield might be a good fit.
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The Colts, 49ers and … Steelers?!
On March 18, Warner appeared on NFL Network and floated the names of three potential trade partners, including the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers. In terms of the latter, Warner argued that Mayfield is a potential upgrade “from where Trey Lance is, right now, if they move on from Jimmy G.,” he said, making reference to both the No. 3 overall pick in 2021 as well as Jimmy Garoppolo, who has started 45 games for the 49ers over the past five years.
Then he went on to suggest “Pittsburgh,” who would be strange bedfellows indeed, considering that the Browns and Steelers are arch-rivals—or at least they were until Ben Roethlisberger came along and beat Cleveland in all but four meetings over the course of 18 years, posting a record of 26-3-1, according to statmuse.com.
“I know they went out and got Mitch Trubisky,” began Warner. “But everybody in Pittsburgh knows what Baker Mayfield can bring to the table if they want to play a run first, good defense-type style of play, and then allow Baker to be a complementary piece.”
That’s exactly the problem; many observers in Pittsburgh know “what Mayfield brings,” which is something less than what you want in a franchise quarterback. One Steelers fan pointedly called Mayfield “hot garbage”—destined to be released and then relegated to backup duty.
Baker Mayfield in Exchange for Mason Rudolph?
Meanwhile, other Steelers fans indicated they would be onboard with acquiring Baker Mayfield, assuming Mason Rudolph is sent packing. (Never mind the issue of Rudolph and Myles Garrett trying to co-exist in the same locker room.)
One Mayfield-for-Rudolph advocate describes Mayfield and Trubisky as having similar skill sets, “but Baker is a little worse,” hence he’d be filling the role of backup in Pittsburgh.
Another said he’d be willing to give up a 2023 third-round pick for Mayfield.
But for other Steelers fans, Baker Mayfield inspires a hard “no,” with Twitter user Mr. Blacksteel preferring to try to acquire Liberty quarterback Malik Willis in the upcoming draft.
Anyway, trades between AFC North rivals are rare, and the idea of Mayfield going to Pittsburgh is so far-fetched that one Twitter user wondered whether Warner has “finally started drinking,” a reference to Warner’s reputation for being a devout Christian.
Yet intra-AFC North trades are not unprecedented. For example, in March 2020 the Steelers acquired defensive lineman Chris Wormley and a seventh-round pick from the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a fifth-round pick. And in September 2017, the Steelers traded wide receiver Sammie Coates and a 2018 seventh-round pick to the Browns in exchange for a sixth-round selection in the 2018 Draft.
Baker Mayfield vs. Mitch Trubisky by the Numbers
Anyhow, if you’re wondering how Baker Mayfield has fared in the NFL as compared to Mitch Trubisky, the former has a 29-30 record as a starter, with a 61.6% completion percentage and an 87.8 career passer rating, while averaging 7.3 yards per attempt, per Pro Football Reference (PFR).
Trubisky, who was drafted No. 2 overall a year earlier, has a 29-21 record as a starter, with a 64.1% completion percentage and 87.0 passer rating, while averaging 6.7 yards per attempt, according to PFR.
Yet most NFL observers would probably agree that Mayfield has played with a much stronger supporting cast, especially up front. In recent years, Cleveland has enjoyed the services of one of the best offensive lines in the league.
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