Baker Mayfield would love to have a new home for the NFL season, but his current team is finding it very hard to find anybody to want to pay his salary for next year.
Mayfield has been away from the Browns since Cleveland replaced him with Deshaun Watson as their starter in a trade with the Houston Texans in March. He has been rehabilitating from offseason surgery that repaired a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder.
Cleveland has been unsuccessful so far this offseason in trading the former No. 1 overall pick. The Browns discussed a Mayfield trade with the Carolina Panthers during the NFL draft but never got close to a deal.
Over the weekend, Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk took some time to share the 11 teams that could emerge as potential suitors for Mayfield.
- The Browns
If Judge Sue L. Robinson decides that Deshaun Watson should miss the entire season, or if on appeal the Commissioner makes that ruling, the Browns will need a quarterback for all of 2022. Mayfield makes the most sense, on paper. Unfortunately, the bridge between Baker and the Browns has been obliterated. The only way to mend fences would be for the Browns to offer him more money and an unimpeded path to the open market in 2023. Even then, it’s probably not enough.
- The Steelers
When the Steelers made quarterback Kenny Pickett the 20th overall pick in the draft, the door seemingly slammed on the possibility of Mayfield making a beeline to the ‘Burgh if he’s ultimately cut by the Browns. But with Pickett by all appearances not ready to play, isn’t Mayfield (if healthy) a better option than Mitch Trubisky? Mayfield definitely is. And while that would be an intriguing answer for 2022, it could throw a wrench in the plans for 2023, if the Steelers have a great year with Mayfield. Some would call that a good problem to have.
- The Falcons
Baker Mayfield is a better option than Marcus Mariota. Maybe the Falcons will come to terms with that during the slow weeks. Maybe they’ll realize that it won’t get any easier to get people to buy tickets and attend games absent a quarterback who plays well enough to make an NFC South also-ran into a potential contender.
Also on this list are the Panthers, Seahawks, Saints, Lions, Giants, Texans, 49ers, and Dolphins.
Mayfield is due to make almost $19 million in guaranteed money for the 2022 season and that presents a huge hurdle for all teams that are interested in him.
Earlier this offseason, the Browns signed Jacoby Brissett to be their backup quarterback.
For his efforts, Mayfield led the Browns to their first playoff victory in 18 years back in 2020, but he struggled last season. Cleveland finished 8-9 and missed the postseason.