If Browns choose to keep Baker Mayfield, Mayfield may not have many options

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With few, if any, viable trade possibilities and with the Browns possibly needing a full-season starter if Deshaun Watson‘s suspension ends up being much longer than expected, Cleveland may indeed keep Baker Mayfield.

Some have insisted Mayfield would never go along with that. Well, he has 18.8 million reasons to do so.

He’s under contract. If he doesn’t show up for mandatory minicamp or training camp, he gets fined. Under the rules of the fifth-year option, a holdout that would cause him to miss preseason games would result in the forfeiture of a regular-season game check (as to Mayfield, that’s $1.04 million) for each preseason game missed.  So if he doesn’t show up, he’ll lose a lot of money.

Mayfield also needs to behave. His salary is guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap. If Mayfield engages in “personal conduct which, in the reasonable judgment of the Club, adversely affects . . . the Club,” the Browns could cut him for that reason and try to not pay him a penny, as the Ravens did with safety Earl Thomas.

So if Mayfield wants his $18.8 million, he needs to play along with the Browns, if they choose to keep him around.

There’s another important reason for doing that. Other teams will be watching him closely. Even if he plays this year and plays well, teams won’t be inclined to pay significant money to a guy who could be a pain in the ass moving forward.

Thus, between protecting his pay for 2022 and setting himself up to get paid in 2023, Mayfield needs to go along with the Browns — if they indeed decide to keep him on the roster into training camp, the preseason, and the regular season.

40 responses to “If Browns choose to keep Baker Mayfield, Mayfield may not have many options

  1. Personally I think Bakers best bet is to show up for camp and workouts and participate. Browns don’t want to risk him getting hurt, and it will be a total tension convention if he does. It’s the best play to get the Browns to release him. Staying home makes it easy on the Browns and does nothing to help Baker potentially find his next team

  2. But the shock value narrative was that Baker held ALL the cards! Been saying for a while he has no leverage. He has to go along with it, and the more he yaps the worse he might look long term.

  3. the only way Baker ever step back in Cleveland is if he is on some other team and they are playing the Browns on an away game..

  4. FREE Baker!

    For many years I rooted for the Browns to win because really, how bad can a team be for so long?
    After this horrendous treatment of a player that lead them to their 1st playoff win in decades, The Browns deserve to Lose every game… Dispicable!

  5. This reminds me of someone who wants to break up with their boyfriend/girlfriend,… but doesn’t have the nerve to be confrontational.
    Breakup by Text.

  6. It would be poetic justice if Watson is suspended for the year and Baker plays the whole season, plays well, and then walks away from the organization that lied to him. Hang in there. Its only one more season to freedom.

  7. Jerry needs to find some way to ditch Dak and his too large salary then bring Baker in and see what he can do on a decent team that doesn’t change head coaches every season. I’ve given up on Dak, even before his ridiculous contract.

  8. Thank you for posting this. And agreed Baker needs to rehab more than his shoulder. He has been silent in recent weeks and that is a start.

  9. Thank you for clearing that up MF, 100% agree. I still think the Browns will keep him until they are in a position to get some value out of him, in some way, shape or form. If he doesn’t show up he loses money and more credibility. My question now would be; if he shows up and intentionally causes distractions detrimental to the team, what could be done about that?

  10. Yeah, this isn’t awkward or anything. They may want to scale back their asking price.

  11. Mayfield will show up, he’s not stupid. I would just like to point out how stupid and inept the Browns look with this whole situation. Baker’s personality did not create this. They know Baker, and they chose to trash him publicly and now they’re stuck with him. If they were smart – ha! – they would’ve included him in the Watson deal, or dealt him way before the draft.

    And let’s also remember that they didn’t seem to take into account that Watson will likely be suspended for an unknown period of time.

    And all because Haslam treats the Browns like a poorly-run franchise mode in Madden.

  12. If he ends up staying (for now) how great would it be if Mayfield was so fired up and motivated that he beat out a rusty Deshaun Watson for QB1.

    Not that the Browns would ever have a legit QB competition at this point, but the players would at least see it.

  13. Baker. You do need to behave to give yourself a chance in your life after Cleveland. That said, once your contract is guaranteed…I suspect you’ll have a nagging calf injury (don’t have a nagging injury in your throwing arm) that will magically be 100% good come January of 2023. You’ve acted immaturely in the past but that said, the Browns did F you over…other teams won’t expect you to bend over and grab ankles for the Browns…but that doesn’t mean you have a right to be a big A either. Just keep your mouth shut, have a nagging calf injury and wait it out.

  14. Florio hit it on the head. Mayfields a pain in the ass. He detests the fans, media, and organization if they dare question his skill set.

  15. What am I missing here? Dude pulls this garbage franchise out of the dumpster and leads them to the playoffs, has an off year with OBJ flailing around begging for the ball, then gets hurt last year. Plays through it, and then gets treated like this. So lame. I hope the brownies never get back to the playoffs and Baker goes on to have an amazing career.

  16. So he has to show up for work? Awwww. Now I just feel really bad for poor little Baker.

  17. Mayfield everything he’s interviewed: “I’m disappointed the Browns decided to replace me with a person who routinely has consensual sex with massage therapists and is accused by 22 other women of sexual assualt. I know he’s better on the field then me, but I always tried to do my best for the Browns on and off the field.:

  18. Mike is spot on here, but man is this a bad look for the Browns.

    It’s like asking out the HS prom queen while still dating her best friend. Then finding out the prom queen is out of town for that weekend..and expecting to go on that date with your current girlfriend. SMH…..

    How many NFL players, and would be free agents are looking at this mess and taking furious notes.

  19. PS – I don’t know whether to congratulate or scold you Florio for failing to mention Detroit in a Baker Mayfield article.

  20. My take is the Watson acquisition was 100% Haslam driven. Despite that, Berry knows that when Mayfield goes elsewhere and succeeds while Watson struggles, Berry will take the blame. When was the last time a meddling owner won anything?

  21. This whole Watson thing is ugly. Browns, Falcons, Colts, Saints. I still can’t believe the Browns jumped in headfirst with that guaranteed money. It’s really a bad look for the Browns and the league. The thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is how different Mayfield and Ryan handled the situation.

  22. This situation is like breaking up with your girlfriend and still living in the same apartment. Both parties have to show restraint and respect. I’m not holding my breath.

  23. Exactly what “txdr” said ^^^. Cleveland deserves to lay in the bed theyve made; Baker doesnt owe them another snap, otherwise he could snap something for real instead of “nagging calf injury” or whatever other protest-injury he feels comfortable using. More power to him, because he doesnt have much at the moment

  24. He should show up and have a lingering shoulder stinger and pain for about 20 weeks. Then rehab in the offseason to a remarkable level of recovery as a free agent.

  25. All Baker has to do is exactly what Deshaun Watson did last year. The Browns are stuck paying him 18.8 million whether they keep him or cut him, but I think the Browns will be motivated to cut him. Baker doesn’t have to do anything, but his mere presence will cause tension and be a distraction for the one year the Watson isn’t more than 50 million against the cap.

    Worst case for Mayfield is Mayfield is a free agent at the end of the year. Under that scenario, The Browns lose whatever they can get back for him in a trade and eat the full 18.8 million and they have Mayfield through no fault of his own be a distraction to a team and fanbase that is now has high expectations.

    How inept will the Browns front office look, if the team doesn’t release Mayfield, the team falters, and people start talking about all the distractions. The Browns front office doesn’t want to put themselves in that position.

    No one in this situation has any cards to play. All Mayfield has to do is show up and wait. There is no upside for the Browns in keeping him and a potentially big big downside, because I highly highly doubt the Browns will ever put Mayfield under center again even if Watson is suspended. Not unless they want to blow up the locker room.

  26. He’s not showing up to the Browns facility any time soon, and the Browns don’t want him there anyway. The Browns will gladly just pay him to stay away, and he’ll have to just wait until they find a place to send him. There’s nothing he can do about it until then.

  27. I seem to recall you having a different take on Watson’s refusal to play for Houston last year. Dynamic was different at Houston had reasons not to push him but seems to me Baker could make things quite difficult for the Browns.

  28. Seriously has being kind of a pain in the ass, by itself, ever been a reason not to sign a talented player? Half the job of any coach worth their salt is managing the egos. Assuming he doesn’t have a drug problem or, you know, have a habit of sexual assault, just being a bit difficult hasn’t hurt teams succeed with countless other QBs with a similar rep in the past.

  29. Who cares? Sit back and collect those checks without the risk of being hurt LOL The Browns continue to show just how inept they truly are.

  30. dolmich1960 says:
    May 3, 2022 at 4:43 pm
    There’s always Progressive, Baker.
    Um, not exactly. Baker only got those commercials because Progressive is based out of…..drumroll……Cleveland!!!!!!

  31. Taking over for a suspended Deshaun Watson, Baker Mayfield leads Browns to the playoffs and throws the game sealing pick in the AFC Championship game. Because thats what Baker does when the game is on the line.

  32. There’s always the Watson route, refuse to play for them, it’d be fitting especially if Watson gets suspended seeing how it worked out for Mayfield and the way the Browns treated him!

  33. It would be a shame, if, during Mandatory Minicamp he reaggravated one or more of the labrum tears in his right shoulder. His medical team may deem it best to fix the issue now, through surgery. The recovery time is normally 8-10 weeks, but could extend weeks behind that. It would be a shame. 😉

  34. Baker should go to the Seahawks and play lights out. That’ll teach ’em! (Not)

  35. I think if the Browns keep him and pay him the 19M and then he leaves next year in free agency. The Browns will receive a compensatory pick, probably a third rounder. THAT is Mayfield’s value to the Browns. How much is that worth? I don’t know. So, cutting him and paying his full 19M is never going to happen. They can pay him and get a draft pick. If he wants to play this year, he will have to do some negotiating with the Browns. If he wants the full pay, then he sits this year. His decision. The Browns, contrary to all the wise pundits, hold ALL the cards.

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