The Cleveland Browns landed their franchise quarterback, landing Deshaun Watson in one of the biggest trades in NFL history. Baker Mayfield will get his wish because of it, but it’s going to come at quite the cost for his next NFL team.
Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, wanted out of Cleveland the moment it met with Watson. The 26-year-old threatened to sit out, willing to do whatever it took to force his way out of Ohio. Until acquiring Watson, the Browns publicly denied Mayfield’s trade demand.
- Baker Mayfield contract: $18.858 million
Behind the scenes, it seemed to be a different story. The organization had enough, wanting to move on from its former star with another viable option. Naturally, multiple teams inquired with the Browns about a potential trade. However, the price tag was far more expensive than expected.
One NFL team told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated that Cleveland wanted a first-round pick in exchange for Mayfield before it acquired Watson.
It’s very possible the Browns set that price for teams to try and dissuade them from pursuing a trade. When the Houston Texans first shopped Watson, they wanted three first-round picks paired with Day 2 selections and a young player. When the final deal was made, Houston received less than its original asking price.
Mayfield is a gamble for NFL teams. He played behind a quality offensive line in his final two seasons but delivered inconsistent production. There are also concerns surrounding his maturity, highlighted by the bizarre farewell post and some of his past interactions on Twitter.
Unfortunately for the Browns, they are no longer operating from a position of leverage. Watson is the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL and Cleveland just signed Jacoby Brissett as his backup. Considering Mayfield’s $18 million cap hit this season, the organization needs to move him.
Ultimately, the Browns will likely need to settle for a third-round pick as the potential return piece in a trade. As for where Mayfield lands, the Seattle Seahawks have coveted him for years and seem like the favorites.