Rival QB Would ‘Relish Opportunity’ Signing With Steelers: Report

Mike Tomlin

Getty The Steelers could make a run at Baker Mayfield if he's released.

The Pittsburgh Steelers could be the beneficiary of a familiar quarterback unhappy with his current situation.

As the Baker Mayfield and Cleveland Browns relationship continues to deteriorate, the Browns continue to look or a trade partner for their disgruntled quarterback. While the Seattle Seahawks represent the most likely trade option for Mayfield and the Browns, there’s no guarantee that they are interested enough to pull off a trade for Mayfield considering his $18.9 million cap hit for the 2022 season.

In a scenario where the Browns don’t find a trade partner, they would likely be forced to release Mayfield. It’a scenario Cleveland is trying to avoid because they don’t want their division rivals — the Steelers — to swoop in and sign Mayfield, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports.

Not only would the Steelers intervene when it comes to signing Mayfield, the 27-year-old quarterback would “relish the opportunity” at sticking it to his former team by signing with Pittsburgh.

“Sure, the Browns could just cut Mayfield and let him sign with Seattle for $1.035 million,” says Florio. “But the Browns (and the Seahawks) would then assume the risk that the Steelers would intervene.”

“Yes, the Steelers,” Florio continues. “Mayfield surely would relish the opportunity to stick it to the Browns by playing for a bitter rival. He would be better than Mitchell Trubisky or Mason Rudolph, and coach Mike Tomlin quite possibly would be able to nudge Mayfield into becoming the best version of himself that he can be.”

Mayfield Would Likely Emerge as Steelers QB

In a hypothetical scenario where Mayfield signs with the Steelers, he would immediately become the favorite to start at quarterback. It was only a year ago that Mayfield led the Browns to their first playoff win in 26 years and was one possession away from leading Cleveland to an AFC Championship game appearance.

Mayfield would battle with the likes of Mitch Trubisky — who spent the 2021 season as a backup after washing out with the Chicago Bears — and Mason Rudolph, who was previously been benched as the starter back in 2019 in favor of an undrafted free agent in Devlin Hodges.

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Mayfield Feels ‘Disrespected’ by Steelers Rival

The current Browns quarterback made no secret of how “disrespected” he feels by the Cleveland organization. Following the acquisition of three-time Pro Bowl QB Deshaun Watson, Mayfield spoke of his displeasure on the “YNK” podcast posted on Wednesday, April 13.

“One hundred percent,” Mayfield said on the “YNK” podcast. “I was told one thing and they completely did another.”

The four-year starting quarterback struggled through a torn labrum last season and his production dipped as a result. Mayfield produced just 17 touchdowns against 13 interceptions for an 83.1 quarterback rating and a 6-8 record.

According to Pro Football Focus, Mayfield’s 63.6 offensive grade in 2021 ranked 28th among all qualifying quarterbacks. That’s a major drop-off from Mayfield’s 81.6 offensive grade in 2020, which ranked 14th among all qualifying quarterbacks.

With that being said, Mayfield’s play during the 2020 season gives a glimpse of what the veteran quarterback is capable of when healthy.

Considering the Steelers clinched a playoff berth with far worse play from Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh would relish the opportunity at signing a proven quarterback with a recent playoff history.

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Jon Klinkel
Jon Klinkel
2 months ago

Not sure how he’d be the favorite when both Trubisky AND Rudolph are better than Bake-Bake. Mayfield should be 3rd-string if he goes to the Steelers.

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