The Browns may have to eventually cut Baker Mayfield, and then watch him land in Pittsburgh

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
Getty Images

In 2017, the Browns traded for Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler.  The Browns got a second-round pick for their trouble, since they were taking a $16 million guaranteed salary away from Houston’s books.

Five years later, the Browns may need to apply similar creativity to the $18.8 million guaranteed salary owed to quarterback Baker Mayfield. Even then, it may not be enough to keep them from having to just cut him.

It recently was reported that the Browns don’t want a first-round pick for Mayfield. Hopefully, they don’t want a second or a third or a fourth, either. With few if any teams clamoring for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, the Browns may have to accept a low-round pick at best in order to dump his salary.

At some point, the Browns may actually have to attach a low-round pick in order to move on from Mayfield and most if not all of his contract. (The Browns may have to pay a large chunk of the $18.8 million to make it happen.)

Everyone knows the Browns are done with Mayfield. And the one place he wanted to go — the Colts — didn’t want him. Even if, say, the Seahawks or the Lions or the Falcon express interest, Mayfield could make it clear he’s not interested in playing for any of those teams.

He has a hammer in this situation. He’s making $18.8 million, no matter what. He could force the Browns to ultimately release him if he makes it clear that he ultimately will refuse to embrace a new team.

The Browns surely don’t want to do that. For starters, he’d make a beeline for Pittsburgh, which would pay him a one-year minimum salary of $1.035 million and stick the Browns with the $17.765 million balance. Instantly, he’d become the best option on the Steelers’ depth chart.

He’d be humbled. He’d be motivated. He’d be coachable by Mike Tomlin, who has a gift for keeping difficult personalities pointed in the right direction.

For the Browns, the challenge becomes finding a team that will trade for Mayfield, and a team to which Mayfield will gladly accept a trade. Even without a no-trade clause, teams won’t be inclined to trade for a quarterback who doesn’t want to be there.

Ultimately, the Browns may have no choice but to cut Mayfield. They may need to accept that it’s one of the collateral costs of trading for Deshaun Watson before resolving Mayfield’s status.

It could be a very costly collateral cost. In what will be Mayfield’s last game for the Browns, he witnessed the manner in which Pittsburgh embraced Ben Roethlisberger in what was his last game for the Steelers. With that defense and running game and coaching staff, Mayfield could eventually wrap a 10-year career in Pittsburgh with a similar sendoff.

106 responses to “The Browns may have to eventually cut Baker Mayfield, and then watch him land in Pittsburgh

  1. I don’t understand why so many keep buying this “mayfield to Pittsburgh” nonsense. Never say never, but I find it VERY hard to believe…

  2. The Steelers sound like the perfect place for an outsider. Love to see those fireworks next season.

  3. Mayfield is not an upgrade over Biscuit. If the Steelers wanted him they would have made a move by now.

  4. No reason to cut him, for the reason you stated. I’d wait it out to see what the suspension situation is for Watson. Play him if necessary & let him try to garner some interest. If Mayfield can’t be a professional and sits, all the better.

  5. As the contract is full guaranteed, they will never cut him. There is absolutely no need to cut him if you pay him anyway. If they don’t cut him they have a chance for a compensation pick at least.

  6. Please, please, please happen. I would love to see Baker get the last laugh here.

  7. Yeah, well, the reason they’re in this situation is that the “adults” in the Browns front office and ownership decided to trash him in the media.

    It’s ridiculous that the media has followed the smokescreen to point fingers at Mayfield. The team wasn’t honest with him – any of us would be upset if we were treated the way he’s been treated.

    There have been a number of “The Browns sold their souls to get Watson” stories in the media – which I agree with. As a Browns fan, the combination of them bringing in Watson with how they’ve been so classless toward Mayfield is off-putting and disappointing.

    But that’s par for the course for Haslam, who’s inept and morally bankrupt.

  8. If the Steelers pick Mayfield up, that will be 2 easy wins for the Browns every year. This guy was a 6th round talent taken at 1 Overall. The Browns is the Browns. May be Saying the Steelers is the Steelers if they foolishly make that decision

  9. the browns will not cut baker for salary cap reasons they can hang on to him for a while he will most likely be traded the browns will eat some of his salary they will control where he goes I love how all the people in Pittsburgh think their going to grab some great QB somewhere and everything will continue their front office should have drafted a successor last year they screwed themselves

  10. I swear the Browns front office is like a washed up blackjack player who thinks he’s one card away from going on a hot streak and striking it rich, but keeps digging a deeper hole that he’ll never get out of.

  11. I don’t think that’s a fair take on the Colts. The Colts were able to get a veteran SB appearing QB for a 3rd round pick and decent salary. The Browns were looking for more than a 3rd for Baker and the Colts were/are low on picks.

    The Browns probably couldn’t have handled their QB situation any worse and it would be a fitting outcome if they weren’t able to get anything for Baker.

  12. The only incentive for the Browns to release Baker would be to free up the roster spot. They’d have to pay him either way. Also, from what I understand there’s no offset when a player is released after their fifth year option is picked up. Baker would be free to double-dip salary-wise.

  13. Chances are Mayfield and Murray are going to go all the way from 1st picks to starting in the USFL (Wentz will join them the following year) and immaturity along with coachability will become a much larger factor when analyzing the use of top picks.

  14. I’d still like to understand what Baker did that actually makes him appear to be childish, or not acting “like an adult.”

    Certainly everything that has come out of his mouth this last season has been what you want to hear from your starting quarterback. He even played through a difficult shoulder injury.

    So what’s happened behind the scenes that the Browns decides to throw him under the bus through sources, but not divulge what the actual problem is???

    I mean, he almost beat the Chiefs in KC in the playoffs last year.

  15. Why would Pittsburgh want Mayfield? He thinks he’s owed 30 mil per.

    That wouldn’t be good for a team rebuilding.

  16. Cleveland fan here. I hope Baker tears it up in Pittsburgh. The Browns front office told him “your our guy” and then days later goes after Watson. His feelings were hurt and I don’t blame him.

  17. Why would the Steelers want Mason? It’s not as if they don’t already have a failed 1st rd pick on their roster…hell they have two.

  18. This is SO Browns. And a perfect scenario for an owner who…you know…stuck it to truck drivers around the country not get rich(er) and then hid behind the hired hands. Haslem deserves all the karma in the world.

  19. Mayfield may not be the second coming of Big Ben for the Steelers but he is better than what the disfunctional Browns hasbeen able to get from him. Tomlin may not be a great coach but he is much better than any of of those Mayfield has seen with the Browns.

  20. He’d have to beat out Trubisky to earn the starting spot in Pitt, and that’s by no means a given.

  21. Will he then have another tantrum where he calls himself a traiter this time like he did Hugh Jackson for going to the Bengals after the Browns let Jackson go?

    The guy would be one of the best in the NFL if he didn’t act like a spoiled 10 year old that thinks the world revolves around him. With that being said I’ll respect him if actually does get released and seriously avoids the AFC North for his next destination because he actually believed in what he said about Jackson on how going to a rival is disrespectful to the fan base and players who looked to you as a leader and would eat my words.

  22. You know and work with avid Browns fans. You really know how to stir us up, don’t you?
    The Browns would put him on the practice squad and eat his entire salary before letting him go to a division rival.

  23. I’d rather have Mitch. Brown had a much better supporting cast in Cleveland and wasn’t much better. I think we’ve seen his upside and I’d rather just wait and draft a quarterback next year. Mitch ain’t the answer. I don’t believe in the top 4 in this year’s draft. Why have a roster with 4 backups in mitch, baker, rudolph, and haskins?

  24. Why? Let him sit in the bench or stay at home. There’s nothing to be gained by cutting him.

  25. To summarize: the next 3 firsts, a 3rd and two 4th rounders to put themselves in a position to pay $230 million guaranteed to a guy who may not even play this year.

    And they obviously have no idea what to do about Mayfield, who ironically may end up being their best option as starter if Watson is suspended.

    Tell us you’re the Browns without telling us you’re the Browns…

  26. I expect them to play hardball and wait until the off-season or preseason where an injury can create a need at any time.

  27. I would enjoy watching Baker and Mitch duelling it out for the starting job. I would especially enjoy bouncing the Browns from the playoffs with their castaway on our roster. All the drama of Deshaun aside, the Browns gave up waaaay too much money and draft capital for him. Terrible decision on their part.

  28. “Instantly, he’d become the best option on the Steelers’ depth chart.”

    You see, when you look at the numbers, it’s not exactly an instant decision. Mitch got a bad rap in Chicago and honestly Baker has been “Trubisky bad” since his rookie season.

  29. As a Browns fan I doubt the Steelers would want Baker Reagan Mayfield but I’d welcome it.The way TJ Watt was sacking,batting and mocking sums up how the Steelers players feel about him.

  30. Just like the Steelers passed on Jameis Winston when he got ousted from Tampa, they would pass on Mayfield who they know even better. Mayfield has talked himself out of starting for anyone with how he reacted last week and his past antics. His best bet is to try to latch on with Tampa as a backup where Arians likes him or go to backup Mahomes in Kansas City where the best offensive mind probably ever would be teaching him.

  31. That would be perfect! Baker’s chutzpah would actually fit well with the Steelers and that Tomlin could handle it just fine. The Browns are going to be paying for this move for a long time. And even if they were somehow to win the SuperBowl with Watson, I think it comes with a bitter taste.

  32. As a Ravens fan I would not like to see this happen. Come on Seattle. Can’t you offer the Browns a bushel of Dungeness crabs for Baker. I’m sure the Browns would rather not see Baker in Pittsburg either.

  33. I would not assume that he could beat out Trubisky for the starting job. But I can see him trying to do this just to stick the Browns with his salary. I also would not assume that Tomlin would embrace Mayfield as an addition to the roster.

  34. Baker is horrible. Johnny Manziel 2.0 Surprised it’s taken this long for teams to figure that out. He should just stick to making commercials

  35. Tomlin has a gift for keeping difficult personalities pointed in the right direction? I don’t think so. What about AB and the current diva Claypool?

  36. I have no dog in the hunt being a NFC fan, but this could get interesting! I am no fan of the Steelers, but considering the Browns’ recent moves, it would be humorous “Karma” if Mayfield ended up starting for the Steelers while the Browns were forced to pay about 90% of his salary….lol…

  37. Mayfield should head to the CFL where his skillset would probably make him a star. There’s no shame in that! Doug Flutie did it and came back to the NFL to have some late-career success and a whole lot of cash. Why not?!

  38. How is Baker an upgrade over Mitch? Yeah I can see him signing there but he’s no better than the Biscuit ever was.

  39. Baker definitely needs to humble himself. It could be a win win for him and Pitt. “ IDK he seems like pretty good egg”

  40. What about Mayfield exactly makes him a clear cut better option than Trubisky? Mayfield really isn’t that special. That’s why the Browns replaced him. I don’t see Mayfield logging 10 years with any one team at this point, especially not a franchise like the Steelers who are likely to be competing with Burrow, Jackson, and Watson for that 10 year period. They aren’t going to sign up to have the worst quarterback in the division for the next decade. Mayfield will become a journeyman starter, like many who have come before him. There is no shame in that, it’s a heck of a way to make a living and a very successful career by any reasonable standard. But the “franchise quarterback” thing is not happening.

  41. “Revenge is a dish best served cold” – Old Klingon proverb, aka Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert’s thoughts right now

  42. That running game in Pittsburgh? Behind that line? Fourth fewest rush yards in the NFL last year, yards per rush also bottom 5.

  43. Sorry Cleve fans, but I WANT to see the team pay for their shabby treatment of Mayfield. In order of Schadenfreud:

    1. Cut Mayfield and eat the salary difference of $17.7 M. This is a just punishment for the outlandish, punishment-avoiding, first year salary of $ 1.0365 M for Watson.

    2. Trade Mayfield for a 5th rounder.

  44. Browns can keep Mayfield as their starter while Watson is suspended his 6-10 games for the non-criminal massage misconduct allegations. He gets paid only if he shows up & will be motivated to prove he is still an NFL starter, hoping a team in need comes knocking. Once Watson has taken over, he gets traded. The money burden will be lessened & teams will be needing a QB by week 4-10.

  45. What is to say that the Steelers actually want him? They have played him twice per year, so they know him pretty well. I could really see them drafting someone this year, have the rookie and Mitch compete and see how the year goes. The Steelers have shown over the last couple years, they don’t need a great QB, they can win with a mediocre QB. Why bring in a headache?

  46. It may happen, but they are not just going to let him live in the Stadium. One time somebody broke into Three Rivers Stadium and spilled out all of the nacho cheese before proceeding to boot imaginary field goals in protest of then QB Mark Malone. Imagine if somebody broke into Heinz to protest Baker and found him watching the jumbotron? BIG TROUBLE!!!

  47. He’d instantly be the best QB on the Steelers? His lifetime passer rating is .8 higher than Trubisky’s – – and Trubisky is a functional adult.

  48. Regardless of what you think of Mayfield, he did not deserve to be treated like this. If Mayfield lands in Pittsburgh and exacts revenge on Cleveland, Cleveland will certainly have deserved it.

  49. After publicly disparging him and then the insane media pile on, No team is going to trade anything to the browns for him. The browns showed the world how little they valued Mayfield, so why would anyone all of a suddent want to pay anything to trade for him? The browns screwed this entire thing up from the very beginning. Not a single aspect of this whole watson fiasco was done with even a shred of decency.

    As a lifelong browns fan, It will be hard to root for baker in pittsburg, but Ill do it, and I will enjoy everytime he waxes the browns.

  50. so 31 teams could have traded for 6. and they didnt .. as they say that speaks volumes..

  51. Mayfield isn’t playing for one penny less than the 19 million he is owed this season and he shouldn’t. The browns made that commitment to him when they picked up his option. They are going to have to buy their way out of this just like they normally do, throwing good money after bad. Or shipping draft capital to another team so that they would take on Mayfield’s salary. That seems like it’s going to be the only choice they have. No way would both these guys be in the same building this season. I’m sure Haslem is also going to have some explaining to do at owners meetings in regards to Watson’s fully guaranteed deal too. Wouldn’t be surprised if Haslem is out as owner in the next few years.

  52. As a Steeler fan, I like Baker and actually was all about this theoretical scenario two weeks ago before Free agency and before Deshaun actually signed. I think Baker is a good QB with top tier toughness. He played hurt all year and got shoved aside for his efforts. I think a good team can win and win big with Baker. He’s not top 5, but he’s in that 10 to 12 range.

    However, I’m kind of all aboard the Trubisky train now. I feel very similar about him as I do Baker, and maybe even a little more upside with his mobility. So for me, I think I’m hoping the Steelers don’t sign Baker, but man it would be funny to see him beat the Browns and Deshaun this year.

  53. obesewantcannoli says:
    March 25, 2022 at 12:24 pm
    I’d still like to understand what Baker did that actually makes him appear to be childish, or not acting “like an adult.”

    Certainly everything that has come out of his mouth this last season has been what you want to hear from your starting quarterback. He even played through a difficult shoulder injury.

    So what’s happened behind the scenes that the Browns decides to throw him under the bus through sources, but not divulge what the actual problem is???

    I mean, he almost beat the Chiefs in KC in the playoffs last year.
    Almost? The Browns never had the lead the entire game even with Mahommes hurt and pulled from the game in the 3rd quarter.

  54. I don’t think it is happening, but to quote a famous coach, “Never say Never, but….’

  55. If the Browns can’t find someone to take him they should just sit on him and make him inactive. Then once a QB gets hurt somewhere he might have some market value. If you’re going to get stuck with his salary might as well keep him from playing for someone else. We are talking about the Browns though.

  56. I think you’ve laid it out perfectly Florio. Mayfield would probably love to give the Browns the middle finger salute on his way out the door, and the best way to do that would be to refuse a trade ANYWHERE. The Browns would then be forced to cut him and whatever team he lands with would get him for free, while the Browns would be stuck with most of his salary.

  57. I will never understand what the Browns are thinking. Bringing in a known sick predator for Mayfield is just a shot in the face.

  58. “Watch him land in Pittsburgh.” What if they cut him the day after the draft? Would Pittsburgh take a QB in round 1 and then pick up Mayfield knowing that they would have to pay him a big contract if they planned to keep him beyond next season?

  59. They need to keep him from now. I’d just let him know that he’s the backup for $19M. I’d keep him because there’s no info about Watson’s suspension assuming he gets suspended. So having a healthy Baker for the games Watson misses is the smart move. If Baker plays very well, then he could get a fat contract next year. When OBJ was out and he wasn’t injured at all, he played very good football.

  60. Having Mayfield and Trubisky on the same team would be like having Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes on the same team.

  61. After 70 years as a fan, this idiotic move by the Browns has forced me to QUIT supporting them. Consequently, I will be disposing of all my brown’s clothing for the best offer. If no offers are received, I’ll have a FIRE Sale or probably just BURN them all!

  62. The most likely scenario however is that he goes to Tampa to learn how to be a Pro…

  63. “With that defense and running game and coaching staff” —– Are you referring to the Steeler defense that has given up an AVERAGE of 45 points in their last 3 playoff games and the coaching staff that has 3 playoff wins in the last 11 years? Why does anybody think that either is any good?

  64. Mayfield landing in Pittsburgh would make for some great TV, especially when they play Cleveland twice a year.

  65. Stupid management cut first round pick Joe Haden and Pittsburgh picked him up and he’s played 5 seasons for them, so they wouldn’t make that mistake again would they?
    Rhetorical question, of course they’re that stupid.

  66. I think the Bucs should send a late round pick to Cleveland, have them absorb most of his contract and Baker can sit behind Brady for a year or 2 and learn.

  67. Keep him as a back up, his salary is gtd not a good reason to let the Steelers sign him for the minimum

  68. I threw this idea out into the ether a few weeks ago and if it actually happens I would laugh. Out loud.

  69. Mayfield has a career rating in the mid 70’s against Pittsburgh. He has had more batted balls than td’s against them and almost as many INT’s. Trubisky has more game winning drives, a better overall won/loss record and 20 less interceptions even though Mayfield played on a stacked team throughout his career while Trubisky certainly did not. The sad truth is that Mayfield is a guy who excelled in college but the NFL is a big step up talent wise and he was figured out once enough tape was out. It has happened to a lot of players in all positions. He may yet make adjustments to his game to help him carve out a successful career but his size works against him and he does not have the mobility of a Kyler Murray or a Tua that can help open lanes. At this point, Trubisky is the better risk and has a higher ceiling and The Steelers get that without the drama Baker carries.

  70. The Steelers signing Mayfield would be a tall order…Actually, it might help his game if he were in fact…..tall

  71. hazydavey says:
    March 25, 2022 at 2:00 pm
    As a Steeler fan, I like Baker and actually was all about this theoretical scenario two weeks ago before Free agency and before Deshaun actually signed. I think Baker is a good QB with top tier toughness. He played hurt all year and got shoved aside for his efforts. I think a good team can win and win big with Baker. He’s not top 5, but he’s in that 10 to 12 range.
    1. Roger’s
    2. Brady
    3. Stafford
    4. Ryan ( colts picked him over Mayfield cant argue.)
    7. Herbert
    8. Allen
    11. Watson
    14. Goff
    15. Dalton
    16. Prescott
    Is this skip Bayless burner account? I could go on…

  72. I cannot believe the Steelers would take Mayfield. QB competitions usually hurt both players. And if Mayfield throws a temper tantrum it won’t do his chances of getting another contract any good, and if he refuses to play he won’t earn his salary, so mayfield has to just suck it up and play wherever he goes.

  73. Baker just needs to stay patient … 18.8 million to hold a clipboard at the very least !!

  74. Little men who feel threatened by Mayfield’s confidence and hot wife are certainly enjoying the moment hoping their dream to see Baker “be humbled” comes true. It is great to talk about “Brown’s may have to cut Baker” but the reality is Andrew Berry taking his time to trade him, negotiating between Seattle, Tampa and Detroit. Stay tuned little men dreamers – Baker will not be cut and the Steeler’s will not be getting a free quality QB. You all will need to stick to your real dumpster dive QBs of Mason/Haskins/Tribinsky!

  75. As many other commentators have stated here, why in the world would Cleveland cut someone with a guaranteed contract? If Mayfield has issues being backup QB, so what? When (not if, when) Watson gets suspended, it’s in Mayfield’s best interest to lead the Browns to victories. That’s what’s going to get him another opportunity. He may not be an adult, but he’s not stupid.

  76. He’d be humbled. He’d be motivated. He’d be coachable by Mike Tomlin, who has a gift for keeping difficult personalities pointed in the right direction.
    But he’d still be Baker Mayfield, and he still stinks as a quarterback.

  77. So interesting how this stuff plays out. No reason for Baker to be cooperative given how he has been treated.

  78. What would be hilarious would be if The Browns decide to keep Mayfield, Watson gets suspended for a half dozen games, Mayfield tears it up and is in discussion for MVP, then Watson comes back and stinks.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.