Baker Mayfield: Ranking the Best Trade Destinations for Disgruntled Browns QB

The Cleveland Browns are ending the Baker Mayfield era by pulling off a massive blockbuster trade for Deshaun Watson. The former Houston Texans quarterback eliminated the Browns from the running only to agree to be sent to Cleveland shortly after.

Now, Watson enters and signed a massive five-year deal to be the Browns QB of the future. That means that Mayfield is heading out of Cleveland as the QB market shifts dramatically.

Which teams will have an interest in Mayfield? There are still quite a few QB-needy teams in the NFL, and here are Mayfield’s best destinations, using team fit and need as the ranking criteria.

4. Carolina Panthers

The QB market isn’t ending anytime soon. Jimmy Garoppolo is still around, and so is Jameis Winston. But, Mayfield is the biggest name by far.

The Carolina Panthers would be a surprise, especially since they acquired Sam Darnold last year and might feel forced to give him at least one more shot.

Nonetheless, the Panthers might consider tossing a mid-round draft choice for Mayfield. Nobody knows what Mayfield’s market looks like, so it might only take a third- or fourth-round pick to acquire him.

Matt Rhule might be able to unleash Mayfield’s potential. On the other hand, new Panthers OC Ben McAdoo wasn’t thrilled about Baker going into the 2018 NFL Draft.

So, there’s that.

Things are different now, but the Panthers are probably better off drafting a QB in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft and having them learn from Darnold before taking over.

3. Atlanta Falcons

This destination has a lot of moving parts. The Atlanta Falcons missed out on the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. Now, they are trying to unload Matt Ryan and free up some cash.

If Ryan gets traded, Mayfield makes sense. Then, the Falcons can still select a QB in the NFL Draft and have the rookie learn from Mayfield.

The worst part about this is that Mayfield wouldn’t have any wide receivers to throw to. Sure, Kyle Pitts is there, but the WR room is pretty vacant.

Jarvis Landry visited the Falcons but remains unsigned, so who knows who Mayfield throws to if he lands in Atlanta. The Falcons could afford to trade a mid-round choice for Mayfield and hope he rekindles his No. 1 overall pick ability.

2. Indianapolis Colts

Browns QB Baker Mayfield is on the move.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield | Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts and Baker Mayfield. That sounds a bit strange.

Nonetheless, it could become a reality. The Colts traded away Carson Wentz for some draft picks, and they have yet to address their QB issues. Jimmy Garoppolo remains an option, but his shoulder surgery has teams a bit scared off from acquiring him just yet.

Mayfield reportedly prefers the Colts, but it might not matter which team he likes.

The Colts would arguably be a better team with Mayfield under center than they were with Wentz, and the AFC South is up for grabs.

Mayfield would have a flurry of weapons, including star running back Jonathan Taylor and talented wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. That helps, and the Colts have a solid defense in place. On the other hand, the Colts are making a run at Matt Ryan as well, so that speaks volumes to the Colts’ desires. If it weren’t for Indy’s pursuit of Ryan, they might be No. 1 on this list.

1. Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks traded away Russell Wilson earlier in the offseason. Then, the Seahawks entered the Watson sweepstakes and got turned down by the star QB.

Are the Seahawks going to be comfortable rolling with Drew Lock in 2022? Probably not, so Mayfield makes sense here. College football legend Pete Carroll coaching Mayfield would be quite something, and Mayfield would have DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to throw to — which is a much better group than he had in Cleveland, especially after Odell Beckham Jr. left town.

The Seahawks have the assets to win the bidding after acquiring a multitude of draft picks in the Wilson trade. This might be the best spot for Mayfield of the four, but it looks pretty clear that Mayfield desires to play with the Indianapolis Colts.

However, if the Colts land Ryan, the Seahawks are in the driver’s seat for Mayfield.

Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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