The franchise hasn’t exactly moved swiftly to move on from the former first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. In fact, the Browns’ plans ahead for Mayfield should infuriate the veteran quarterback.
Baker Mayfield’s days in Cleveland are numbered
Baker Mayfield’s decision to bet on himself in the 2021 season fell entirely flat.
The 26-year-old is sitting on the outside looking in with the Browns after the Watson move. Mayfield believed that pushing for a trade would put him in a better situation, but he now sits with an uncertain NFL future.
His decision-making has received significant criticism, including former franchise great Joe Thomas blasting him for the handling of the situation. Mayfield now has another reason to be ticked off at the Browns.
Baker Mayfield should be furious about the Cleveland Browns’ plans for his cloudy future
As much as the writing is on the wall that Mayfield’s time in Cleveland is over, the franchise hasn’t rushed to find the fifth-year quarterback a new NFL home.
General manager Andrew Berry confirmed that notion by stating that the Browns feel no pressure to proceed quickly to resolve the matter.
“Baker is a professional, he’s under contract, and we have the flexibility whether he’s on the roster or not,” Berry said via Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus. “So we don’t really feel pressed to rush into anything that’s suboptimal.”
Mayfield is under contract through the 2022 season, giving the Browns plenty of leeway to figure out the situation. Berry’s comments indicate there isn’t any concern with the 26-year-old staying away from the team.
Meanwhile, head coach Kevin Stefanski recently voiced that he’s hopeful that the lingering situation can get resolved soon.
“I think we’ll see,” Stefanski said via Pro Football Talk. “I think everybody understands the situation. We’re hoping that there’s closure to it at some point.”
However, Berry’s comments speak to the Browns knowing that the trade market for Mayfield isn’t robust. That factor alone makes it reasonable for the franchise to wait for the right scenario.
The hesitance may lie with Mayfield’s roughly $18.9 million salary, as other teams may not want to absorb that entirely. That would only be further underlined if he’s joining a team where he will serve as a backup.
The Oklahoma product may want a fresh start now, but he will have to wait until Cleveland garners a trade package that best benefits them. In other words, Mayfield holds no control over the situation.
Might be destined for a backup job elsewhere
When Mayfield made his trade request, several teams needed to address their quarterback situation.
However, many of those openings have been resolved. His desired landing spot with the Indianapolis Colts quickly became filled after the acquisition of Matt Ryan. The Atlanta Falcons signed Marcus Mariota, while the New Orleans Saints brought back Jameis Winston on a two-year deal despite suffering a torn ACL last November.
Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers reportedly have no interest in Mayfield, and the Seattle Seahawks are comfortable moving forward with giving Drew Lock a chance as the starter.
The opportunities are dwindling fast, making it extremely likely he will need to accept a backup job elsewhere. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been thrown around as a potential option, but the team may be leaning toward giving Mitchell Trubisky the first crack at the starting job.
Mayfield can only wait and hope his next NFL stop gives him the chance to compete for playing time.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.