Baker Mayfield, like the rest of us, doesn’t understand how his situation deteriorated so quickly with the Cleveland Browns, even more puzzling is which team the 2018 No. 1 overall pick will land with for the 2022 season.
After the Deshaun Watson trade, sticking with the Browns doesn’t appear to be an option for Mayfield. Teams don’t generally pay their backup a contract worth $18.8 million, and they also don’t usually have two potential “leaders of the clubhouse” at the quarterback position, it just doesn’t work. It’s either Watson’s team or it’s Mayfield’s, not both.
The Browns have made it 100% clear, they’re in full support of Watson, paying him $230 million, fully guaranteed.
From everything that’s transpired, whether it’s having four different head coaches and offensive coordinators to not being valued by the franchise that made him the No. 1 pick to the point of being slandered through back channels suggesting the QB isn’t an “adult”. Of course, the cherry on top was the front office not being interested in extending Mayfield, instead giving Watson an enormous contract despite his legal issues. It’s been a wild ride.
To no surprise, everything that’s transpired has left Mayfield feeling disrespected by the organization, which he spoke to, a bit hesitantly on the Ya Neva Know podcast.
“I feel disrespected,” Mayfield said in a lengthy appearance on the YNK Podcast. “One hundred percent. Because I was told one thing, and they completely did another. That’s what I’m in the middle of right now.”Baker Mayfield on the Ya Neva Know podcast (H/t to Pro Football Talk)
Baker Mayfield awaits his 2022 destination, remains clueless
Chained up at the Dawg Pound, Mayfield doesn’t even know which team he’ll play for in 2022. Before Matt Ryan was traded to the Colts, one suggestion was that Mayfield would have preferred to land in Indianapolis, perhaps due to their strong roster built to compete. But no other specific candidates to trade for Mayfield have since emerged.
Complicating matters is Mayfield’s contract status. The Browns appear unwilling to pay part of the salary themselves, and no other team has interest in taking on the full amount, thus far.
- Baker Mayfield contract (2022): $18.8 million
Basically, we’re left at the same point we were after the Watson trade. Though Mayfield remains on the roster, he isn’t likely to ever make it back onto the depth chart.
Mayfield himself has “no clue” which team he’ll suit up for in 2022.
“I’m just looking for stabilization right now,” Mayfield said. “And like I know what I need to do for me to be the best organization of me and be able to lead an organization. And like I’m in a good place right now. I have no clue where I’m going.”
Based on the few teams with a potential need for a starting quarterback, his options appear to be limited. Maybe the Atlanta Falcons will convince themselves a competition between Marcus Mariota and Mayfield gives them a chance to compete. But then reality likely sets in, realizing it won’t matter if Kyle Pitts constantly faces double-coverage. Plus, Mariota has previous ties to coach Arthur Smith from their Tennessee days, which likely means it’s down to the former No. 2 overall pick and an incoming rookie.
Then, there’s Carolina, where they already essentially have a Mayfield on their hands with the third overall pick from 2018 in Sam Darnold, who also makes $18.8 million in 2022. Why should they swap Darnold for Mayfield, when the Browns don’t have any interest in taking on Darnold either? Again, the Panthers probably want a rookie.
That really just leaves the Seattle Seahawks where they continue to prop up Drew Lock, whom they sought out when trading Russell Wilson to Denver. Once again, why should Pete Carroll be more excited about Mayfield, who’s actually a year older than Lock, when the team has already made a verbal commitment to their newly acquired QB? Mayfield himself noted the Seahawks are “the most likely option”.
Any trade for Mayfield may not be consummated until after the first or second rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. That might be the final domino waiting to fall before we find out which team the 26-year-old QB may or may not be starting for next season.