Baker Mayfield‘s time with the Cleveland Browns will shortly reach an end after the franchise acquired Deshaun Watson. The fifth-year quarterback is awaiting his departure to receive a fresh start elsewhere.
However, Mayfield’s handling of the entire situation has come under tremendous scrutiny as he’s become an unwanted asset around the league. All that has led to former franchise great Joe Thomas dropping the hammer on the soon-to-be Browns quarterback.
Baker Mayfield’s Browns departure is imminent
After failing to secure an extension before the 2021 season, Mayfield entered this offseason dealing with an uncertain future in Cleveland.
The 26-year-old is in the fifth-year option of his rookie contract worth roughly $18.9 million. The lack of movement toward a new deal predictably saw the Browns explore the market for other quarterbacks, headlined by a strong pursuit of Deshaun Watson.
Mayfield responded to the noise by voicing that he appreciated Browns fans’ support but didn’t know what lay ahead. Cleveland worked its way back to land Watson with a massive trade and an NFL-record $230 million guaranteed contract.
All that has left Mayfield waiting to see where he will play next. As the Browns play the situation out, a former franchise great didn’t mince his words about the situation.
Baker Mayfield blasted by Browns legend Joe Thomas
Baker Mayfield finds himself engulfed in uncertainty after the Deshaun Watson trade.
The fifth-year quarterback will presumably get his departure, but the pathway isn’t as financially fruitful as it could have been. During a recent episode of The Thom & Hawk Football Show podcast, former Browns great offensive lineman Joe Thomas voiced that he believes Mayfield overplayed the situation.
“This is just my speculation, but they offered him a $30 million a year contract last season. He said, “No, I’m going to continue to play under this contract. I think I am worth more,'” Thomas said. “Which is fine. That’s your right and you know if he would’ve had a great season, we would probably would have been talking about a $40 million a year contract, and we would have said, ‘Hey bravo, way to believe in yourself. Way to bet yourself. That was the right move.”
“But he overplayed his hand a little bit because at that point the Browns were backed into a corner. He was their quarterback and he could have said, ‘Hey I realize that you guys went after Deshaun Watson, it didn’t sit well with me but make it up to me. I need to do something with this contract. You need to commit to me as I can commit to you. Let’s get this relationship back together.'”
Thomas then doubled down on his stance by stating that Mayfield let his emotions get the best of him.
“He got a little bit sensitive about it,” Thomas said. “He got a little bit emotional and that’s when he released this ‘I’m not going to play for them.’ And he went radio silent on the Cleveland Browns and said, ‘You have to trade me to the Indianapolis Colts’ thinking that he was perceived as a franchise quarterback in the NFL and he could dictate the terms of where he could be traded.”
The 26-year-old’s actions appear anchored in believing that he’s a franchise cornerstone. However, the lack of movement around the league suggests otherwise. Mayfield could still stand to land in a promising situation where he can earn a lucrative deal, but at this moment, the optics don’t look favorable.
Baker Mayfield is running out of options
Mayfield isn’t in the situation he wants to be, but a fresh opportunity elsewhere lies ahead.
The longer it takes for everything to play out, the greater the chances he will have to take a backup job. Many of the teams that needed to address their quarterback situation did so. The Indianapolis Colts, Washington Commanders, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, and New Orleans Saints made notable moves.
Although the Seattle Seahawks parted ways with Russell Wilson, the franchise has given every inclination that Drew Lock will get a shot as the starter. All Mayfield can do is make the most out of whatever situation arises.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.