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Mystery team enters Baker Mayfield trade talks

Andrew Buller-Russ

The Cleveland Browns and Baker Mayfield have seemingly been in the same exact spot for months now. He’s no longer the future in Cleveland, so he wants out. Meanwhile, the Browns recognize the value of a starting quarterback, and don’t want to give him up for nothing, by cutting him. Not to mention, releasing him would only cause the Browns to pay his fully guaranteed $18.8 contract, whether he’s on the roster or not.

Where’s the fun in that? If the Browns are paying Mayfield, they might as well get some use out of him, right? Then there’s always the possibility that a team not currently looking for a QB could suddenly have a need. This appears to be what the Browns are banking on.

That’s all without knowing the potential ramifications of a Deshaun Watson suspension, which could actually create a bigger need for a starter back at the Dawg Pound, but for Mayfield, that ship has sailed.

Through all this fun, the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers have been the two teams most frequently linked to Mayfield, but developments have been slow on that trade front as well. With NFL training camps less than a month away from opening, could we see another team get involved?

That appears to be what’s happening right now, according to Michael Balko, who says a new team, not previously mentioned has gained interest in a Mayfield trade as of late.

Guessing Baker Mayfield’s next team

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

So, a new team is interested in trading for Baker Mayfield? Who might that be? We already mentioned the Seahawks and Panthers, so we’ll just ignore them in this space, but that leaves 30, well, 29 other teams who don’t have Mayfield on their roster. Let’s dive in.

  • Dallas Cowboys Not only do the Cowboys have cap space, they don’t have a great backup. Some might say, what about Cooper Rush? But I think the Cowboys can do better, especially if they have playoff aspirations. Besides, Mayfield would be a perfect fit as a Cowboy.
  • Los Angeles Rams For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the Rams would have just John Wolford and Bryce Perkins as the backup to their Super Bowl winning QB. If Matthew Stafford hits the deck, who comes in? It’s a bad place to be, but Mayfield could take over for a stretch and still get the team to the playoffs, but the other backups? Look away.
  • Chicago Bears – Fans of the Bears must avert their eyes, but what if the new regime isn’t buying into Justin Fields either? Never hurts to have another competitor in the field, pushing athletes to be their very best. Right now, there’s no one else resembling a quarterback in that locker room, Mayfield could show the others how it’s done. Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman aren’t primed for success.
  • Kansas City Chiefs – Baker Mayfield won’t enter a locker room with Patrick Mahomes and take it over. It just can’t happen. In some ways, this move could be a great spot for Mayfield’s career if he can’t step into a starting role. Being one play away from taking over for a potential playoff team is a good place to be.
  • Minnesota Vikings Even though I said this would never happen just a few weeks ago, things can change in a hurry. Personally, I’m not a big believer in Sean Mannion’s ability to do anything other than hold a clipboard, great coach, terrible player. Kellen Mond has upside, yes, but does the current coaching staff feel he can reach it? Maybe they’d prefer to have a more NFL-ready backup, like Mayfield. If the Browns pay enough of his salary, a deal could work. Maybe they even want Mond in return as a developmental prospect as a favor for covering much of the cost?
  • Cincinnati Bengals – This seems unlikely, for the AFC North rivals to share starting quarterbacks. But maybe the Browns just don’t think that highly of Mayfield and believe sending him to another team within the division wouldn’t hurt them. Maybe they feel he could be a locker room cancer as a backup and aren’t afraid to listen to a deal. And I also don’t believe in Brandon Allen or Jake Browning’s ability to backup Joe Burrow if an injury strikes, the Bengals should be interested on some level.
  • New England Patriots – They haven’t been anywhere close to sniffing around Mayfield from what we can tell, but Brian Hoyer is 36 and Bailey Zappe, a rookie fourth-round pick is likely a year away from contributing in this offense. Even with Mac Jones entrenched as the starter, it can’t hurt to inquire about Mayfield, as the upside is enticing.

Basically, despite the limited interest in Mayfield, there are several teams who shouldn’t hesitate to consider adding Mayfield, for the right price, whether that’s contractually by giving up trade assets. Mayfield still has QB1 upside, and who knows? Maybe there’s even a Pro Bowl QB in there.

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