At some point last year, when the possibility of quarterback Baker Mayfield leaving the Browns first crystallized, one team struck me as an intriguing potential destination.
The Detroit Lions.
Mayfield’s mindset and attitude mesh with the current mindset and attitude in Detroit, courtesy of coach Dan Campbell and executive Chris Spielman. Mayfield has the moxie, the edge that the Lions have lacked at the quarterback position for decades. Maybe all the way back to Bobby Layne.
The Lions would have to control Mayfield, and Campbell seems like the kind of coach who can get through to the player, to properly harness the best parts of that personality, and to guide him out of the areas where it can become problematic.
Problematic for Detroit is the presence of quarterback Jared Goff. He receives a guaranteed roster bonus tomorrow in the amount of $15.5 million. Trading him before June 1 or cutting him now without a post-June 1 designation would result in a cap charge of $30.15 million in 2022. Trading him after June 1 or cutting him now with a post-June 1 designation would result in dead money of $20.15 million this year and $10 million next year.
But with Mayfield under contract for only $18.8 million in 2022, maybe they can pull it off. Goff isn’t the long-term answer; the Lions accepted the player and his contract as part of the gigantic package that they received for Matthew Stafford. Some still believe that the Lions got a one and a three for Stafford, and an extra first-round pick for taking on Goff’s deal.
Adding to the allure of Mayfield to Motown is this very important fact. Former Browns G.M. John Dorsey, who drafted Mayfield four years ago, currently works for the Lions.
That’s right, Buddy Boy. There’s surely at least one Lions employee who may be already banging the drum for Baker Mayfield.