In no way does that mean general manager Andrew Berry and Co. played their cards close to the vest.
Berry had been on record all offseason noting that Mayfield would be the Browns’ Week 1 starter. That changed when reports surfaced that Cleveland had been showing interest in Watson. For his part, Mayfield requested a trade from the Browns even before the Watson trade became official.
Fast forward a few days, and this situation has taken a completely different turn. NFL’s hot stove action on Monday included the Indianapolis Colts pulling off a blockbuster trade for Matt Ryan. Indianapolis had been one of Mayfield’s preferred landing spots. A bit while later, the New Orleans Saints re-signed veteran Jameis Winston. Meanwhile, Ryan’s fomer Atlanta Falcons team signed Marcus Mariota to replace him under center.
Caught up yet? We didn’t think so. Now that the NFL quarterback market is drying up quickly and a limited number of teams are interested in trading for a singal caller, the Baker Mayfield situation in Cleveland has gotten rather complicated.
Related: Ideal Baker Mayfield trade scenarios
NFL teams said to be demanding a pick from the Cleveland Browns for Baker Mayfield
This is real life stuff right here, and it doesn’t paint Mayfield in the best of lights.
“The Browns had conversation with team about Baker Mayfield and the team asked for a pick from the Browns to take Mayfield’s contract,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday. “If anyone thinks they’re going to get a high premium pick for Baker Mayfield they’re mistaken.”
This is an insane shift in the entire Mayfield narrative. It was previously noted that the Browns were demanding a first-round pick for the former Heisman winner. Now, inquiring teams are demanding Cleveland send a selection to take on Mayfield.
- Baker Mayfield contract: $18 million cap hit for 2022; free agent in 2023
That’s the crux of the issue. Cleveland previously picked up the fifth-year option on Mayfield’s deal. Any team that acquires him would take on that $18 million cap hit.
With Indianapolis and New Orleans having settled their quarterback situations earlier on Monday, the market is thinning out for Mayfield. He joins San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as the only starter-caliber quarterbacks on the trade block.
Related: NFL Draft rumors
Baker Mayfield trade market limited
There were some reports that the Seattle Seahawks had internal discussions about acquiring Mayfield after trading star quarterback Russell Wilson earlier in the offseason. However, Seattle introduced new quarterback Drew Lock to the media on Monday. While Lock indicated that he has not been promised the starting quarterback job, it’s not yet known whether Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll view Mayfield as that much of an upgrade.
Meanwhile, a pretty ridiculous report from CBS Sports’ NFL insider Jason La Canfora from earlier on Monday indicated that the 49ers are a team to watch for Mayfield. Already having a hard time trading Garoppolo and with Trey Lance as the future of the quarterback position in San Francisco, that’s not anywhere near close to being in the cards.
All said, this pretty much leaves the Seahawks, Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers as the only two options for Baker Mayfield if he wants to land a starting job in 2022.
Carolina missed out on acquiring Deshaun Watson from the Texans. It has the expensive contract of Sam Darnold to worry about and might prefer Garoppolo. As for Houston, the team’s brass has indicated that it believes young quarterback Davis Mills is ready to be a full-time starter.
Even if that’s not the case, general manager Nick Caserio might prefer Jimmy GQ to Mayfield given their relationshship together with the New England Patriots.
We have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen on the Mayfield front right now. What we do know is that there’s now less clarity than there was immediately following the Browns’ decision to trade for Watson this past weekend.