Baker Mayfield had a rough 2021-22 season in Cleveland, so it’d be safe to say he was already at a low point heading into the offseason. That low point is probably down to the floor now after finding out the Browns had replaced him when they traded for Deshaun Watson, a QB that didn’t play one game last season due to 22 sexual misconduct/assault civil cases hanging over his head. Although Watson’s been cleared of criminal charges, those civil suits are still in play. Knowing all this, Cleveland still decided to take the plunge and trade a wealth of draft capital for him.
Last week, we heard about Baker’s request to be traded by the Browns, with his No. 1 destination being the Indianapolis Colts. While the Browns initially denied Mayfield’s request, the organization then pulled off the Watson deal.
So, Baker Mayfield, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick, needs a new team, and perhaps a new ad campaign with Progressive.
The Colts make all the sense in the world for Mayfield, but that doesn’t mean the Browns will trade him there just because that’s his first choice. The Browns just showed us they’re going to do whatever they feel is in the best interest of winning by trading for Watson. They didn’t consider anyone else’s feelings there, so it’s doubtful they’ll extend any favors to Mayfield on his way out. The Colts possess the formula for Baker to succeed with a very good running game and offensive line. But they’ll need to offer the best deal on the market if they hope to land Mayfield.
Another team that’s surfaced as a potential landing spot for Mayfield is the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle has the draft picks needed if they desire an upgrade from Drew Lock. It still feels weird saying “Drew Lock, QB of the Seattle Seahawks.” Baker would undoubtedly be a better option there once he’s healthy next year. And because the Seahawks probably wouldn’t need to give up a first-round pick for him, this could be a possibility.
But the Seahawks have had offensive line issues for a couple of years and haven’t had a consistently strong running game either. I’m not sure this would be the best destination for Baker, but if Seattle is willing to give up the loot Cleveland desires, then it could happen. Mayfield probably wouldn’t be thrilled, but at least he’d be the favorite to start now that Russell Wilson has exited the building for Denver.
Atlanta could be another potential trade partner for the Browns with the Falcons moving on from Matt Ryan. Since the Falcons don’t have the heir apparent lined up just yet, Mayfield could be a good stop-gap guy for the next couple of years. Kyle Pitts is a young, dynamic tight end that would make a great safety blanket for Mayfield in the ATL.
The Saints could be another option for Mayfield, with Jameis Winston still being on the free-agent market and recovering from a torn ACL. New Orleans needs a QB, but it’s more of an outside shot right now. Carolina is in the market for a QB, but I’m not sure they’ll want to give up draft assets. When he’s healthy, Mayfield is probably an upgrade from Sam Darnold (the third pick in that 2018 draft), Cam Newton (at this stage), or any other QB the Panthers trotted onto the field last season.
Wherever Baker lands, we know his days in Cleveland are done. It’s just a matter of how soon they can find him a new home. It sounds like it’s going to happen soon. Hopefully, Mayfield can get healthy enough to show the world he can still be the QB he views himself as in his mind.