Baker Mayfield and the Browns are heading toward an inevitable split. It’s just a matter of when it will happen.
The relationship between Mayfield and the Browns deteriorated rapidly during the 2022 NFL offseason. Mayfield is coming off a down year in 2021, as he dealt with several injuries and was unable to lead Cleveland to the playoffs, leading the Browns to explore the quarterback market.
The point of no return in the relationship came when Cleveland got involved in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. The Browns appeared to be out of the running for Watson but intimated they were OK with that. Why? Because they still had Mayfield.
Well, Mayfield didn’t like that he was essentially Plan B for the Browns. So, he requested a trade away from the team. The Browns were unwilling to comply with that request at first, but then they actually did land Watson to be the team’s new starting quarterback. Since then, they have been looking to trade Mayfield.
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However, Cleveland is looking to get the biggest possible return out of Mayfield. As such, the Browns haven’t yet traded him as teams across the NFL simply haven’t shown an interest in giving up significant assets to land Mayfield.
Still, there are a few quarterback-needy teams out there, including the Panthers, Seahawks and Falcons. And considering that the 2022 NFL Draft class is weak at the position, it seems likely that Mayfield will find a home during the draft.
When will we see a Mayfield trade, and how much might a team be willing to give up to acquire him? Here are the latest rumors surrounding the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft as he hopes to find a place to start anew.
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Baker Mayfield trade rumors week of 2022 NFL Draft
Seahawks “don’t sound overly eager” about trading for Baker Mayfield
- Date: April 26
- Source: CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson
The Seahawks are considered to be one of the frontrunners to land Baker Mayfield. However, Josina Anderson is hearing that Seattle isn’t interested in trading for him given the $18.8 million remaining on his contract.
Spoke to a league source on Baker Mayfield. At this time, the #Seahawks still don’t sound overly eager on dealing for the #Browns quarterback &* his salary at that price in a situation where they feel Cleveland has to eventually move him. Still worth monitoring.@BovadaOfficial
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) April 26, 2022
Panthers unlikely to trade for Baker Mayfield prior to Round 1 of the draft
- Date: April 25
- Source: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport
Rapoport says in a tweet that the Panthers are “not expected to trade for Mayfield” prior to Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. He notes that Carolina wants to see what happens with its first overall pick at No. 6 before considering Mayfield.
The #Panthers are not expected to trade for #Browns QB Baker Mayfield prior to the first round of the NFL Draft, sources say, if they do it at all. Thursday has to play out first, before any other options are considered. Carolina picks No. 6.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 25, 2022
The Panthers have been linked to quarterbacks Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett atop the 2022 NFL Draft. They could select one of those top passers, but the team has also been increasingly linked to offensive tackles with the sixth overall pick.
If Carolina chooses an offensive tackle, then the team would likely have a greater interest in acquiring Mayfield. The only issue is that the Panthers don’t have a second- or third-round pick in this year’s draft. So, unless they trade down to acquire one, the Panthers would only be able to offer Cleveland Day 3 picks and future draft capital for Mayfield. It’s unclear whether that will get the job done.
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Browns will have to eat “a large portion” of Baker Mayfield’s contract to facilitate trade
Pauline had a few things to note about a potential Mayfield trade to kickstart draft week. First, he said that Mayfield is expected to be traded during Day 2 or 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft. So, the Browns will have to continue waiting to resolve his future.
Additionally, the Seahawks and Panthers seem like the two frontrunners for Mayfield given the holes they have at quarterback. That said, Pauline noted that the Seahawks could trade into the back end of the first round of the draft to select a quarterback. That would take them out of the Mayfield sweepstakes.
Finally, Cleveland will have to eat a large portion of Mayfield’s contract to facilitate a deal. Mayfield is set to make $18.8 million in 2022, fully guaranteed. Teams aren’t willing to pay that price for Mayfield, so Cleveland will “essentially be buying a draft pick,” as Pauline put it.
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Browns are “highly motivated” to trade Baker Mayfield before or around draft time
- Date: April 24
- Source: ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler
The Browns are looking to trade Mayfield before or during the draft, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. He revealed on SportsCenter that the market for Mayfield is rather weak.
The Browns are highly motivated to get this done, preferably before or around draft time. They’ve got six days to create that urgency; they want that $19 million guaranteed money off their salary-cap books. The best way to do that is to trade him. If they cut him, they still have to eat a lot or all of that money. Teams know that, so they’re sort of waiting in the weeds here. There just really hasn’t been a strong market.
We’ll see if the market strengthens as the draft draws nearer. But as it stands, only a few teams are still looking for potential starters. And few teams can afford the $18.8 million cap hit that will come with Mayfield.