Since trading Russell Wilson, few are convinced the Seattle Seahawks currently have enough talent at the quarterback position with Drew Lock and Geno Smith as the top in-house options. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns are looking to dump Baker Mayfield to anyone who’s willing to take on his $18.8 million salary for 2022.
But that’s nothing new. The Browns have been looking to trade Mayfield from the moment Deshaun Watson came aboard in mid-March.
So far, every other NFL team has balked at Cleveland’s asking price, knowing they’ll also have to pay Mayfield’s full salary in 2022.
As the other 31 NFL teams seemingly are willing to play the waiting game, hoping the Browns eventually decide keeping Mayfield is more trouble than he’s worth in their current situation, there’s one team who would reportedly sign the 2018 No. 1 overall pick if he were a free agent.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the Seattle Seahawks would reportedly sign Mayfield if the Browns were to cut him from their roster.
Cleveland Browns unwilling to cut Baker Mayfield due to his contract
Apparently, the Browns have zero intention of allowing Mayfield to choose his next team. But the bigger issue has to do with the financials.
It’s not that the Browns can’t afford to keep Mayfield on their budget for the 2022 season, they currently have over $40 million in cap space, it’s that they don’t want to keep their former starter.
Right now, if Mayfield stays on the Browns roster for the entire season, they have to pay him his fully-guaranteed $18.9 million salary for 2022.
If the Browns cut Mayfield from the roster, they still have to pay Mayfield the exact same dollar amount, that’s the full guarantee.
Basically, there is zero upside in the Browns releasing Mayfield right now. If they wait, it’s possible a team’s need for a different quarterback could grow, whether it’s due to injury or poor performance. And the same goes for the Browns.
If Watson faces a lengthy suspension, the Browns could maybe feasibly turn back to Mayfield for a portion of the year, whereas if he’s cut from the team, and they’re stuck with Jacoby Brissett for multiple games, the optics look even worse. Especially if Mayfield finds immediate success elsewhere.
NFL teams, Browns remain stubborn in Mayfield negotiations
Yet, if the Browns can convince a team to trade for Mayfield, their trade partner would then be forced to pay Mayfield his full salary amount. Unless the Browns say they’re willing to pay a portion of Mayfield’s existing salary instead. This is fully negotiable, but appearances suggest the Browns just haven’t been willing to pay enough of the salary to get another team to bite.
Meanwhile, teams around the league fully understand where the Browns sit too. They know the Browns don’t want Mayfield around in a locker room that has already anointed Watson as their new leader, making Mayfield’s potential presence incredibly awkward.
Thus, teams are likely only willing to pay a small part of Mayfield’s salary, knowing if the Browns cut him, they could potentially sign Mayfield for an even smaller amount than what the Browns are currently demanding, without having to kick in additional assets like a draft pick.
And so, we continue to wait on the Baker Mayfield trade front. Eventually, someone will give in. Will it be Cleveland? Or will another franchise realize Mayfield offers them a better chance to win, even if that means forking over some more cash?