Could the Browns need Baker Mayfield for 2022?

NFL: NOV 28 Browns at Ravens
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The Browns are done with Baker Mayfield. And Baker Mayfield is done with the Browns. Unless they aren’t.

With few viable options for a trade and a fully-guaranteed salary of $18.8 million, the Browns apparently plan to squat on Mayfield, indefinitely. Like the 49ers, the Browns intend to wait if necessary on a freak injury that, while not unprecedented (Teddy Bridgewater, 2016), is highly unlikely.

On the scale of events that possibly could happen, it’s far more likely that, instead of a starting quarterback with some other team being lost to injury for a full year, the Browns will lose their starting quarterback for a full year, due to a suspension. At a time when the NFL stubbornly keeps its cards close to the vest on off-field issues, there continues to be a loose sense that Watson will be suspended for four or six games, eight at the most.

What if the loose sense is wrong? What if the NFL, influenced by 22 claims of sexual misconduct during massages and the two-year banishment imposed on Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer by Major League Baseball, the Commissioner imposes a one-year suspension on Watson?

There’s another important factor at play here. Other owners are pissed about the five-year, $230 million guaranteed deal given by the Browns to Watson. Surely, they’re letting the Commissioner hear about it. Sort of like when the other owners were letting the Commissioner hear about the perceived wrist slap the Patriots received for Spygate. Which contributed directly to the trumped-up charges and conclusions in Deflategate.

So the Browns may need Mayfield, and it could be a tenuous win-win. He needs a place to play — and to play well — as he prepares to become a free agent. The Browns may need a starter for all, not just part, of 2022.

The sooner the Browns know what will happen, the better suited the Browns will be to make good decisions about Mayfield. If Watson ends up not playing at all in 2022, the best decision could be to rebuild the bridge, albeit temporarily, with Baker.

And if that can’t happen, they could trade Baker straight up for Sam Darnold, swapping identical $18.8 million base salaries and taking some solace in the reality that Darnold, for better or worse, is not Mayfield.

48 responses to “Could the Browns need Baker Mayfield for 2022?

  1. After the Browns have talked about Mayfield in a disparaging manner,… why would Mayfield show up ? If it’s only about the money,.. I could understand. But if Mayfield is serious about moving on to a different team,.. I’d stay away. Force the issue. Cleveland management started this mess,.. let them finish it.

  2. Baker Mayfield ISN’T GETTING TRADED!! I’ve been saying it since day 1 the Browns are stuck right now. Nobody is going to give them what they’re after unless a team loses it’s starting quarterback, and even then the Browns aren’t getting what they want, because I don’t see anyone giving up 2 First rounders for him, and that’s what they’re asking. So unless the Browns come down on their asking price they’re stuck with this guy

  3. After impugning Mayfield’s character only to replace him with a better player with serious character issues, one hopes Baker will stick it to the Browns just as Watson did to the Texans. I’m not playing for a dysfunctional organization: trade me, release me, or pay me to watch.

  4. Wouldn’t Mayfield lose his salary if he simply sat out? Don’t you at least have to report for work to get paid, just like in any other job?

  5. Just because Watson was not charged does not mean authorities believe no crime(s) have been committed and I believe if Watson were to be suspended for anything less than a year (and Goodell knows this) a lot of very vocal people and groups will be extremely upset.

  6. Baker doesn’t owe them anything. Sit out, let Watson get suspended and watch the team implode and wash the entire season away.

  7. Free Baker!

    I would refuse to play for a team that publicly made it known that didn’t want me…
    Browns deserve a huge downfall!

  8. Mayfield could go a LONG way by playing for the Browns this year and playing at 2020 levels. It would show his maturity as well as his on field skill. It’s an awkward situation, but I feel pretty sure that his lack of maturity is exactly why he hasn’t been picked up by anyone else in the trade market and changing that perception could lead to a big pay day next year. Unfortunately we all know he doesn’t have that level of maturity and would pout and refuse to play.

  9. @hukdeep it’s easy to say that when you’re not the one who’d be giving up $18.8M plus portions of signing bonus.

  10. Imagine a scenario where they give Watson 4 games, then his trials start in 2023 and the details are just as horrific as the details in the Bauer case and the PR for only giving him 4 games is horrible. For that reason, I think the NFL might be best to just sit on this punishment for now.

  11. Swap with the 49ers. Both disgruntled QBs get a new home for one year at minimum.

  12. hukdeep says:
    May 2, 2022 at 11:43 am
    I’d sit out the season if I were him.
    If he sits out long enough, he won’t get credit for an earned season toward free agency. That means if he sits out the year, the Browns will still own his rights until he fulfills that year. Did I mention he won’t get paid either?

  13. No, they signed two other QBs in Brissett and Dobbs. There is literally ZERO chance he plays for them again.

  14. First good hit on Baker he fakes a concussion or knee strain. Sits a few games, comes back takes a another hit, sit out a couple more and keep screwing them like they did to him. Browns started this mess and there is no need for Baker to help them at all. No players came to his aid while being trashed so he owes them nothing as well. Go to some team the following year with a chip on his shoulder, keep your mouth shut and be the best you can be.

  15. This is a no-win situation for Mayfield. If the Browns need him and he sits out it will reflect badly on him. If he plays and struggles the market for his services will shrink. If he plays, and plays lights out, the Browns will franchise him. Once again he will be held hostage by the Browns.

  16. If you have to eat 18 million and you are getting less than a third round pick, if you can spare the roster spot you might as well squat on Baker for the year and pick up that draft 3rd round compensation for losing a free agent next year.

  17. This is a pay-to-watch-me-hold-a-clipboard-for-$18m situation. Good for Baker.

  18. The Browns are a horrible org for doing this to baker and now to top it off there stuck with paying him and 3 other QB’s money for next year. Never should have got Watson

  19. I’m pulling for Baker to play with the Browns, ball out for whatever time he’s under center, and create an impossible situation knowing the team gave an ungodly amount of guaranteed money to a quarterback coming having not played for a year-and-half. That would be an epic catastrophe for the Browns.

  20. After Mayfield talked disparagingly against the team and attacked the media and other players on the team, he’s lucky he’s even allowed in the building.

  21. Baker should say that everytime he thinks about playing, it causes his back to hurt.

  22. New england is continuously caught cheating. Stop making excuses for them. Pathetic.

  23. Baker knows that how he handles this situation will influence where he ends up next. That means showing up, doing what the coaches ask, and keeping the drama as low as possible (a high hurdle). Staying away from podcasts is probably the most fiscally prudent thing he could do.

  24. Baker is better off playing for the Browns, and playing well to demonstrate to prospective teams that he has the ability to play at a high level. It’s not a matter what he makes this year, it’s what happens to his career and whether he can show that he’s worth consideration as a starting QB.

  25. The writer of this story knows that Baker and Watson aren’t the only 2 Quarterbacks on the Browns roster, right? There’s no way Baker suits up for the Browns again.

  26. I am sure if he’s called upon to pay for the Browns this season, his shoulder injury will become more prominent and bothersome.

  27. On the hook for $18.8 million whether you carry him or not. If you can’t trade him, might as well have him as a backup. Is he that dysfunctional a teammate that they wouldn’t keep him? If so, no one will trade for him anyway and doubt he sees FA action at end of year.

  28. If I’m Baker I suit up, show up and shut up….bank the 18.8 million and then move on. Even if he never played another down in the NFL…..18.8 million is a nice severance package.

  29. The Browns having two quarterbacks, but maybe zero quarterbacks, is the most Browns thing the Browns have done in a while.

  30. Instead of a five-year $230 million guaranteed deal, it’s a FOUR-year $230million guaranteed deal. That’s like 3.3 million PER GAME.

  31. At some point Baker needs to realize, the Browns hold the cards in determining his next contract. If he chooses not to play. he will simply gather rust. Baker needs to play to get his next BIG contract. Meanwhile, he is an extremely valuable back up to both Watson and Brissett.

  32. Man I hope so. Talk about entertainment. If Baker didn’t have a chip on his shoulder before… After all the time off and weight of whatever Watsons part is and looming consequences, Baker will probably play better then Watson too.

  33. If baker decides to play again for the browns. I hope he takes the first snap of the season, turns around and punts it into his own endzone, then walks off the field with double birds held high.

  34. I doubt the NFL makes a move on any suspension until the civil cases are heard.

  35. Browns will not take him into training camp. He deserves better treatment and should sit out if they won’t release him.

  36. People here in Cleveland a “shocked” that more players are not coming out in support of Baker. Baker and THE OWNER clashed big time when Baker refused to meet with him. If I was a players I wouldn’t go against Jimmy Haslam either. That is a battle they don’t need to fight. I wish Baker well though. He took all of this way too personal though and Cleveland did what Cleveland does…

  37. The Browns would love it if Baker sat out.
    They wouldn’t have to pay him and his contract would toll so that they could trade him next year if the market was better.
    The only card that Baker holds is that the team has to pay him $18 mil this year if he honors his contract.
    If the Browns are willing to do that then they can play him, sit him or trade him as they like, and if Baker does anything to harm the team (with words or actions) then they don’t have to pay him and can sue him for damages.
    If Baker really wanted to control his future he would let the Browns out of his contract and become a free agent but it seems like he wants the money more than he wants to play.

  38. Baker, they owe you the money. Don’t give them a reason not to pay you.

  39. BTW folks. Baker could easily not play and get paid. So the Browns fans on here saying he won’t get paid, you are wrong. To many players sit with health problems. NFL or a team cannot force a player to play even if he cannot prove his medical issue. Opens them up to liability they do not need or want. As long as he shows up he is getting paid.

  40. I am just waiting to see the Browns implode this year. 100% it will happen.

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