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Cleveland Browns GM addresses Baker Mayfield situation, feels ‘fine’ if no trade happens

Matt Johnson

The Cleveland Browns tried to swing a Baker Mayfield trade on Friday, engaging in extensive discussions with the Carolina Panthers about a draft-day deal. With quarterback Matt Corral now set to challenge Sam Darnold for the starting job, it’s back to the drawing board for Cleveland.

It’s certainly not the outcome general manager Andrew Berry wanted. The Browns were highly motivated to trade Mayfield during the NFL Draft and the Panthers were one of the teams with some interest in making that a possibility.

Either due to Cleveland’s asking price or a hesitancy to cover a majority of Mayfield’s 2022 salary, Carolina moved on. With the Panthers trading a 2023 third-round pick to move up for Corral, they are likely out of the mix for Mayfield.

  • Baker Mayfield stats (2021): 3,010 yards, 17-13 TD-INT, 83.1 QB rating, 6-8 record

It’s now back to the drawing board for the Browns. There are still a few teams who could have interest, depending on the cost, but the interest isn’t especially strong. Aware of the increasing likelihood that Mayfield remains on the depth chart past this weekend, Berry addressed that possibility on Friday.

Meeting with reporters at the team’s press conference after Day 2, Berry said he would feel “fine” if a trade doesn’t materialize on Saturday.

“We’ll deal with that situation as it progresses.”

Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry on the possibility of Baker Mayfield trade not happening

Of course, that feeling might only last for so long. Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary counts entirely against the Browns’ payroll. To make matters worse, the former No. 1 pick isn’t shy about expressing his frustrations publicly and criticizing the organization.

While the Browns currently have $27 million in cap space, a portion of that will be used on rookie contracts and for the potential re-signing of Jadeveon Clowney.

Publicly, Berry and Cleveland’s front office will treat the situation like it’s fine and there isn’t any concern about Mayfield staying on the roster. However, the trade market is drying up and of the few teams potentially left – Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans – both clubs know they hold the leverage.

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If both clubs decide they want no part of Mayfield, the Browns will either have to hope he agrees to a contract buyout or they’ll be banking on a quarterback injury this summer to create a new suitor.